Lakecaster Online

Rojas "Piggy Backs" BASSMaster Top-150 Wins
By Ed Snyder

BASSMaster Louisiana Top-150 National Circuit
Sunday, February 25, 2001, Cypress Bend Resort, Toledo Bend Lake, LA.

The noise was absolutely deafening at Cypress Bend Resort when the tournament crowd suddenly "exploded" into wild cheering when the BASSMaster scale digitized 21 lbs 2 -0zs, giving Top-150 Bass/ Pro Dean Rojas of Lake Havasu City AZ, a first place-winning total of 55 -lbs 8 -ozs. After the huge crowd, "AND" tournament director Fish Fishburn, finally calmed down, the Arizona Pro who had just won a Florida Top-150 event with an incredible "record breaking" 108 lbs, gave some insight on his tournament by informing that he was experiencing a dream come true for any bass angler who has ever fantasized about catching a 4 pound bass on just about every bite. The very "HOT" Bass/Pro also went on to reference Tiger Woods as being one of his idols..."Not Bad, "Not a bad idol to have in your "Dream-Book" at all!!

Bass/Pro Takahiro Omori of Emory, Tex. nailed 2nd with a 21-lb 2-oz finish, the "exact weight" that Rojas had finished with, giving Omori a 54 lb 6 -oz win for $48,000, which included a Ranger/Mercury bass rig.

Top-150 Re-Cap:
Day-1: "CANCELED" A stalled cold-front hovered over Lake Toledo Bend causing a dense fog situation and a tournament cancellation for day-1 competition.

Day-2: The stalled cold front finally breezed through with 10/15 north winds and high blue-birds giving 1st pro-lead to the -(5 bass/20.15 lbs)- catch of Linden NC pro/angler, Marty Stone, with 2nd pro-lead of -(5 bass/20.00 lbs)- going to Muscle Shoals AL Pro, Tim Horton. First place amateur-lead of -(5 bass/15.15 lbs)- went to Dan Bickon of Vernon Center NY, who fished with NC Pro/Angler Chris Baumgardner.

Day-3: "Fishing Friendly" weather provided calm S/E winds and warmer temps for day-3 competition as Center TX, Amateur angler Randall Keels took the 1st place award for the Amateur Division and the Pro's made their final top-10 cut to advance into their fourth, and final day of the tournament. 1st place pro/lead went to the 10 bass/39.13 lb catch of Ben Matsubu of Mineola TX, with the 2nd place pro/lead position going to the 10 bass/34.11 lbs of Terry Baksay of Monroe CT.

Day-4: "POSTPONED" as gale-force winds ripped across the lake area creating extremely dangerous boating conditions.

Day-5: Improving weather conditions "eased" the top-150 anglers back into Toledo Bend Lake as the 5th, and final day of BASS competition finally got underway. But while the BASSMaster's were casting, flipping, and pitching their way to the BASSMaster Classic, future bassmaster's were also busy casting, flipping, and pitching their way to the Classic as the Louisiana B.A.S.S. Federation coordinated the Chevy Truck/Zebco Casting Kids contest. The children who managed to cast for the higher points would qualify for the regional and nationals which could advance them to compete at the BASS World Classic in 2001.

TOP Casting Kids:
(Runner-up)-Eight year old Shelby Blanchette of Sulphur LA-
Thirteen year old Wesley Thomas of Converse LA-
Seven year old Zachary Herbert of Opelousas LA-

1st place pro-( 15 bass/55-8 lbs)- "I'm just making all the right moves now, Rojas tried to inform, as he explained about his fishing patterns. "As the sun finally popped out today and started warming the 1215 area shallow brush where I was fishing, Dean informed as he told of being able to spot bedding bass a lot easier after that. "I began picking them off with slow-rolled Hawg-Caller spinner-baits, but the Lake Fork Tackle black/neon Tube jigs I was using did the most catching as I'd flip them on the beds and the bass would just swim off with them, Rojas stated with a grin. "It was just that simple. Rojas also informed about fishing from his Skeeter/Yamaha bass-rig while flipping 6' flooded brush with Browning Citori rods and Quantum reels spooled with Izori-line. Rojas earned a "healthy" $70,000 pay-day as well as the keys to a fully rigged Ranger/Mercury Bass Boat.

2nd place pro-(15 bass/54-6 lbs)- "I fished the Six Mile and Housen Bay areas mostly today, explained 2nd place runner-up Takahiro Omori of Emory TX. "I mainly fished 7" pink Zoom Trick-Worms and white TO glitter-tube baits while sight-fishing bedding bass around 6' Cypress and flooded brush with 10 lb mono and Daiwa reels.

