(May. 02, 2012 - Lake Sam Rayburn, TX)...
It was a rare day on Sam Rayburn April 28th as Bass Champs East Region teams hit the lake to try to win a portion of the $45,000 pie. There were scads of skinny limits brought in as the big bite was extremely elusive. Jonathan Garrie and Keith Morris found that one big bite that anchored a $21,400 payday.
At any given tournament on Sam Rayburn it is common to see five fish sacks weighing over 20 pounds. In many events, it takes at least 20 pounds to even be in the money. It took everyone by surprise when 17.96 lbs won a Bass Champs tournament and 10.72 lbs caught a check in 22 places paid.
Strong winds had been forecasted, so for safety reasons the decision was made to allow all contestants trailer to boat launches closer to where they planned on fishing. Everyone was allowed to fish until 3pm. As it got close to time to begin weighing fish, spectators started to gather. As with every Bass Champs tournament, the grill was fired up and soon the aroma of fresh grilled hot dogs for everyone to enjoy filled the air. Lots of "swimmers" were seen as skinny limits were brought to the scales. A weight of 12.55 held the lead for a good portion of the initial weigh in. There was almost a celebration when 13.46 was tallied. There were still many teams with reputations for catching big sacks left to come in.
Jonathan Garrie and Keith Morris entered the stage ready to tally their kicker fish first. It weighed 8.34 lbs, taking Big Bass honors. Adding their other four their limit totaled 17.96 lbs and held for 1st place of the tournament. It had been an extremely tough day for them, reporting that at 1:30 they had yet to put a single keeper in their livewell. "We were using 6th Sense crank baits at main lake ledges. We didn’t get very many bites at all." They kept moving from spot to spot trying to find that elusive bite. "We could see them on our graph, and it seemed when they would move up to feed is when we started to catch them." Starting at 1:30, they finally began to put a limit together. Jonathan landed their big bass that was almost half of their total weight. "We only made one cull, at 2:55, and that was it for us." Bass Champs presented them with a $20,000 check for 1st place, another $1,000 check for Big Bass and they also won sponsor money from Costa Del Mar and Sure Life, ending up with a $21,400 payday. They would like to thank 6th Sense Lures, Custom Angle Rods and Hale Tackle for their support.
Texas rigged brush hogs was the lure of choice for 2nd place winners Kevin Chapman and Shane Hale. They too had a difficult time finding biting bass. "We targeted grass beds 12’-16’ deep. We only caught five keepers all day, and they all came in one 15 minute stretch." While they didn’t have a whole lot to report about their day, their 15.86 lb limit held for a 2nd place finish and a $3,000 check. They would like to thank Hale Tackle, "but most important we want to thank our wives for their support."
Kris Wilson and Keith Caka had the 3rd place winning weight of 15.56 lbs. "We caught a lot of little fish today." Their best luck was with a Carolina rig to bushes and flooded willow trees. "We hit a few deep water spots, but our main bite was at the willows." They enjoyed a $2,000 check for their win.
Wrapping up the top 10 included:
|4th ||14.57 lbs ||Clayton & Roger Boulware |
|5th ||14.07 lbs ||Jonathan Simon & AP Castino |
|6th ||13.97 lbs ||Alan Moore & Robert Davis |
|7th ||13.76 lbs ||Doug Morrow & Josh Clarke |
|8th ||13.52 lbs ||Phillip Crelia & TJ Goodwyn |
|9th ||13.46 lbs ||Damon Childress & Robert Cruse |
|10th ||12.75 lbs ||Rodney Gordon & Larry Ford |
|...and last in the money... |
|22nd ||10.72 lbs ||Trey Smith III & Hunter Gothia |
Rodney Gordon & Larry Ford doubled their winnings fishing from a qualified Skeeter Boat and took home $1,500 for the day.
Bass Champs paid back 106% in cash and prizes and will be coming back to Sam Rayburn to wrap up the season for the East Region June 16 at the Umphrey Family Pavilion.
With one event to go, the top five leaders in the Anglers of the Year points race are:813 pts Rusty Clark & Cory Rambo773 pts Chris McCall & Mike Freck761 pts Jerry Silmon & Brett Hortman749 pts John Salamone & Ray Beck732 pts Keith White & Brian Branum
For more information on any Bass Champs tournament, visit the BassChamps website or call 817-439-3274.
Don’t forget to sign up for the 19th Annual Skeeter Owners Tournament happening on Lake Fork June 9 & 10!