Jasper TX- Unseasonably warm temperatures, light winds, and fog greeted over 370 teams from 41 different high schools across the region last Saturday morning for the first event of the 2014-2015 SETX HS Fishing Association season at Sam Rayburn Reservoir. While the morning fog may have hampered travel times to prime fishing spots, the warmer temperatures had no one complaining.
At the Friday night safety meeting, tournament coordinator Clint Fountain said “We have over prepared for this tournament to make sure it goes off without a hitch, we know we have a challenge ahead of us tomorrow in making sure we provide as much for our kids and captains as possible”. With a record number of teams registered (372), SETX President Bryan Thomas said, “we know what is ahead of us tomorrow. Getting the kids back here safely, across the stage, and the fish back into the water are priorities for us. We are prepared and our volunteers have been an incredible help, we can’t thank them enough.”
The big question before the tournament was what kind of weight would it take to bring home 1st place on Saturday? Only time would tell. After sitting atop the Gopher Industry hot seat in front of over 2000 spectators for what seemed like forever, the team of Dawson Wainwright and Kyle Lewis were able to win by over one full lb to emerge victorious. Their stories and others below
First Place- 15.32 LBS - DawsonWainwright/Kyle Lewis- Woodville HS- “Perfect weather conditions were the key for us today” said Boat Captain Bryan Wainwright. “Everything just fell into place and we happened to be at the right time and place”. A late morning flurry that lasted about 15-20 minutes was the key in getting over 15 lbs of bass into the boat. The team from Woodville threw ¾ oz rattletraps to 10-15 feet depths in upper lake grass beds and edges to fill their live wells. The team wished to thank the following sponsors for their support of the Woodville HS fishing team: J. Michael Risinger (Attorney at Law), Dr Charles Spurlock DDS, Sitco Services, First Natl. Bank of Woodville, Rawling Signs, Tyler County Tractor Supply, Travis Weaver, Magnolia Appliances, Mike Thomas Trucking, Troy Carrell, Crystal Wainwright, the Woodville ISD Administration, and the entire SETX staff, sponsors, and volunteers.
Second Place- 14.31 LBS - KagenNevills/Bayley Rowland- Hudson HS- “Moving and hitting as many spots as possible” said boat captain Steve Evans. “We had about 10 spots in the mid lake area that that held exactly what we were looking for”. The combination of rattletraps and 4-8 foot of water with grass was the key for the team from Hudson HS. “The kids caught them all day but were only able to put the final keeper in the boat at 2:15” said Evans. The team wished to thank team sponsors: Tri Lakes Tackle, Lews, Santone Jigs, and the Hudson ISD Administration for their support of their HS team.
Third Place- 14.03 LBS - Hunter Muncrief/Landen Mccary- West Sabine HS- Abandoning a strategy that lacked the quality of fish they needed, boat captain William Muncrief and his team threw Alabama Rigs to deep water grass edges in the 8-12 foot range to fill their bag on Saturday. Rotating between three primary spots in the mid lake area, the West Sabine team managed to take advantage of a late morning bite. “Hard work and persistence by the kids were the key”, said captain Muncrief. The team wished to thank the following sponsors for their support of the West Sabine HS fishing team: Williamson Construction and Anderson A/C and the West Sabine ISD Administration for their support.
The rest of the top 10 are as follows:
4th place – Logan Hammonds/Josh Hranicky-- PNG
5th place- D Anna Rider/Cody Bailey-- Vidor
6th place- Drew Fazzino/Tony Fazzino -- Woodlands College Park
7th place- John Bouse/Zack Martin—Silsbee
8th place- Clint Tarkington/Cameron Barnes—Silsbee
9th place- Braxton Benoit/Michael Mahony—Woodlands College Park
10th place- Mason Arnold/Lance Lalond—PNG
With the backing of sponsors like South Texas Ford Dealers Association and Skeeter Boats, the SETX HS Fishing Association has emerged as the largest HS fishing trail in the country. Last December, the group shattered all HS fishing tournament records with a 262 boat field. Obviously, that record fell last Saturday with over 370 teams participating.
A huge thank you goes out to the SETX HS Fishing Association Sponsors for 2014-2015: These are the companies that make all of this possible for the kids of Southeast Texas.
Lews, Coastal Field Services, Academy, Lowrance, Rattletrap, Gopher Industries, West LTD, Bass King, Kick N Bass, Costa Del Mar, Clark Reehm and the Elite Angler Academy, Lake Fork Tackle/Rod Sox.
Story submitted by Jet Donovan