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19.89 lbs Wins Sealy Outdoors 1st Open Team Event
By Patty Lenderman

February 16, 2003

Records were set at the first event of the season for Sealy Outdoors Team Splash with an amazing 644 anglers making a total of 322 teams to fish this first of four qualifying events. Weights were so tight that fragments of ounces made the difference in hundreds, even thousands of dollars of the total cash payback of $46,500.00 given away. One thousand thirty four bass were brought to the scales for a total tournament weight of 2440.08 lbs, and nearly half the field weighed in limits. Thirty teams walked away with paychecks and it took over 14 lbs to be in the money.

We're not talking "brisk" or "chilly" - no, it was downright cold with wind chill factors making it feel like temps in the 20's, and high sustained winds making for rough waters. It was because of these conditions that Bob Sealy, tournament director, had to make the call to change this to a trailering tournament for safety reasons. These tough anglers defeated not only the cold weather but treacherous waters and still brought in amazing weights of fish for the weather conditions on hand. When the battle for each pound, each ounce, was over and the weights were tallied, it was the team of Craig May and Garry Wilson who pulled ahead of the pack with 19.89 lbs for a $10,000.00 payday.

1st place- 19.89 lbs - $10,000 - Craig May and Gary Wilson of Logansport, LA was very grateful for the last minute rule change to trailering. Their fish being in the Black Forest area, it would have been a treacherous run to get to their fishing holes if they had to launch on the south end of the lake. They fished secondary points with structure, grass or buck brush in 3-5' depths. A Carolina rigged kudzu colored lizard worked well and they enjoyed an all day bite. Their big bass, weighing in at 7.84 lbs was caught around 9:30 and landed 3rd place big bass honors for an additional $250.00. Their first limit in by 10:00, they were able to cull three to their final weight. Even though they were able to launch near their fishing spot, they took on water on their short boat trip due to the wind producing rough waves.

2nd place- 19.46 lbs - $4,000 - The father/son team of George and Martin (Marty) Kelley, of Brookland and Houston respectively, secured second place overall and first place big bass with their 9.13 lb kicker fish, giving them an additional check to the tune of $750. War Eagle spinnerbaits, in 1/2 oz white double willow combinations as well as 1/2 oz rattle traps in red or "red-ish" colors were the baits of choice for this team.. Concentrating in open areas between the brush, they fished 3' depths for their catch. This team is sponsored by Legend Boats, Tri-Lakes Tackle of Lufkin and Toro Liners.

3rd place- 19.30 lbs - $3,000 - Wyatt Withers and Bo Fea, both of Buna, TX secured their third place position using chrome/orange as well as red rattle traps, fishing brushy main lake points in 3' depths. They fought the bitter cold wind hard to stay on their main lake area fishing holes. Their first limit was in the live well by 8:00, but their best bite was around 8:30. This team was able to cull four times to their final weight.
Overall Standings:
1st - 19.89 lbs - $10,000 - Craig May & Gary Wilson
2nd - 19.46 lbs - $4,000 - George Kelley & Martin Kelley
3rd - 19.30 lbs - $3,000 - Bo Fea & Wyatt Withers
4th - 19.20 lbs - $2,500 - Lance Lowery & Michael Lowery
5th - 18.80 lbs - $2,000 - Steve Miller & Terry Texada

Big Bass:
1st - 9.13 lbs - $750 - George Kelley & Martin Kelley
2nd - 8.09 lbs - $500 - Johnie Fountain & Robert Narron
3rd - 7.84 lbs - $250 - Craig May & Garry Wilson

The next Sealy Outdoors Open Team Splash event will be March 16 at Cypress Bend Resort, Toledo Bend Lake. Every event has a guaranteed payback of $46,500.00. If you would like further information please contact Sealy Outdoors at 888-698-2591, email bob@sealyoutdoors.com or visit their website at www.sealyoutdoors.com.

Sponsors: Triton Boats - Mercury Outboards - Layton Recreational Vehicles - Polaris - Shimano - Dodge (Weaver Motors Kirbyville, TX) - Vexilar Inc. - Pure Fishing - Berkley - Academy Sports & Outdoors - AC Delco - Polar Eyes - Wave Worms - Minn Kota - Port A Cool - Texas Fish & Game magazine


1st Place winners Craig May and Garry Wilson show the best of their 19.89 lb limit including their 7.84 lb 3rd place big bass

The father/son team of George and Marty Kelley take home 2nd place overall with 19.46 lbs as well as 1st place big bass honors with their 9.13 lb kicker
< photos by Patty Lenderman >

3rd Place winners Bo Fea and Wyatt Withers hoisting the best of their 19.46 lb stringer

Top 5 Teams: (Front) 1st - Craig May & Garry Wilson (Back, L-R) Tournament Director Bob Sealy, 2nd - George & Marty Kelley; 3rd - Bo Fea & Wyatt Withers; 4th - Lance & Michael Lowery; 5th - Steve Miller & Terry Texada

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