Rambo and Clark Draw First Blood
Rambo and Clark Draw First Blood
JASPER, Texas - Sam Rayburn lived up to its reputation as a big-fish factory at the season-opening 2015 Cabela's Texas Team Trail event, kicking out 14 limits over 20 pounds and nearly a 30-pound limit to the winning duo of Cory Rambo and Rusty Clark. Equally impressive was their first-place payout of a Ranger Z119C powered by an Evinrude outboard, valued at $42,000, thanks to a record right at 300 teams registering.
Approximately one month ago, Rambo and Clark found a mid-lake staging area that was loaded with prespawn bass. The spot was special because it had both numbers and big fish, and it would continually replenish.
"We've been sitting on this one spot," said the 38-year-old Rambo. "We knew it was good because the fish we've been catching are white and pale. That told us they were coming and it has just kept reloading."
As boat No. 103 this morning, the two were worried somebody else would arrive there first. To their surprise, nobody was on it and the early bite was as good as they anticipated.
"We had a limit first thing this morning," recalled Rambo. "Rusty caught a 5-pounder and a little bit later I picked up an A-rig and caught a 7-pounder. At 8:30 the bite slowed a little and then we'd catch a good one every half hour or so. At about 1:30 we had a 7, two 6's, a 5 and a 3 1/2-pounder. Right then Rusty caught another 5-pounder on a Carolina rig and we were done."
Rambo said he and Clark caught approximately 40 keepers total and it was almost an even split between the Carolina rig and the Alabama rig. More specifically, the Alabama rig was a Yumbrella Flash Mob Jr. and behind it ran Zoom Swimmin Flukes. The Carolina rig was used with standard Flukes. Both had 25-pound test Sunline Structure fluorocarbon tied on and were fished in water 14 to 16 feet deep.
"It was a classic staging deal. It wasn't the baits so much as the area. We were just on top of the fish," added Rambo.
This is Rambo and Clark's seventh season fishing together as a team. They've claimed several tournaments and Angler of the Year titles in the area, but they said winning on Rayburn is always special.
"Man, it's hard to win here. There are so many good anglers and teams. There are easily 20 teams that could have come in with 30 pounds today. We knew were around fish, but it's pretty exciting to put it all together and win."
In addition to thanking their sponsors, Rambo and Clark wanted to extend sincere gratitude to their wives.
"They are really our biggest supporters."
Penney and Fowler take second
Chad Penney and Skeeter Fowler sacked a 26.65-pound limit to finish the opener in second place. The two earned $7,500 without any bonuses.
2nd place finishers Chad Penney and Skeeter Fowler hauled in over 26 lbs and earned $7,500
"We had a limit by 9:45 this morning with four good ones," said Penney. "We just could not get rid of that fifth fish. We culled our little one twice, but just by a tiny bit."
Penney said he and his partner were not targeting grass. Instead, the two were jigging a 30-foot drain.
"We were trying to catch them as they move from deep water to shallow water. Skeeter did all the prefishing and he found them."
Penney said he used a 1-ounce jig with a soft plastic craw trailer.
"We figure we were a 5-pounder away (from winning)," added Penney. "That's what we were aiming for. We're certainly happy with second though; we're not greedy."
Harvey brothers finish third
Brothers Rusty and Chris Harvey finished third with a five-fish stringer weighing 25.06 pounds.
"We caught a limit early on Carolina rigs with Zoom Brush Hogs and Lizards (green pumpkin color)," said Rusty, the older brother. "Then we switched and went to slow rolling the deep grass edges."
Out deep the Harvey brothers employed a white, 1-ounce Oldham spinnerbait with a white Little Dipper as a trailer.
"We used the swimbait trailer so we could slow it down. We were always in contact with the grass or the bottom. Most of the strikes came off the grass. We were sitting in about 15 feet and throwing back to about 12 to 13."
The Harvey brothers caught roughly 15 keepers on the day, culling out all the Carolina rig bass with spinnerbait fish.
"We had one 7-pounder and the rest were just solid fish. We did have a 2-pounder that we couldn't get rid of and we lost a few fish too. I don't think we had a chance to win and you're going to lose some fish; that's part of it. We're happy with what we had."
Mire-Matsubu fourth, father-and-son team fifth
In fourth place with five fish for 24.82 pounds was Brannon Mire and Ben Matsubu. Narrowly behind them was the father-and-son team of Robert Case Jr. and Robert Case III with 24.81 pounds.
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top 10 teams at the 2015 Cabela's Texas Team Trail event on Sam Rayburn:
6th: Jerrel Pringle and Keith Keele, 23.54
7th: Clay West and Clint West, 22.86
8th: Billy Guinn and John Lemaire, 22.29
9th: Randy Patin and Scotty Reynolds, 22.04
10th: Larry Byrd and Dave Bushnell, 21.87
The next Cabela's Texas Team Trail event is slated for Feb. 21 on Toledo Bend in Many, La., the second of four qualifying tournaments.