108 teams fished and 10 places were paid.
Day 2 Big Bass – Jason Stafford and Randall Christian – 8.57 lbs $250
TOTAL PAID OUT: $16,300
In just its second year, the Gone Fishing for Kids tournament drew 108 teams from all over Texas. More than just a tournament, this weekend was about fundraising, fellowship and fishing. The Gone Fishing for Kids initiative is the brainchild of Marble Falls business owner, Paul Brady. Among other endeavors, Paul owns River City Grille; a great restaurant with incredible lake views on the shores of Lake Marble Falls.
Looking for a way to raise money for area charities, and grow angler appreciation and loyalty throughout the community, Paul created the Gone Fishing for Kids tournament idea a few years ago. An admitted novice to the competitive fishing world, he hooked up with Texas Tournament Zone to create a philanthropic event that doubled as a reputable bass fishing tournament on Lake LBJ with incredible payouts…over 100% to be exact!
Through the generosity of Paul and his restaurant, the anglers were treated to a Friday night angler appreciation meeting on River City Grille’s Big Bass Deck which included a complimentary meal, beverages and a private concert from the Mike Clifford Band.
Sponsors made the raffle event an incredible experience with prizes ranging from fishing trips with Reckless Kelly and guides Ken Milam and Charles Whited, YETI coolers, cash, gift certificates to incredible tackle. The pre-tournament “Kickoff Party” was a huge success and everyone walked away with a generous weigh-in bag filled with GrandeBass Lures, two $100 Laguna Custom Rods gift certificates, caps and t shirts.
An inventive multi-day event tested the anglers’ strategy and ability to stay on fish over the two day tournament. The Day 1 weigh-in was held at McNair Park and the anglers experienced a drive-thru weigh-in on Day 2 in Marble Falls.
Many told us the fishing was tough going into the event. But we were impressed with many of the bags brought to the scales considering the transition of seasonal fish. Additionally, the weather was dicey, as Saturday morning welcomed the anglers with rain and lightening; Sunday however, opened up to warm weather and high skies.
First place went to Allen Gass and Randy Grounds, who brought an amazing 36.22 pounds to the scales over two days. Their efforts paid off and secured them the guaranteed $10,000 grand prize!
We were able to speak to Allen at the final weigh-in, and he was fishing solo on the final day as his partner Randy Grounds had a pre-scheduled pig sale to attend on Sunday. But Randy put in work prior to the tournament and definitely left Allen in good shape going into day two, as he caught the lion’s share of their bag on Saturday as Allen explained on stage.
“I knew he was going to be gone before we started the tournament,” said Gass. “He fished the first day, and we’d been practicing hard before this. We’re definitely splitting the money!”
The team caught their huge stingers both days on brush piles primarily, and caught fish all day long. They caught most of their fish on soft plastics and the best depth tended to be in about the 12 foot range.
Coming close and taking second was the duo of Brian Mater and Chris Woehl, who brought in a great two day weight of 35.60.
Brian spoke with us after the tournament.
“Saturday was a great day for us. We caught our big fish on day one out of an underwater light real early. We were happy we really got to fish the milk run we wanted to…even went looking for water later on Saturday for the final day. We found a rock pile at the end of day one, and caught our big fish Sunday at 1 o’clock of that rock pile!”
Brian caught her on a Fat Free Shad crankbait in about 9 foot of water where the rock pile peaked, with the boat sitting in about 20 foot.
“On the second cast, my crankbait just stopped!”
The duo caught most of their keepers both days on GrandeBass MegaTail RattleSnakes in watermelon red and green pumpkin.
“It was a go to bait for us to put keepers in the box! We didn’t lose any big fish that we know of, but did lose a few fish on dock pilings.”
Some of their better fish were also caught on Chris’ Omega Pro Mega Jig and Brian’s crankbait; the team took home $1,500 for their two day effort.
Brian would like to thank River City Grille and Paul Brady for hosting the event, and the city of Marble Falls for welcoming the anglers. He would also thank his supporter, Jack Allen’s Kitchen out of Oak Hill.
“I really want to thank River City Grille and TTZ again for putting on such a great event,” said Mater.
Coming in third with a two day bag just under 30 pounds, and pocketing $1,000, was the well known team of Flint Fisher and Steve Magnelia.
We talked to Steve about their weekend.
