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Bond -Elliott win at the 1st Annual Sam Rayburn Snagproof Open Team Tournament
By Patty Lenderman

Snagproof Bait Company has been around for nearly a half of a century, but until now has not been well known in East Texas. In an effort to make themselves and their baits better known they came to Texas to have their first annual tournament event on Sam Rayburn August 29, 2004 at the Umphrey Family Pavilion.

This was an event where only Snagproof products could be used, and the anglers were not allowed to pick up their usual "comfort" baits. Products were given to each team and more were available at local tackle stores. The design of these baits is such that they are like the company name, "Snagproof", but there is a little difference in the fishing technique that must be used to hold on to the bass at the end of your line and get it in the boat. The anglers had to re-learn, and re-think what they have known before - timing, technique and areas available to fish. These products will let you fish in areas of the thickest vegetation, allowing you to throw where most baits fear to tread because of snagging up. Also, as far as timing which is probably the hardest part of all, the anglers had to learn that it was not when they saw the strike - not when they heard the strike - but rather when they actually felt the bass at the end of the line when to it was time to set the hook, otherwise pulling the bait out of their mouths. Many anglers stated "I just had to look away and not watch my bait to be able to do it. Otherwise, when I saw the bass explode on the bait I would instinctively set the hook and then miss the fish." That was a lot of the point of having a totally Snagproof product tournament, to make the anglers stick with it all day and learn it.

With no deadwater prior to the event, many prospective teams bought the baits and hit the lake to pre-fish. While a great many did not come back with the necessary confidence to overcome the learning curve, 26 teams stepped up to the plate to take the challenge. The evening before the tournament, a seminar was given by Mike Atchley to provide the anglers with tips and tricks on how to fish the baits. The limit of fish that each team could bring to the scales were brought down to 3 instead of 5, and the weigh in began at 2:00.

Top 5 Teams:
1st 13.84 lbs $1,200 Alan Bond & Pete Elliott
2nd 11.81 lbs $ 700 David & Rusty Harvey
3rd 10.65 lbs $ 500 Mike Taylor & Bud Pruitt
4th 9.91 lbs $ 250 Sonny Glasco & Brad Downy
5th 9.06 lbs $ 150 Lindy Hadly & David Wharton

Big Bass 5.98 lbs $200 Alan Bond & Pete Elliott

Alan Bond and Pete Elliott were among the first to weigh in, and their 3 fish limit held to win 1st place with 13.84 lbs. They also won Big Bass honors with their 5.98 lb kicker. They caught fish all day, boating a total of 7 keeper fish to cull from. "We were fishing in a mix of pepper grass and hydrilla in about 2'-4'. A lot of our areas had scattered vegetation, but we also pulled some out of matted grass" Alan stated. While they have fished these baits some this past year, until now they really hadn't considered them a must in their arsenal. "I really saw the advantage of using these baits today. Having a tournament that made us throw them all day made me see the importance of having them. After today, I'll have a tackle box full." They caught a lot of fish on a black & pink frog, and their big bass was caught on a Wiggle Wog.

Coming in 2nd place overall was the team of David & Rusty Harvey. They carolina rigged a brown Leech Worm as well as a grape Deadly Worm. They avoided fishing the grass, instead going to deeper water at 10'-16' with hardwood. Targeting ridges and drops along creek channels in these areas, they boated 5 keepers throughout the day. "We had a hard time finding these products in the stores, and we modified the ones we did get" Rusty stated. David and Rusty are sponsored by Ranger Boats, Falcon Rods and Shimano Reels.

Mike Taylor & Bud Pruitt secured 3rd place with their 10.65 lb limit. Texas rigging a purple Deadly Worm and also working a silver & black topwater Weed Demon, they also boated 5 keepers. Working their baits in areas of scattered to thick grass in and near creek channels, their best bite came between 10:00 to noon. "We've been using frogs for a while, but some of these other baits are new to us. We really liked that spook (Weed Demon). You can throw it in any cover" they said. "This tournament format is a great concept. It's fun when you're limited to the types of baits you can use. It's amazing how innovative you can get in this type of a situation." - Bud Pruitt. This team was sponsored by The Stump Restaurant, Castaway Rods, Berkely Spider Wire, Stealth, and Skeeter / Yamaha.

For Harry Ehlers, Jr and Connie Fuller, owners of Snagproof and its saltwater sister company Sea Bay, it was their first trip to Texas. It was a great experience for them, and Connie said "the food is great and the people are really friendly". This was the 1st annual event on Sam Rayburn, and they are already looking forward to next years' event on Sam Rayburn. Their next event will be on Lake Guntersville in Alabama September 19, 2004. For more information please contact them by phone at 800-762-4773 or click to

Alan Bond and Pete Elliott brought in the heaviest three fish limit at 13.84 lbs, winning 1st place overall. Their 5.98 lb kicker also won Big Bass honors

David Harvey and Rusty Harvey took 2nd place with 11.81 lbs
< photos by Ray Lenderman - e-mail >

Mike Taylor & Bud Pruit brought in the 3rd place stringer, weighing in at 10.65 lbs

(Front) Harry Ehlers and Connie Fuller, owners of Snagproof congratulate the teams and flank 1st place & Big Bass winners Alan Bond and Pete Elliott. (Back) 2nd place - David Harvey & Rusty Harvey, 3rd place - Mike Taylor & Bud Pruitt, 4th place - Sonny Glasco & Brad Downy, 5th place - Lindy Hadley & David Wharton

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