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Harvey & Rambo blast the field with 28.16 lbs at Skeeter Bass Champs
By Patty Lenderman

June 5, 2004
Umphrey Family Pavilion, Lake Sam Rayburn

The temperature is hot and Sam Rayburn is on fire. The bite on Big Sam has been exceptional for the last several months, and it just keeps getting better. 1st place team of David Harvey and Cory Rambo were shaking from the experience of their unbelievable day of fishing. "The fishing today was awesome. We were culling four and five pound fish. If I didn't have one on line, David was in the bottom of the boat culling one. We had 20 culls throughout the day. We were so nervous that it was hard to concentrate on what we were doing. It was an awesome feeling. We have never seen anything like it" stated Rambo. 183 teams came to fish the last qualifying event for the East Texas division of Bass Champs. These anglers came in for one more chance not only to win a part of the cash and prizes to be given away, but also to gain precious points for the Angler of the Year race which enables them to fish all 2005 events for free, plus special recognition at the Championship which will be held on Sam Rayburn in October.

Rambo and Harvey definitely got people's attention when they walked through the crowd, one holding each side of their heavy bag to weigh their fish. Good reason, they stressed the scales with a 28.16 pound limit. Their kicker fish was a 7.36 lb chunk. They were fishing out of a qualifying Skeeter Boat which earned them an additional $5,000 on top of their 1st place prize of a 2004 Skeeter boat powered by a Yamaha motor. All total, their winnings in cash and prizes were $33,000. They found all of their fish stacked in one spot fishing in 15' depths. Throwing Mr. Blitz 1 ounce jigs with Gene Larew craw trailers, they had their initial limit in the boat by 9:00 a.m. Cory said "You just could not imagine what we experienced today, catching so many fish, double hook-ups and culling such great bass for the stringer we ended up with."

In 2nd place with 23.50 lbs was Rick Barnes and James Strickland, Jr. Flipping ½ ounce black & blue Terminator jigs with Zoom pork chunk trailers, they fished shallow grass and bushes at main lake points. They caught some of their fish slow rolling a chartreuse & white Terminator spinnerbait with a 7' Shimano Compre Rod with a Shimano reel. They had their first limit in the boat by around 9:00 a.m., but their best bite was midday. They were able to cull four times to their final weight, earning a check for $4,000.

Randy Hicks and Charlie Bennefield brought in the 3rd place stringer at 22.76 lbs. Their kicker fish weighed 8.24 lbs, just 2/100ths of an ounce less than the overall big bass winners. They were also using jigs, 1 ounce in a camo color. They also threw dirt colored wacky worms for their catch. They punched the grass with their jigs in 10-14' depths and boated about 15 keepers.

The big bass winner of the tournament was Charles Leon of Melville, LA. Fishing with Charles Andre, they earned a check for $1,000 for their big bass, plus another $500 for their 24th place overall finish.

Rounding out the top 5:
4th place - 22.28 lbs ($2,000) Sammy Christian & Jerome Cope
5th place - 21.10 lbs ($1,200) Lyndell Pearson & Chris Lewis

Throughout the weigh in, one limit followed another to the scales. 128 teams out of 183 brought in 5 fish limits, testifying to how good the bite was today. Many of the anglers attributed the great fishing to the weather conditions. A stormy front was nearby, but stayed at bay throughout the competition and weigh in. This kept the temperatures cool with periods of gusty winds and barometric pressure on the fall. The closer the frontal line came, the better the bite was.

Congratulations to James Elliott and Ron Hendricks for being declared the "unofficial" Anglers of the Year for the 2004 East Texas Division. They earned this honor among many tough anglers in a very tight points race. For this honor, they will receive all entries paid for the 2005 season, special recognition in the championship, and a spot in the Skeeter Bass Champs television show.

Tournament statistics:
Total Entries: 183
Total $$ Collected: $45,750.00
Payback (Cash & Prizes): $60,136.00
Percentage of payback: 131.44%
Total Fish: 698
Total Weight: 1795.04 lbs
Average Weight: 2.57 lbs
Number of limits: 128

Anglers from all over Texas that qualify in each of their divisions will be competing in the Championship on Sam Rayburn October 15 & 16th. For the ones that have not had the opportunity to fish this great lake, they just need to talk to some of the guys who fished on this day to find out what is in store for them. Good luck to all qualifiers.

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 www.basschamps.com. Come enjoy all the fun, prizes, trivia games and excitement during the weigh in at the Umphrey Family Pavilion in October.

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


David Harvey & Cory Rambo hoist their 28.16 lb winning stringer

Rick Barns & James Strickland brought in a sack of solid fish weighing 23.50 lbs and winning 2nd place
< photos by Patty Lenderman >

Charlie Bennefield & Randy Hicks won 3rd place with 22.76 lbs

Charles Leon caught the big bass of the tournament at 8.26 lbs

(Boat) David Harvey & Cory Rambo claim their 1st place Skeeter / Yamaha bass rig presented to them by tournament director Chad Potts. (L-R) 2nd place - Rick Barns & James Strickland, 3rd place - Charlie Bennefield & Randy Hicks, (Front) Big Bass - Charles Leon

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