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Honey Hole
Local Team Takes Lake Livingston Tournament

By Len Fairbanks

Honey Hole Family Fishing Tournaments - 2001

Saturday, April 7, 2001 - Waterwood Marina, Lake Livingston, TX

Warm, muggy spring conditions greeted the 50 teams fishing the Lake Livingston tournament of the 2001 - Honey Hole Family Fishing Tournament Series as they readied their rigs to leave from the ramp at Waterwood National Resort and Country Club. The warm temperatures, the full moon and a later than normal spawn would assure that at least some of the Lake Livingston largemouths would be found on the beds by the 100 anglers gathered for the tournament. And, as always this time of year, quite a few of the teams would find their fish moving from a spawning pattern toward a summertime pattern and in the dreaded "post-spawn" phase when the bass can be difficult to locate and even harder to catch. But even with these factors working against the anglers, 16 limits were brought to the scales and it took 12.11 lbs. to take home a check and that's a pretty good tournament just about anywhere you go.

1st - 5 bass/15.68 lbs. - The Livingston team of Cullen Vailes and Renee Howard stayed north of the Hwy 190 bridge to catch their limit by 10:00 am this morning. They ended up catching 15 fish for the day out of water 2'-3' deep with 14 of those being keepers. They were able to catch quite a few fish on a gold/black back Rogue (hard jerkbait) fished slowly on top and the rest came on crawworms fished for bass that they could see on the beds. Their bite was pretty consistent throughout the day, until about 1:00 pm when things slowed down. The winners took home a check for $575 for their efforts.

2nd - 5 bass/13.48 lbs. - The Carter Cycle team of Donnie and Juanita Robinson ran their Skeeter/Yamaha rig to the Kickapoo Creek area and the Brushy Creek area to corral 9 keepers out of a total catch of 15 fish. "We caught every today on a 3/8 oz. chartreuse/white Bumper Stumper spinnerbait with a gold Colorado rear blade and a silver Colorado front blade," shared Donnie. "Everything came off of real shallow wood today. Brush and logs in the water was holding the fish. We didn't catch anything today out of the reeds. We had our limit by noon but the bite was not real consistent. We would go a while without a bite and then hit a little pocket or a small area that was holding some fish and catch 3 or 4 pretty quick." Team Robinson used Pinnacle reels spooled with P-line on American Rodsmith rods and took home $450 for 2 nd place and Juanita took home another check for $100 for catching a 3.52 lb. largemouth which turned out to be the biggest bass caught by a female for the day.

3rd - 5 bass/13.40 lbs. - Third place went to the Grandpa/Grandson team of John Hope and Chris Walling from Palestine. You may remember John as one of the first bass fishermen in the nation to implant radio tracking transmitters in large black bass back in the early 80's and then monitor their daily travels, feeding habits, etc. John started his tracking studies at little Houston County Lake over in Crockett and spread out to various lakes in the state and even tracked some smallmouth bass in a lake near Austin. At that time he was writing articles for various bass fishing publications including Honey Hole magazine, appearing at numerous seminars and even hosted a weekly bass fishing show. John shared with me that he has been completely out of fishing for the last 4 or 5 years since his wife became seriously ill and subsequently passed away. But I am glad to report that John Hope is back fishing again and is writing articles for T.B.B.U. and Honey Hole Magazine and he started back in tournament fishing by teaming up with his grandson, Chris Walling to take third in this tournament. "We found these fish Friday up in White Rock Creek and I told my grandson that the only thing that would hurt us is if we had to share these fish with a bunch of people," stated Hope. "Well, when we got there this morning there were 6 other boats in our area. So we just eased in and started fishing and started catching fish in one little pocket and stayed there till 1:00 pm. Every fish we caught today came on watermelon colored Zoom Flukes out of that one little hole in about 1' of water. We had our limit by about 9:15 am this morning. We ended up with 9 fish for the day with 6 of those being keepers. I'm sure glad that I brought Chris along today, he caught 4 of the 5 keepers that we weighed in and he caught the big fish. It's a good thing that I still swing a pretty mean net for a grandpa." The Hope-Walling team or should I say Walling-Hope team took home $320 for third and Chris got a check for $100 for catching the overall big bass of the day (5.50 lbs.).

4th - 5 bass/12.95 lbs. - The Goodrich team of Johnny and Ann Meyers stayed in a midlake creek all day and fished a variety of baits to catch their fish out of 1' of water or less in the reeds. "We threw a black neon tube, a black and white spinnerbait, a black neon lizard and a white Zoom Super Fluke to fool our fish," shared Johnny. "We probably caught 18 fish total today with 9 of those being keepers." Fourth place paid $220.

Top 10 Teams

1 Cullen Vailes/Renee Howard 15.68 lbs. $ 575
2 Donnie & Juanita Robinson 13.48 lbs. $ 450
3 John Hope/Chris Walling 13.40 lbs. $ 320
4 Johnny & Ann Meyers 12.95 lbs. $ 220
5 Jeff & Jennifer Vavra 12.73 lbs. $ 190
6 Rick & Jesse Witten 12.56 lbs. $ 160
7 Nick & Sharon Albus 12.39 lbs. $ 140
8 Bob & Ginger Metz 12.25 lbs. $ 120
9 Steven & Justin Skyvara 12.11 lbs. $ 100
10 Sam & Carolyn Thompson 11.18 lbs.

Overall Big Bass 5.50 lbs. Chris Walling $ 100
Ladies Big Bass 3.52 lbs. Juanita Robinson $ 100

All bass were live released via the Honey Hole bass recovery team.

The next tournament for this circuit will be May 6th on Sam Rayburn with the headquarters at the Ramada Inn in Jasper and the weigh-in at Mill Creek Park. For more information on this, as well as other Honey Hole tournaments contact Michael & Julie Voytek at (281)-420-3139.

Tournament Sponsors - Cobra by Viper Boats, Inc., Motorguide, Pro-Kon-Trol, Saf-T-Lite, J & B Jackplates, Solargizer, Please Release Me, Owner Hooks, Topwater, Inc., Innovative Sports Group, Livewell Larry, The Equalizer, Bowie Marine, Proline Industries, Piranha Props, Armour Star, Lindy No-Snagg, BG WakeRunner, and Hamby's Keel Protector

5th place team of Jeff and Jennifer Vavra showing off their 12.73 lb. sack

7th place team of Sharon and Nick Albus holding up their 12.39 lb. limit
photos by Len Fairbanks

Top 3 Teams (l-r) 1st Place - Renee Howard, Cullen Vailes, 2nd Place - Donnie Robinson, Juanita Robinson, 3rd Place - Chris Walling, John Hope

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