99 teams fished, 52 teams weighed in and 10 places were paid. Use the scroll bar on the right to view all the results.
Ninety-nine Tuff Man teams convened on Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir to compete in the third of four qualifying events. The morning started off cool with a light drizzle and stayed cloudy all day despite weather predictions of decreasing clouds and sunny skies. While the damp weather seemed to dampen the spirit of some contestants, several others rose above the competition and figured out what the fish were doing.
Heavy rains throughout the month of October caused Stillhouse to rise over 8 feet above full pool. Everyone knows that rising water generally causes fish to move shallow and provides an abundance of cover for bait and the predatory bass. But over the last several weeks the Army Corps of Engineers began releasing water through the dam to get it back to normal levels. This usually causes “lockjaw” and Stillhouse was no exception. Pre-fish reports were dismal and many contestants reported struggling to find fish. But rains in and around the Stillhouse area the day prior to competition caused the lake levels to start rising again, and the teams that followed the fish to the banks saw success.
Daren Sebek and Eric Kietzer did just that to the tune of 19.14 pounds. Eric reported that they went shallow early and caught fish all day long. They targeted aggressive fish, looking for a reaction bite with spinner baits. The biggest fish in their limit was just under five pounds so the other fish that made it to the scales were also solid keepers. Adjusting to what the fish were doing allowed Sebek and Kietzer to bring home the $2,500 first place prize!
The second place team of Wayne Anthony and Ronny Anthony bucked the shallow trend and targeted all of their fish by throwing Carolina rigs in 15-20 feet of water. Their 13.78 pound bag of fish earned them a check for $1,200 and also included the first place big bass of the tournament, a 7.87 lb Stillhouse beauty.
Rounding out the top three places were Tom Lorden and Grant Schnable. Their bite was slow for most of the day, but Stillhouse was proof positive that TTZ Fishing Team member Tom Lorden knows what to do when the going gets tough. Much like the first place winners, Lorden and Schnable went shallow early pounding the flooded bushes and timber with spinner baits; Tom boated a five pounder early and moments later followed it up with another solid keeper. They left that area but returned to their starting water to catch their other two keepers; all their fish came within a 200 yard stretch of bank in about a foot and half of water. Their efforts earned them a $1,000 pay day and produced a four fish bag weighing in at 12.22 pounds.
The Stillhouse event qualified another 12 teams to move on to the championship. The top 12 points teams that did not qualify through an event will also be invited to fish the championship on January 9, 2010, on Lake Stillhouse Hollow; teams will weigh-in during the Central Texas Boat Show at the Bell County Exposition Center in Belton, TX.
The last qualifier on the Tuff Man Trail is Lake Belton on December 12, 2009. Get your entries in early and save $50 (versus registering the day of the tournament).