Lakecaster Online

Bass-N-Bucks rounds up First Series of the Season
By Patty Lenderman

The Bass-N-Bucks tournament trail has a split season this year. The first series of four tournaments each had a guaranteed payback of $52,000 in all cash payouts per event. The fourth and final event of this first series was held Sunday, May 2nd at Cypress Bend Park on Toledo Bend. Of the tournament trails in the area, Bass-N-Bucks hosts some of the toughest competitors around.

Competition day rolled in with gusty winds and high pressure skies. With the wind direction changing throughout the day, anglers trying to seek somewhat protected areas were constantly on the move. The rapid rise in lake levels from the heavy rains just days prior had the fish on the move as well, and it was a tough bite for these guys who are used to pulling in limits in the 20 lb class.

Harry Thomas and James Ausmus heaved their 18.72 lb sack to the scales, and to their great surprise topped the rest of the league winning a first place check for $10,000. Their big bass weighed in at 6.88 lbs, taking 2nd place big bass honors for an additional $500. These guys have been at this game a long time and don't get in too much of a hurry or wound up about much. They began their day north of Pendleton Bridge in the Palo Goucho area and drift fished in 6'-15' depths, throwing along the bank line. They threw watermelon candy flukes, carolina rigged with a ½ oz weight and an 18" leader. At lunch, they stopped in Alpine Marine for a burger then got back in their boat and continued drifting down the banks for the rest of the day. Taking it nice and easy instead of running and gunning put their winning catch in the boat.

In second place with 13.74 lbs was the team of Joey Shelton and Scott Scroggins. Joey fished by himself, due to the fact that Scott was with his wife celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. He did well throwing a carolina rigged watermelon / chartreuse Lake Fork Trophy Tackle lizard. He had a ½ oz weight and a 3' leader on his rig, throwing in and around ditches and drains in 8' depths. His big bass of 6.70 lbs was caught at 10:30, and he received a $250 check for 3rd place big bass. Catching 12 keepers throughout the day, his first limit was secure in the boat by 9:30, and he didn't have another bite after 1:00. He stayed close to the weigh in site, in a protected main lake area with scattered grass. Joey received a check for $4,400 for 2nd place.

Right behind them coming in 3rd place overall was Harvey Sharp and Mark Carey, bringing in a limit that weighed 13.53 lbs. They were also throwing carolina rigs, tying on both green pumpkin/chartreuse baby brush hogs and finesse worms in chartreuse/pumpkin. They began their culling process at 7:30 a.m., catching an incredible 5 limits by 11:00. They fought the wind all day, fishing in stumpy areas up to 20' deep. They found their fish to be very aggressive, trying to jerk the rods out of their hands.

Big Bass - 7.18 lbs Butch Covington and Frank LeBaron brought in the top big bass of the event, winning a check from Kicker Fish Bait Company totaling $1,000. Butch landed this fish using a carolina rigged watermelon candy baby brush hog. "She just inhaled the bait. It felt like a small bass bite until I set the hook" Butch stated. They had forgotten to bring the landing net, so they had to use a little finesse in getting her to the boat to be lipped in. It was the only bite they had all day, but it was a bite with a good pay day at the end of the line.

Sammy Atchison and Chris Wilson received the $1,000 Champion Boat Bonus for being the highest finishing Champion Boat Bonus Qualifiers. They finished in 6th place overall with 12.77 lbs, and also received $2,100 for their overall finish.

The 60 championship qualifiers from this first series, based on points were announced at the conclusion of the weigh in, along with 5 wild card teams. The listing can be viewed at

At each event, All Star Rods has given away several rods for prizes. It's not just for the big guys, though. All Star also caters to the future anglers, making a sized to fit series for kids. Same great quality, same great action as the full sized models, it gives kids the opportunity to grow with the sport of fishing and their equipment. These give aways are for kids ages 6-14 years old who sign up for the drawings at the weigh in.

It's not over yet! The second series, consisting of three summer events with an 80% cash payback will kick off June 12, 2004 with the first event at Sam Rayburn. There will be an additional 20 teams to qualify from this series to go to the championship in September. The Championship will pay back over $85,000 in cash and prizes. Whether you would like to try for a spot in the championship or just test your angling skills "jackpotting" an event, there is a lot of fun to be had and money to be won at Bass-N-Bucks. Champion Boats offers a bonus for Champion boat owners, as much as $2,000 for a 1st place finish or $1,000 for the highest finisher should the winner not be in a Champion boat. The Champion boat owner must fish in his or her rig and have the boat registered in their name to collect the bonus money.

Championship qualifying - (2nd series, 3 tournaments) Summer events - Top 20 by points will go to the championship. They must have fished all three (3) events with the same partner to qualify. If some teams or individuals have already qualified from the 1st Series, we will go down the list to reach the top 20 from the summer events by points. Qualifying will be based on points and pounds. 1st place will receive 250 points, 249 to 2nd, 248 to 3rd and so on. Example: If 1st place weighs in 18.50 lbs, his total points will be 268.50.

For more information please call 409-727-8941, email or click to their website

Bass 'N Bucks 2004 sponsors include: Champion Boats, Mercury Motors, Kicker Fish Bait Co., All Star Graphite Rods, Minn Kota, Lowrance, Rat-L-Trap, Continental Batteries, Dual Pro Charger, Check-it-Stik, McFerrin Insurance,, Bass Medics products and Aqua Innovations

1st place overall winners James Ausmus and Harry Thomas show three of their 18.72 lb limit, including their 6.88 lb kicker that took 2nd place big bass honors

Joey Shelton took 2nd place fishing by himself with a 13.99 lb limit. His 6.70 lb kicker won 3rd place in the big bass standings
< photos by Patty Lenderman >

3rd place was Mark Carey and Harvey Sharp (n/p) with a 13.53 lb sack

It was his only bite of the day, but Butch Covington brought in this 7.18 lb bass that won 1st place in the big bass division

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