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BFL Cowboy Division wraps up season on Sam Rayburn
By Patty Lenderman

Hunter & Deerman win this 2 day Super Tournament

The Walmart BFL tournament trail wrapped up its Cowboy Division regular season September 25-26 with a two-day Super Tournament on Sam Rayburn. 140 Boaters and 135 Co-Anglers signed up to try to win a part of the $46,885 total cash purse.

Recap day 1 - (Scattered showers and thunderstorms with temps in the mid 80's) Twin Dikes Marina hosted the weigh in for the first day of competition. Darryl Hunter captured lead position in the boater division (19 lbs 6 oz), followed by Bud Pruitt (17 lbs 10 oz) and David Truax (17 lbs 8 oz). Bud Pruitt brought in the big bass for the boater division, weighing in at 6 lb 8 oz. In the Co-Angler division, Darrell Noster took the lead (13 lbs 5 oz) followed by Bret Myers (12 lbs 14 oz) and Slade Deerman (11 lbs 2 oz). 16 yr old Chance Havard won Big Bass honors in the Co-Anger division with a nice 8 lb 3 oz bass. All of the anglers competed Saturday, and only the top 27 anglers from each division advanced to fish on Sunday. A total of 633 bass were brought to the scales the first day weighing 1,516 lbs 10 oz.

The final day weigh in was held at Walmart in Jasper, TX. Although the overall weather conditions was better, with partly cloudy skies and temps in the lower 80's, it seemed to be a tougher day for these fishermen. The leaders from day 1 were brought to the stage to watch and wait for someone to best their first days weight. Starting with 27th place, each angler was brought to the scales in order to weigh their catch. It didn't take long before new leaders were temporarily established in each division, each time having to stay and watch on stage until they were ultimately bested by another angler.

In the end, Darryl Hunter prevailed in the boater division to win 1st place, and Slade Deerman rose from 3rd place on day 1 to win in the Co-Angler division. Interestingly, two years ago it was these same two winners, but in opposite divisions.

Boater Division
1st - (32 lbs 14 oz) Darryl Hunter pitched Zoom Horny Toad Frogs both days for his victory. He used several colors, green pumpkin, lemon yellow and sometimes watermelon red. "The key was my All Star 7'2" heavy and extra heavy flipping sticks with 50 lb Power Pro braided line on my Shimano Reels" Darryl said. "My fish were in pepper grass, and in the morning I caught them in mere inches of water, but when it got sunny out they went deeper and hunkered down in the grass, in about 6'-8'. I found these fish last week during Bass 'N Bucks, and my partner had one on so big it broke his rod in half. That same day I broke off on a 10 lb'r. It was a pretty easy decision to go back to that same area for this tournament. I was watching for bait fish in the water. That's the areas that I would fish in. Some of the gizard shad I saw was 15-16" long." Darryl said that the stronger bites came from fast retrieves. "I was ripping that frog through the water. That's how they seemed to want it. I also put 'Bite This' fish formula on all my lures." Darryl was very appreciative to some past fishing partners, naming Brian Penso, Ernie Hildebrandt, Slade Deerman and Harry Durham for encouraging him to fish.

2nd - (30 lbs 0 oz) Greg Fleming caught his fish on a variety of lures. Fishing in shallow bermuda grass, he threw Zoom watermelon Horny Toads, gold double willow spinnerbaits and Texas rigged green pumpkin worms. "The bite was good all day the first day, but best in the morning today" Greg reported. He'd like to thank some of his sponsors, Mercury motors and Champion boats.

3rd - (29 lbs 6 oz) David Truax brought in limits both days, and used only one bait, one method for his catch. Throwing a Rayburn red ½ oz rattle trap, he said "I'd throw it anywhere that I could find hydrilla in 4'-6'. That's all I did both days, and I had that rattle trap on a fast retrieve." It was a working method for a great finish. He also received $500 from Ranger boats and $250 from Yamaha motors for being the highest finishing qualified Ranger / Yamaha competitor.

