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22.07 lbs Win The Texas Tournament Trail on Lake Sam Rayburn
by Stephanie Wilkerson

April, 5, 2003 Twin Dikes Marina, Lake Sam Rayburn, TX

Beautiful skies somewhat clear water conditions and what some fisherman would call the best fishing conditions possible greeted 200 pro's and 200 am's as they came to Texas to fish the second tournament of the Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail on Lake Sam Rayburn. This tournament is a pro / am in which the pro (professional) will fish from the front deck of his boat only and the am (amateur) fished only from the back of his/her boat. This tournament was one that many fisherman were looking forward to because as we all know this is the time of year for the spawn in which many fisherman are able to "site fish" during the day. The female bass have moved up in very shallow waters in which the fisherman are able to see clearly and if they are lucky enough the female bass will be full of eggs which puts extra weights in there live well.

1st place pro Gary Paris from Emory, TX (5 bass 22.7 lbs) $71,000.00. Gary was very excited although he was boat #193 and one of the very last to weigh in, but in all he explained that it was an absolute dream of his as a young child to tournament fish and yet it still had not hit him at the end of the tournament as he walked away with top honors along with a new Ranger boat with a Mercury motor. As a part of the $71,000. Gary was the highest finish Ranger Boat owner which earned him the Ranger Cup money of $5,000, as well as the highest Garmin GPS winner- $1,000. Gary explained that he fished up north in his Ranger/Yamaha bass rig to work Falcon Rods and Shimano reels spooled with Berkley 25 lb test using white Tiki lizards in about 1-3 foot of water. Gary is sponsored by Diamond Sport Marine in Cooper Lake, TX. Wave Worm and is a guide on the famous TX lake--Lake Fork. 2nd place pro from Goodrich, TX Scott David (5 bass 21.4 lbs) $14,000.00. Scott David is very well know for his "site fishing" abilities in which helped him capture the second place spot in the tournament. Scott explained that he fished down south today in his Ranger/Yamaha bass rig using Castaway rods and Pflueger reels spooled with 20 lb Berkeley Big Game to work Gene Larue crawl worms in about 1-3 foot of stained water site fishing. Scott is sponsored by Texas Tire, Dave Mungenast Motors, Costa Del Mar Sun Glasses, Falcon Lures, and Castaway Rods

3rd place pro from Bertram, TX Jason Buchanan (5 bass 20.11 lbs) $10,000 Jason fished in his Ranger/Mercury bass rig down south working Waterloo rods and Shimano reels spooled with 20 and 30 lb McCoys while site fishing using white tubes in inches to 4 foot of water. Jason stated that he had his limit caught by 10:00 that morning.

Rounding out the top 5 on the pro side was 4th place Ranger Boat pro Stephen Johnston from Hemphill, TX with a total of 5 bass weighing in at 19.13 lbs and a total of $7,300.00. 5th place went to Travis Boating Center, Ranger Boats pro Chris Wilkerson of Livingston, TX who had a 5 fish limit weighing 18.4 lbs and a total of $5,200.00

Big Bass was caught by Jerry Green of Snyder, TX weighing 9.45 lbs and a gift certificate of $500.00 from Travis Boating Center. Jerry caught his big fish on a pink slug-o using a Falcon rod spooled with 65 lb test Pro Line in about 1 foot of water mid lake in very stained waters

1st place am from Garland, TX Bill Kessler (3 bass 13.13lbs) $4,000.00 Bill fished with pro David Truax in a Ranger/Mercury bass rig down south focusing on points and grass to work Pro Caster rods and Garcia reels spooled with 17 lb Stren using Zoom green pumpkin with red flakes trick worm and carolina riggin'. Bill stated that the best thing about fishing these tournaments it the people who you fish with."

2nd place am Richard Strother from Gainnesville, TX ( 5 bass 12.8 lbs) $4,650.00. Richard fished with pro Ernie Hillerbrandt mid lake working Mobley Rods and Custom Angel reels spooled with 30 lb Power Pro braided line using a Zoom pumpkin/watermelon fluke in about 3 foot of stained water focusing on under water grass areas

3rd place am Mark Britan of Gainsville, TX (5 bass 11.0 lbs) $2000.00 Mark was fishing down south using All-star rods and Shimano reels spooled with 20 lb P-Line working a green pumpkin baby brush hawg in a bout 3 to 5 foot of stained water focusing on buck brush. Rounding out the top 5 on the am side was 4th place Matt Cannon from Troy, TX with 5 bass weighing 10.10lbs and $2,000.00. In 5th place was Brain Mater from Leander, TX with 3 bass weighing 10.3 lbs and $800.00

The next tournament for this trail will be a 2 day tournament which will be held on Lake Lewisville, Lewisville, TX on May 10-11. For information go to and click on the Texas Tournament Trail.

Big bass caught by jerry green 9.45 lbs

here is the picture of the winner
Gary Paris
< photos by Stephanie Wilkerson>

pictures of winners with belt buckles pro and am

picture of second place scott david-- pro side

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