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MR. Blitz Patterns Team Splash Championship Win
By Ed Snyder

Sealy Outdoors Millennium 2000 "Team Splash Championship"
Sunday, September 10, 2000, Cypress Bend Resort, Toledo Bend Lake, LA.

With Rayburn still sloshing in their live-wells, 35 Team-Splash anglers launched into phase II of the Sealy Outdoors Millennium "Team Splash" Championship as Lake Toledo Bend provided the final challenge for their quest of winning the event. One team, a Toledo based duo, managed to grab the 1st place lead from Rayburn waters to put a 5 bass/18.18 lb tally in their cull, but now it would be left up to the Toledo bite to see if their lead would hold. And with today's changing weather pattern providing pop-out sunshine, shifting cloud cover, choppy winds, and "gusting" thunderstorms, it was still anybody's ball game as it wouldn't be over until the final inning when the last bass came to bat and "the fat lady sang".

The Sealy Outdoors Millennium 2000 Open Team Splash, a unique team circuit which recorded an average turnout of 173 teams per event, consisted of 4 tournaments, 2 held on Lake Sam Rayburn and 2 on Lake Toledo Bend with a guaranteed payout of $40,650 in cash & prizes at each event. In addition to this guaranteed payback at each event, a $10,000 Triton Bass Boat was given away in a drawing at each event to one of the lucky participating teams. The unique 2-day championship tournament included the first day of competition to be held on Lake Sam Rayburn out of Twin Dikes Marina, with the final day of competition to be held on Lake Toledo Bend out Cypress Bend Park. The team with the heaviest combined weight from both lakes will take home a 2000 18' Triton Premier 186 powered by a 150 hp Johnson valued at $23,000, while the second place team will pull home the exact same boat (minus outboard) valued at $13,800. Participating teams in 3rd thru 7th place will take home a portion of the 100% payback $5600 side pot.

"This is the 4th year for our Open Team Splash bass tournament circuit," shared Tournament Director Bob Sealy, explaining that Sealy Outdoors also holds the McDonalds Big Bass Splash events, the Shimano Saltwater Big Trout Splash events, the Mega Whitetail Bucks Hunting Contest, the Shimano Big Bass Tournament, Texas Fish & Game Trophy Bass Quest, as well as other Bass Tournament Benefits which are held throughout the year. "We're a fully developed Hunting & Fishing events group," stated Sealy, "This Company works with corporate, organizational, and private entities to provide what they are needing for their fund raiser projects and promotions."

"Team Splash ReCap:
Day-1-Lake Sam Rayburn, TX. 1st place lead-5 bass/18.18 lbs-came in with Pete and Jimmy Sorter of Hemphill TX, while fishing 3/8 oz. Willow/Colorado white/chartreuse/blue Mr. Blitz spinner-baits, black/gold flake Bass Assassins, 1 oz. Blue smoke Mr. Blitz jigs with Texas smoke craw-worm trailers, and 1 /2 oz. Texas rigged Texas smoke tubes into thick hydrilla clumps in 10'-12' of water on the south end of the lake to take their first day leading weight. 2nd place lead went to the -5 bass/17.03 lb catch of James Ausmus and Harry Thomas while drift-fishing the Powell Park-Farmers Flats areas with Carolina rigged watermelon stud frys in the scattered hydrilla about 10' deep to catch 11 keepers by 10:30 am, when their bite stopped completely. 3rd place lead went to the -5 bass/15+ lb catch of Mike Bernard and his partner who fished Carolina rigged watermelon candy Zoom trick worms fished in about 8'-9' of water around thin hydrilla alternating between Carolina rigs and dropping a 1 oz. Black/brown/amber Mr. Blitz jigs with Pumpkin/green Hawg Craws on the outside edge of the real thick hydrilla in about 9'-10' of south-water where they caught the day-1 "overall" big bass of 8.04 lbs.

