Jasper, Tx-January 14, 2018- Whether it is January or February in Southeast Texas, we all know that planning a tournament weekend in either of these months is a crap-shoot when it comes to the weather. "Temps could be in the 20's or the 70's around here. All we can do is monitor it and make decisions based on what we get" said SETX board member Tom Selman of PNG.
SETX President Bryan Thomas of Lumberton said this, "We have been monitoring the weather all week and we know it is going to be cold. The wind is what has us worried and we will monitor it right up until tournament time". High winds and temps in the 30's greeted teams on Friday who elected to do any pre fishing, but the evening hours on Friday saw the winds lay and forecasts improving for tournament day. When asked about the conditions for tournament day, tournament director John Salamone had this to say Friday evening. "All of the forecasts we are observing have the winds out of the north at no more than 10 mph for tomorrow. That is very good news for all of us. It's gonna be cold, but the lighter winds will allow our teams to move about the lake freely and safely." concluded Salamone.
Saturday morning temps plunged to the upper 20's at start time and winds were exactly as forecasted as over 500 teams from throughout Southeast Texas hit the waters of Big Sam to open up the 2018 season. Most teams were on the water pretty early to avoid the crowds at the ramps and most elected to fish close to launch sites to avoid the long cold boat rides. Many teams elected to call it a day early as morning temperatures hovered in the low 30's and fish failed to cooperate. The remaining teams hoped for warmer temps later and with that, more active fish as well.
TACKLE ADDICT First Place Team- 16.30 LBS-Livingston HS- Breckett Long and Kaden Mueck- Boat Captain Hec Long
January may not be everyone's favorite month to fish Sam Rayburn, but this team from Livingston may be wishing all the events were in January. "We have had a pretty good run on this lake in January in our last 4 HS events" said Capt Hec Long. Both last year and this year, the team had won 2 January tournaments in other HS events on Rayburn leading up to the SETX opener. With a second place SETX finish last January and a first place finish on Saturday, it would be safe to say these guys have a pretty good idea what the fish are doing when the water is cold on Big Sam. Having launched at Monterrey Park and making a little run up the lake, the team reported using Football Jigs in 30+ foot of water to accumulate over 16 LBS of Rayburn bass. "The fish were set up on really steep ledges" said Capt Long. The pair of 13 year old's were able to start culling very early (around 7:30 am). When asked of any special "tactics" the two may have deployed, Capt Long replied "No secrets other than these two kids just want it more than anything else. They put their time in and they learn quick". The team wished to thank their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ above all, their mother's for letting them do what they love, our father's for teaching us this great sport, the LHS fishing team sponsors, LHS fishing team, SETX, and all of those who have anything to do with making this possible.
Second Place Team- 15.76 LBS- West Sabine HS- Hunter Muncrief and Landen Mccary- Boat Captain William Muncrief
Top 3's and Top 10's are not uncommon for this team from West Sabine. Veterans of the SETX HS Series, the team of Muncrief and Mccary proved once again that they will be players in the SETX Anglers of the Year race with a second place finish this past weekend. "We fish tournaments all over Texas and throughout the South and I just want to say that nothing even comes close to what SETX provides to the young anglers of Southeast Texas" said Capt. Muncrief. Having pre fished on Friday and launching at Harvey Creek, the team was able to locate some "old" mid lake spots with some scattered grass in the 6-10 foot range that was holding fish. "The Lews reels paired with Falcon rods really helped the kids make the long casts required with the Alabama Rig we were using. Using SETX sponsored V&M Thunder Shad Jr swimbaits on the A-Rig proved to be a key in extracting those fish" continued Muncrief. The team wished to thank V&M Baits, Falcon Rods, Anderson's A/C, Allman Company, Sister's Boutique, Jerry's Collision, LP's 4x4, Jasper Exxon, QCS, Fairmont Family Practice, as well as other West Sabine and SETX Sponsors.
Third Place Team- 15.73 LBS- Hamshire Fannett HS- Tanner Deshotel and Garrett Picou- Boat Captain Jay Hagen
In most SETX tournaments, just over 15 LBS would not be enough for a top 3 finish, but in January, it is quite the accomplishment and that is exactly what the team from Hamshire Fannett did as they squeezed their way into to top 3 and just .03 lbs short of a second place finish. The team reported having found fish the weekend before, but were unable to get to those fish due to the uncertain weather. So like any good team, they improvised and made the best of the situation by settling in on a shallow water mid lake grass pattern. We have all heard the old saying "you can always catch bass shallow", well this team took that advice!! Having launched at Sandy Creek, the team utilized an old Rayburn standby and SETX sponsor, Rat-L-Trap, to accumulate almost 16 LBS of Rayburn bass in water as shallow as 2 feet. The team reported catching their final fish around 1:20 to finish out their limit. "We never culled any fish. The fish we caught were the ones we brought to the scales."said Capt Hagen. Now that is efficiency! One thing the team was able to clue in on that helped tremendously was birds chasing bait in the shallow grassy areas. "When we saw the birds, we knew the fish were not far behind" concluded Capt Hagen.
Rest Of Top Ten
4th Place- 14.67 LBS/ Kirbyville HS/ Blake Bailey and Evan Greninger
5th Place- 14.23 LBS/ Nederland HS/ Logan Williams and Jacob Mcdonald
6th Place- 13.94 LBS/ PNG HS/ Tyler Faulk and Kyle Stegall
7th Place- 13.54 LBS/ LCM HS/ Spencer Brister and Justin James
8th Place- 13.48 LBS/ Livingston HS/ Aubrey Barnes and Cory Deblasio
9th Place- 13.36 LBS/ Evadale HS/ Kyler Kirkland and Ashton Granger
10th Place- 12.45 LBS/ Jasper HS/ Bryce Gaston and Logan Gaston
Top 3 Big Bass
1st- 7.84 LBS/ West Sabine HS/ Hunter Muncrief and Landen Mccary
2nd- 7.53 LBS/ Silsbee HS/ Haden Burks and Eli Smart
3rd- 7.31 LBS/ Friendswood HS/ Johnnie Nemecek and Hunter Scott
V&M Baits/ Leak Sealers Conservation Prize Winners- $500.00
Buna HS- Garrison Connell and Dakota Boudreaux
The SETX board wanted to make sure they sent out many THANKS to the all the volunteers who helped last Saturday. Your time and your patience is absolutely necessary for the success of this organization. We simply cannot thank all of you enough for your efforts. THANK YOU ALL.
Lastly, the board wanted to make sure that all of you take the time to go by the many sponsor booth's at the tournaments and say "HI" and "thank you" for supporting the young anglers of Southeast Texas. As always, please remember these companies when it comes time to make your own personal purchases!! They are supporting us, so please support them. When out and about, let these people know you support them because they support SETX HS Fishing.
THANK YOU TO ALL OF THE SETX SPONSORS for helping make SETX the premiere HS Fishing Trail in the country!!!
South Texas Ford Dealers Assn, Skeeter Boats/Yamaha, Tackle Addict, Costa, Lews, Winn Grips, TH Marine, Leak Sealers Inc., Livingston Lures, Rat L Trap, Culprit Lures, Bass Cash Bash, Big Bite Baits, V&M Lures, Happy, Stubb's Cycle, Gator Guards, Crystal Heigley and the Allman Real Estate Team, and Obsessed with Nature Taxidermy.
Story by Jet Donovan