Tuff Man – Waco 9/11/10


109 teams fished, 77 teams weighed in and 11 places were paid. Use the scroll bar on the right to view the complete results.

109 teams showed up Saturday to compete in the first Tuff Man event of the 2010 season on Lake Waco. Recent monsoons brought the lake up almost seven feet at the crest, and the Corp of Engineer lake was frantically releasing water. As a result, the anglers were dealing with dropping water and chocolate milk like visibility during the tournament. These adverse conditions destabilized some of the deeper fish and the shallow flipping patterns that many of the Waco sticks had reported in practice; add dangerous heat and humidity levels, and you are in for a big party! As you can imagine, many teams zeroed. But as expected some teams found the fish; and as we say in fishing, they always do! Payouts went to the top 11 teams with the top 12 qualifying for the Championship on Lake Belton in January.

The top three teams were not reached for comment, but had a lot to crow about. Winning the tournament was a team from Waco, David Underwood and Denny Copeland. They had an incredible bag for conditions at 20.04 pounds! This mammoth sack earned them a $2,500 check, and a berth into the coveted championship event. Congratulations David and Denny!

Taking second, and also from the Waco area, was the team of Johnny Snyder and Dennis Schmedthorst. They were just short of the first place bag with 19.27 pounds, but it was worth $1,700 for them.

Third place was a team from Temple, Billy Freeman and Dennis Garner, with 17.41 pounds and good for $1,500.

We here at Texas Tournament Zone wanted to recognize a few team members, as they qualified for the Championship right out of the gate!

First, the TTZ team of Tom Lorden and Grant Schnabel finished sixth with 16.87 pounds for $800; they had a productive day by concentrating on shallow water and fishing the newly flooded green bushes and trees. Their primary area was a submerged gravel roadbed surrounded by flooded brush; Tom and Grant caught their limit early and ended up culling five times for the day using spinnerbaits and flukes. Tom told us more after the tournament.

“We aren’t very familiar with Waco and this is only the second time I’ve been on the lake; we fished the same areas as we did last year, but with much better results! Grant and I threw spinnerbaits around flooded bushes and trees for the first two hours of the day. I was throwing a 1/2 ounce double willow War Eagle Screamin’ Eagle in chartreuse and white I picked up from Jacky Roberts at FishFinders Marine and Grant was throwing a white spinnerbait with a chartreuse trailer.”

The team immediately started catching fish on blades and after a couple of short fish, Tom hooked their first keeper and had to go “diving” after it.

“That fish came up and jumped and I knew it was a solid four pounder…it then wrapped me up in a bush so we had to go after it. I leaned over the boat and reached down as far as I could, even had to hold my breath a couple times as my shoulder was completely submerged at times. After a couple minutes I was finally able to grab it’s tail and free it from the tree. I was using 17 pound fluoro so wasn’t afraid of the line breaking, but that fish was tangled up good and there was no way we were going to land it without me going in after it.”

Tom and Grant worked the same 100 yard stretch back and forth with spinnerbaits picking up two more small keepers and another solid fish that went 4.98 pounds; it was only an hour into the tournament and they were feeling pretty good about things. But as the sun came up the fish were not as eager to hit the blade, so they decided to slow it down and started moving around trying to find similar areas. They targeted pockets with gradual sloping shorelines where grass, weeds and shrubs were now submerged and filtering out the water. Grant gave us some insight to how they finished out their limit and culled up to nearly 17 pounds for the day.

“Later in the day the fish seemed to prefer a slow moving fluke style soft jerkbait, completely deadsticked at times right up in the grass. We continued picking up fish on most of the similar spots we located. Even though we were boat number 53, we were completely sun burned and dehydrated so decided to head to the ramp as the first flight came in. All of the fish we caught came on spinnerbaits and flukes in less than 3 feet of water with a couple as deep as 6-8 feet”.

Tom also added,

“It was a crazy day on the water to say the least as bees kept flying around Grant all day; they must have been attracted to that bright lime green shirt he was wearing! I felt bad because Grant is allergic to bees and they were swarming out of the shallow trees we were fishing. But I guess gambling with Grant’s life paid off since we were able to qualify for the Championship!”

Congrats Tom and Grant…way to go on bringing in a solid limit of fish while avoiding possible death from an allergic reaction! Now that’s what you call dedication to the sport.

Finishing 10th and taking home a check for $400 was the TTZ team of Landon Glass and Brian Booker. Brian told us about their day.

“I think everybody on the lake was scratching their heads; I know we were. Landon had pre-fished and was on a very decent mainlake bite with a crankbait prior to the rains, but that shift changed everything. We had a good draw at boat number 10, but debated on where to start. Decided to head for an island with a nice point and some flooded brush that Landon had scouted in practice. It was some of the best looking water on the lake with pea gravel, laydowns, flooded brush, tons of bait and clearer water; outside of one dink keeper on a spinnerbait, a few swirls/blow ups and a few unders…nothing.”

That’s when things got interesting for this team.

“At 11am we had one 14 incher in the livewell, and it was looking dismal to say the least! We decided to head to a few marinas and fish some clearer water and rip rap. That was the deal for us. In a two hour flurry, we were culling and put a 6.5 pounder in the well. The ticket was a wacky Senko up on the rocks. Most, including the big girl, bit in less than two feet.”

Brian had some more to say about the Tuff Man series.

“Hats off to Rick Smith and the whole crew for a well run tournament! It really speaks to the quality of this tournament, and the intrigue of the Championship, when Tuff Man drew over 100 boats to this event with the flooded conditions and in this economy. Talk about pulling power…this trail has it for sure!”

If you have not fished a Tuff Man event, we recommend you give it a try. The $10,000 championship tournament and drive though weigh-in during the Central Texas Boat Show is one of the coolest things around, but you can’t get there if you don’t fish the qualifiers. The next qualifying event will be October 16th on Lake Limestone; more information is available here. See you all on the water!


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