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5 Bass/34.73 Lbs-25.59 Lbs- and-23.44 Lbs Top-End Rayburn Excel -11.65 Lb- &-10.21 Lb- Kickers Rule-
By Ed Snyder

Excel Fishing Tournaments Sportsman Series
Saturday, January 26, 2002, Twin Dikes Marina, Lake Sam Rayburn, TX.

While admiring an 8.09 Lb bass just brought in to be weighed by David Mauldin of Tomball TX, who, by the way wasn't entered in the new Excel tourney, two anglers, Stephen Rhoades and Jim Gaard, "WHO WERE" fishing the event, struggled up with their 5 bass sack that managed to tip the scales at an incredible 34.73 lbs, WHICH HAD by the way, 10.26 lb and 11.65 lb "kickers" that helped to top the leader-board marks of 25.59 lbs for 2nd, and 23.44 lbs for 3rd……………."Rayburn IS back!!!
The new EXCEL Fishing Tournaments will have two circuits, Sportsman's and Open Team series that is scheduled at Rayburn (3 times)- Toledo Bend (2 times)- and Livingston (2 times), informed Excel tournament director, Randy Knight, "with seven regular season events for each circuit plus each circuit will have its own championship. "The 50 teams will qualify for each circuit championship with guaranteed payouts for each championship. "The World of Fishing -(www.fishingworld.com)- is providing our Anglers a www.excelfishing.com a web-sight that will enable them to enter the tournament on-line, as well as view the tournament results and year to date standings. The World of Fishing will also be our media-sponsor.
SPORTSMAN'S -Saturday tournaments are called the Sportsman's Series- (Individual).
OPEN TEAM -Sunday tournaments will be called the Open Team Series- (Team).

1st place-(5 bass/34.73 lbs)- Stephen Rhoades of Lufkin and Jim Gaard of DiBoll TX, put their Xpress/Mercury bass-rig over mid-lake grass to work Castaway rods and Shimano reels spooled with 14 lb test Trilene. They fished 3 / 4 and 1 / 2 oz "WHITE" Rattle Traps and 1 / 2 oz "WHITE" Stanley Spinner-baits over 5' grass-clumps to catch 15 bass from an all day bite. The 11.65 bass hit on an 8am big bite for Jim Gaard who immediately had it tangle around a stump, but luckily came loose to take the overall big bass honors. Partner Stephen Rhoades landed his 10.21 lb bass from a 1pm big bite, BUT do to the tourney rules it couldn't be weighed for a big bass slot.

2nd place-(5 bass/25.59 lbs)- Michael Evans and Tommy Loving of Tomball TX, ran their Triton/Mercury bass-rig to the 147 bridge to work Allstar rods and Shimano reels spooled with 14 lb test P-line and 30 lb test Spider-Wire. The Capt. Kirks Marina Team fished 3 / 4 and 1 / 2 oz orange/chrome Rattle Traps from the 147 bridge area back to the tournament site while concentrating on 8' grass-points. An all day bite put their weight in the boat from a 13 bass cull.

3rd place-(5 bass/23.44 lbs)- Alan Moore and Clint Teutsch of Lufkin TX, put their Javelin/Johnson bass-rig over mid-lake grass to work Falcon rods and Quantum reels spooled with 17 lb test Tri-lene. They fished 3 / 4 oz copper Rattle Traps within bank-shallow to 6' grass-clumps to catch 12 bass from an all day bite.

Top 5 Sportsman Teams:
1-(34.73)-Jim Gaard/Stephen Rhoades------$1,300
2-(25.59)-Michael Evans/Tommy Loving--$800
3-(23.44)-Alan Moore/Clint Teutsch--------$650
4-(20.93)-Kris Wilson/David Harvey-------$550
5-(20.77)-Bill Harlan/Albert White---------$500

Overall Big Bass-(11.65)-Jim Gaard-$278
2 nd Big Bass-(7.42)-Kris Wilson-$184

This tournament paid the top-7 teams with a cut-off of 16.74 lbs, which had six 20 lb -plus- sacks weighed-in.

All bass recovered and live released by the Excel fish recovery team with 142 bass weighing 386 lbs.

For more information on the Excel Tournament Series contact Randy Knight at (979)-694-7634 -or click to- www.excelfishing.com

Excel Tournament Series Sponsors: Motor-Guide- Holliday Inn Express, Needmore Tackle- Daichi Hooks- www.fishingworld.com- and the Sportsman's Series anglers.


Rhoads & Gaard heft their 5 bass/34.73 lb winning stringer with the help of the Excel weigh-master

Top 3 Sportsman Teams -L-R- rear- 3rd- 2nd- front 1st place
< photos by Ed Snyder >

Evans & Loving show four reps to their 25.59 lb 2nd place finish

Moore & Teustch with four reps to their 23.44 lb 3rd place finish

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