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Date: February 22, 2014
Region: 2014 East Region
Tournament: Lake Sam Rayburn #2
Tournament Trail: 2014 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
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Rayburn is pumping out the big ones – O’Dell & Walker take a close win at Bass Champs
By: Patty Lenderman

The weather is warming, the birds are singing and the big bass are biting on Big Sam! Weighing in only three fish per team, four sacks were caught over the 20 pound mark and the top weights were tight. TWO monster bass over 10 lbs were caught, and one of them anchored a 1st place win of a new Ford F150 pickup truck for Ted O’Dell and Kevin Walker, Jr.

A great day to be on the lake, air temperatures rose to about 70 degrees and the water temperature is slowly climbing, reported in the mid to lower 50’s. Getting closer to that ‘magic temperature’ where bass like to spawn (mid 60’s), the bass are staging closer to prospective spawning areas and 189 teams were on their heels.

It didn’t take long for big bass to be seen at the scales at the Umphrey Family Pavilion and spectators were lining up to watch. Rusty Clark and Cory Rambo, Anglers of the Year 2012 & 2013, established the initial tournament lead and Big Bass lead with their 18.13 lb sack anchored with a 9.55 lb kicker. That was just the beginning. Shortly after the first of two ten pounders were registered at the scales when Ken Graham and Mark Gustin brought their big bass in weighing 10.53 lbs! There were more – and bigger – yet to be seen.

When Ted O’Dell and Kevin Walker, Jr brought their sack to the tanks, it was evident they were going to have a huge weight. Weighing in their largest bass first, they overtook the Big Bass category with their lunker weighing 10.98 lbs! Adding their other two fish, their total weight was 22.31 lbs, ultimately winning 1st place overall. “We just decided to go for broke this tournament,” the team explained. They went to their first spot, a main lake point, and fished in water 24-26’ deep with a Carolina rigged green pumpkin 10” Ol’ Monster worm. “We caught one of our bigger bass during the first hour, and caught a lot of three to four pound fish.” The wind was calm in the morning, and the lake was smooth as glass. “The bite was pretty slow initially, and we moved around a little hitting three or four other areas. The wind picked up a little after 10:00, and that helped the bite a lot.” At 10:30, Ted got the big bite. “I could tell right away it was a big fish!” Weighing in just shy of 11 pounds, plus another in their livewell near 8 lbs plus one in the four pound range, they had a strong sack in their livewell. “We were fishing against a lot of really tough teams, and figured we would need at least another six or seven pounds to win.” Then they had another eight pound class bass on their line and lost it. “That really hurt. We made one last cull right before we came in that just gave us a few more ounces.” As it turns out, it was their most crucial cull of the day as they won by less than two ounces! Bass Champs awarded the team the brand new Ford F150 pickup truck valued at more than $25,000. They won $500 for catching the biggest bass of the day, then Bass Champs’ sponsors kicked in additional winnings from Biobor, Under Armour and Costa Del Mar. They would like to thank their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and their sponsors: West LDT, Rat-L-Trap, River 2 Sea, Skeeter, Yamaha, Power Pole, Lowrance, Lews, Daves Boat Sales, “and the kids from Southeast Texas High School Fishing Association for always pushing us to do well.” Kevin would also like to thank Ranger and Mercury.

Todd Castledine and Kelly Owens had a daunting sack of fish. Heaving their limit to the scales with no particular kicker in the bag, it weighed in just 10/100ths of a pound under the 1st place team at 22.21 pounds! “We went to main lake points, fishing in about 18’ to 25’ of water with a DD500 crank bait and a Carolina rigged 7” Kicker Fish Bubble Fry.” The bite started out pretty slow during the first hours of the day. “They started biting better as the day warmed up, and we started getting a little breeze.” It was about 10am when they started putting their creel in their livewell, and in the next four hours had amassed a limit consisting of a 9, an 8 and a 6 pounder giving them a 2nd place tournament win and a check for $4,500. They would like to thank their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and their sponsors, including: Legend, Mercury, Kicker Fish, Power Pole, Combat Lures, Topwater Clothing, Lews, Sunline, John Salamone at Farmers Insurance, “and Philip Crelia at Hometown Marine for keeping us running on the water!” Kelly would like to additionally thank BassCat boats.

Ben Matsubu and Brandon Davidson enjoyed a 3rd place win with their limit weighing 20.96 lbs. “We fished pre-spawn points with Talon and Phoenix 5/8 oz football head jigs in 15’-20’ depths.” The bite was slow for them, estimating only about one bite per hour. “We only got eight bites all day, and we were all done by 1:00.” Ben caught their 8.00 lb kicker around 10:30 that anchored their 3rd place finish for a check of $2,700. They would like to thank Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits, Mid Lake Campground on Toledo Bend and Talon Lures.

Rounding out the top 10:
4th $2,000 20.15 lbs James Campise & Bobby Vice
5th $1,500 18.13 lbs Rusty Clark & Cory Rambo
6th $1,200 Kevin Burks & Jason Gates
7th $1,070 Gerald Mitchell & Stephen Mitchell
8th $1,060 Ricky Guy & Eric Hunt
9th $1,050 Kent Graham & Mark Gustin
10th $1,040+ Bryan Landers & James Fisher

Bryan Landers & James Fisher doubled their winnings being the highest finishing team in a qualified Skeeter boat for an additional $1,040 check. They also won the Talon Bonus of $250.

Bass Champs sponsors continued to reward anglers, as Michael Curbow and Dusty McFadden won the Ford Fish for Free Bonus, giving them a full year of free Bass Champs entries – a $5,000 value!

The last team to cash a $500 check in this event was Brian Shook and Danny Iles with a 13.04 limit.

The Anglers of the Year race is on, and after two events the top five leaders are:
363 pts Brandon Davidson & Ben Matsubu
344 pts Mark Price & Martin Elshout
343 pts Brian Shook & Danny Iles
343 pts Kent Graham & Mark Gustin
340 pts James Campise & Bobby Vice

The next tournament for the East Region anglers will be March 22 on Sam Rayburn. All Bass Champs tournaments are open to anyone who would like to participate. Visit www.BassChamps.com for rules, sponsor information, complete results and more, or call 817-439-3274.

Coming up April 6 on Lake Fork – the Ford Mega Bass tournament, where a Ford F-150 will be won every hour, and the person who catches the biggest bass of the tournament will also win a Skeeter ZX 200! You don’t want to miss this one – sign up now!
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