62 teams fished, 28 teams weighed in and 6 places were paid. Use the scroll bar on the right to view all the results.
The River City Bass Club held its 33rd annual open on Lake Belton on Sunday, October 18th. Typically held on Lake Travis, the event was moved to Lake Belton this year due to Lake Travis’ historically low lake levels. The tournament was hosted out of the Temple Lake Park pavilion, as 62 boats participated in what turned out to be a chamber of commerce day.
The fishing had been quite tough on Belton; during the Fishing for Freedom event from last week, only 5 limits were brought in out of 230 teams! There was also a small club tournament held the previous day and out of 20+ boats a three fish bag for just over 5 pounds won it all. Several teams reported catching good numbers of short fish with a couple of small keepers spread throughout the day. But Belton is home to both largemouth and smallmouth bass, and as some anglers proved there are some good sized fish swimming in that lake.
In a contest that had a lot of anglers singing the blues (as evidenced by about half the field not weighing in), Texas Boat World team member Jeff Pitrucha and Jason Dewald won the event with over 23 pounds and were awarded $2500 for their efforts. Jeff Pitrucha was good enough to sit down with us and share his secrets for the day’s winning pattern. “Dirty water was the key. Basically we hit shallow pockets and focused on the backs of ’em.” Jeff and Jason used two baits to bring home their bag, a spinnerbait and a Berkley Power Tube. They found these fish on the day before the tournament late in the practice period. Needless to say, Jeff was pleased they held up, and that they had some quality water to themselves. “I am really surprised we didn’t see more boats than we did. We covered a lot of water running this pattern. There really didn’t need to be stick-ups or stumps like you’d think though.”
What was really cool about the team’s day was the relative short window of time in which they caught their bag. They had a very good limit within about an hour. In fact, they caught three of their final five keepers in about 5 minutes. “Jason was putting one I’d just caught in the livewell. He no sooner got it in there, when I hooked another. Very quickly after that, Jason hooked another good fish!” Fishing was fast and furious for sure. Their big bass, which won honors for the day, came at around 8:15. “We were really happy with our pattern and the results. We had a 25 fish day with 12 keepers total. We hope it’ll hold up for Tuff Man, but with the rain to come things could change.” That may be true, but we’re confident this duo will roll with the punches and adapt as well as anybody. Jeff would like to thank his fine sponsors: Texas Boat World, Berkley, Trilene, Abu Garcia and Fenwick Rods.
Coming in second with a very healthy limit of Belton bass were Adrian and Daniel Barnes. The Barnes brothers fish together quite often and are always a threat on Belton and neighboring Lake Stillhouse; and this day would be no different as they came in with over 18 pounds anchored by a 6.77 pound kicker. Talking to Adrian after the weigh in, TTZ was able to get some of the scoop. With Tuff Man just days away, most folks were understandably a little guarded to say the least. Adrian was pretty straightforward. “May not believe it, but we junk fished all day. In fact, we didn’t decide until the Thursday before the tournament to fish it!”
The team started out the morning with a really nice smallmouth; after pairing it with a nice largemouth around noon, Adrian and Daniel started to think they might have a chance. “We started to get pretty serious at that point. We hit a lot of our usual stuff, but caught them in no specific pattern. In fact, all 5 keepers came on different baits.” After a little arm twisting, Adrian shared one thing that makes a lot of sense. “Where we found bait, we found fish.” As many who fished the tournament found out, bait was plentiful…particularly in the upper end past Cedar Ridge. But whether the bite came deep or shallow, Adrian says success depended on whether those small bait fish were present. Adrian and Daniel’s second place finish along with the second place Big Bass of the tournament earned them $900 for the day!
We also had a chance to talk to River City’s tournament director Robert Johnson, to get some idea as to the history of this charitable tournament. “It was started over 30 years ago as a way for the club to give back to the community.” Working with several local churches to identify families in need, the club purchases food with the assistance of discounts from HEB and delivers the meals to these families on Christmas Eve. A full holiday meal is thought out “complete with a turkey”, and the family is able to enjoy Christmas in a way they otherwise would not. Robert expressed to us his gratitude for some benefactors that bear mentioning to say the least. “We would like to thank several folks, but in particular Academy, FishFinders Marine and Interstate Batteries for their donations to help make this thing happen.”
Texas Tournament Zone would like to thank all our friends at River City Bass Club for having us out and for their hospitality throughout. They run a great tournament, and as many of you know have a lot of good sticks on their roster. A second place finish at the TABC Top 8 Championship in 2008 followed by a 2009 TABC State Championship on Sam Rayburn speaks to that! But above all this, as their 30 plus year history with this charitable community work demonstrates, they are true ambassadors of our sport. We are proud to have supported them this year and encourage everyone to participate in this event each and every year.