Lakecaster Online

Lake Livingston anglers dominate Rayburn / Toledo bass tournaments
By Ed Snyder

What do David Curtis, Nick Albus, Edwin Loitz, Randy Dearman, and Slade Dearman, have in common with our sister lakes to the east of Lake Livingston-?- "They all have either won, or placed in the upper leaderboard positions of the Anglers Choice Amateur on Lake Sam Rayburn, Anglers Choice E/TX Team on Lake Sam Rayburn, Anglers Choice Pro/Am on Lake Sam Rayburn, EverStart's Central Division Circuit on Lake Toledo Bend.

It all started with the Holloman Distributing sponsored, "Miller Lite" BassTeam, as Nick Albus and Edwin Loitz, of Trinity TX, signed up to compete in the Anglers Choice Amateur Team and the Anglers Choice East Texas Team circuit for the weekend of January 30, 31, on Lake Sam Rayburn, and as the Livingston duo paired-up to do so, they would be competing against 96 other teams, who would be fishing for the same reason that Nick and Edwin were....... "To Win".

First day, Saturday, Jan-30th, found the Albus/Loitz team fishing a Rayburn southlake ridgeline where they maneuvered their Champion/Mercury bass-rig along its 12' depths, while working Allstar/Castaway rods & Garcia reels spooled with 14# Fireline as they "grass-tipped" the grass-tops with shad colored Norman DD-22's, catching a 5 bass/ 14.41 lb catch that landed them a 2nd place finish for the Amateur Division, and a check for $940.

Second day, Sunday, Jan-31st, the Trinity Tx, team returned to their southlake ridgeline, but deciding to fish its deeper edges with chartreuse DD-22's, they where able to put together a 5 bass/21.43 lb weight to land the winners position for $1,825, which gave them a weekend playday income of $2,765. "Not bad".

The following weekend, February 6, and 7, Nick Albus signed on to compete in the Angler's Choice Central Division Pro/Am on Lake Sam Rayburn, as he returned to fish the same area of the lake, with the same baits that he had won the Team event with. His first day effort gave him a 5 bass/10.66 lb weight for a 23rd leaderboard position, not enough to put him where he needed to be for the win, but good enough to give him a solid base for a final day paycheck. And on the final day, Sunday, February 7, Nick managed to increase his leaderboard mark with an improved catch of 5 bass/17.34 lbs, giving the Trinity TX, angler, a giant leap from 23rd, to a 3rd place Pro-finish check for $2,100. (That's $4,865 for two weekends of fishing, "not a bad payday for two weekends of bass fishing"). As Nick Albus stepped from the stage with his 3rd place Pro-plaque, two "well-known" Onalaska TX, Pro's, would step up to claim their Pro/Am awards, as Randy Dearman of BassMaster fame, took the 6th place plaque for $1,100, and Randy's son, Slade Dearman of Redman fame, took the 5th place plaque for a $1,150 payday. Needless to say, the Lake Livingston Bass Tournament Pro's well represented the Lake Livingston area at the Anglers Choice tournament series on Lake Sam Rayburn, as they brought home over $7,000 for their bass fishing skills.

"But, the Lake Livingston Bass Tournament Pro's weren't quite finished yet, as David Curtis, of Trinity TX, was to take his turn at bass fishing for cash & prizes, as he registered to compete against 308 other anglers, who had arrived from 18 states to fish the EverStart Central Division series Pro/Am on Lake Toledo Bend, LA, "AND WIN".

This National Tournament circuit would experience the "gamut" of bass tournament adversities as the sunny, and warm comforts of southern hospitality, suddenly changed to the frigid harshness of an Arctic Cold Front. First day competition put David in the top 5 slot as he weighed-in a 5 bass/17.0 lb effort for 5th. Second day competition started out fine, but the weather suddenly "dis-combobulated" into a fierce "chill-front" that dropped the temperatures from 77 to 36 degrees in 5.2 seconds,as the long awaited coldfront re-designated the season from "Indian Summer" to full-blown "WINTER".

David took a drastic slide from 5th to 21st, for his day two catch of 10.4 lbs, but managed to hang in with the top 30 cut for his 2nd day final of 27.4 lbs, which gave David a new tournament to fish as all previous weights were erased for the 3rd round of the Everstart. As frigid 32 degree temps put the anglers up against a 26 degree windchill, the third day of competition would become "due's paying day" as the top 30 Pro-anglers and top 30 Co-anglers were to be whittled down to just the top 10 Pro-angler cut and the top 10 Co-angler cut for the final day four phase of the EverStart series.

David Curtis managed to up-grade his 3rd day effort with a solid 5 bass/15.12 lb catch that slid him into a 3rd day lead for 1st. "But", as he recovered well enough for a good step upward, his final day of competition was to become another "clean slate" as all weights were "once again" erased, giving all the top 10 Pro-angler and Co-angler qualifiers a fresh start for the Championship Day. Which is what makes the EverStart and FLW tournament series so unique, as their format puts the "competitive" factor back into the tournaments, making it "tuffer" on the anglers as they have to fish for 3 different weights in order to be able to claim the winners honors. Those who managed to advance from the original field of 300 plus anglers for the top 30 cut, then further advance to the top 10 cut, can be applauded as true competitors as they have become the cream of the crop. And those anglers who manage to advance up to the #1 spot from the top 30 and top 10 cuts, can be recognized as a "TRUE" Champions of their sport. Such as David Curtis managed to do as he "Praised God and Stanley Baits" for helping him to take the final day, of the "gruelling" 4 days of bass tournament competition, with an impressive weight of 5 bass/16.10 lbs for a 1st place Pro-Angler win.. David was awarded $35,000 in cash & prizes, which included a fully rigged Ranger "Millennium" Bass Boat and a priority entry into the National FLW Tour.

"I had basically practiced up in the northern areas of Toledo, informed David Curtis, as he told of how he won the prestigious EverStart event. "But, I just couldn't get on any good fish, so I went to the south-lake areas and found what I was looking for., David stated, as he further enlightened that he was able to work Castaway rods rigged with white/chartreuse Stanley spinner baits and Zoom black/neon lizards. "I concentrated on slow-rolling the Stanley spinner baits (no trailers) on 7'-8' humps, David noted, as he also told of dragging carolina rigged lizards along 4'-5' secondary points. "I really wish to thank my sponsors, David requested, "as Castaway rods and Stanley baits helped me to win the Pro-Boater Division of the Toledo Bend Everstart event, "but", above all else, David continued to praise, "I wish to thank God, and Jesus Christ, for without them I wouldn't have been here to win this tournament. "Amen".

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