149 teams fished and 21 places were paid.
The second stop of the TTZ Trail landed on the shores of Lake LBJ Feb 16, 2013. As usual, we kicked things off with a Friday night registration party that included nearly 200 pounds of boiled crawfish, deer sausage and ice cold Lone Star and Lone Star Light. A cold front tried to put a damper on the boil, but the allure of hot bugs and live music prevailed and we had 80 teams preregistered before it was all said and done!
Morning always comes too soon after the Friday night registrations and along with temps in the mid 30s it brought a long line of bass boats eager to get on the water, but with the help of the TTZ Fishing Team and some close friends that assisted with launching and directing traffic most everyone made it to the water on time. When the last boat left there were 149 teams competing for over $20,000 in prize money on Saturday.
With reports of several 25-30 pound bags caught before the off limits period, and one local bass club previously weighing two fish that went 11.55 and 12.35 pounds during a club tournament, we were expecting some heavy weights and big bass to come to the scales. It took nearly 16 pounds to cut a check and well over 20 to break into the top five, but the BIG stories of the day were the 33.10 pounds weighed by the father and son team of Dale and Jake Read and the 12.73 pound Big Bass of Garrett Nelson and Justin Pollei!
We spoke to TTZ Fishing Team member Dale Read and he shared how this day on the lake with his son Jake, who is also a TTZ Fishing Team member, transpired.
“First Jake and I would like to thank TTZ for hosting the tournament and the great weekend that started Friday night with the mud bug boil, it was awesome! We would also like to thank my wife for allowing us to be gone every Saturday fishing somewhere for 11 months out of the year. Also thanks to all the anglers and sponsors, especially Skeeter Boats, Skeeter Real Money and Yamaha, who help make this trail what it is and where it’s going in the future. From an 85 boat average last year to the 127 boat mark in our first outing in January to the 149 boats that joined us on LBJ…exciting things are happening with TTZ!”
Dale and Jake drew boat 18 on Friday and with all the excitement Saturday morning trying to get all the anglers launched and parked they never had time to get their rods out of the rod locker before the tournament started. When they finally pushed off they ended up leaving around boat 28-30.
“We ran up to the mid-lake area where we practiced last Saturday and had the area to ourselves. We didn’t get a bite in our starting hole so we moved to our second stop on the east side of the lake on some shallow docks. Our first fish weighed around five pounds and came from under a dock on a Real Deal jig with a Pro’s Choice E’gr Craw trailer from Fish Finder’s Marine. Shortly after that Jake gets man handled by a big fish that found his way under a dock and gets him hung up and eventually broke him off. We were heart broken over that one getting off, but then I get bit on a Senko and the fish comes to the top of the water and shows himself and I tell Jake to grab the net, another six plus pound fish comes unbuttoned and my hook flies over my head; at that point we just look at each other in disbelief.”
After fishing a few more minutes they both realized they should be sitting on 18-20 pounds if those last two fish were landed. That didn’t sit well with Dale so they made another move into Horse Shoe Bay.
“We fish more docks behind another boat and I catch our second pig of the day on the jig. Jake throws his Senko in behind me and lands our third pig off the same dock! We moved to the other side and I catch another keeper fish on a jig; a few docks down we finally catch our fifth keeper. We keep fishing the area and a guy on the bank tells us we are about the eighth boat to hit this stretch of docks…Jake and I just look at each other and smile.”
At this point the father and son team realized this might be the best sack of fish in any tournament they have fished together if they could just get rid of two 15-16 inch keepers, they ended up running back up the lake to their starting water.
“We pulled up to the dock and I tell Jake if we can cull out the two little fish we can go weigh in early and on the next cast I catch another pig! Jake and I exchange knuckle busters and he says, ‘One more and we can go weigh in.’ We continue down the stretch of docks and I throw my jig way under the lift and felt a thump, set the hook and it is on! The fish swims around everything under the dock and then comes out to Jake with the waiting net. Another toad! Jake looks at me and asks if we were really headed to the scales. The time is 1:05 and I just smile and tell him it won’t get any better than this, put everything up, we are done!”
33.10 pounds on any lake is amazing, coming from a lake in Central Texas is nothing short of phenomenal! In fact, Dale and Jake’s weight might be the heaviest bag ever weighed in an open tournament on LBJ. The Reads earned $4,500 for the win and have an additional $3,000 in Skeeter Real Money coming to them as they were fishing out of a qualified 2013 Skeeter.
