Lakecaster Online

Big T Gives Up 22.87 Lbs For Bass-N-Bucks Win
By Patty Lenderman

Toledo Bend was gorgeous. Fairly clear water, water temps in the 70's. A partly cloudy sky with mere gentle breezes and air temps in the 80's. The day was perfectly beautiful for the 322 teamed anglers fishing Skeeter Bass Champs May 8th at Cypress Bend.

Rusty Clark and Jimmy Johnson won this tournament by a narrow margin. "We started off pretty good" Rusty Clark began. He was, of course joking as he continued "we lost an 8 pounder on our third cast. We figured starting out that way the rest of the day would go about the same, and we struggled all day. We only boated four keepers, and have been pretty much crying all day. That first fish would put us in the running for 1st place for sure." To the great surprise of Rusty and Jimmy, the four that they brought to the scales totaled 16.26 pounds, beating the rest of the teams, taking home 1st place honors, a brand new Skeeter SX200 bass boat powered by a Yamaha 200 motor. In addition, they won the Skeeter Bonus for an additional $5,000. Now, they might have missed that first 8 pounder, but they did find another before the end of the day at 8.02 lbs. They caught their fish on the south end of the lake at main lake points, inside the grass line and also and around sandy bottoms. They tied on a carolina rigged watermelon candy trick worms and stayed in one area all day long. All together they caught about 15 fish throughout the day, but most of them were short fish. The four they brought to the scales was just enough to stay ahead of the 2nd place team. "We'd like to thank Skeeter boats, Dawson Marine and All-Star Rods for helping us out and keeping us on the water."

Wayne White and Pete Shivers weighed in less than 1/4 lb behind Clark and Johnson with 16.06 lbs taking a 2nd place $4,000 overall win. Their 9.48 lb kicker fish held up for 1st place Big Bass, winning an additional $1,000. "It was a spotty bite, they sure weren't biting fast. We tried throwing a little bit of everything along long main lake points with hydrilla. The only thing we could get bit on was watermelon red wacky worms in 10'-12'. The water has jumped up since last Friday, about 2'. The fish seemed to have moved out to a little deeper water."

3rd place, weighing in at 14.66 lbs was the team of Butch Covington and Frank LeBarron with their five fish limit. They caught two limits throwing Gary Yamamoto Senko's in watermelon red as well as Terminator ½ oz chartreuse & white spinnerbaits on their Kistler Rods. "We didn't catch a single keeper before 10:30" Butch began. "We didn't lose any, and we caught a lot of short fish. This has been the prettiest day of fishing in weeks, but it was hard to get them to bite. We were fishing in 3'-8' pepper grass, that's where we had our best luck."

Top teams:
1st 16.26 lbs Skeeter SX200 / Yamaha 200
$5,000 Skeeter Bonus Rusty Clark & Jimmy Johnson
2nd 16.06 lbs $4,000 Wayne White & Pete Shivers
3rd 14.66 lbs $3,000 Butch Covington & Frank LeBarron
4th 14.44 lbs $2,000 Buddy Day & John Martin
5th 14.34 lbs $1,200 Randy Qualls & Michael Metcalf
....and last in the money...
25th 10.34 lbs $ 500 Mark Couch & Ronnie Milner

Many of the anglers were analyzing the lack of higher weights. Simply put, in the past week the water level has risen 2 feet with all the recent rain in the area. That put the fish on the move, and harder to track down and get to bite.

Bass Champs consistently pays back more than 100% of the entry fees paid. In this event, $41,500 were paid in entry fees, and $61,131 were paid back in cash and prizes, for a total payback of 147%. As always, there were plenty of free hot dogs and drinks for anyone present to enjoy. Trivia games with prizes for the winners, dollar bills exchanged for hundred dollar bills for those who presented the first bills with the right serial numbers on them is catching on with many of the tournament participants and crowd members.

Tournament Statistics:
418 Total tournament fish
899 Total tournament pounds
Average fish weight: 2.15 lbs
48 Limits
51 Zero's

Skeeter Bass Champs offers an array of incentives that adds to and even doubles the prize money won.

It pays to own a Skeeter! The highest finisher in all team and individual regular season events fishing in a Qualified Skeeter Boat with a Yamaha Motor will double their winnings up to $5,000 per event. The Skeeter Bonus winners for this event were Russ Carter and Scott Bailey who finished in 4th place overall with 20.34 lbs. Their $2,000 winnings were doubled, for a total of $4,000 since they were the highest finishing Qualified Skeeter Boat owners.

Skeeter also offers a $250 "Drop by a Skeeter Dealer Bonus". All you have to do to qualify for this extra prize money is to stop by any Skeeter Dealer in Texas and pick up a signed and dated salesperson's business card. This bonus will be awarded at each Bass Champs qualifying event to the first team or individual who weighs in an exact even weight. (Example: 7.00 lbs)

Diamond Cut Apparel offers $500 at each event to the Big Bass Winner if they are wearing Diamond Cut Apparel when they weigh the fish. Also, Yo-Zuri Quality Lures offers a $500 bonus to the big bass winner per event if that fish is caught on a Yo-Zuri bait. There is literally thousands of dollars in incentives for the anglers to win at Skeeter Bass Champs.

It's not just for the anglers, but for the attending audience as well! First, there are plenty of free hot dogs and drinks for everyone to enjoy, then there are trivia games, drawings and lots of audience participation which makes for a fun weigh in for everyone.

Bass Champs chooses particular events in each region to be televised on The Outdoor Channel Monday nights at 9pm, and is also televised on HD TV. For more information call 817-439-3724 or visit the website at The next East Texas Team event will be held on Sam Rayburn on June 5th. Come enjoy all the fun, prizes, trivia games and excitement during the weigh in at the Umphrey Family Pavilion.

Tournament Sponsors include: Skeeter Boats; Yamaha; Academy Sports & Outdoors; Allen Samuels Dodge; Maui Jim; Diamond Cut Apparel; Wave Worms; St. Croix; Continental Batteries; MotorGuide; Dual Pro Charger; Keel Shield, Aqua Innovations; Bottom Line; Xtools; Yo-Zuri; Oasis Casino; Daiwa; HD-NET and The Outdoor Channel
Associate Sponsors include: Johnson's Fiberglass; All-Star Marine Electronics; Pro Rule; Martin's Maps; Please Release Me

Showing only three of their four fish that won 1st place, Rusty Clark & Jimmy Clark weighed in the top weight of 16.26 lbs

In 3rd place with 14.66 lbs was the team of Frank LeBarron and Butch Covington (N/P)
< photos by Patty Lenderman >

Seated in their brand new Skeeter SX200 is the winning team of Rusty Clark and Jimmy Johnson. (Front, L-R) Coming in 2nd place overall, and 1st place big bass is the team of Wayne White and Pete Shivers, and finally in 3rd place is Butch Covington and Frank LeBarron

Because it stresses any fish out to be caught and then carried around in a boat, Bass Champs places all tournament fish in a specially designed release tank that is highly saturated in oxygen and chemically treated to help restore the fish, to be put back in the waters they were caught in right after the tournament

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