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ABCD Rocks on the Big Bend during 39th Annual Team Tournament
By Contributing Writer Donald Gervais


Patrick Stucky and JB Thomas Jr. defended their Austin Bass Club of the Deaf (ABCD) 2004 team champion with a repeat win at the club's 2005 team tournament held on white-capped Toledo Bend on March 11-13, with a winning weight of 19.14 ponds.

Mother nature wasn't very kind to the 16 teams of anglers who ventured to Frontier Park Resort and Marina from across Texas and Louisiana to participate in the annual event. Winds of 25-30 M.P.H. churned the lake as a cold front whipped the big impoundment's waters on all three days of the event. It did not take long to learn the sign for tough (clenched fist) as the wind burnt anglers came to weigh-in each day.

Stucky, of Beaumont and Thomas of Farmerville, La., members of ABCD, concentrated their efforts close to the launch site in protected water south of Pendelton Bridge and in the James Boat Lane. They tossed ½ ounce red crawfish colored Rat-L-Traps and white spinnerbaits in 3 to 8 feet of water in areas where they found hydrilla growing. The duo earned $1,000 for the victory.

Lubbock Texan J. Cotton Armstrong and Vidor Texan angler Sean Matthews teamed up to take second place and the $500 prize money. The ABCD members motored to Lowe's Creek and Spring Hill to catch their 14.7 pounds of fish using white and chartreuse spinnerbaits and Senko finesse worms, in watermelon-red flake. They fished the worms wacky-style in depths of 1 to 12 feet. In addition to taking second place, Armstrong caught the largest fish on Sunday, weighing 3.8 pounds. It also claimed big bass honors overall for the tournament.

Texans Bubba Lorenz of Sugarland and partner Juan Carrizales of Katy took third place honors and the paycheck of $300 with their10.2 pound catch. The Houston Deaf Club members fished Gary Yamamoto stickbaits in Palo Gaucho Creek in depths of 4-7 feet for their bass catch.

Rounding out the top six were: Ed Wood and Tommy Lyn, 4th place; Steve Barbin and Henry Harvard, 5th place and Allen Wrinkle and Ronny Taylor teamed up for the sixth spot.

Friday's Big Fish contest, a half-day event, was won by Mesquite anglerette Deanna Carrizales. It was the first time a woman has won the big fish contest. She and husband Jesse finished in 7th place in the tournament.

Outgoing ABCD president Ed Wood thanked all who made the tournament possible: the club officers, the anglers, their families, supporters and the staff at Frontier Park Resort and Marina.

"It's not the number or size of fish that is caught at the tournament," signed the retired Baton Rouge school teacher, "It's the memories that will last forever."

In addition to the annual team tournament ABCD holds monthly individual bass tournaments throughout Texas. The club is very family oriented and among the club's goals is educating future and current deaf members, including children, on the sport of bass fishing. For information on the ABCD go online at:

The ABCD is affiliated with the National Bass Association of the Deaf (NBAD). Twelve chapters are active across the country for deaf bass anglers. The NBAD is sponsoring their 30th Annual tournament at Lake Joe Wheeler, Rogersville, Ala. June 14-16, with a guaranteed $7,000 first place prize. For additional information go online to the NBAD website at:

Frontier Park Resort and Marina is under the new management of Michael O'Neill, with improvements and upgrades to the facility occurring daily. Contact the park at 1-800-819-7877 or 409-625-4712 or online at:

Sidebar Story

Not Bitter but Sweet Trip for Angler
By Contributing Writer Donald Gervais

The 2005 Austin Bass Club of the Deaf Team Tournament was a mixture of bitter 'N sweet for 66-year old Beaumont angler Alfred Crager. He had been looking forward to participating for the 30th time in the annual team tournament. However, three days before the tournament his fishing partner suffered a terrible loss when his house burnt down and he was forced to bow out of the tournament. Unable to find a partner on such short notice Crager could not officially fish tournament, as no solo anglers are allowed. Since he had already paid for the accommodations at Frontier Park, he decided to make the trip to fish and to see old friends.

Although not officially in the tournament, Crager took off at dawn each day and came to the weigh-in scale with his catch. Rather than battle the rough waters on the main lake, Crager chose to put down his trolling motor and fish the protected waters around Frontier Park Resort and Marina. It was a decision that served him well.

Of the 16 teams entered in the tournament he was the only boat to bring a five-fish limit to the scales each day. His first day catch of 11.9 pounds was matched on Sunday with another 11 pounds to give him a 22.9-pound total, besting the official tournament winners by more than 2 pounds.

There was no ill feeling for Grager as he greeted all at the weigh-in with a broad smile. He shared his secret bait with all, displaying a ½ ounce twin silver-colored willow leaf spinnerbait. "I caught them all right there on that bank," he signed to his fellow anglers, pointing to a bank not 3oo yards from the ramps at Frontier Park Resort and Marina. "I'll be back next year."

Alfred Craig shows off the large fish that anchored his Day 1 catch on Saturday. The 4-pound fish would have been big bass of the day and the tournament had it not been for his bad luck. See story for details. Photo by Donald Gervais
< photos by Patty Lenderman >

Patrick Stuckey (left) and JB Thomas Jr show part of the ctach that helped them claim top spot at the 39th Annual Austin Bass Club for the Deaf Team Tournament on Toledo Bend. The duo repeated last year's win despite difficult fishing conditions. Photo by Donald Gervais

Second Place
Ed Wood, Austin Bass Club for the Deaf President (back) congradulates second place winners of the 39th Annual team tournament J. Cotton Armstrong (left) and Sean Matthews at the awards ceremony at Frontier Park. Photo by Donald Gervais

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