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Clark & Shaw take 1st Place at Bass 'N Bucks Championship
By Patty Lenderman

Bass 'N Bucks wrapped up its 2003 season in a two day championship September 13-14, 2003. There was one day of competition per lake, Sam Rayburn first then Toledo Bend, for the best of the best of this years Bass 'N Bucks tournament trail to pull out the stops and see who could put the winning combination at the end of their line.

Twenty five overall places were paid at the end of day two, plus $500 for big bass each day. Big bass winnings were sponsored by Kick 'N Bass Bait Company. All total, over $100,000 was awarded in cash and prizes.

Dave and Tricia Concienne hosted the championship banquet held for the anglers who have worked hard throughout the tournament season and secured their spot in the championship. The banquet was held at the Methodist Church Wesley Center in Jasper, TX. Mike Taylor and staff of The Stump Restaurant & Club catered the dinner with an assortment of delicious BBQ entrees together with all the trimmings. "We appreciate everything that the Jasper Chamber of Commerce has done to bring our championship here. Georgia Hunt has been great and helped us get it all put together" - Dave Concienne.. Stan Burgay and Lance Hughes were honored as Anglers of the Year for the Bass 'n Bucks 2003 season. Along with many prizes and a plaque commemorating their duly earned recognition, all of their entry fees are pre-paid for the 2004 season.

Recap Day 1: The morning started out with a blanket of fog looming across Lake Sam Rayburn. It didn't take long for the fog to lift and burn away as the sun rose to dominate the sky. Throughout much of the day the anglers were fishing in blue bird conditions, but turned to partly cloudy skies by the afternoon. Temperatures were nice, only reaching around 83 degrees with a light breeze. Forty one teams brought limits to the scales, a strong start to the championship.

John Gunnels of Kingwood, TX and Dicky Newberry of Houston stormed into the lead with their catch totaling 20.53 lbs. With one big bass slot being paid each day by Kicker Fish Bait Company, they earned their $500 big bass check with their 9.76 lb kicker fish. Jigs were the working pattern for this team, throwing black/blue combinations in a 1 oz. weight with black/blue trailers. Fishing in about 10' depths in grassy areas, Gunnels reported catching around 50 fish throughout the day, with their big bass coming in at 10:00. This team is sponsored by Dawson Marine, Champion Boats and Castaway rods.

Taking second place position was the team of Rusty Clark of Evadale, TX and Shelby Shaw of Huntsville with 18.30 lbs. Pinpointing their bass along grassy flats and points, they used crank baits to reel them in from 10' depths. They enjoyed an all day bite catching about four limits all total.

Top 10 Leaders Day 1:
1st 20.53 lbs Dicky Newberry & John Gunnels
2nd 18.30 lbs Rusty Clark & Shelby Shaw
3rd 16.17 lbs Bill Hudspeth & David Vickery
4th 16.16 lbs Patricia Gold & Jerry Gold
5th 16.15 lbs Thomas Ferro & Neal Gilmore
6th 15.81 lbs Ross Smith & Aaron Rizer
7th 15.51 lbs Clayton Boulware & Jim Gaard
8th 15.45 lbs Pete Ellis & Jimmy Sorter
9th 14.78 lbs Clark Moore & Darren Roberts
10th 14.22 lbs Stan Burgay & Lance Hughes
Big Bass Day 1 - 9.76 lbs - John Gunnels & Dicky Newberry

Day 2: Shuffle the lakes, shuffle the standings. The conditions from one lake to another and the biting habits for the bass were dramatically different and each angler had to put their skills and knowledge together to locate the fish and get them on the end of their line. With Toledo Bend's lake level on a steady drop, the fish are staying on the move. Blue bird skies, E/NE winds at 5-10 mph and temps reaching 87 degrees were the weather conditions for the final day of competition.

Champions - Rusty Clark of Evadale, TX and Shelby Shaw of Huntsville brought in 14.24 lbs on day two. Coupled with their 18.30 lb weight from day one, it was the right weight combination to shoot them from second place on day one to first place overall with a total tournament weight of 32.29 lbs. Champions of the Bass 'N Bucks 2003 season and winners of the fully rigged Skeeter / Yamaha ZX225/225 bass rig, it was a close call for them as they didn't have a single fish in the live well yet at noon. "All we could think is that it was going to be awfully embarrassing coming to the scales and have a goose egg for our weight" Shelby stated. "Once Rusty put that first one in the live well some of the pressure was relieved and we caught our last fish at 2:40". They caught their fish on Carolina rigged watermelon lizards in 12'-14' depths at creek bends. "We knew they were there, we just had to get them to bite" Shelby reported. Their tenacity paid off with a first place win.