Boaters Big Bass - (6 lbs 8 oz) Bud Pruitt caught the big bass for the boater division, and also took 4th place overall with 29 lbs 2 oz. "I really struggled this tournament, but I got lucky. I came into this very optimistic, but my pattern was based on sunshine. I started out flipping, but really couldn't get that bite going. The first day I caught my fish on topwater, throwing a Berkley Power fluke and a Power tube in a shad pattern. I also threw a Berkley Craw, with 80 lb Berkley Stealth Spider Wire. My fish came off of big grassy flats, in about 3' depths." Pruitt is sponsored by Skeeter, Yamaha, Castaway and Berkley

Top 10 Boaters
1st 32 lb 14 oz Darryl Hunter Spring, TX $7,586
2nd 30 lb 0 oz Greg Fleming Big Sandy, TX $3,793
3rd 29 lb 6 oz David Truax Beaumont, TX $2,055
4th 29 lb 2 oz Bud Pruitt Spring, TX $1,739
5th 28 lb 7 oz John Lemaire Abbeville, LA $1,422
6th 27 lb 15 oz Dicky Newberry Houston, TX $1,185
7th 26 lb 12 oz Marc Lowenthal Prairieville, LA $1,027
8th 26 lb 8 oz Chris Fontenot Nacogdoches, TX $ 948
9th 24 lb 5 oz Rick Carter Alba, TX $ 869
10th 24 lb 3 oz Bradley Stringer Huntington, TX $ 830

Co-Angler Division
1st - (22 lbs 5 oz) Slade Deerman caught almost all of his fish on a Pop-R the first day. The second day, he caught 3 on a Pop-R and the rest on a Carolina rigged watermelon purple trick worm with a chartreuse tail. He found his fish on a shallow hump, about 3'-5' deep with flooded grass. "The first day we didn't go to my fish until about 11:00. Today that's where we started." It seemed to pan out for him as he rose in the rankings to his 1st place finish.

Big Bass - (8 lbs 3 oz) Chance Havard is only 16 years old, but is well on his way to being a pro angler. He caught his fish on a weightless Zoom Golden Bream fluke, using a red hook. "I was fishing a road bed about 4' deep. There was a little vegetation, and at 12:00 or so she just picked it up and started swimming off with it. I really didn't know how good of a fish it was until it jumped out of the water a few times. I started shaking, and after I got her in the boat I had to sit down for a few minutes. This is the biggest bass I've ever weighed in at a tournament." He received a check for $680 for big bass honors. Already, Chance is on Gary Yamamoto's Pro Staff and he also writes a column in the Bayou Outdoors Magazine. He has been featured in the Louisiana Sportsman, and by the looks of it we'll probably see a lot more of him.

Top 10 Co-Anglers
1st 22 lb 5 oz Slade Dearman Sam Rayburn, TX $3,711
2nd 16 lb 11 oz Allan Sivers Vidor, TX $1,856
3rd 15 lb 6 oz John Peebles Seabrook, TX $1,005
4th 15 lb 1 oz Bret Myers Keller, TX $ 851
5th 15 lb 0 oz Darrell Noster Houston, TX $ 696
6th 14 lb 13 oz Vaughan Phillips Spring, TX $ 580
7th 14 lb 5 oz Danny Hicks DeRidder, LA $ 503
8th 14 lb 4 oz Tom Medlock Licking, MO $ 464
9th 13 lb 4 oz Elbia Ebert Porter, TX $ 425
10th 13 lb 3 oz Jeff Lane Nederland, TX $ 406

Winners were determined by the heaviest two day total weight. This tournament was the last chance for anglers to accumulate points to determine year end standings, and also which competitors would advance to post season competition. The top 30 boaters and co-anglers in the Cowboy Division will advance to the Columbus Pool regional, which will be held October 19-23 in Columbus, Miss. There they will compete against qualifying anglers from the Illini, Music City and Seminole divisions for one of six slots in te 2005 All-American. The All-American awards a $100,000 cash prize o the winning boater and $50,000 to the winning co-angler, making it one of the most prestigious and lucrative events in competitive bass fishing.
For more information about the BFL or to enter a tournament, call (270) 252-1000.

Bud Pruitt weighed in the Big Bass in the Boater Class on Day 1 at 6 lbs 8 oz. He finished in 4th place overall

"Darryl Hunter stayed on top in the Boater Division both days of the competition to win with a two day weight of 32 lbs 14 oz
< photos by Patty Lenderman >

16 yr old Chance Havard brought in this nice 8 lb 3 oz Co-Angler Big Bass on Day 1

(L) Darryl Hunter won 1st place in the Boater division, (R) Slade Deerman won in the Co-Angler division. They both won 2 years ago, but in opposite categories

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