TTZ Trail – Buchanan 5/12/12


68 teams fished and 11 places were paid.

Big Bass – Don Gordon and Jon Jackson – 6.92 lbs $660

TOTAL COLLECTED: $10,310 ($150 x 63 teams + $100 x 5 teams + $10 x 66 teams – $300 polygraph)

TOTAL CASH PAID OUT: $9,385 (91%)


68 boats came out to participate in the final regular season event of the 2012 TTZ Tournament Trail on a slightly rising Lake Buchanan. Big Buch hasn’t been as “big” the last several years due to drought conditions, but recent rains caused the reservoir to begin to creep up slowly. The water was off color slightly, particularly in the upper end; combine that with a prevailing northern and the anglers saw a lake a little different than the one they’d faced in practice. That brought the weights down from where we anticipated, but we still saw several good sacks and heard enough fish stories to know the big ones are in Buchanan.

Someone always gets ’em as they say, and it was once again the team of Jacky Roberts and Ken Wilkins who took their second victory of the season with a total weight of 23.87 pounds good for $3,000!

We had a chance to talk to Jacky about the Buchanan victory, and even though he has a tournament on Buchanan next week, he gave us a good idea of how they hooked their fish.

“First we wanna say thanks to TTZ, we have a ball fishing these things! But we caught our fish exclusively with Pro’s Choice E’gr Craws and a Strike King Sexy Dog. E’gr Craws for the better part of the day, and the Strike King topwater worked early.”

Jacky went on to tell us that the pre-fishing had told them the key was going to be finding bait. That scenario remained, but the new weather and wind direction made it a little more difficult to do that on Saturday.

“Found ‘em Friday a week prior with a south wind and bluebird skies, and today they moved about fifty yards due to a north wind and clouds. But we had what we weighed in by 9, and caught fish all day really. In fact, we threw back 15 or 16 pounds. It was weird throwing back 3 to 4 pounders that wouldn’t help us, but they really had been biting better in the stable weather in practice.”

The duo had some boats around them, but not a lot. And they bounced around to several areas within about a two mile radius to complete their bag. Interestingly, most of the areas they caught fish in they actually hit two or three times. Their final limit included a big fish of 5.90 pounds, which Jacky caught on the Sexy Dog about 8am. Congratulations to you Jacky and Ken, it has been an awesome year for you guys!

Taking second place, with a limit weighing 18.41 pounds and good for $1,350, was TTZ team member Tom Lorden and long-time partner Andy Zavala. We spoke with Tom about their day.

“Andy and I started our day fishing windblown main and secondary points, but most of our quality fish came from slack water close to these points. Having not been on the lake in over a year, we decided to fish the upper end of the lake that and spots that we were used to.”

That memory paid off; as Tom went on to explain.

“Our fish were caught on Senkos, GrandeBass Rattlesnakes and blades in anywhere from 2 to 10 feet of water, so there was really no depth pattern for us. We did have our limit by 11:00, and ended up culling three times by the end of the day. We would like to thank TTZ for all they do for these tournaments!”

Thank you Tom, and congratulations to you and Andy!

Third place and $1,000 were taken by Randall Christian, in an impressive solo effort, with a bag at 17.65 pounds which included a big fish of 5.75 pounds.

“I hadn’t really fished the trail because the boat has been down. You know I live up here, but I only had one afternoon of practice. In that afternoon though I found an area just full of shad! I didn’t catch much that day, but that is usually the case in the afternoon on Buch,” said Christian.

Using his years of tournament experience Randall surmised, and rightfully so, that with rising muddy water conditions, overcast skies, and windy banks that the better fish would be shallow and moving around with a “mudline not far away”.

“I caught the biggest fish early on a spinnerbait, where I expected a reflex bite. She, like most of them, wasn’t tight to anything; just cruising around a point. I caught the three biggest early and was able to catch fish all day, but the size got smaller on me. I managed to cull five times today.”

All of Randall’s fish came on a spinnerbait he told us, and the clear side of the mud line was more productive for him. He relayed that his biggest problem was no secondary areas to hit, which normally he would have had with more practice.

“I just stayed in that area all day long, which was hard to do for me! I had no lost fish to speak of but did have one that tied me up in brush pile. I think it would have helped, but only slightly though.”

Randall would like to thank Marine Outlet and Rick Smith, who got his boat back to him quickly enough to allow him to fish this event. Congratulations Randall on an incredible solo day!

Big bass honors for the second tournament in a row went to TTZ team member Don Gordon and partner Jon Jackson. Don explained how it went down.

“At mid-day Jon and I had three keepers and it seemed like the bite was getting tougher. We had been fighting the wind, so I said let’s go to the cove at Big Chief and do something different for a while. My buddy Phil Warren had recommended that we throw a chrome Bandit 200 and that we cover water…so we did.”

Don went on to tell us that the sun was playing peek-a-boo for them, but he could see some stumps in the middle of the shallow cove which was 2 to 5 foot deep.

“I cast the crankbait and bumped a stump and paused, and then the rod loaded up. Set the hook and the fish jumped and Jon threw his rod to get the net. Got her head up and Jon went deep with the net and scooped her!”

The big girl went 6.92 pounds, held for Big Bass, and a $660 payday for the team.

“Jon sighed and said at least we didn’t have to worry about 8lb line this time. My reply was…It is!”

Good job gentlemen!

Here are the remaining teams in the money:

4th place – Cody Bristow and Jason Stafford

5th place – Gilbert Torres and Kaena Freitas

6th place – Jason Dunbar and James Scogin

7th place – Shawn Markgraff and Shelby Floyd

8th place – Jack Waldrop Jr. and Mike Waldrop

9th place – Colin Pack and Steve Pack

10th place – Chad Maxwell and Nick Boatright

11th place – Jared Parker and Phillip Doubek

And special congratulations to Lance Hale and Barry Mott for securing Angler of the Year honors! They’ll receive a free entry into this year’s championship and next year’s entire regular season. Not too shabby fellas!

Speaking of the championship, we can’t wait to see our qualifiers at Choke Canyon next month. It is gonna be a barn burner folks, both on and off the water we assure you! Be sure to talk to Happy down at Choke Canyon Lodge and get your accommodations booked right away. The Lodge is fully booked, but she can be of assistance with some close by partnering facilities. Be sure to tell her you’re with the TTZ event.

We’d like to thank you all for fishing with us this year. In an inaugural year that included lots of interesting weather and scheduling conflicts, we are really happy with an 85 boat average. Just wait till next year though, we will have sponsor incentives and payouts that you won’t want to miss. Stay tuned!


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