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8.57 lunker takes Rayburn Big Bass Championship

(DAY-1) - Extreme winds, soaking rains, and "Mucho "Big Bass catches marked the opening day of the March 12, 13, 14, Outdoor Adventure Series "Big Bass Championship", as 1400 "lunker hunters" dodged criss-crossing boats, choppy southeasterly's, and hourly weigh-in deadlines to catch their first day weights. But even dancing with the "weather devil" wouldn't harbor any negative effects as tournament director, David Concienne, digitized a very interesting first day outcome as the top 5 leading bass would weigh-in at over 40 lbs.

Billed as the world's richest amateur Big Bass Championship series, with $1,710,000 offered in cash & prizes, the Outdoor Adventure Series kicked off their 1999 season opener, as 1,400 anglers, from 15 states, signed-up to try to catch some hourly weigh-ins that would put some "major" bucks into their tackle-packs. The Lake Sam Rayburn event will pay out $450,000 in its three day run, which includes hourly weigh-in awards for the top 7 hourly big bass, exact weight Champion bass-boat awards (valued at $13,750) for 3, 4, 5, 6, & 7 lb. bass, open drawings for cash and prizes for the attending public, "super, super, special cash and prize drawings for tournament contestants, and "fun"-"fun"-"fun" for "anyone & everyone" who wished to attend the tournament days of March, 12, 13, & 14, at Twin Dikes Marina, as this event is "open & free" to the public.

Laredo TX, angler Tom Haralson opened the weigh-in line with a 1.82 lb. keeper, but after his initial mark was made it quickly became but a short memory as Rayburn's Big Bass decided to come out and play.

(8.57 lbs.) - "Watermelon/chartreuse Zoom lizard," stated Rusty Peveto of Beaumont TX, as he told of working a Quantum rod and Garcia reel spooled with Berkely BG-15 # mono, "I was draggin' a 6' rip-rap area near the dam," Rusty explained as he informed of catching his bass on a 12:20 PM bite that netted him a $4,000 lunker check.

(8.26 lbs.) - "Zoom green/pumpkin Wacky worm," whispered Lester Nickelbur of Spurger TX, as he escaped my probing inquest before letting out too much information on catching his $4,000 payday.

(8.23 lbs.) - "I bought my baits at Rayburn Tackle," plugged Roy Sanford of Spurger TX, as he explained of fishing with an Allstar rod and Quantum reel spooled with Berkley BG-15# mono, while working a Carolina rigged watermelon Zoom Brush-Hog along outside brush patches in Cullman Bay for catching his $4,000 Big Bass.

(8.05 lbs.) - "Orange/gold/black Rattlin'-Roque," announced Lufkin TX, angler Joe Rick Clark, as he told of working a Garcia rod and Ambassadeur reel spooled with 12# Silver Thread while fishing 3' Northlake buckbrush for his $4,000 payday.

(7.82 lbs.) - "Mid-lake outside buckbrush in 7' of water," stated David Harvey of Nederland TX, adding that he fished with a 6" black/blue lizard to catch his 7-8 AM hour big bass that landed him a $4,000 lunker check.

Even though the anglers bracketed the "exact weight" digitals all day long, it wasn't until Sonny Glasco of Houston TX, sauntered up with his "Exact-Weight" 3.0 lb. bass that Champion Bass Boats would be missing some of its inventory, as Sonny went home $13,750 richer as he trailered his exact-weight Champion "Mean 16" -Mercury-90 bass-rig home.

(DAY-2) - With the previous day of pre-front winds and rains giving way to post-front winds and rains, the mid-night hours were filled with the staccato echo of vicious thunder storms, as a stalled cold front finally inched its way through the lake area. But as it did Lake Sam Rayburn would become the pooling agent for the flash flooding downpours that also inched their way through the area, causing previously dropping lake conditions to re-vert to quickly rising lake conditions, and along with that, a quickly dropping air temperature which would turn the second day of competition into one miserable day of bass fishing. But, as they often say, "when the times get 'tuff' the 'tuff' get going."

As fast as day one was to be for its weigh-ins, was as slow as day two would become, as calling out the anglers incoming weights was to be intermingled with warnings of outgoing boats, as 6' rollers and surf action kept Tournament Director, David Concienne, busy with announcing what boats were being swept back into the lake. Even so, David was also to announce some respectable catches despite the cold and nasty winds that hindered and troubled the normal weigh-in process.

(7.54 lbs.) - "Orange/black/chartreuse Terminator Spinner bait worked along Powell Park area pointbrush," stated Jason Moore of Nacogdoches TX, adding that he fished with a Spidercast rod and Ambassadeur reel spooled with 50# Spiderwire while working 4'-5' points. Jason managed to catch his 11:25 AM bite that would put a $4,000 check in his pocket.

