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5 bass / 13.20 lbs Wins Angler's Choice East TX Division - Sam Rayburn
By Patty Schaefer

Fast paced changing weather patterns were in store for the anglers who participated in the Angler's Choice East Texas Division tournament today at Twin Dikes Marina on Lake Sam Rayburn. Exceptions were made today for trailering in this tournament for the impending weather forecasted to come in. For the first half of the day today the weather was beautiful - practically perfect. Temps climbing into the 60's, overcast skies and gentle winds. Many of the anglers reported that there was barely a ripple on the lake. Water temps averaged between 49-53 degrees. All that was over with around 10:00 am when the northern blew in. All at once there were 25+ mph winds, swells reported up to 6' and the air temps quickly dropped over 20 degrees, not factoring in the wind chill. Oddly enough, most of the fishermen reported that the fish weren't biting very well until after the front blew in.

This was the second of seven qualifying tournaments before the Regional Championship for the 2002 Anglers Choice East Texas Region. To qualify for the championship, each team must fish at least five tournaments. This, along with points and pounds will be added and scored to bring the top 15 teams plus 5 wildcard teams to the Regional Championship which will be held October 4-5, 2002 at Cedar Creek Lake. The highest finishing team from each of the Regional Championships will advance to the National Angler's Choice Championship.

1st Place Team - Jeremy Strong and Rick Goodman, both of Livingston, TX took first place in today's event with a total 5 fish stringer weight of 13.20 lbs. They reported catching their fish on chartreuse spinnerbaits and pumpkinseed wacky worms in about 8' grass pockets. Their best bite came right after the front blew in at about 10:30am and were culling by around 11:00. They ended up catching about 2 limits today with their Kistler / Shimano combo's on 12 lb test Stren. They were very proud of their Triton/Mercury getting them safely to their destinations today, while taking "huge" waves over the nose of the boat.

2nd Place Team - Scott Shearer and Mike Finch brought in their five fish limit weighing 11.63 lbs. They caught their fish before the front between 7:30 & 8:30am on red & gold tandem spinnerbaits and watermelon red wacky worms. They fished in 5-8' grassy pockets in the back of coves in the south lake area.

3rd Place Team - Matt Launikitis of Houston and Kerry Sanders of Willis, TX brought in a five fish limit weighing 10.75 lbs. They didn't catch any extra's today, so every keeper counted. They caught their fish on red rattle traps, chartreuse rattle traps, chartreuse/white spinnerbaits and watermelon lizards in the backs of coves in 6-8' of grass. Their rod/reel combo's were Bass Pro Shop rods/ Chronarch reels with Berkley Trilene 17 lb test and Castaway rods with Shimano reels and Berkely Trilene 15 lb test. They trailered to the Powell Park area and were in such a hurry to get to the weigh in on time got pulled over. Explaining to the officer the situation and needing to get to the weigh in, the officer inspected the live well and their fish and let them go with a warning.

1st Place Big Bass - Tommy Shelton and Cody Laird won the Big Bass slot with a 5.54 lb'r. Tommy caught it on a Norman Fire Tiger crank bait in 5' of grass in the north lake area around 10:00 am. They had a lot of fog to deal with where they were and said it was a tough day fishing.

Prior to the cold weather blowing in, anglers had been enjoying catching nice sized bedding bass. While the beds are still visible, the bass weren't on them so the anglers had to adjust to the backing off and staging the bass had done to adjust to the weather.

For more information on the Angler's Choice East Texas Region, please contact Johnny Davis at (817) 573-3400 , email, or visit them on the web at

Sponsors of this tournament are: Mercury - "The water calls", Bass Cat - "Total Performance Bass Boats", Berkley - "Catch more fish", Cabela's - "World's foremost outfitter", T H Marine, Motorguide - "The world's most powerful trolling motors", Fenwick - "Feel the action", Abu Garcia, Please Release Me bass holding release formula, - "It's all about fishing" and Keep Alive oxygen infusor. Special thanks to "The Stump Restaurant & Club" of Sam Rayburn for providing the plaques for this event.

Big Bass - Tommy Shelton with his 5.54 lb 1st place Big Bass

1st place - Jeremy Stron & Rick Goodman displaying their 13.20 lb first place stringer
< photos by Patty Schaefer>

Top 3 & BB - (L-R) Big Bass Winners Cody Laird & Tommy Shelton, 1st -Jeremy Strong / Rick Goodman; 2nd - Scott Shearer / Mark Finch; 3rd - Matt Launitkitis / Kerry Sander

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