Jasper, Tx. May 9, 2017- Four years ago, when the SETX HS Fishing Association was still in its infancy, no one could imagine what would transpire over the next few years. While the organization has evolved to accommodate the growing demand in Southeast Texas, one belief has stood the test of time and remained unchanged. "Since the beginning, all of us have agreed that the year end championship should be our crowning achievement. We want to honor our top 15 Anglers of the Year, our wonderful sponsors, our spectators, and top it off by giving out around $75,000 in scholarship money to our championship top 50." said Tournament Director/Emcee John Salamone.
SETX VP Tom Selman of PNG had this to say about the weekend, "The huge championship is only made possible by our wonderful sponsors. Entry fees, the annual raffle, and member dues take care of supplies, payouts, and new equipment that we may need throughout the season and the off season, but this championship and the scholarship monies come from funds made available to us by the many sponsors who support us throughout the season and the past 4 years. We are obviously quite thankful for their contributions and we want to make sure our kids, captains, parents and spectators support these fine companies in return" concluded Selman. Throughout the season, many of the SETX sponsors are present at the tournaments with their booths, showing off their products and merchandise, but the championship creates a "buzz" like no other tournament and provides an almost carnival type atmosphere for everyone involved.
SETX President Clint Fountain of Kirbyville had a few thoughts to share as well, "This championship is special for us because it is our fourth one. The reason "four" is special is because the Freshmen who started with us in Dec. of 2013 will be walking across the weigh in stage for the last time on Sunday. We have quite literally seen these kids grow up right before our eyes and we are extremely proud as an organization, to have played a small role in their development into such fine young men and women." concluded Fountain.
As for the fishing, well Sam Rayburn rarely disappoints and this year was no exception as the Ford SETX HS Championship presented by Skeeter Boats got underway with 392 boats hitting the waters of Big Sam. Mother Nature cooperated as well with very mild temperatures, water temps in the mid to high 70's and winds that allowed most to travel the lake with relative ease.
Tackle Addict First Place Team- $10,000.00 - 38.31 LBS- Rains HS- River Lee and Thomas Martin- Boat Captain Landon Ware
While Rains, Texas, located in between Lake Fork and Lake Tawakoni just East of Dallas, may not be nestled in the East Texas Piney Woods, it has not stopped this team from success on the SETX trail. For the last couple of seasons, the team from Rains has had many successful trips to East Texas, finishing 6th in AOY in the 2015-2016 season and several top 50 finishes along the way. Having pre fished the weekend before, the team found a mid lake top water bite around cypress trees and hydrilla that would catapult them into a first place finish. Launching at Cassells Boykin Park, and focusing on areas just north and south of the 147 bridge, the team took advantage of that early top water bite by placing limits in the boat by 7 am on Saturday and 7:30 am on Sunday. Poppers and Frogs were the ticket for the early morning feeding frenzy. As the shallow morning bite faded, the team transitioned to a deeper brush pile pattern that allowed the team to cull up periodically. "We really did not find a deep water bite in practice the weekend before. The cloudy overcast skies did not help, but the clear high skies and lack of wind on both days of the championship really helped our deeper bite during both days of the championship" said boat captain Landon Ware. The team reported using Carolina Rigs baited with baby brush hogs and an Xcite SlimX to get heir deeper bites, along with a Strike King 5XD in a shad pattern. "River actually hung a 4 AND 5 LB fish on the 5XD at the same time on Saturday, that was pretty exciting. I really enjoyed spending time with these two young men on the water this year and am looking forward to next year already" concluded Capt. Ware. The team wished to thank Tackle Addict, Power Tackle Rods, Xcite baits, Shimano, LMC Marine and most of all, a big thank you to all of the SETX volunteers and sponsors for all of their hard work and putting on such a great championship weekend and for being such a great organization for all of our kids.