2nd place - 31.19 lbs - Bill Cook of Houston, TX and Ron Festavan of Shreveport, LA teamed up to take second place overall. "We came in on the second day hoping to catch 12-15 pounds to add to our first day's weight" Ron reported. They did better than they hoped, bringing in 18.87 pounds that brought them from 25th place on day one to a second place finish. They also brought in the top big bass of the day, a 5.33 lb kicker earning them another $500 from Kicker Fish Bait Company. Their best bite was before noon, and for a while caught a fish with almost every cast. Finding their fish in the Six Mile area, they put their boat at 21' depths and cast to a 12' ledge along a creek channel with crank baits. A working pattern, they caught 25-30 keepers throughout the day, starting their culling process at around 11:30. They also caught two stripers using this pattern, as well as losing a bass that would have weighed better than seven pounds.

3rd place - 29.58 lbs - Greg Christian of Azle, TX and Bill Wilcox of Burleson used Carolina rigged watermelon stud fries and crank baits for their catch. Staying on the south end of the lake, they found their fish along points and ridges with stumps. Their best bite was around 11:00 and they were able to cull seven times to their best weight, bringing them from 16th place on day one to their final third place finish. This team is sponsored by Skeeter Boats, Fun in Sun, Pro Rule, FIZ, Yamaha Motors and Silver Creek Machine.
Top 10 Overall:
1st - 32.29 lbs - Skeeter ZX 225/ Yamaha 225 - Rusty Clark & Shelby Shaw
2nd - 31.19 lbs - Skeeter SX 190 / Yamaha 150 - Bill Cook & Ron Festavan
3rd - 29.58 lbs - Skeeter SX 170 / Yamaha 90 - Greg Christian & Bill Wilcox
4th - 29.57 lbs - $3,000 - Dicky Newberry & John Gunnels
5th - 27.43 lbs - $2,000 - Phil Addison & Dean Wood
6th - 26.69 lbs - $1,300 - Gary Baker & Jason Dew
7th - 26.67 lbs - $1,300 - Thomas Ferro & Neal Gilmore
8th - 26.41 lbs - $1,300 - Russ Carter & Scott Bailey
9th - 25.78 lbs - $1,300 - Mike Metcalf & Glenn Kirk
10th - 24.46 lbs - $1,300 - Glen Freeman & Harold Allen
Big Bass Day 2 - 5.33 lbs - $500 - Bill Cook & Ron Festavan

Total number of bass weighed in (2-day) 441
Total tournament pounds - 1082.34

Dave and Trisha Concienne would like to extend their gratitude and thanks to all of the anglers and sponsors for their participation throughout the year. It has been an eventful season with a lot of tight tournament finishes.

Thanks to the Sabine River Authority of Louisiana for the weigh in area and the use of the Shimano Live Release Barge.

The kick-off tournament for the 2004 Bass n Bucks season will be December 7 on Lake Sam Rayburn. A new tournament season that is coming in with an exciting new format. For more information on any of the Bass N Bucks events or standings, please contact Dave or Tricia Concienne at (409) 727-6608, or email at

2004 Tournament Season Schedule:
December 7 - Sam Rayburn
February 8 - Sam Rayburn
March 7 - Toledo Bend
May 2 - Toledo Bend
Summer Events:
June 12 - Sam Rayburn
July 17 - Toledo Bend
August 7 - Sam Rayburn

Sponsors for the 2003 season Include: Skeeter / Yamaha - Kicker Fish Bait Co. - YUM - Rat L Trap - Minn Kota - Shimano - Silver Thread - Lowrance - Costa Del Mar - Dual Pro Charger - - Super 8 Motel - Check It Stik - McFerrin Insurance - BassMedics Rejuvenade - Catch N Cool Ice Blocks - Bait Fresh Bait Tank Treatment - Ann's Tackle Shop - Need More Tackle - Rayburn Tackle - Piney Point Plaza - Holiday Inn Express - Toledo Town & Tackle - Bomber - Rebel - Heddon - Smithwick

Bill Cook and Ron Festavan take 2nd place overall honors with 31.19 lbs as well as Big Bass for day two with their 5.33 lb kicker

John Gunnels and Dicky Newberry (n/p) took fourth place overall with 29.57 lbs, and Big Bass for day two with 9.76 lbs
< photos by Patty Lenderman >

Champions Rusty Clark and Shelby Shaw bring in a two day total weight of 32.29 lbs

3rd place team of Greg Christian and Bill Wilcox (n/p) brought in consistent weights that secured their final standing

Rusty Clark & Shelby Shaw earned the title of Champions of the Bass 'N Bucks 2003 season

Lance Hughes and Stan Burgay were named 'Anglers of the Year' for Bass 'N Bucks 2003

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