“We really fished deep and shallow to be honest…more deep than anything though. In practice and over the summer we had been on some big bags out here. On day one at our first spot, which was our best water, we caught only one fish about 3 pounds so we were pretty disappointed. But we had a lot of places to go, and ended up with 15 keepers that day; on day two we caught 12 keepers.”
Steve and Flint did have one regret as Steve explained.
“We should have gone back to our starting water sooner to end the day, but we decided to hit one other area first. When we got back to our best hole, there was another boat on it. It was a deep spot, so we checked it a little later and it was clear. Caught two threes off of it then”.
What’d they catch ‘em on?
“We caught our biggest fish on cranks and caught our numbers on Texas-rigs and Carolina-rigs. But this event was all about time on the water, and I feel like we did a good job there.”
Steve would like to recognize Amistad Tackle, and would like to thank his wife for her understanding and support.
Flint Fisher added, “We did work hard to prepare for this tournament, and I feel like we executed pretty well. I’d also like to add that I’ve been fishing a real long time, and I gotta say this was the best run tournament I have ever fished!”
Taking fourth with 28.81 pounds and cashing a $700 check were Bo Berry and Lee Benton. Bo told us about it.
“We really junk fished for two days, it was kinda weird actually. My partner Lee was able to get out here once before the tourney, so we hadn’t had a ton of time on the water at all. On Saturday we started out on shallow green lights; we got a little wet and had a lot of lightning around us. We weren’t really getting bit, and then I noticed some bait pushing up in the back of the creek. I threw a frog between some wood pilings, and that big 6.35 pounder crushed that thing!”
A great start for sure and it really gets the momentum headed in your direction, as Bo explained to us.
“Good feeling when that’s your first fish, and when you catch it pretty early. We ended up spending the rest of day one on the main lake.”
The team only had two keepers by one o’clock on Saturday, but as great anglers do, they stayed with it.
“We dug deep, fished the main lake and quickly caught four fish on a crank, but no keeps. Worked down a granite rock edge and caught two more pretty nice keepers on a Fluke. I felt pretty good after weighing in our four keepers for over 16 pounds…Saturday was my best day ever on that lake!”
Bo went on to tell us that it’s all about the team effort as on day two the roles were reversed. His partner Lee Benton caught them all, and absolutely crushed the fish on a spinnerbait.
“In fact, Lee caught a good limit by 8am! By 10am the bite was done for us.”
Here are the remaining teams that finished in the top ten and the Big Bass winners:
River City Grille owner and tournament organizer Paul Brady was ecstatic over the event’s success.
“The 2010 Gone Fishing for Kids far exceeded my expectations; the generosity of the anglers was truly awesome. I am amazed at the camaraderie among these guys. The competition is fierce, but these guys respect each other and the environment. I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am of the entire team that put the 2010 GFFK tournament together, and I am looking forward to even more in 2011…stay tuned, we’ll announce the date soon!”
It was a great time for all, but more importantly $12,000 (raised from the raffle and donations from the Marble Falls Chamber, Burnet County and Choke Canyon Lodge) went to charity after all was said and done. Not a bad deal considering over a 100% payback for the event, which is unheard of in a fundraising tournament! Thanks to the contributions of 29 corporate sponsors, the proceeds went to Camp Phoenix, the Boys & Girls Club of the Highland Lakes and the Legacy Fund; all reputable 501c3 organizations with a slant toward the outdoors and active youth.
So many worked so hard to pull this event off and there are so many to thank, but most particularly Texas Tournament Zone and River City Grille would like to recognize:
River City Grille and Paul and Connie Brady
The City of Marble Falls
Choke Canyon Lodge
Laguna Custom Rods
Best of the West Shooting Sports of Liberty Hill
Charles Whited and Barefoot Fishing Tours
Rick Smith and Marine Outlet
Lone Star Series and Oakley
Lee Beuershausen and Marble Falls Spa and Pool
R Payne Welding
Cliff Brown and Texas Boat World
Tuff Skinz Motor Covers
Fish Finders Marine and Jacky Roberts
Pro’s Choice Lures
Jarod Shelton and JaROD JIGS
austinbassfishing.com and Terry Williams
Mike Van Brocklin and Highlander Restaurant
And especially Kevin (Rooster) Zimmer for all his hard work and ongoing dedication to this event.
Thanks to all that fished with us and just wait till you see what’s in store for GFFK 2011…see y’all next year!