3rd place pro-(15 bass/53-13 lbs)-"My bass moved on me and I had to change patterns, stated Mineola TX, Pro Ben Matsubu, as he told of drop-shotting Yamamoto finesse worms off of a 20' to 25' flat-ledge down near the Louisiana spillway area. "I had to switch areas about mid-morning, Matsubu informed as he told of finding shallow bass near the end of the day, but ran out of time before he had a chance to cash in on the shallow water bite.

Top-10 Pro/Winners:
1-Dean Rojas/Lake Havasu City AZ---------------------15 bass/55-8 lbs-$75,000- $35,000 Ranger
2-Takahiro Omori/Emory TX------------------------------15 bass/54-6 lbs-$13,000- $35,000 Ranger
3-Ben Matsubu/Mineola TX-------------------------------15 bass/53-13 lbs-$5,000- $23,000
4-Larry Nixon/Bee Branch AR----------------------------15 bass/49-0 lbs- $15,000
5-Terry Baksay/Monroe CT--------------------------------15 bass/46-8 lbs-$14,000
6-David Fritts/Lexington NC------------------------------15 bass/46-3 lbs-$11,000
7-Mark Menendez/Paducah KY---------------------------14 bass/44-14 lbs-$10,000
8-Alton Jones/Waco TX------------------------------------14 bass/43-15 lbs-$8,000
9-Tim Horton/Muscle Shoals AL--------------------------15 bass/43-11 lbs-$6,500
10-Stephen Browning/Hot Springs AR-------------------15 bass/43-9 lbs-$6,000

Day-2 Pro Big Bass-(6 lbs- 9 -ozs)-Chris Elliott/Raleigh NC-$1,000
Day-3 Pro Big Bass-(8 lbs 6 -ozs)-Paducah KY, Pro Mark Menendez-$1,000
Day-4 Pro Big Bass-(5 lbs 12 -ozs)-Takahiro Omori-$1,000

1st place Amateur winner Randall Keele of Center TX, fished with GA/Pro Cliff Craft on day-1 to work 2' "bank-shallow" Patroon creek bushes with Rite-Bite black neon and watermelon/red tubes for a late bite of 3 bass/6.1 lbs for 34th position. But did much better while fishing with AR/Pro Stephen Browning as they fished 6' Housen Bay long point grass-edges with green/pumpkin Carolina rigged Zoom lizards and sour grape Zoom French fries to catch 5 bass/15.8 lbs for a total of 8 bass/21.9 lbs and a $27,000 Amateur win.

Top- 5 Amateur Winners:
1-Randall Keele/Center TX-----------------------8 bass/21.9 -lbs-$27,000
2-Billy Billeaud/Lafayette LA--------------------7 bass/21.2 -lbs-$4,000
3-Paul Strege/Woodbury MN---------------------7 bass/20.11-lbs-$3,500
4-Dan Bickon/Vernon Center NY----------------6 bass/20.2 -lbs-$2,500
5-Earl L. Cambell/Springfield MO---------------7 bass/19.14 -lbs-$2,000

Day-2 Amateur Big Bass-(5 lbs 14-ozs)-Richard Gibson/Heflin LA-$400.
-TIE-Day-3 Amateur Big Bass-(7.5 lbs)-Steven McCarthy/Staunton IL-$200-(7.5 lbs)-Claude Rabb/Vidalia LA-$200.

All bass were recovered and live released by the BASS fish recovery and the Shimano SRA-LA Fish Recovery Krewe.
Day-2 Pro/Weights-530 bass weighing 1,385 lbs-/Day-2 Am/Weights-212 bass weighing 533 lbs-
Day-3 Pro/Weights-569 bass weighing 1,501 lbs-Day-3 Am/Weights-223 bass weighing 571 lbs-
Day-4 Pro/Weights-50 bass weighing 149 lbs-

For more information on this, as well as other BASSMaster events contact George McNeilly at (334)-272-9530- or click to- www.bassmaster.com.

BASSMaster Top-150 Sponsors: Ranger Boats, Ranger Trail Trailers, Mercury Outboards, Chevy Trucks, Long John Silvers, Kumho Tires, AC Delco, Worldwaters.com, Hummnigbird/Zercom Marine, Pennzoil Marina, Flowmaster, First USA/BASS Platinum Visa, Motorguide, Gore-Tex, GMAC Ins, Cypress Bend Resort, "and" the Louisiana Top-150 anglers.


Casting Kids Champions

"The Moment Of Truth" as Rojas realized he had just won his 2nd Top-150 event
< photos by Ed Snyder >

Takahiro Omori with his 2nd place pro/finish

Rojas with his $110,000 winning catch

Dean Rojas with his $70,000 pay-day

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