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Date: April 7, 2013
Tournament: Ram Mega Bass 2013
Prize WinnersHourlyStoryPhotos
Robert Stover of Clifton, Tx tops a record field of 1802 anglers at the 5th annual Ram Mega Bass on Lake Fork
By: Patty Lenderman

The prizes keep growing. The field of anglers keeps increasing. 2013 marked the 5th annual Ram Mega Bass tournament with a record number of anglers on Lake Fork from over 24 States to cast for a chance to win one of seven Dodge Ram Pickup trucks given away and a brand new Skeeter boat. Robert Stover of Clifton, TX topped a field of 1,802 anglers to win the grand prize package valued over $60,000.

It is the richest one day hourly big bass tournament in the world. Every hour a Dodge Ram pickup truck is awarded to the lucky angler that weighs in the largest bass of the hour. 2nd thru 15th places receives cash awards, and at the end of the day the person who caught the biggest bass of the day additionally receives a brand new Skeeter ZX190 bass boat.

The morning began with overcast skies and fairly warm temperatures. Anglers launched from all points on the legendary Lake Fork in Quitman, TX for their chance to cash in with just a single cast. Lake Fork is a slot lake, meaning that only fish less than 16” in length or 24” are legal bass to keep. All bass between those measurements must be released immediately.

The first one to win a truck was Joe Bray of Marble Falls, TX. He weighed in the first bass of the day over the 24” length limit. “I came up with a friend. We went to a creek channel that had a straight line of stumps. We decided to slide in behind there, and within about 30 minutes I got the bite.” He was using a Carolina rigged watermelon red lizard with a chartreuse tail. Joe set the hook, but it didn’t feel like a solid hookset to him. “I had 65# braid line on, and she tried to break it off!” Once they got the fish secured in the livewell, they started to make their way in to the scales. “I looked at my watch, and we had plenty of time so we didn’t get in a hurry. When we pulled the boat up, somebody yelled ‘You’d better hurry!’ I thought I looked at my watch wrong, and lost a shoe trying to hurry in. Putting the fish on the scales, it registered at 9.24 pounds kicking off the first truck win of the day. “We went back out, and I caught one more over 21”. I was sure glad we had a good early bite. We’ve had our ups and downs just like every other fisherman. This was a great day!”

Finding fish over the 24” mark proved to be a daunting task to the anglers on the hunt. Short, fat bass under 16” panned out to big paydays for the bulk of the day.

14 year old Cortland Curgus of Plano, TX and his father James came to Lake Fork, and by the suggestion of friend and fellow contender Rob Burns, decided to fish the tournament. “Our day started out poorly. We were fishing with Rob in his boat, and Rob slept in. I thought we were going to miss the tournament!” By the time they got on the water it was already 8am. “Rob knows the lake, and he picked the spot.” It was a creek branch, and with the boat sitting in 19’ of water they were casting to the edge of the bridge. Cortland was using an Alabama rig. “In ten casts, we had a good mix of white bass and slot fish. Then I caught this one (2.53 lbs) and one 23-1/4”. “ The trio had decided that they would weigh whatever they caught each hour, so they headed in to the scales. To their surprise, Cortland’s fish held up as top fish of the 9:00 hour! So what is this 14 year old going to do with his brand new Dodge Ram pickup truck? “I’ll have my learners permit by the end of the year, and my parents will use it until then.” All of his friends and family have congratulated this young man on his great success, and he has since created a FB page to document his fishing triumphs.

The excitement continued to grow as each hour went by. Weights continued to stack tighter and tighter.

Brent Cantrell of Wortham, TX won the 10am hour by a mere 5/100ths of a pound. “The day started out real good. I was fishing the back of a creek with a Texas rig and had caught six or more by around 8am.” Bringing in the biggest of his keepers under the slot, he checked to see what was leading that hour. “A 2.39 was leading at the time, so I went ahead and weighed in my fish.” It locked in on the scales at 2.45 lbs, giving him the lead seat – but there was still a lot of time on the clock before that hour closed. “The last seven minutes were the most nervous ever for me. One guy came in after I did and weighed in a 2.40 lb bass. It was close!” Brent was awarded the new Dodge Ram truck, but decided to take the $15,000 cash option. “I’ve already ordered my new Power Poles for my boat with it!”

