Fishing & Boating News

Team Marks/Reneau Wins Texas Team Traill Event on Sam Rayburn

Anglers win Ranger Z518C with 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard

by: Greg Duncan, Blue Heron Communications

1st-place finishers Phil Marks (left) and Tim Reneau (right) display their bass at the TXTT event at Sam Rayburn on February 10.
Photo by courtesy Texas Team Trail
(Feb 14, 2018 - NEW SMYRNA BEACH, FL.) Phil Marks, of Dallas, Texas, and Tim Reneau, of Richland Springs, Texas, weighed 37.04 pounds to win the second regular-season event of the Texas Team Trail presented by Cabela's (TXTT) February 10 on Sam Rayburn. By participating in the Ranger Cup and Evinrude contingency programs, the anglers' original boat and motor package was upgraded to a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower outboard, valued at $46,895.
The duo worked the lake's upper end, near the Highway 147 bridge in two spots to bring in a whopping 37.04 pounds. Both anglers have decades of experience on Rayburn, but these particular areas were the ones Marks fished during a recent BFL win.
"They're hard bottom with isolated stumps on them," said Marks. "They have old spider stumps; you can see them on your down scan. I don't know that we caught any that weren't around stumps. I known the first 8-pounder I caught, my bait deflected off the stump and it locked up."
"Over the course of the last six weeks, I've checked hundreds of spots just like them, but I could only count on these two places," he said. "I don't really know why. I've gotten a bite here and a bite there, but there have been schools of big ones in these two places."
With the day's cloudy, foggy, rainy conditions, Marks said he knew they could expect a solid crankbait bite. True to form, a Strike King 8XD in chartreuse/blue and Tennessee shad tempted the giants. The winners also caught a couple of fish, including one of the ones they weighed on a 1-ounce Strike King Denny Brauer Structure Jig (blue craw peanut butter) with a Junebug Strike King Rage Bug trailer.
Marks said he knew he and his partner weren't fishing for a lot of bites. In fact, they knew that targeting the big prespawners meant they had to make the perfect casts and capitalize on every opportunity.
"I'd circle these fish and I went 360 around the tip of this little point and fish four or five different angles and finally got one to bite," Marks said of a day-making flurry. "I caught three of our seven bites in five casts; one of those was a 6-pounder and one was an eight."
The team bested the closest competition by nearly seven pounds. On top of the new Ranger boat and motor, the anglers added $3,180 in Anglers Advantage cash for a total of $50,075 in winnings.
Second-place finishers Brian Shook and John Iles weighed 30.07 pounds to win $9,957. Starting uplake and working their way down to the midlake area, Shook and Iles targeted deep drop-offs with brush in 20-28 feet of water. They threw 6th Sense Cloud 9 C-20 and C-25 deep diving crankbaits in citrus shad, along with a Divine Structure Jig with a Strike King Rage Craw.
"We've been practicing and fishing some other trails recently and that's just a pattern where we've been getting bit," Shook said. "I think it's about water temperature. We've had colder weather, so we were thinking the fish would be deeper this time of year."
Grover Mansfield, of Brookeland, Texas and Dale Jones, of Vidor, Texas, weighed 29.62 pounds, including a 10.16-pounder, to take third place. Mostly targeting open hard spots within the grass, the anglers caught their fish in 3-8 feet of water. Rat-L-Traps in crawfish patterns produced all of their bites.
"Every day is different; you just have to figure out how they want to eat it," Mansfield said. "Today, it was just slow rolling it like a spinnerbait. They were just set up on this spot and feeding heavy."
Mansfield and Jones took home $7,045 for their efforts, which included $2,120 in Anglers Advantage cash and $250 from Ranger Boats and $250 from Mercury Marine.
The remaining Top 10 are McGaha/Wernecke (fourth); Martin/Stevens (fifth): Shaw/Hughes (sixth); McArdle/Bensema (seventh); Carothers/Wells (eighth); Adams/Naomi (ninth); and Goodwyn/Crelia (tenth).
The next tournament stop for the TXTT is set for April 14 at Amistad. The 2018 schedule includes some of Texas' most legendary bass fisheries and features huge payouts with unprecedented contingency opportunities.
For additional information, anglers are encouraged to call 210-788-4143 or check out the TXTT website at Site visitors can register for events, review the television schedule, get official Texas Team Trail gear, view results and learn more about what's in store for 2018.
Texas Team Trail events are made possible through the sponsorship and continued support of these well-respected brands: Cabela's, Ranger Boats, Lucas Oil, Evinrude, Mercury, Minn Kota, Triton Boats, Power-Pole, NITRO, Lowrance, Protect the Harvest, Garmin, Valley Fashions, T-H Marine, Atlas, G-Juice, Navionics, Amphibia, Powertex Group.