Jasper, TX (Feb. 3, 2018)- Anyone who knows a little about bass fishing can tell you there are not to many places in the world they would rather be than Sam Rayburn Reservoir in early February. "Historically, the next few weeks have been known for producing some huge bass on this lake. "Most of the big females are at their heaviest this time of year and we should see some big girls come across the stage today" said SETX board member Clint Fountain of Kirbyville. The young anglers did not disappoint the rain soaked crowd at Umphrey Pavilion at weigh in time as the 2nd of 5 qualifying tournaments on the FORD SETX Championship Series presented by SKEETER BOATS got underway. Several 8+ lb fish were brought to the stage, some anchoring bags with 15+ LBS of Rayburn beauties. Preliminary weather forecasts called for afternoon rain and seasonal temps, but mother nature had other plans for the day as intermittent showers began early in the morning and continued throughout the day as overcast skies blanketed the region and kept temperatures from climbing. "We will see a lot more fish and bigger fish cross the stage than we did at our first tournament 3 weeks ago", said SETX board member and weigh master Tom Webb of Jasper.
Tackle Addict First Place Team- Huntington- 21.34 LBS- Hallie Hanna and Ethan Collins- Boat Captain Randy Hanna
Almost one year ago, Hallie and Ethan missed winning an SETX tournament by just ounces with a 2nd place finish. These sophomore cousins from Huntington considered themselves recreational anglers up to that point, but to be so close to winning lit a thirst in them that could only be quenched by surviving the TH Marine hot seat and coming out on top. "Both anglers are quiet and studious for the most part, but when they get into the boat, that is when the fun starts" said Captain Randy Hanna. Friday practice helped the team eliminate some unproductive water and gave them plenty of confidence going into Saturday as they settled in on an area on the north end of Rayburn. Ethan caught their last fish around 11:30 and that allowed the team to cull a 14 inch swimmer. The 21.34 LB bag was anchored by Hallie's monster 8.26 LB toad, which also gave her the big fish for the tournament. The monster put up quite the fight as the team reported the fish "ran under the boat numerous times and was pulling drag with every run she made". Landing the fish was quite the adventure as well as it almost caused the captain to take a swim!! The duo targeted pre spawn fish that were staging along drains in the 10 foot depth range by slow rolling lipless crank baits all day. Hallie, Ethan, and Randy agree that there are so many wonderful volunteers and sponsors, that they could not possibly name them all, but wanted to give a big Texas thank you to the special people that serve on the boards and committees that make this tournament trail the biggest and best in the world!!
Second Place Team- Evadale- 19.81 LBS- Kyler Kirkland and Ashton Granger- Boat Captain Brian Shook
Having already won an SETX event in February of 2017, this team from Evadale found themselves in familiar territory once again on Saturday. Because of high winds, the team elected not to pre fish on Friday, but did get some time on the water the weekend before, where they found some fish offshore around brush and a couple stretches of grass to throw Rat-L-Traps in. Launching at Caney Creek and staying in the mid-lake area, Capt. Shook reported that the early morning bite was rather slow, but picked up around 8:30 and the team had 5 in the boat by 9:30. Probing brush in 25-30 feet of water, the team was able to cull one time at about 10:30 by throwing an SETX sponsored 6th sense cloud 9 deep diving crankbait and fishing a shallower pattern with 6th Sense Rambo Red lipless cranks. "The day went pretty smooth, the kids did not lose any fish. It's hard to stay focused when the bite is slow and it's cold outside, but these kids gave 100% and never gave up" said Capt Shook. The team wished to thank SETX sponsor Casey Sobczak with Sixth Sense Lures for making such a wonderful product.
Third Place Team- Hamshire Fannett- 19.46 LBS- Gabe Constance and Colton Savoie- Boat Captain John Constance
Make it two 3rd place finishes in a row for team Hamshire-Fannett!! Quite an accomplishment in a 500+ boat field. The team reported having pre fished and learning a bit from the past weekend. "It's always important to take note of subtle changes the lake may have gone through during the past week" said Capt Constance. Launching at the public ramp near Umphrey, the team reported having run to both some lower end and mid lake area's where they fished 3-12 foot of water with SETX sponsored Rat-L-Traps. Capt Constance said the team had a limit by 7:30 and were culling fish by 7:45. "We had a few issues during the day. First thing we had was 2 rods with broken tips and we had to get a hook out of Gabe's head and John's hand AT THE SAME TIME. That was fun!" concluded Constance. The team wished to thank MK Construction, Klint's Reels, Steel Painters, Morvant Boat Storage, Philpott Ford, Exxon Mobil, Texas Marine, Thermacon, Dr Sonnier, Dr Rose, MOC Products, County Home and Ranch, SETX HS Fishing Association, and in loving memory of Trevor Chesson.
Rest of the Top Ten
4th Place- 19.15 LBS- Jasper- Matthew Mcclendan
5th Place- 18.85 LBS- Barbers Hill- Dylan Frazier and Denton Hargrave
6th Place- 18.39 LBS- Hudson- Kagen Nevills and Bailey Roland
7th Place- 18.07 LBS- Friendswood- Johnnie Nemecek and Hunter Scott
8th Place- 17.99 LBS- Huntington- Brenton Peters and River Johnson
9th Place- 16.90 LBS- Burkeville- Donald Miller and John Martian
10th Place- 16.68 LBS- Jasper- Hudson Faircloth and Chase Webb
Top 3 Big Bass
1st Place- 8.26 LBS- Huntington-Hallie Hanna and Ethan Collins
2nd Place- 8.09 LBS- Corrigan Camden- Ty Nicholson and Alex Villafuerte
3rd Place- 8.02 LBS- Evadale- Kyler Kirkland and Ashton Granger
V&M Baits-Leak Sealers Conservation Award Winners
Porter HS- Bradly Hughes and Michael Wilganauski
The SETX board wanted to make sure they sent out many THANKS to the all the volunteers who helped last Saturday. 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, Winn Grips, TH Marine, Leak Sealers Inc., Livingston Lures, Rat L Trap, Culprit Lures, Bass Cash Bash, Big Bite Baits, V&M Lures, Happy, Stubb's Cycle, Gator Guards, Crystal Heigley and the Allman Real Estate Team, and Obsessed with Nature Taxidermy.
Story by Jet Donovan