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Date: April 9, 2011
Region: 2011 East Region
Tournament: Lake Sam Rayburn #4
Tournament Trail: 2011 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
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“FINALLY!” Dallas Cole & Chris Clemens win over $20,000 at Bass Champs on Sam Rayburn
By: Patty Lenderman

Over $50,000 was won by Bass Champs East Texas Region anglers April 9, 2011. Nearly 200 teams got their workout trying to get a chunk of it, battling each other and Mother Nature too. Dallas Cole and Chris Clemens came out on top winning over $20,000.

Tournament angling is an athletic sport. It is a full day of operating a boat, hundreds of casts, trying to outwit fish and competing against other anglers. When Mother Nature wants to play too, it just makes it that much more challenging. The air temp was well within toleration, in the mid to upper 80’s. There was no rain. The wind, however, made up for the lack of the other elements making traveling difficult, casting challenging to say the least, feeling bites was rather tricky, and trolling motors were put to the test. Trailering was allowed on this excessively windy day so anglers could launch closer to their fishing areas.

As anglers began trickling in to the weigh in, many weights in the upper teens were registered. Darrell and Dylan Lyons brought in the first exact weight of the day, having an opportunity to win the Skeeter Dealer sponsor incentive. “The first team that brings in an exact even weight can win $200 if they have a business card from any Skeeter Dealer on them,” Chad Potts explained. He asked them “Do you have one?” Dylan smiled and produced the business card winning the bonus. Their official 19.00 lbs took the lead at that time, but fell in the standings as more teams came in.

Hot dogs fresh off the grill is served at every Bass Champs tournament for anyone present to enjoy. Hungry anglers and spectators lined up to get them, also buying chances to win several draw prizes including Abu Garcia Reels, Continental batteries, Academy Gift Cards and more.

Weights over the 20 pound mark started showing up on the leader board, and once the scales were closed Dallas Cole and Chris Clemens were declared the winners with their 24.54 lb limit.

They didn’t have the luxury of finding fish in protected areas from the wind. “We stayed right in the wind all day on main lake points, but were able to at least tie off to a stump in some areas to give us and our trolling motor a break. We tried a smorgasbord of baits, but most of our fish were caught on a Carolina rigged fluke.” They were casting their baits into the wind, causing several backlashes. “I can’t say we felt all of our bites, but we caught all the ones we did feel.” They had started out with topwater baits in the early part of the morning and lost one before switching to other lures. They put together a limit, then culled six times before days end to complete their 24.54 lb winning limit. “I’m glad we finally did it! We’ve been bumped to 2nd a few times, this is our first 1st place win.” Bass Champs presented them with the guaranteed $20,000 check and for using the Sure Life Please Release Me product in their livewell they additionally received that bonus of $200.

Chris Russell & Mike Power won 2nd place with their 22.15 lb limit. “We were mostly cranking, in windy coves at the backs of creeks.” Targeting water 6’-8’ deep, they used shallow diving crank baits, diving to 2’ under the surface in shad colors. “We were running them just outside the grass edges.” Only hitting a couple of spots, they boated 12 keepers throughout the day to cull from. “We lost a few that could have made a difference for us, but that’s how it goes!” The team was presented $4,000 for their 2nd place win.

3rd place was won by Keith White and Brian Branum with a total of 20.72 lbs. “The morning went really well for us, the bite was fast and furious.” Possibly a little superstitious, they feel it is generally bad luck to catch a fish on the first cast. Therefore, they started out by each casting short – about 10’. “We didn’t want to catch anything on our first casts, so just put our baits out a short distance. We caught fish anyway!” They went after post spawn fish in the backs of coves. “The fish were biting really well until the wind picked up, then it tapered off until after lunch.” They were using Santone Swim jigs with Gambler Flappy trailers in shallow water. “We ran into problems with our trolling motor around 10am. It just quit. Luckily, we had a spare in the boat and had it installed within 30 minutes and got back to fishing.” They estimate catching 70 bass throughout the day to win $2,000.

Casey Sobczak fished with his dad Gary and latched on to the biggest bass of the day weighing 7.75 lbs. “I caught her while fishing a point with scattered grass with a 6th Sense square bill crank bait around 8am.” The team won $1,000 for that catch which anchored their 25th place overall finish that paid $600. They also won the Costa bonus for wearing their sunglasses while weighing the big fish for another $200.

Top Teams:
1st $20,000+ 24.54 lbs Dallas Cole & Chris Clemens
2nd $4,000 22.15 lbs Chris Russell & Mike Power
3rd $2,000 20.72 lbs Keith White & Brian Branum
4th $1,500 20.36 lbs Nathan Stroup & Eric Adams
5th $1,100 20.21 lbs Rusty Harvey & Chris Harvey
6th $1,050 19.12 lbs Kris Wilson & David Harvey Jr
7th $1,040 19.00 lbs Darrell Lyons & Dylan Lyons
8th $1,030 18.87 lbs Frank Polley & William Flournoy
9th $1,020 18.85 lbs Tommy Durham & Speedy Collett
10th $1,010+ 18.64 lbs Bret Bellard & Nick Simon
and last in the money
26th $600 16.38 lbs Brian Shook & Cody Goodman

Big Bass $1,000 7.75 lbs Gary Sobczak & Casey Sobczak

Tournament Statistics:
Total Entries: 196 Teams
Total Collected: $50,960
Total Payback (C&P): $52,500
Payback Percentage: 103%
Total Fish: 630
Total Weight: 1716.37 lbs
Average Weight: 2.72 lbs
Number of limits: 120

With only one tournament left to go in the East Texas Region, the Angler of the Year race is stacked. The team with the highest points at the conclusion of the final event will be declared Anglers of the Year for that region and receive free entries into the 2012 season.
Top 5 points leaders:
823 pts Brian Shook & Cody Goodman
801 pts Ricky Newman & Shannon Hale
791 pts Ben Vaughan & Michael Latham
782 pts Jonathan Garrie & Keith Morris
771 pts Alan Moore & Robert Davis

The final event for the East Texas Region will be held June 18th at the Umphrey Family Pavilion. All Bass Champs events are open for anyone to enter for your chance to win some big money!

For more information on any Bass Champs events, click to www.BassChamps.com or call 817-439-3274
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