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Date: March 28, 2009
Region: 2009 East Region
Tournament: Sam Rayburn #3
Tournament Trail: 2009 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
StatsResultsBig BassStoryPhotosPoints
Rogers and Branum take home $25,000 on Windy Rayburn.
By: Patty Lenderman

It seems every Bass Champs East Region event has been thrown a curve ball by Mother Nature to add to the challenges contenders face on tournament day. March 28 was no different as 225 teams met at the Umphrey Family Pavilion for the third of five regular season events. Overcoming the conditions to win over $25,000 was the team of Bill Rogers & Brian Branum.

What news reporters were calling the worst storm in over a decade crash landed on East Texas bringing with it strong thunderstorms, winds in excess of 60 mph and reports of tornadoes. The temperature dropped from near 80 degree days before the storm to temps in the upper 30’s at take-off. Water levels were on the rise with all the rain, and the surface water temperature took a nose dive. Anglers reported water temps ranging from 56 degrees to 63 that in most areas was churned up, stained or murky. The wind blew steady and cold all day, but trailering was allowed to let them launch closer to where they would be fishing.

As the contenders began weighing their catch, many limits were seen. They weren’t the average Rayburn creels, the bag weights were much smaller than normal. There were only two sacks weighed in over the 20 pound mark and they were close. Bill Rogers & Brian Branum had the heaviest at 22.70 lbs to win 1st place.

“We had found our fish in practice, and knew which spots we were going to hit” stated Rogers. The areas of choice for them were main lake points with no protection from the constant wind and waves. “Our fish were about 4’ deep, and we were Carolina rigging Gambler Flappy Daddy craw worms in a red shad color right at the edge of the grass. There were a lot of short strikes, but we scrapped out five keepers by 10:00.” Their initial limit only weighed around 12 pounds. All total they had five spots picked out, all in the incessant wind. “We wore out our trolling motor around 2:00 and just tied up to a stump. From that spot we made our last two culls. The last one we had coming to the boat, the net was ready. When it got close enough it just jumped right into the net and the hook flew out! That’s the catch that made the win for us.” The biggest in their bag weighed 7.14 pounds to anchor their 1st place finish. Bass Champs awarded them the guaranteed 1st place purse of $20,000. They also qualified to win the $5,000 Skeeter Bonus money, and another $200 SureLife bonus for using the product in their livewell.

In 2nd place with a total weight of 22.16 lbs was the team of Chris Clemens & Dallas Cole. “We fought the wind all day,” Clemens began. Throwing rattle traps in creek channels and drains 6’-7’ deep, they had a small limit by 10:30. “It was a steady bite all day, and we also caught some on spinnerbaits and one on a jerk bait. The bigger ones were coming off the traps.” At 11:00 Chris landed the big one weighing 9.80 that also won Big Bass of the tournament. “We only went to three spots, but were able to cull five or six times to better our weight.” They won $5,000 for their 2nd place finish, $1,000 for Big Bass plus the All Star rod bonus.

Donald Littleton and Karl Tew won 3rd place with 19.48 lbs. “We had some spots picked out in some heavy wooded areas,” Karl explained “but when we took off to go to them my GPS wasn’t working so we had to just duck in somewhere else and hope for the best.” They started out throwing rattle traps in the grass. “We lost our first fish. Not a good way to start the day. After that we decided to make a move, and within 30 minutes in our second spot we put a limit together.” They stayed there all day, switching to Texas rigs. Their efforts paid off with a $3,000 payday.

Top Teams:
1st $20,000+ 22.70 lbs Bill Rogers & Brian Branum
2nd $ 5,000+ 22.16 lbs Chris Clemens & Dallas Cole
3rd $ 3,000 19.48 lbs Donald Littleton & Karl Tew
4th $ 2,000 18.76 lbs John Viles & Donald Unger
5th $ 1,200 18.44 lbs Roy Carroway Jr & Jack Carroll
6th $ 1,090 18.18 lbs Johnny Watkins & Bart Blakelock
7th $ 1,080 17.80 lbs David Morton & Steve Morton
8th (tie) $ 1,065 17.70 lbs Kris Wilson & David Harvey Jr
8th (tie) $ 1,065 17.70 lbs Jason Moorhead & Tommy Howard
10th $ 1,050 17.22 lbs Willie Fabre & Shannon Price
and last in the money
30th $ 500 14.26 lbs Allen Shelton & Strider Browning

Big Bass $1,000 9.80 lbs Chris Clemens & Dallas Cole

Sponsor Incentives:
Skeeter Bonus $5,000 Bill Rogers & Brian Branum
SureLife $ 200 Bill Rogers & Brian Branum
All Star Rod Bonus Chris Clemens & Dallas Cole

There are only two events left for the East Texas Region, and the race for points to be Anglers of the Year is neck and neck! Here’s the latest update:
727 Mike Michalec & David Ozio
725 Clint Goodeaux & David Kober
709 Greg Pugh & Bill Dominque
708 Nathan Stroup & Eric Adams
690 Shelby Shaw & Wesley Lewis

The East Texas Region will head to Toledo Bend May 9 next, then wrap up the season June 13 back on Sam Rayburn. Bass Champs staff and crew will be on LBJ next weekend for the Central Region on April 4. If you would like to fish in any Bass Champs event to win some big money, call 817-439-3274 or click to www.basschamps.com

South Region schedule:
1/17/09 Lake Amistad PAID - $50,750
2/21/09 Lake Amistad PAID - $55,750
3/21/09 Choke Canyon PAID - $50,750
4/18/09 Falcon Lake
5/16/09 Choke Canyon

East Region schedule:
1/24/09 Sam Rayburn PAID - $71,410
2/28/09 Sam Rayburn PAID - $65,110
3/28/09 Sam Rayburn PAID - $58,350
5/09/09 Toledo Bend
6/13/09 Sam Rayburn

Central Region schedule:
2/07/09 Travis PAID - $60,250
3/07/09 Belton PAID - $62,260
4/04/09 LBJ NEXT – Don’t miss it!
5/02/09 Belton
6/06/09 Travis

North Region schedule:
2/14/09 Richland Chambers - PAID $51,600
3/14/09 Cedar Creek PAID $68,200
4/25/09 Lake Fork
5/30/09 Lewisville
6/27/09 Tawakoni
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