59 teams fished and 5 places were paid.
With 2012 coming to an end Texas Tournament Zone held an open tournament on Lake Travis to help cure some anglers of their cabin fever. The event was a shortened format from first light to noon with a friendly $40 entry fee just to make things interesting, and things definitely got interesting when 59 teams showed up to compete in our very first “winter” open!
The idea behind this tournament was to give new anglers the opportunity to meet the TTZ crew and each other; but don’t let the casual environment fool you, there was no shortage of competition in this very stacked field of central Texas’ best!
The few weeks prior to the tournament had reports of 15-18 pound limits with a number of healthy 4-5 pound bass falling victim to the jig, and even with extremely calm conditions and morning temperatures in the low 40s there were plenty of fish being caught up shallow. However, Saturday threw the field a curve ball as a warming trend raised the air temperature nearly 20 degrees with a stiff breeze blowing through early morning and continuing for most of the day.
Winning the tournament with 16.81 pounds and taking home $600 was the team of Lynn Pierce and Lee Evans. Always a threat to win on this lake, Lee shared some details with us.
“We were pretty excited going into it. Lynn had a game plan and some water to hit, and we wanted to see if it would hold up. Started out by making a run up lake along with three fourths of the field! We stopped at a little spot Lynn wanted to start and caught our first keeper there. We worked that bank for a while and Lynn followed it up with another solid keeper on a jig. We ran to a few more spots and I flipped a Senko up in one of them and caught a pretty good fish; right after that I caught our big fish, a little over 5 pounds, in the same spot. I threw back in there again and caught another fish!”
We asked Lee what the bait of choice was for this three-peat and he divulged it was a “magic” colored Senko. By this time Lynn started throwing the Senko and culled one of their fish; after running to a different area Lynn followed up with another cull on the jig before Lee caught a 4 pounder on the Senko. Lee went on to explain the pattern, or lack thereof.
“It was just a couple of key ‘do nothing’ banks. All the fish came shallow, around 4-6 foot of water. It started a little slow but they chewed for us all day long. I gotta say that wacky rig Senko with the new weedless Gamakatsu wacky rig hook is awesome! When you stuck a fish it was hard to get the hook out…that’s for sure. And of course Lynn is the jig man, and the jig and Senko was our one-two punch. We wanna thank the big guy upstairs, and I’d like to thank my wife for understanding and for letting me go out to do this and relieve a little stress. Gotta also thank Certified Arbor Care of course. We really enjoyed the weigh in-party, it was a lot of fun!
Congrats Lynn and Lee on another well-deserved win on Lake Travis!
Our second place finishers were the team of Zach Brown and Webb Fry, with a 14.86 pound sack worth $500! Zach hung around for a bit to give us an idea of how they caught them.
“We caught all our fish in 1 to 5 foot of water on the first primary structure off the bank, but nothing specific. Fished from Dink all the way up hitting a lot of water to get the right bites. We caught 10 all day with six of them being keepers, a couple of those fish were smaller guads though.”
But if the hours would have been longer for this tournament it sounds like Zach and Webb would have had even more success.
“The bite was getting better when the time ran out. We would have liked to have fished longer, that’s for sure! In fact, the last two fish of the day were a double up; one of them was the second biggest of the day and the other culled a smaller keeper. A couple of our fish came on a jig with an E’gr Craw trailer, the rest bit a reaction bait moved pretty fast.”
Congrats to Zach and Webb for a solid bag of fish and a second place finish in a tough field of Travis veterans! They’d like to thank Jacky at Fish Finders Marine and Wide Open Spaces.
Our third place team, missing second by a mere .01 pounds, were the accomplished father and son team of Gary and Trey Groce. If you fish Lake Travis often you’ve definitely seen these gentlemen in the money before. We caught up with Trey and found out how they caught their 14.85 pounds.
“We fished mid-lake to start and had a lot of company in that area. We really focused on clay points with ‘spider’ stumps, as I like to call them. They are old stumps where the clay keeps eroding away and exposing more roots all the time, the fish really like that cover this time of year. I had marked a bunch of the more sizable ones when the lake was down, and we concentrated our efforts on those. Hit them all day with a jig and a big worm. Caught a lot of fish in the 2.5 pound range with the bigger ones around 4 pounds. We caught 20-25 all day and about 80% were keepers because of the bigger baits we were using. But the fishing seemed to be best early and around the end of the tournament.”
Well done gentlemen! Trey would like to thank Diablo Paddle Sports and Fish Finder’s Marine.
Coming in with the Big Bass of the day were TTZ team members Robby Crabb and Brian Hughes. They caught a devil of a fish weighing in at 6.66 pounds and worth $300. Robby told us the big fish story of the day.
“I caught it on a Strike King 6XD in Chartreuse Sexy Shad on a bluff end in the Briar Cliff area. The point had a small lip that went from 1 to 25 foot and the fish was on that drop off. We had started the day in the backs of creeks up around the split that were full of shad but only caught little ones. But then we moved down to the Briar Cliff area and started hitting bluff docks, bluff rocks and bluff ends throwing jigs and cranks. Brian picked up our first keeper around 8:30 and I boated that big fish around 9. We worked our way back to Dink but could only catch dinks…fitting name I guess! It was pretty slow for us and really I just got a lucky bite, but we were glad to get a check!”
Good job guys, as they say any given cast can change an otherwise tough day into some gas money!
Rounding out the teams in the money were Bill Wittie and Dan Gibson with 14.67 pounds in fourth and Jayson Kisselburg and Dean Goldman with 11.60 pounds for fifth place.
After the weigh-in the anglers were treated to a fish fry, and to make things even better there was also plenty of ice cold Lone Star on hand to wash it all down along with a generous sample of GrandeBass plastics for the taking!
We also took the opportunity to introduce our new relationship with Skeeter/Yamaha for the 2013 TTZ season, and Joey Eischen from South Austin Marine was in attendance with a beautiful 2013 FX 21 powered by a 250 SHO.
If you’ve fished with us before you know what TTZ is all about, and with Skeeter/Yamaha backing us next year it only means MORE FUN and MORE MONEY! We are GUARANTEEING the top three places in the TTZ Trail along with $10,000 at our two day Championship.
And this is just the beginning, stay tuned for exciting news about Skeeter Real Money across all TTZ tournaments! More information will be updated soon.
We’d like to sincerely thank all the anglers that came out to fish with us and look forward to seeing everyone on Lake Travis in January. Our December Open will be an annual tournament so if you missed this event be sure to catch us in 2013…you won’t be disappointed!