(Apr 5, 2017 - New Smyrana Beach, FL)
Matt Cannon, of Troy, Texas and Jared Siegeler, of Belton, Texas, weighed 25.20 pounds to win the third regular-season event of the Texas Team Trail presented by Cabela's (TXTT) on April 1 on Belton Lake. The winning anglers took home a brand new Stratos 189VLO powered by a 150HP Evinrude, valued at $32,395.
"We started on the main lake fishing windy points," said Cannon. "We were using moving baits, just looking for a limit. Over the last few weeks there has been a strong morning bite near the bank."
At 1:30 in the afternoon, Cannon and Siegeler had five fish in the livewell, but they weighed only about 12 pounds.
"Right about that time, we pulled into a little cut," said Cannon. "It's known as a good area, but there were boats all over it yesterday in practice and all day today. But it's such a good area we just had to go in there."
It proved to be a wise decision as the duo boated a 7.5-pounder, a 6-pounder and finally a 5.5-pounder. The last fish came into the boat at 2:30 p.m. Siegeler looked at his partner and exclaimed, "It's over." Those three giant largemouths culled out a few smallmouths, giving them a five-fish limit of largemouths.
Cannon and Siegeler said they were not sight-fishing, but they believe their late-day kickers were spawning as they possessed bloody tails.
"We had been fishing shallow all day, but late in the day they just pulled up and turned on," said Cannon. "We caught them by slowing down and fishing shallow cover. That's all we can say for now. April is the best time of the year to fish this pond, but wow. It's surreal to win. After Jared boxed that last fish we're driving across the lake and asking each other, 'Did we really just do this?"'
Kurt Luker, of Cleveland, Texas, and Lloyd Stuart, of Conroe, Texas, finished a close second with a total of 23.85 pounds. While first place's 25-pound stringer was impressive, the talk of the tournament was Luker and Stuart's lunker 13.97-pound largemouth, which set a new record for the lake. That fish was certified as a Texas ShareLunker, a program where 13-pound-plus bass are used by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department for spawning purposes.
"We knew the big one was 10 (pounds), more than likely 11," said Luker. "But we were thinking we had like 18 pounds total. It all happened so fast. When he called our weight, and said 23 pounds, we knew that fish weighed way more than 11 pounds. When he weighed it separately and said 13.97, I almost fell out."
The anglers won $5,725 for second-place and added $2,295 in Anglers Advantage cash. Their record-setting catch netted an additional $1,145 for the Big Bass Award.
Rick Scott, of Bremond, Texas and Charles Whited, of San Marcos, Texas, weighed 21.40 pounds to win $5,118.
"We started down on the lower end looking for smallies," said Whited. "We thought with a good boat number and the right wind, it was going to be a good smallmouth day. We did catch one four-pounder, but it was a largemouth. Then we ran to the mid-lake area and picked up our seven-pound kicker. Then we worked our way up the Leon River before coming back mid-lake, where we caught a three-pounder."
Whited said he and Scott caught most of their fish on fluke-style plastics. When they were up the river, they employed a Forage Lures squarebill crankbait. In total, they caught 12 keepers - focusing mainly on boat ramps and stick ups in three to eight feet.
The remaining Top 10 are Duncan/Schlueter (fourth); Rowe/Pate (fifth): Washburn/Washburn (sixth); Glenewinkel/Purvis (seventh); Twiggs/Smith (eighth); Gurka/Shry (ninth); and Morgan/Morgan (tenth).
The next tournament stop for the TXTT is set for April 29 at Lake Texoma. The 2017 schedule includes some of Texas' most legendary bass fisheries and features huge payouts with unprecedented contingency opportunities.
For additional information, anglers are encouraged to call 210-788-4143.
Texas Team Trail events are made possible through the sponsorship and continued support of these well-respected brands: Cabela's, Ranger Boats, Lucas Oil, RAM, Evinrude, Mercury, Minn Kota, Triton Boats, Power-Pole, Evinrude, Arctic Ice, Stratos Boats, Lowrance, Protect the Harvest, General Tire, SuperClean, Garmin, Valley Fashions, T-H Marine, Atlas, G-Juice, Powertex Group.