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Anglers Choice
Father-Son Team Take Lake Livingston Tournament
Anglers Choice East Texas Team Series-2000

By Len Fairbanks

Saturday, April 9, 2000 - Waterwood Marina, Lake Livingston, TX

A strong spring cold front blew thru the Lake Livingston Area Friday nite packing severe thunderstorms producing high winds, hail, heavy rain and lots of lightning. Saturday got the leftover wind, Sunday got the cold and the bluebird skies. Temperatures were in the 40's as the 67 teams fishing the Lake Livingston tournament of the Anglers Choice East TX Team Series readied their rigs to leave from the ramp at Waterwood National Resort and Country Club. Temperatures did warm into the 70's by weigh-in time and there was more than one sunburnt/windburnt face on the weigh-in stand.

The cold and the bluebird skies made the bassin' tough, but some encouraging words that were heard repeatedly from the weigh-in stand was that, "We caught 'em flippin' the grass." Now those words haven't been heard from many Lake Livingston weigh-in stands in a number of years, but it seems that the stable water level has lead to an increasing amount of shallow water vegetation in the lake. Very little hydrilla here, but lots of reeds, bushy pondweed, water hyacinth and other aquatic vegetation with names unknown growing out to depths of 2' to 4'. This should lead to some excellent spawns of not only bass, but crappie and bream, too. Not only excellent spawns, but excellent recruitment, since the freshly hatched fry will have plenty of places to hide until they're big enough to fend for themselves. This means that the bass fishing is only going to get better on the only impoundment on the Trinity River. Locals and visitors seem excited about the future.

1st-5 bass/16.79 lbs.- This story could have been titled "What a Difference a Day Makes", "Different Location, Different Results" or even "Father-Son Teams Rule the Weekend at Lake Livingston." The father/son team of Jimmy and Todd Castledine won the amateurs only tournament on Saturday, but they weren't the only father/son team competing. George and Marty Kelley of Jasper fished Saturday and weighed in two buzzbait bass out of White Rock Creek for a whopping total of 6.47 lbs. Sunday started out like a replay of Day One for Team Kelly when at 9:30 am, they still hadn't boated a bass. "We were ready to pack up and go home," shared George," but we started slow rolling a white 3/4 oz. Hawg Hustler spinnerbait with double gold/silver willowleaf blades in about 2' to 4' of water and boom, that's what they wanted. After yesterday, we decided to go further up the river, to the Highway 19 Area. The water in the river was pure mud, but the backwaters remained relatively clear. After we started throwing the big spinnerbait, we probably averaged about 2 fish per hour for the rest of the day. We caught the big fish about 10:15 and my son, Marty lost two at the boat that were close to 4 lbs. each." Mercury/Ranger took 'em for that long ride up the river and Castaway rods with Abu Garcia reels spooled with Stren line helped 'em boat their 8 keepers for the day. Now that's a fish story!!!

2nd-5 bass/12.84 lbs.-The Goodrich/Onalaska team of Scott David and Gene Swann put their Stealth/Mercury rig in the familiar waters of Kickapoo Creek where they used Shimano reels filled with P-line on Falcon rods to throw black/red flake lizards, spinnerbaits and black /blue jigs to fool 6 keepers on the day. "We caught 3 of the ones that we weighed in today off the beds while sight fishing and a 4th one came off of a bed but the water wasn't clear enough for us to see her," stated Swann. The 2nd place team took home $856 for their efforts.

3rd-5 bass/12.50 lbs.- Nick Albus & Ed Loitz, the Miller Distributing Team of Trinity, ran their Skeeter/Mercury rig to Bethy Creek where they fished with Abu Garcia reels spooled with 20# Berkley Fireline and 50# Spiderwire mounted on Bass Pro rods for their limit. "We only had 1 fish at noon," said Albus, "but then we ran to Bethy because we needed that afternoon sun to be able see some bedding fish that we had found there. We pitched 3/8 oz. Stanley jigs with watermelon pork chunks to catch 8 keepers off the beds." "The fish were real aggressive," continued Albus, "we didn't spend more than 5 minutes on any single fish. If you could see the fish, and pitched it close, they would eat that jig." 3rd place paid $680.
Overall Big Bass-6.45 lbs.-George Kelley & Marty Kelly fooled the overall big bass on a slow-rolled 3/4 oz. white Hawg Hustler spinnerbait. The big bite was good for $390.

Top 12 Teams

1-George Kelley/Marty Kelley 16.79 lbs. $ 1735
2-Scott David/Gene Swann 12.84 lbs. $ 856
3-Nick Albus/Ed Loitz 12.69 lbs. $ 680
4-John Schweitzer/Billy Smith 11.97 lbs. $ 625
5-Stan Burgay/Lance Hughes 11.55 lbs. $ 545
6-Matt Reed/Ricky Friedrich 11.43 lbs. $ 475
7-Jason Russell/Chris Duke 11.40 lbs. $ 410
8-Ricky Potts/Terry Burghart 10.95 lbs. $ 340
9-Randy Hillhouse/Robert Hogue 10.83 lbs. $ 315
10-Richard Tatsch/John May 10.51 lbs. $ 300
11-Jimmy Castledine/Todd Castledine 10.06 lbs. $ 280
12-Slade Dearman/Larry Sowell 9.49 lbs. $ 250

Overall Big Bass 6.45 lbs. George Kelley/Marty Kelley $ 390
2nd Big Bass 4.56 lbs. Steve Nelson/Randy Sones $ 260

All bass were live released via the Anglers Choice bass recovery team.

The next tournament for this circuit will be June 11th on Lake Livingston with the headquarters to be out of Waterwood National Resort and Country Club. For more information on this, as well as other Anglers Choice tournaments contact Randy Knight at (409)-694-7634.

Tournament Sponsors - BassCat, Mercury, Berkley, TH-Marine, Abu Garcia, DieHard, Fenwick, Big Foot, Please Release Me, MotorGuide, eAngler, Cabela's, Holiday Inn Express, Needmore Tackle and the Ramada Inn Jasper.

Father-Son Team of Marty and George Kelley showing off their 16.79 lb. sack, which included the big bass of the day at 6.45 lbs ----- photo by Bill Webb/Lakecaster Publications

3rd place team member Nick Albus holding up the biggest of their 12.69 lb. limit -------- photo by Bill Webb/Lakecaster Publications

Top 3 Teams! (l-r) Marty Kelley, George Kelley (1st Team, 1st Big Bass), Scott David, Gene Swann (2nd), Ed Loitz, Nick Albus (3rd)

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