Mar 02

JONESTOWN, Texas (March 2, 2019) — A key decision to forego the presumed seasonal pattern led to a runaway victory for Paul Stokes and David Hogge, who caught a 5-bass limit that weighed 23.84 pounds in the season opener of the 2019 Texas Team Trail, presented by Cabela’s, at Lake Travis.

While many of their competitors fished on or close to the bank, Hogge said he knew the 55-degree water temperature plus the week’s cold front had this Colorado River Impoundment chillier than normal for this time of the year. That, he said, put the brakes on the fish’s spawning movement.

“That’s why the fish were still hanging out in the prespawn areas,” Hogge said. “Most people were fishing the bank and trying to force-feed fish that had not moved up. Almost every boat we saw was fishing the bank; very few were out fishing deep.”

The winners fished the Pace Bend area and caught all of their fish on a ledge that dropped from 20 feet down to about 50. Most of their bites came in the 20- to 35-foot range. As Stokes explained, they had originally planned on looking shallow until a huge clue fell in their lap during practice.

“This was one of Dave’s old spots where he won a tournament back in 2001 when they were up spawning,” Stokes said. “As I was pulling in, I said ‘Dang Dave, there are tons of fish out here on the ledge. So, we went up and practiced shallow and when we didn’t catch anything, we came back out and fished that ledge. I caught an 8-pounder and a keeper and left.”

On tournament day, the spot delivered all of their weight fish, including a 7.66 that took Big Fish honors. Stokes and Hogge caught eight keepers out of 11 fish total. They had their limit by 10:30 and they wrapped up the winning sack two hours later.

“It was a 200-yard ledge and we worked it all,” Stokes said. “It was one here, one there. Three of them came pretty close together, but we worked the whole ledge. We caught one on one end of the ledge, one on the other and three kind of in the middle.”

Stokes and Hogge caught their fish on a Carolina rig with a 1-ounce weight and a full size Zoom Brush Hog in watermelon candy red, a 1/4-ounce Owner Shaky Head with a green pumpkin Grande Bass Rattle Snake worm and a 3/4-ounce Strike King football jig with a Zoom Baby Brush Hog in watermelon candy red.

“We just kept showing them different baits,” Hogge said. “We knew we were going to be there all day, so there was

The ledge had a mix of rocky edge and brush piles and both features produced bites. The shaky head proved most productive, but the winners employed a strategic tactic to draw attention to their baits.

“We were getting our baits hung in the rocks and popping them out, kind of like stroking a jig,” Stokes said. “Anytime we’d get hung in one of those rocks, instead of working it out, we’d pop it out. It was a reaction bite. We were trying to get stuck in those rocks so we could pop it out and get a reaction bite out of them.

“That’s how Dave caught the big fish on a Carolina rig. He was hung on a rock and stroked it out and the fish slammed it.”

Stokes said he and his partner fished clean — no lost fish. Hogge points diversified presentations as another important element.

“It was just showing them different baits all day long,” he said. “We knew we were going to spend all day in that one area, so there was no sense in throwing one bait all day long. We kept changing it up.”

For their efforts Stokes and Hogge earned a Triton TRX 189 with a 150 Mercury. In addition, they claimed $2,010 of Anglers Advantage cash. Their total payday, including $1,100 for Big Fish was $35,105.

Brossett-Allen second

Making a key move late in the day delivered a big chunk of the second-place catch for Brandon Brossett and Kevin Allen who weighed in 17.81 pounds of Lake Travis bass. Their $7,224 prize included $1,474 in Anglers Advantage cash and a $250 Ranger Boats contingency bonus.

“We started in the back of a creek with flooded grass and willows on the edge of the creek channel,” Brossett said. “We threw wacky-rigged green pumpkin Zoom Trick Worms and caught two of our keepers.

“About 1, we decided to go to a rock that Kevin had found in the mouth of another creek about 6 miles away. We caught three more keepers there, including two 6-pounders.”

The two kickers were caught on a Yumbrella rig with Gambler EZ swimbaits — white on the outer positions, smoke in the center. Their other keeper bit a 3/16-ounce 6th Sense shaky head with a green pumpkin Zoom Trick worm.

Warren-Derrick third

Ryan Warren and Jason Derrick got their work done fairly early on Lake Travis and ended up taking a third-place sack of 17.47 pounds to the scales. Their day started at the lake’s upper end and on their stop, they visited an area of flooded bushes where they had caught a good fish last year in another event.

“We ended up catching a limit in there,” Warren said. “Pretty much everything we did was in there. We left and ran around the rest of the lake, but at the end of the day, it was
all done in one little cove. We had our weight by about 10 in the morning.”

Their top bait was a 3/8-ounce white/chartreuse spinnerbait with a big gold willow and a smaller gold Colorado blade. Given the cold water, they slow rolled their baits.

“We hadn’t been down here in a year, so we came into the event looking for prespawners,” Warren said. “We didn’t want to look for any beds because we didn’t want to spend time doing that and no be able to find them. We were catching most of out fish a few feet off the bank; just up there staging.”

For third place, Warren and Derrick earned $4,640, which included $1,340 in Anglers Advantage cash.

Barnes-Barnes fourth, Brinson-Brinson fifth

Adrian Barnes and Daniel Barnes weighed five bass worth 15.17 pounds, taking fourth place and earning $3,339. Behind them was Don Brinson and Beau Brinson with 14.86 pounds. For fifth place, they earned $2,655.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 teams at the 2017 Texas Team Trail event on Toledo Bend:

6th: Lee Beuershausen and Randy Grounds - 13.59
7th: James Hester - David Shuster - 13.58
8th: CJ Oates - Deron Mueller Jr - 13.26
9th: Lee Batson - John Fleming - 12.61
10th: Elton Brock - Jay Childs - 12.25

Up next

The second event of the 2019 season for the Texas Team Trail presented by Cabela's is slated for April 6 on Lake Texoma.