Day-2- Lake Toledo Bend:
1st place winners- The team of Joel James from Orange TX, and Mike Bernard of Port Arthur TX, put their Champion/Mercury bass-rig over south-lake point-grass to catch an all day bite that produced a 40 bass/25 keeper catch for day two of the Toledo phase of the Sealy Outdoor "Team Splash" split lake Championship. "We used Castaway rods and Shimano reels spooled with 50 lb test Spider-wire, they informed, telling of fishing 3/4 oz MR. Blitz black/brown/amber Mega-bite jigs with pumpkin/green Zoom craws. The Watercraft etc, team gave credits to Mike Holloman's jig as being the best on the market. And with their win weighing 5 lbs above the 2nd place winners, the boastful remark gave credence to that fact. The EAS team managed to come from a 3rd place Rayburn position to win the keys to a fully rigged Triton/OMC bass Boat valued at $24,000. "Heck, Mike Bernard hindsight 20/20'd, "If it hadn't of been for my partners 8.04 lb Rayburn catch we wouldn't have been here collecting the first place prize today.... "and I swear, Mike noted, "That I could hear the Fat Lady Singing!!!"

2nd place winners- Harold Allen of Huxley TX, and Glenn Freeman of Converse LA, put their Champion/Yamaha over Converse area ridge-drops to work Shimano V-rods and Shimano reels spooled with 14 lb test Triple-fish and 15 lb test P-line. "We fished with TX rigged Reaction red-bug worms along 12' to 20' ridge-line drop-offs to catch at least 25 bass today, they stated, telling of using that same pattern on both lakes to catch their 29.20 lb -2nd place finish and the keys to a Triton bass boat valued at $13,500.

3rd place winners- Dicky Newberry of Houston TX, and John Gunnels of Kingwood TX, ran their Skeeter/Yamaha down to south-lake grass-beds to work Waterloo rods and Shimano reels spooled with 80 lb test Spider-wire. "We concentrated on fishing the 13' outside grass-lines with 1 oz Oldham camo jigs with pumpkin/green Larew craws, stated Newberry, "Where we managed to catch 9 bass today, "But, The Dawson Marine Team added, "If we hadn't of lost those two "BIG" Rayburn bass yesterday the outcome may have been quite different. But due to that fact they had to settle for 3rd place and a check for $1,680.

Top 7 "Team Splash" Teams:
1-Mike Bernard/Joel James---------------------------10 bass/34.19-$24,000 Triton/OMC
2-Harold Allen/Glenn Freeman-----------------------10 bass/29.20-$13,500 Triton/OMC
3-Dicky Newberry/John Gunnels---------------------10 bass/27.20-$1,680
4-David Ozio/Kevin Wing-------------------------------10 bass/26.94-$1,400
5-James Ausmus/Harry Thomas---------------------10 bass/26.91-$1,120
6-Jimmy Sorter/Pete Sorter----------------------------10 bass/26.12-$840
7-Slade Dearman/Bill Guillory-------------------------10 bass/24.46-$560

"Overall" Big Bass-Rayburn-(8.40-lbs)-Joel James/Mike Bernard-$500
2nd Big Bass-(4.83 -lbs)-Clint Goodeaux-$300

All bass were live released via the Sealy Outdoors Bass recovery team and the Shimano/SRA-LA Fish Recovery Krewe.

For more information on this, as well as other Sealy Outdoors events contact (409)-698-2591.
Tournament Sponsors; Triton Boats, OMC/Johnson, Polaris, Academy, McCoy's, Texas Fish & Game, Bennington Marine, Texas Dodge Dealers, The Texas Fishing Show, Latch Oil, Lufkin Marine, Texas State Networks, Jasper Chamber of Commerce, Holiday Inn Express, Ramada Inn Jasper, Best Western, Rayburn Country Resort, The Stump Restaurant, Piney Point Plaza, Needmore Tackle, "and" the Team/Splash Anglers.

Top 7 teams-(L-R)-3rd-1st-2nd-(kneeling)-(L-R)-4th-5th-6th-7th-Sealy-(standing)

Harold Allen and Glenn Freeman claim 2nd placeTriton
< photos by Ed Snyder >

Mike Bernard-L- and Joel James with 4 reps to their 34.19 lb win

Bernard and James with families claim the 1st place Triton/OMC -Championship boat

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