Fishing & Boating News

Incredible weights and huge paydays on Sam Rayburn

Danny & Michael Bennett conquers over 640 anglers at Bass Champs

by: Patty Lenderman,

Danny & Michael Bennett
Photo by Courtesy Bass Champs
(Mar 12, 2018 - Lake Sam Rayburn, TX) Sam Rayburn didn’t disappoint Bass Champs East Region on March 10. The massive field of well over 600 contenders were ready to hit it hard, with anticipated rain in the forecast. Big bass were on the prowl, and avid anglers were on their heels. The weigh in began with a limit over thirty pounds, but in the end it turns out that was only the beginning. Four sacks of bass were registered at the scales in excess of thirty pounds, but in the end it was Danny & Michael Bennett who topped them all for the granddaddy payday.

While the weather forecasters had given up to an 80% chance of rain for Saturday with temps in the mid to upper 70’s, everyone was happy to see that while the temperature forecast was correct the rain didn’t come. Sam Rayburn was a playground for 322 boats and the game was on, as big bass were found and caught in masses.

The very first sack of bass weighed in set the mark high for the rest of the field. Kevin Wolford and Michael “Shane” Dorsey had pre-fished for the tournament, but having very little luck they decided to wing it for competition day. Landing on a spawning flat with ditches 8’-14’ deep, they started their creel with a 4 ½ pounder and had a limit within 30 minutes. “We were using Carolina rigs and jigs, culling by 7:30.” It was a long stretch of about 125 yards, and for the next few hours continued to catch solid bass, culling up their weight. “Our best cull was around 10am, Shane caught a 9.21# - his biggest ever - that we culled out a 4 ¾.” They had over 30 pounds in their livewells, and an hour later decided to come in and weigh. “It was going to be difficult to cull any of the fish we had at that point,” Kevin explained. “We could tell the fish were starting to get stressed, and decided to go ahead and roll the dice and weigh them in so they could get released.” Their limit set the bar at 33.57 pounds. The next four hours were long for them, waiting on the rest of the teams to bring in their catch.

Once 3:00 came around, boats were coming to the scales in droves. Justin Morton and Randy Turner heaved their catch to the stage, taking over top weight with 33.64 pounds. They too enjoyed an early bite, flipping Stanley jigs in 4’-6’. “We had all of our fish by 9:30.” The crowd cheered as the close weights were tallied.

A third sack was weighed, challenging the top weights by Kenneth Cates and Delia Degnan. First their biggest, hitting 9.70 lbs ultimately winning the Big Bass category. Putting their other four on the scales, they had 31.38 lbs that ended up winning 4th place.

Finally, the biggest sack of them all were brought in by Danny & Michael Bennett. First they weighed their kicker at 8.96 pounds. Chad Potts got the crowd ready when he said the rest of their fish looked just like that one! Their total came to 35.23 pounds, winning the tournament by nearly a two pound margin. The team worked hard for their catch, using crank baits, jigs and Carolina rigs. “The first hour was the best for us. We didn’t hardly catch anything from 9-11am, then it picked back up. Mostly it was a crank bait bite, and we are worn out!” Their efforts paid off massively. First, they won the guaranteed 1st place purse of $20,000. They were fishing out of a qualified Skeeter boat winning another $5,000. Then they won the Lowrance, Power Pole and Sure Life bonuses, taking home nearly $26,000!

Bass Champs paid the top 43 teams, with the last $600 check going to Paul Batman and Anthony Sharp having caught 16.72 lbs. Due to the number of entries, two $500 checks were awarded for the conservation bonus. “We offer the ZERO bonus to teams who elect to pre-release their catch in lieu of weighing them in if they don’t have enough weight to win a check in the regular line-up,” Potts explained. “Those teams are put into a drawing to have a chance to win $500.”

Three out of four of the tournaments for the East Region are now in the books. Boulware and Collins were the points leaders coming into this event, and are leading the Angler of the Year race going into the last. The rest of the top five took a good shuffle, and it is still anyone’s game with one tournament to go.
892 pts. Clayton Boulware & Albert Collins
882 pts. Jeff Holder & Terry Burghart
875 pts. Wyatt Frankens & Alec Castonguay
869 pts. Cory Rambo & Rusty Clark
819 pts. Justin Morton & Randy Turner

The final regular season East Region tournament will be held on Toledo Bend at Cypress Bend Marina on May 12. In the meantime, Bass Champs staff and crew are headed to Lake Fork to host the world’s richest one day hourly big bass tournament – the Sportsmans Auto Network Mega Bass! $20,000 is guaranteed to top anglers every single hour of the day, and at the end of the tournament whoever catches the biggest bass of them all will also win a brand new Skeeter boat!

Start making plans to also fish the 2018 Techron TX tournament on Sam Rayburn. This team event will be held June 23rd at the Umphrey Family Pavilion. “This event has the biggest payout of any team event,” Potts declared. “Anyone can enter, and the 1st place winners will win $50,000!”

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