(6.61 lbs.) - "Caught it at 8:00 AM.," informed Travis Patillo of Silsbee TX, as he explained how he worked his Castaway rod and Shimano reel spooled with 20# Triple Fish line rigged to a 1/4 oz. black/blue Mr. Blitz jig, with a black/blue Zoom pork chunk. "I managed to catch it from an 8' Caney Creek brush patch, Travis pointed out as he collected his $4,000 lunker check.

(6.18 lbs.) - "Crabapple", answered Archie Dor'e of Natchitoches LA, as he further informed of working a 10" Berkely Power worm on a Florida rig attached to his Allstar rod and Ambassadeur reel spooled with 50# Pro-line, while fishing a 3' Farmers Flat area in the Willows. Archie earned a $4,000 paycheck for his hourly big bass.

After the 2nd day was mercifully wrapped up to make way for the 3rd, and final day of Big Bass competition, a Beaumont TX, angler would begin to sweat out the finals, as Rusty Peveto would have to wait until the last hourly weigh-in before he could claim his 1st day catch of an 8.57 lb. lunker as the overall tournament Big Bass, for the bragging rights of the Rayburn "Big Bass Championship".

No exact weight bass were to be digitized for Champion Boat winnings for day two, but not because they didn't try as the weights of 4.0, 5.0, 6.0, and 7.0 were well surrounded by numerous attempts!

Brrr...eezy winds and 34 degree temps set for 22 degree windchills on Lake Sam Rayburn, as 1600 final day "lunker hunters" plowed through 6' white-caps for some bone-chilling runs to their favorite big bass holes.

As today would provide their last chance to topple the 8.57 lb. bass which was holding the top spot for the Outdoor Adventure Series, the competition was expected to be as fierce as the weather was. But even as some would try their best for the win, most anglers were just contented to catch some "money fish" that would award them a portion of the $450,000 offered in cash and prizes. And as the final bass were weighed and tallied, the Big Bass Championship Leaderboard began to mark the "top 10" big bass anglers who would earn one of the "Top 40" launch position's at the $110,000 "Big Bass Championship" that would be held at the end of the tournament tour.

A 9:30 AM bite around an 8' Powell Park brushpatch, on a black/blue 3/8 oz. Hawg Hustler jig, put a 6.27 lb. "kicker" in the boat for Calvin Tarver of Florien LA, caused a flurry of excitement at the tournament site, and after a DB-3 crankbait produced a 1:00 PM. 6.42 lb. "five fingers" lunker caught by Jason Griffin of Humble TX, also "flurried" up the attending crowd a bit just before Robert Baney of Houston TX, managed to slide in for an exact weight bass of 4.0 lbs., which really roused the crowd's attention as Robert claimed his Champion bass boat valued at $13,750. But it wasn't until the final weigh-in hour digitized the final bass of the tournament that the crowd would really get excited, as the angler, who had worked a first day pattern along a 6' rip-rap near the dam to catch an 8.57 lb. big bass with a Carolina rigged watermelon/chartreuse Zoom lizard, stepped to claim his "braggin' rights" as well as the 1st place winners check of $10,000. With an approving "roar" from the crowd, Rusty Peveto, of Beaumont TX, took a well deserved bow as he had fished against 1,600 other anglers, in some of the most horrendous weather conditions imaginable, to win this prestigious "Big Bass Championship". Mr. Peveto would be among the Top Ten Rayburn Big Bass Champions who would qualify to compete in the upcoming $110,000 Championship.

All bass were recovered by the Bass-N- Bucks live release team, with a two day total of 1,127 lbs. of bass being caught, weighed, treated, and successfully released back into Lake Sam Rayburn.

Next Outdoor Adventure Series "Big Bass Championship" tournament is scheduled for April 9, 10, 11, at Cypress Bend Resort on Toledo Bend Lake, Louisiana. For more information on this, as well as other Outdoor Adventure Series Events, contact 1-888-880-5775 -or- clic to-<>.

Big Bass Championship Sponsors: Champion Boats-Mercury Outboards-Quantum-Zebco-MotorGuide-Castaway Rods-Academy Sports & Outdoors

TOP 10
Rusty Peveto 8.57 lbs $4,000-$10,000
Lester Nickelbur 8.26 lbs $4,000-$5,000
Roy Snaford 8.23 lbs $4,000-$2,500
Jow Rick Clark 8.05 lbs $4,000-$1,250
David Harvey Jr. 7.82 lbs $4,000-$1,000
Craig Price 7.76 lbs $4,000-$600
Jason Moore 7.54 lbs $4,000-$600
Jim Holloway 7.18 lbs $2,000-$600
Travisw Patillo 6.61 lbs $4,000-$600
Michael Brown no weight given $2,000-$600

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