Second Place Team- $8,000.00 - 35.56 LBS- Bridge City HS- Tanner Wilson and Ethan Bourque- Boat Captain Darren Wilson
When practicing for tournament, finding water to fish is obviously paramount. However, eliminating water can be just as productive. Case in point, the team of Wilson and Bourque of Bridge City. "We pre fished the black forest area and were able to catch a few fish, but the winds did not allow us to really focus in on what we wanted to fish" said Capt Wilson. Not having much to go on, the team lacked confidence in the area and turned its attention to areas that had brought about success in the past. Launching at the public ramp at Umphrey, the team started shallow early off a main lake point and simply followed the shad out to 10-20 foot ledges as the day progressed. "On Saturday, the boys had a solid 18 LB bag by 8 am and then the shad disappeared. They kept me pretty busy with the culling starting at 7:30. They were able to cull a few ounces at the end of the day, with a 3 1/2 Lb fish being the smallest one." said Capt. Wilson. Sunday was pretty torturous. We were on the water by 5:45 am and the fish were feeding like crazy. By first cast at 6:30, I think they were full of shad and didn't cooperate like we anticipated they would" concluded Capt. Wilson. The team reported using Black/Blue Yamamoto Senko's on a one foot leader pegged with a 3/8 oz weight and bobber stopper. A slow retrieve was key. The team wished to thank Miss Nikki for all of her hard work with the BC team and the team is already looking forward to next season. They also wanted to thank Mechelle Wilson with All State, Anthony Toups with Classic Chevrolet, Henry Adams wih Leak Sealers Inv, and Granger Chevrolet for the support they have shown the BC fishing team.
Third Place Team- $7,000.00 - 35.47 LBS- Evadale HS- Khai Patterson and Luke Franklin- Boat Captain Kevin Walker
No practice was no problem for the team from Evadale as they relied on a classic Rayburn deep water pattern using carolina rigs and crankbaits to accumulate over 35 LBS over the championship weekend. Launching from the public ramp at Umphrey, the team focused on deep water ledges and brush piles located in 24-30 foot of water. Although a 3rd place finish in a 392 boat field is quite the accomplishment, the team from Evadale will probably be left wondering throughout the off season what "might" have been. "They had a small limit by 7 am Saturday and after a move, were able to cull up to around 18 LBS by 10 am" said Capt Walker, but its what happened shortly thereafter that will haunt them. "We lost a 5 LB fish right at the boat and a few minutes later, lost another one over 8 LBS" Walker continued. The team did recover nicely at around 2 pm when they were able to put a 6 1/2 LB fish in the boat to help them cull up to just over 20 LBS. Day 2 started out strong with the team boating a 5 1/2 LB and a 4 LB fish before 7 am and finishing out a limit by 8:30 am. The last cull of the day came at 2:20 as the team was able to accumulate around 15 LBS on Sunday. "Humminbird electronics were the key in finding those fish on both days" concluded Capt. Walker. The team wished to thank The Good Lord, the men/women of our armed forces, Bass Pro, Nitro, Mercury, Power Pole, Power Tackle Rods, Humminbird, Motorguide, and a very special thank you to all of the SETX staff, volunteers, and sponsors for making this possible for the kids.
