72 teams fished and 10 places were paid.
Texas Tournament Zone hosted the 2nd Annual Tyson Dever Lone Star Bass Classic September 15, 2012 on Lake LBJ. Up for grabs was a guaranteed grand prize of $5,000 to the winners, and that did not go unnoticed as 72 teams showed up to fish the event. LBJ had been kicking out some good sacks of fish leading up to the tournament, but drastic weather changes, including over five inches of rain and significant temperature drops into the 60s, had anglers questioning whether or not their established patterns would hold.
Fortunately, the inclement weather disappeared Saturday morning and the field was greeted with a perfect day to be on the lake. The first boat to leave McNair was also the first team to come back to the scales. Despite the 3 pm weigh-in time for the first flight of boats, Ronny Maynard and Paul Carman made the decision to cut their day in half and bring their fish in early. The first fish to come out of their bag was a 6.55 lb brute weighed for Big Bass, four more solid fish were added to that weight and when the scales settled at 21.49 lbs it was only 11:00 am!
Ronny and Paul went back out to practice for another tournament coming up, and when they came back to the weigh-in had to endure nearly an hour of limit after limit coming through before they were announced the winners. We talked to Paul about their short but very productive day.
“This was one of the most fun days I’ve had fishing! I knew Ronny had spent a considerable amount of time on the water leading up to the tournament, but the weather was completely different so we weren’t sure if the fish would still be in those areas. It didn’t take long for us to find out and I stuck a 3, 4 and our big fish in three consecutive casts! We had our limit shortly after 8 am and continued running docks and brush piles to cull up to our final weight. At 8:07 I noticed a couple of our better fish were struggling, tried to nurse them back but nothing seemed to work so we ran to the scales and weighed our fish at 11.”
When asked what the winning bait was, Paul chuckled and said, “What do you think I was throwing? A wacky Senko!” In fact, just 20 minutes after they went back out to fun fish, Ronny stuck a fish between 8-9 lbs on that very bait…when it’s your day to win everything just seems to work itself out whether it’s planned or not. Congratulations gentlemen on a well-deserved victory!
Second place and $1,500 went to TTZ team member Chris Conner and Garret Nies, they came in about an hour early and were the first to give Maynard and Carman a run for the money. The team briefly took over the lead for Big Bass with a 7.25 lb fish, and when they followed it up with another 6 pounder you can bet Maynard and Carman began questioning their decision to come in so early.
Chris commented about their eventful day.
“We started the day in the mid lake area but didn’t have a bite for the first hour and started think it may be a tough day. Then I had a blow up on a topwater and immediately threw back in with a soft plastic. BAM! nice fish on. She ran hard around and under the boat and finally up into the net, we both looked at each other and said it’s nice to have a 6 lber for the first fish in the box. We then moved to another area and started catching a number of bass in the 1.5 to 3 pound range when Garret sets the hook and says it’s a good one. I run for the net and scoop up our biggest fish. At this point it’s around 10 am and we’re feeling pretty good with our sack of around 18 lbs or so, but our work wasn’t done because we knew it would take 20+ to win.”
Chris and Garret moved around to several other areas throughout the day and culled three of their smaller fish. But like several teams on this day, fish care and a half pound deduction for an expired fish caused a slight change in plans.
“Around 2 pm one of our 3 pounders looked stressed so we made the decision to weigh-in early and not risk a fish care penalty. When we got to the scales Ronny and Paul were there and had already weighed in their giant bag of fish. We’re all huddled around the scales intensely waiting to see the numbers light up; our two big fish were bigger than we thought, tipping the scales at 7.25 and 6 lbs. I remember Ronny saying, ‘They’ve got us.'”
When the final weight read 20.64, Chris and Garret fell less than a pound shy of the mark to beat. Chris would like to thank Tyson and TTZ for putting on a great tournament to help raise money for the Lonestar Paralysis Foundation.
Congratulations are also in order for Jason Stafford taking third place and Big Bass for a total purse of $1,510! Jason was the third team to the scales and was fishing solo…that is, except for his four-legged friend Bumper.
“Fished with him twice ever in a tourney prior to this and won both of ‘em. Usually I don’t take him because he gets awful excited hopping around when I’m trying to net a fish. But I guess he’s good luck!”
You bet he is! Jason fished the lower end primarily, using soft plastics both Texas and Carolina rigged. And the fish seemed to be everywhere he casted; that is, after the morning’s slow start.
“It started real slow, I caught three dinks on the first spot in the morning. But one was a 3.5 and it swallowed the hook so I threw it back. It swam off but that was pretty risky because I let it go with no fish in the box, and I really started to think about that decision when it was 10 in the mornin’ and I only had two dinks.”
But he stuck with it, and ran into a flurry of fish.
“I pulled up to a ledge and bang, bang caught a 3 and a 4! Then went to a deep rock pile and caught another about 3.5. Went to a point at about noon, threw out and as soon as the bait hit the water my line took off and started peeling drag. That was the big one for the tourney and really made me start to think I had a chance!”
But then Jason noticed his smallest fish of 2.5 lbs was struggling. He debated releasing it then, but fishing had slowed down for him so he decided to keep it. It ended up to be the wrong choice.
“I caught about four more 3.5 pounders, but now I can’t cull my smallest fish because he was upside down and just barely gillin’. Didn’t feel right to cut him loose. That fish dying cost me the tourney maybe, but several folks might of had something similar happen, including Ronny and Paul…so you never know.”
As far as depth is concerned, Jason literally fished from 3 to 24 feet!
“Fishing everything is the secret to LBJ. So many fish in this lake that they are everywhere it seems. It is a lake that doesn’t usually have a real defined depth pattern in my experience.”
Jason claimed a time frame about mid-day for a little over an hour when things got pretty special. Jason wanted us to thank a couple buddies that taught him how to fish, Cody Bristow and John Ratliff. And he’d really like to thank his wife Vicinta for all her support.
Here are the remaining teams in the money:
Tyson and his family would like to recognize Bright Valve, Rosa’s Cafe, Midani, Hinkle and Cole law firm, Don and Gina Reese, GE, Fish Finders Marine and Loma Rentals for making this tournament possible; and a very special thanks to the BBQ team of Kevin Sells, Marty Watson, Rosco Stermer and Jeff Dodd for cooking up the delicious brisket, sausage and beans at the weigh-in!
And in case you missed it, Kevin Sells was promoting an innovative product you need to check out. Caliber Outdoor Products has developed the “Fisherman’s Assistant” Deep Hook Remover; the “Fisherman’s Assistant” is specifically designed to remove hooks that are embedded deep in the throat of a fish. Their slogan says it all; “DON’T RIP IT OUT…FLIP IT OUT!” You can find out more about them at www.caliberoutdoors.com.
We couldn’t have asked for better weather to pull off this event, a great time was had by all beginning at the Friday night meeting all the way up until the last bag of fish was weighed. But most importantly, we’d like to thank all of the anglers that came out to support Tyson in raising funds for the Lone Star Paralysis Foundation. With your continued support we can all help fund the research, advanced recovery and community outreach to get people out of those chairs.
Although this was a benefit tournament, the generous donations allowed Tyson to pay back 100% of all entry fees directly back to the anglers. The future is very bright for this inspiring young man and TTZ is very honored to have been a part of this year’s tournament and Tyson’s future endeavors. You may follow Tyson and the Lone Star Bass Classic through his Facebook page and learn more about booking him to speak at www.tysondever.com.
We look forward to seeing everyone next year; congratulations to all the teams in the money and tight lines from all of us at TTZ!