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Ronnie & Brenda Bates win Toledo Bend's Anglers Choice Couples
By Donald Gervais


Anglers Choice East TX Couples Circuit
Sunday, April 30, 2000, Frontier Park Marina, Toledo Bend Lake, TX.

Toledo Bend Lake was much kinder this year to La Porte anglers Ronnie and Brenda Bates than it was last year. The husband and wife team managed to catch a five-fish limit of 12.04 to win the East Texas Anglers Choice Couple Tournament on Sunday, April 29.

"It's a sweet victory for us," said Brenda. "Last year we finished 21st in one tournament here and 20th in the second tournament. It feels great after taking second place in last year's tournament series." The couple took advantage of the calm waters near the fishing headquarters at Frontier Park Marina and fished in the far back end of the creeks and in Lanan Bay with watermelon flukes and watermelon/red wacky worms.Their winning weight was anchored by the tournament's second largest fish, a 4.34 largemouth, caught by Ronnie at around 2 p.m.The couple were presented a check for $670 and a plaque for their first-ever tournament victory.The couple credit their boat, a Skeeter, powered by a Yamaha outboard from Boots Follmar Marine, with getting them back through the rough water. They fished Kistler fishing rods, and Quantum reels, spooled with 15-pound Big Game line.

Fishing was made more difficult for the 47 teams that competed in this, the second of the six tournaments in the 2000 year series. Southeast winds began to blow midday at 10-15 mph. The winds made it difficult to fish main lake areas. It also made for a rough ride to the weigh-in site for anglers that chose to run south in the morning.

Big fish honor was taken home by Linnis and Lynn Gibbons. Linnis caught the 4.66 pound largemouth in Housen Bay, on the Texas side of the lake, using a watermelon colored wacky worm. He was fishing in eight feet of water in spotty grass.
"It was a real tough day," said Linnis. The Big Bass award earned the Gibbons $130 and a Berkely fishing rod.

Nade and Sue Crochet were able to take second place with a five-fish limit of 11.43 pounds to earn a check for $375. They fished the south end of the lake.
The couple returned a little early for weigh-in and caught two fish near the weigh-in site. One fish was able to be used to cull a smaller fish.

Third place was earned by Henry Parsons. He was without his partner for this tournament. Parsons, too, fished in the Housen Bay area . He used a watermelon colored wacky worm and a fluke of the same color to catch 18 keepers."I fished in water from six inches to four feet," said Parsons. "The baits were tipped with a touch of chartreuse color. I pulled it from shore, when I saw the fish move to the bait, I'd pause."Parsons fished the soft plastic baits with Alstar fishing rods, Shimano reels and Big Game line in 15-pound test. He fished from a Dusty Rhoades Marine-Champion boat, powered by a Mercury outboard.

Fourth place went to Mark and Gayle Norton with 10.54 pounds.

Sam and Jean Fling took fifth place with a 10.23 pounds.

Tournament director Curtis Kayda was master of ceremonies for the weigh-in. He announced that the next tournament would be held at Richland Chambers on May 21, 2000. Anyone wishing to fish the couple tournament trail should contact him at 713-339-5048.

The Sabine River Authority's Shimano Live Release barge was at the tournament to care for and release the fish. Live release of fish was over 99% for the tournament.

Overall Big Bass

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