Robert Laird and his wife Laura of Livingston, TX have fished the Ram Mega Bass tournament every year since it began. “We didn’t go far, just idled four or five hundred yards to this spot to the back of a cove where I had seen a bedding fish the day before.” Tournament day was cloudy and overcast, and spotting the fish he was after was next to impossible. He used a weightless watermelon red fluke and just kept casting in likely areas. “She finally bit, and when I got her in I measured her. She was 15 7/8” long, and weighed 2.11 lbs on my scales.” He came in and considered weighing in during the 9am hour, but saw that a bigger bass had already come in that hour. “We waited until the 11:O0 hour, and went ahead and weighed it, just hoping to get a check.” The official scales locked in at 2.49 lbs, putting Robert in lead position for the hour. As the clock ticked down the final minutes, the tension and excitement continued to grow. When the scales were finally closed and the announcement was made that he had won the hour, his wife Laura could not hold her excitement any more. “Oh, my God!” she declared over and over. Robert and his wife are no strangers to tournament success. He won the Berkley Big Bass tournament last October and currently holds the Lake Livingston record for Black Bass at 13.19 lbs.

Another youngster took top honors for the 12:00 hour. Seventeen year old Tyler Landers of College Station, TX won a new Ram pickup truck weighing in a 2.59 lb catch. Fishing with his dad Brian, they were not targeting big bass over the slot, only big fat ones under the 16” limit. “Tyler got sick the day before,” Tyler’s dad Brian recalled. “We almost headed home before the tournament.” Deciding to tough it out, they launched the next morning and headed to their first targeted area. “We struggled, it was pretty tough. There were lots of people at the spot we had pre-fished. We moved around a lot.” They went to an area in the back of a creek that intersected with a road bed. It was about 10’ deep and laden with stumps. At 10:15am, using a green pumpkin Texas rigged Zoom lizard, Tyler caught this 15-1/2” fish. “We knew we wouldn’t make it back in time for that hour weigh in, so we listened to the radio to get an idea of what weights were getting in the money.” Their scale said their fish weighed 2.1 lbs. “We decided to go in, but held back at the tanks waiting to see what was being weighed that hour before we decided to step across the line.” The leading bass that hour was 2.48 lbs, and there was only 60 seconds left. “Chad told everyone that the bag weight added .2 lbs, so we decided to step across and weigh the fish.” Weigh master Chad Potts announced that it was going to be close. Putting the fish on the scales, the numbers kept spinning then locked in at 2.59 lbs! “The last five seconds in the hour, five or six others stepped across the line.” Several of them were in the money, but Tyler’s fish held to win the hour! His dad was so excited. “There were so many factors that made it so close for this not to happen. (1) We almost went home the night before; (2) We didn’t think the fish was that big, and (3) if he caught it 45 minutes later he would not have won the truck!” Initially they took the cash option, but after discussing it with Mom they turned around and signed for the truck. Word quickly spread about Tyler’s victory, and when he talked to his best friend he said: “You didn’t really think I was coming home without a truck, did you?”

The day was beginning to come to an end. Only two trucks remained to be won. Rob Hope of Mineola, TX won the sixth truck given away with his 2.65 lb catch. It was the closest truck win of the day, only winning by 2/100ths of a pound!

Then it was the final hour, and the last chance to weigh in the best catch you could. Last casts of the day were being made. The final weigh in had commenced. Joe Bray’s 9.24 lb catch was looking good to hold up as big bass of the day, and Chris Woehl had the biggest bass of the hour at 2.70 lbs ready to win the last Dodge truck. The clock was ticking down for the final time. Robert Stover of Clifton, TX who was fishing with his son Robert Jr. pulled in to an area they had never fished before to make their last casts. “We had fished a lot of different areas throughout the day, and had caught three or four in the slot.” They were using a Texas rigged Lake Fork Tackle Hyper Worm. “We were looking for a spot that the wind was blowing into, and there weren’t many boats in.” They discovered that area, and at 2:15 Robert flipped his bait to just the right tree and a monster bass latched on. They quickly made their way to the weigh in and with only five minutes left on the clock weighed his 10.65 lb catch to win the hour, the truck and the Skeeter ZX190 bass boat – a package valued at over $60,000! “Dad was just trying to hold the tears back. He was screaming and yelling,” Robert Jr recalled. “It was great! This has been a long time coming for my dad. He’s been dreaming about it for a long time. I’m just glad I was here to witness it with him!”

There is no other one day bass tournament like it in the world. “There’s nothing better than awarding these trucks, the boat and the cash prizes to all of these anglers,” stated Chad Potts. “We would like to thank everyone who traveled here to Lake Fork to fish our 5th annual Ram Mega Bass tournament and hope everyone had a great time. Mark your calendars to join us again next year and maybe you can cast out your line and reel in a brand new Dodge Ram truck!”

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