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Father & Son team weighs in 27.37 lbs to win Bass N Bucks 2005 Kick-off
By Patty Lenderman

Bass N Bucks kicked off their 2005 tournament season Sunday, December 5th on Sam Rayburn. Tournament officials checked 263 boats of teams at the public boat ramp on Hwy 255, and the contenders went to out to win their share of $60,000 being paid in cash this event. With several new comers fishing, there was no way to anticipate what would come to the scales. It was predicted, due to the weather conditions coupled with past performance of Bass N Bucks anglers, that there would be some good weights brought to the scales. As anticipated, they did not let us down.

With all the rain in East Texas during the recent weeks, Sam Rayburn's water level has jumped up dramatically, keeping the fish on the move and anglers on their tail. The morning of the tournament began rainy but still, changing throughout the day to scattered rain and gusty winds. Spectators began gathering at the Umphrey Family Pavilion where the weigh in was held long before the anglers started in, not wanting to miss a moment. Forty three places were paid in cash, with 1st place winning $10,000.

Several 17, 18 and 19 lb sacks came in and then the 20 + lb sacks started bumping for 1st place. Michael and Lance Lowery, a father & son team of many years heaved their 27.37 lb winning stringer to the scales about mid way through the weigh in. Not having any one particular kicker fish, all five of them were good hefty chunks. "We caught all of them in one 100 yd stretch on the south end of the lake" Michael began. "We were fishing the inside grass line in 7'-9' depths with ½ oz white/chartreuse double gold willow spinnerbaits and ½ oz red rattle traps. This was a new spot for us, just found it last week. We had our first limit in the boat by 8:30, and it was all over by 9:00."

John Widders and Garry Hancock took 2nd place with their 22.99 lb limit. "We started out Carolina rigging off of a main lake point. The wind blew us off of it, so we went to throwing white/chartreuse spinnerbaits in the brush. Every time the wind would let up we headed back out to the point." They had their 1st limit in the boat at 12:30, and then at 2:40, throwing their last catch, caught their 7.84 lb kicker.

Coming in 3rd place was Robert Smith and Nick Herzinger. Robert is glad to be back home from Iraq and on the lake. He missed the summer tournaments this last season, serving in the US Air Force. "We hit the North end of the lake with the same Thunder Shad bait that Edward Evers and Rick Clunn has won with here in the past. Within the first 17 minutes of fishing, we had our first limit in the boat, of about 12-14 lbs. There is so much shad and bait fish around that the bass don't have to chase their food, just reach out and get it. They would just inhale our bait and stop. Several times I thought I was caught up in grass, and turned out it was a bass" Robert noted. They found their fish on a flat in the back of a ditch.

The Big Bass of the tournament was caught by Ricky Guy, fishing with partner Chris Wilkerson. "We had been catching some good bass all morning" Ricky said. "At 9:30 I threw my watermelon candy Kicker Fish trick worm wacky style inside the grass line in about 6'. I knew it was a big fish right away, she just took it and came up 2-3 times, taking drag out on a few runs before I got her in." Ricky and Chris also caught fish on crank baits, white and crawfish, in 6'-8' depths.

Top 10 Teams:
1st $10,000 27.37 lbs Michael & Lance Lowery

2nd $4,000 + $1,000 22.99 lbs Garry Hancock & Joh Widders (Champion Bonus winners)
3rd $ 3,100 21.05 lbs Robert Smith & Nick Herzinger
4th $ 3,052 19.84 lbs Teddy Joe Cloide & Wes Dawson
5th $ 2,050 19.41 lbs Paul Whitman & Joel Wall
6th $ 2,040 19.26 lbs Harold Moore & Andy Gaia
7th $ 2,030 19.15 lbs Russ Carter & Scott Bailey
8th $ 2,020 18.84 lbs Chris Wilkerson & Ricky Guy
9th $ 2,010 18.64 lbs Harley Wilson & Mike Atchley
10th $ 2,000 18.08 lbs Greg Christian & Bill Wilcox
......and last in the money
43rd $ 400 13.91 lbs Richard Carpenter & John Jordan

Big Bass sponsored by Kicker Fish Bait Company:
$1,000 8.94 lbs Ricky Guy & Chris Wilkerson

Tournament statistics:
122 limits
849 fish
2,171 lbs

"I'm excited!" began Dave Concienne, tournament director. "We've got a real good turn out and there are a lot of new teams to the circuit. This is going to be an interesting and exciting season." There are 5 events in the 1st Series, with the next being February 13th on Toledo Bend. For more information, please call 409-727-8941, visit www.bassnbucks.com or email to fish@bassnbucks.com.


Michael Lowery takes 1st place with dad Lance (n/p), weighing in a 27.37 lb limit

2nd place with 22.99 lbs was won by John Widders & Garry Hancock
< photos by Patty Lenderman >

Robert Smith (USAF) and Nick Herzinger won 3rd place with their 21.05 lb limit

Ricky Guy shows his 8.94 lb kicker that won Big Bass honors, shown with partner Chris Wilkerson and some of the rest of their catch. They took 8th place overall

Bass N Bucks 2005 kick-off winners: (L-R) 1st - Michael & Lance (n/p) Lowery; 2nd - Garry Hancock & John Widders; 3rd - Robert Smith & Nick Herzinger; (Front) Big Bass - Ricky Guy & Chris Wilkerson

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