We spoke to Dale recently and by the sound of things we don’t think his feet have hit the ground just yet, congratulations Dale and Jake on a well-deserved victory and a very special father and son day on the lake!
Second place and $1,800 was also a family affair with brothers Jack Waldrop Jr. and Mike Waldrop weighing in 23.92 pounds. Jack Jr. revealed the only pattern they came across was staying primarily in one place as they caught their fish on everything including the proverbial kitchen sink.
“This may sound crazy but we caught fish from the surface all the way out to 30 feet of water. Started the day with a keeper from a small point on a top water, after that fish they never bit on top again. Our next fish came on a Texas rig and the third keeper bit a Carolina rig. We went a while without a bite so we slowed down and moved out a bit; I decided to pick up a DD22 and stuck our first big fish of the day.”
The Waldrops went hours without a bite so decided to head to an offshore spot.
“The area is more of a high point and I caught another good fish on the DD22, but after that we couldn’t get another quality bite we we headed back to our starting water. We junk fished for a while before I noticed the graph showing fish in deeper water, picked up a spoon and on the first drop caught our biggest bass of the day!”
Jr. also commented there were boats around the area all day so the fish had seen a lot of baits, what paid off for them was keying in on a slightly different depth and presentation. The Waldrops would like to thank Bee Caves BBQ and their family, The Angling Channel, All Core Construction and Jacky Roberts at Fish Finder’s.
Congrats Jack Jr. and Mike and see y’all soon on Austin!
Third place and just over half a pound behind the Waldrops were Ronny Maynard and Dean Alexander; their 23.23 pound bag earned the team $1,500.
From big sacks to big bass, Lake LBJ has them all; and calling this next fish big is a gross understatement. Along with their fourth place check worth $1,350, Justin Pollei and Garrett Nelson also won Big Bass with a near ShareLunker weighing 12.73 pounds worth an additional $1,500!
We caught up with Garrett and he gave us the details on this fish of a lifetime.
“First off I would like to thank all of the TTZ team and congratulate them on the hard work they put into these tournaments. It is one of the most well ran tournament trails I have fished. Mid day we were fishing a row of docks, my line got heavy all of the sudden so I set the hook. I knew it was a good fish but didn’t know how good. Luckily she headed to deeper water.”
Every bass angler knows this is a good indication of a big fish, after the initial run for deeper water time almost stands still until the fish finally comes up and makes its first appearance.
“She jumped the first time and I only was able to see the splash, Justin saw her and didn’t say how big she was because he knew I would freak out! She jumped for a second time and that is when I first saw her, and I did freak out…I knew she was a giant! She ended up jumping two more times and tried to wrap me up in the motor. Finally, Justin was able to scoop her up in the net; what a relief, I finally got her to the boat! We weren’t sure how big she was, but knew she was over 10 pounds. We put her in the live well and didn’t take her out again until weigh-in, when the scales read 12.73 pounds my jaw dropped. I have caught big fish before but not one this big, and to catch her in a tournament only made it that much better. We’ll see you guys next month!”
Thanks for the kinds words Garrett and congrats again to you and Justin! We’re pretty sure that fish made you nervous, but know for a fact it nearly gave Dale Read a heart attack. After the polygraph was completed the examiner told us they were half way through the exam when Booker told the crowd the 12.73 was the biggest bass he’d ever seen in real life; Dale thought he heard him say “bag” instead of “bass” and got so flustered they had to take a quick break before completing the exam!
Here are the remaining teams in the money:
It was an amazing weekend of good food, good times, good friends and GREAT fishing! Our motto is “Fish Hard, Play Harder” and we definitely like to have fun at our tournaments, but we realize the importance of fish care and take it very seriously. With the help of our friends Robby Payne and R Payne Welding, Dale Read and Alpha Painting, Gary Weimer and GW Irrigation, Steve Pack, Don Gordon and Alan Bell we were able to debut our new 1,800 gallon KeepAlive oxygenated live release tank at LBJ.
We like it, the kids like it and the fish seem to like it as well!
We are half way through the regular season and in order to qualify for the $10,000 Championship on Lake Travis October 26-27 you must register for three out of four regular season events or finish in the top 50% of the AOY standings. Next up is Lake Austin out of Emma Long City Park on March 16, this lake has a special place in our hearts and quite frankly it’s where TTZ all began. The spawn should be in full swing and we can’t wait to see what Austin kicks out!
As always, thanks to everyone that continues to support TTZ. If you haven’t fished with us before we invite you to come out and see what we are about, see y’all on Austin!