Texas Team Trail Presented by Cabela’s Wraps up Toledo Bend Event

Texas Team Trail Presented by Cabela’s Wraps up Toledo Bend Event

Feb 23

Winning anglers weight a 35-pound, five-fish stringer

NORMAN, Okla. (February 23, 2015) - Bart Blakelock, of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and James Benedict, of Torbert, Louisiana, brought 35.56 pounds of bass to the scales to win the 2015 Texas Team Trail presented by Cabela's (TXTT) event at Toledo Bend on Feb. 21. The anglers won a fully rigged Triton 189 TRX powered by a Mercury outboard, valued at $28,500.

Historically, Toledo Bend has been known as a great place to go and catch numbers of largemouth bass. Its neighbor to the west, Sam Rayburn, owns the long-standing reputation of holding trophy fish, those rare giants that weigh over 8 pounds.

At the second Cabela's Texas Team Trail event of 2015, Bart Blakelock and James Benedict proved that times are a changing. Toledo Bend is now producing both numbers and giants, as evidenced by the winning team catching three bass over 8 pounds, including a jaw dropping 11.42-pound kicker.

Blakelock and Benedict opted to fish a small ditch on the north side of the lake. The two anglers had a good feeling about the area, despite the wet and windy conditions.

"We fished it a week ago and the water temperature was up to about 58 or 59 degrees," said Blakelock. "Today, it was cooled down to about 53 or 54, which I thought was good for a Rat-L-Trap bite."

Blakelock explained that he and Benedict were targeting staging fish in six to eight feet that were on the way in. The area was protected from the blustery weather and the water clarity was perfect - stained, but not too dirty.

"There was a little patch of hydrilla at the end of the ditch," said Blakelock. "That was the best spot; it was about the size of two pickup trucks. We just went back and forth on that 25-yard stretch of ditch all day. I was throwing into about four and dragging into the six- to eight-foot ditch."

Benedict got the morning started off on the right foot. On just the second cast of the day, he loaded up on the 11.42 kicker.

"When he first hooked it, I got the net and thought it was about a seven- or eight-pounder," recalled Blakelock. "But when it got closer I tried to put it in the net and I didn't think it was going to fit in there at first."

The kicker fish earned the anglers an extra $1,270 for the Big Bass award.

Jonathan Simon of Orange, Texas, and Cade Durio, of Lake Charles, La., sacked a 26.28-pound limit to take home the $6,350 second-place prize. The anglers added $1,727 in Anglers Advantage cash and $250 for the boat bonus award.

Simon and Durio fished the mid-lake region and targeted points in 18 to 20 feet of water.

"We positioned the boat in 10 feet of water and used our Talons to pole down," said Durio. "That made it easy to make the right cast in that wind. And having a Ranger made getting to all those points a lot easier. Once we got set up, we caught everything on Carolina rigs with Bass Candy Flukes."

Clint West, of Beaumont, Texas, and Clay West, of Lumberton, Texas, finished third with a five-fish stringer weighing 26.09 pounds. The brothers took advantage of the Anglers Advantage and boat bonus contingency programs to add $1,570 and $250, respectively, for a total of $5,630 in total winnings.

"We started off throwing a trap and caught only one, so we changed to an Alabama rig and moved to some deeper water in the back of Housen Bay," said Clay West. "Right away I caught one about 3.5 pounds. Then there was another tournament that let out and it looked like a parade coming at us. But we stayed in our area and ended up having over 21 pounds by noon."

The two eventually changed spots and continued to catch quality bass, but no kickers.

"We decided to return and finish the day at that same spot. We caught a 6.5-pounder on a Carolina rig with 20 minutes left in the tournament."

The next tournament stop for the TXTT is set for March 28 at Lake Ray Roberts. The 2015 schedule includes some legendary Texas bass fisheries and features huge payouts with unprecedented contingency opportunities.

For additional information, anglers are encouraged to call 210-788-4143 or check out the TXTT website at www.texasteamtrail.com. Site visitors can register for events, review the television schedule, get official Texas Team Trail gear, view results and learn more about what's in store for 2015.

Texas Team Trail events are made possible through the sponsorship and continued support of these well-respected brands: Cabela's, Ranger Boats, Lucas Oil, Evinrude, RAM, Mercury, Minn Kota, Triton Boats, Power-Pole, Amphibia, Arctic Ice, Stratos Boats, Lowrance, Navionics, Protect the Harvest, General Tire, SuperClean, Mustang Survival, iON Cameras, Garmin, Valley Fashions and Powertex Group.

For full results, please go to www.texasteamtrail.com/tournaments/events-results.