Rounding Out the Top Ten
4th Place- $6,000.00- 35.42 LBS- Buna HS- Trace O'Dell
5th Place- $5,000.00- 29.92 LBS- Lumberton HS- Easton Anderson and Ty Cruse
6th Place- $4,000.00- 28.32 LBS- LCM HS- Kameryn Henderson and Tyler Shearin
7th Place- $3,500.00- 28.09 LBS- Jasper HS- Matthew McClendon
8th Place- $3,000.00- 27.58 LBS- Splendora HS- Shelby Denton and Stormey Denton
9th Place- $2,500.00- 27.56 LBS- Vidor HS- Carson Jones and Trenton Conn
10th Place- $2,000.00- 27.48 LBS- Kountze HS- Matthew Anderson and Lane Anderson
Top 3 Big Bass in Championship
8.55 LBS- Braden Berryman and Kenneth Pickett- Kirbyville HS
8.02 LBS- Breckett Long and Ryan Mcgarrahan- Livingston HS
7.11 LBS- Tyler Page and Parker Carnes- Friendswood HS
Big Bass of the Year
10.57 LBS- Bryson Gore- Silsbee HS
Big Stringer of the Year
22.78 LBS- Mason Arnaud and Reed Hudspeth- PNG HS
2017 SETX Anglers of the Year (Top 15) Points are accumulated through the 5 regular season tournaments
1st Place (2965.66 pts)- Hunter Muncrief and Landen McCary- West Sabine HS- $7.000.00
2nd Place (2919.88 pts)- Tyler Faulk and Kyle Stegall- PNG HS- $4,000.00
3rd Place (2919.28 pts)- Brennon Davis and Bret Herrin- Kirbyville HS- $3,000.00
4th Place- (2917.70 pts)- Kameryn Henderson and Tyler Shearin- LCM HS- $2,500.00
5th Place- (2855.55 pts)- Dakota Posey and Jack Burke- LCM HS- $2,000.00
6th Place- (2855.44 pts)- Matthew McClendon- Jasper HS- $1,750.00
7th Place- (2854.87 pts)- Tony Fazzino and Justin Noe- College Park HS- $1,500.00
8th Place- (2852.52 pts)- Brady Wells and Alejandro Flores- Shelby County- $1,400.00
9th Place- (2828.18 pts)- Matthew Anderson and Lane Anderson- Kountze HS- $1,300.00
10th Place- (2822.43 pts)- Tanner Wilson and Ethan Bourque- Bridge City HS- $1,200.00
11th Place- (2792.73 pts)- Keaton Castilaw and Reagan Marshall- Kountze HS- $1,100.00
12th Place- (2787.79 pts)- Kaden Duncan and Randy Abate- Bridge City HS- $1,000.00
13th Place- (2751.28 pts)- Grant Humphrey and Cade Latiolais- PNG HS- $900.00
14th Place- (2750.53 pts)- Gavin Broadway and Brett Creel- Barbers Hill HS- $750.00
15th Place- (2740.14 pts)- Braden Berryman and Kenneth Pickett- Kirbyville HS- $600.00
2017 Tournament Stats (Championship Excluded)
Jan. 14th- 517 Teams, 1065 fish/2440 LBS, Payout (100%)- $20,680.00
Feb. 4th- 515 Teams, 855 fish/1983 LBS, Payout (100%)- $20,600.00
Feb. 26th- 498 Teams, 996 fish/2370 LBS- Payout (100%)- $19,920.00
March 18th- 489 Teams, 937 fish/2126 LBS- Payout (100%)- $19, 560.00
April 8th (Sabine River)- 453 Teams, 486 fish/677 LBS- Payout (100%)- $18,120.00
Totals for Year- 494 teams average, 4339 fish/9596 LBS, Total Payout (100%)- $98,880.00
The SETX board wanted to make sure they sent out many THANKS to the all the volunteers who helped this past season. Your time and your patience is absolutely necessary for the success of this organization. We simply cannot thank all of you enough for your efforts. THANK YOU ALL.
Lastly, the board wanted to make sure that all of you take the time to go by the many sponsor booth's at the tournaments and say "HI" and "thank you" for supporting the young anglers of Southeast Texas. As always, please remember these companies when it comes time to make your own personal purchases!! They are supporting us, so please support them. When out and about, let these people know you support them because they support SETX HS Fishing.
THANK YOU TO ALL OF THE SETX SPONSORS for helping make SETX the premiere HS Fishing Trail in the country!!!
South Texas Ford Dealers Assn, Skeeter Boats/Yamaha, Tackle Addict, Costa, Lews, Coastal Field Services, Academy, 6th Sense, Livingston Lures, Rat L Trap, Gopher Industries, Culprit, Bass Cash Bash, Winn Grips, Big Bite Baits, V&M Lures, Happy Trails RV's, Stubb's Cycle, Whataburger, Gator Guards, Southeast Texas Starter, A-1 Glass, Crystal Heigley and the Allman Real Estate Team, and Obsessed with Nature Taxidermy.
Story by Jet Donovan