Jasper, TX Apr. 14- In a season that has seen 4 of the 5 qualifying tournaments affected by inclement weather, the 5th and final leg of the FORD SETX Champions Series presented by Skeeter Boats got underway last Saturday at Umphrey Pavilion. "We have been pretty lucky with weather in our first 4 years, but this year, it finally caught up to us" said SETX President Bryan Thomas of Lumberton. "Our kids and captains have definitely been put through a true test this spring with rain and cold. We want to thank all of our captains for doing such a fine job in making sure these kids have remained safe throughout" concluded Thomas.
With just three weeks between the final tournament and the year end championship, teams are positioning themselves for Angler of the Year, School of the Year, and championship qualification. The top 50 teams in the angler of the year race earn an automatic berth into the championship as well as those teams who have registered for all 5 qualifiers.
Close to 500 teams hit a swollen Sam Rayburn early Saturday as lake levels were nearly 3 1/2 feet above pool. "The fluctuating lake levels this spring have made it pretty tough this spring" said SETX board member Stephanie Ryder. "The fish are scattered and the fish have plenty of cover to hide in, but our anglers have really done a great job in combating the elements and the higher than normal lake levels. We have seen some really nice stringers come across the stage this year" concluded Ryder. That trend continued on Saturday, because at around 4 pm, an enormous roar was heard under the pavilion as a long standing SETX record was not only broken, but shattered....
Tackle Addict First Place Team- 30.06 LBS- Hamshire Fannett High School- Trent Buchholz and Grady Doucet- Boat Captain Justin Buchholz
Since Feb 2015, the record of 25.48 LBS, caught by Hunter Martindale and Chase Webb of Jasper has stood as the largest stringer weighed at an SETX event. Like most records, they eventually fall and that is exactly what happened last Saturday at Umphrey Pavilion when the team of Trent Buchholz and Grady Doucet of Hamshire Fannett stepped onto the stage. With an anchor fish of 10.66 LBS, the team weighed an incredible 30.06 LBS of Rayburn monsters!! The two sophomores also claimed the record as the largest fish to be weighed at an SETX event. The team also had another fish that was well over the 9 LB mark!! Launching at the public ramp at Umphrey, the team fished depths any where between 2-15 feet in the mid and upper lake regions to collect their record breaking sack. "Flooded brush and creek channels were what we were keying on" said Capt. Justin Buchholz. "We had a limit by 8 am and started culling around 8:15. Grady caught the 9 LB fish around 9 am. Trent caught the 10 at around 1 pm and the final cull came around 1:30 when we put a 4 LB fish in the boat." concluded Capt. Buchholz. The team reported using Carolina Rigs, Frogs, and Jerkbaits to gather their catch. The team wished to thank their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ above all. They also wished to thank their sponsors: Exxon Mobil, Philpott Ford, Texas Marine, Klint's Reel Repair, Steel Painter's Inc., County Home and Outdoors, MK Constructors, MOC Central, Thermacon, Dr David Sonnier DDS, Movart Legacy Boat and RV Storage, Hamshire Fannett ISD, Advisor Lana Nelius, SETX and all of their volunteers who do such a wonderful job.
In Memory- The Hamshire Fannett team had the honor this past year to fish for Trevor Lee Chesson. Trevor was a 4th grader who tragically lost his life in an ATV accident earlier this year. The entire team wears his name on their sleeves. He was only in 4th grade, but he could not wait to fish for the HF Fishing Team. "This one is for YOU TREVOR" May God bless you and your family ......may you rest in peace.
Second Place Team- 23.27 LBS- Hamshire Fannett High School- Vance Moore and Korbin Winckler- Boat Captain TJ Moore
On any other day, a 23 LB bag is probably going to get you a first place finish at an SETX event. "We did all we could, but we want to congratulate our fellow Hamshire Fannett teammates Trent and Grady on a very impressive 30 LB stringer and well deserved first place finish" said Capt. TJ Moore. "We had a great day. We focused in on lower lake brush in the 4-6 foot range using topwaters and creature baits. We were culling at 7 am and had 17 LBS by 7:30, with a near 8 lb fish anchoring the bag." continued Capt Moore. When asked about keys to the day, Capt Moore replied "I think the key for us was not to deviate from the plan we had. We could have easily gotten away from it because of the weather, but the kids stayed focused and kept battling through the tough conditions". The team wished to thank Ms Lana Nelius for the time and hard work she puts in as the teams advisor.
Third Place Team- 21.87 LBS- Little Cypress-Mauriceville- Jack Tindel and Collin Currie- Boat Captain Jack Tindel
Rounding out the top three, Capt Tindel and his two Juniors from LCM launched at Twin Dikes and focused on lower lake points and flooded bushes from 2-17 feet. "We had a limit by 10 am, including a near 7 LB fish that was caught around 7:30 that morning." said Capt Tindel. With roughly 18 LBS, and the weather starting to deteriorate, the team decided to move to areas that were protected from the wind. "We continued to catch fish in those wind protected areas, but nothing to cull with, so at around 1 pm, we decided to brave the wind once again and that is when we boated 2 more 3 LB fish and a 4 LB fish that helped bump our bag up to nearly 22 LBS." concluded Capt Tindel. The team reported using Carolina Rigs, football jigs, and flipping baits as their baits of choice. The team wished to thank Nellie Miller, the LCM team sponsor for her endless support and dedicating so much of her personal time to the LCM fishing team.
Rest of Top Ten
4th Place- 19.20 LBS- Casey Beard and Clay Jenkins- Lumberton HS
5th Place- 18.59 LBS- Breanna Poole and Sarah Noddin- Vidor HS
6th Place- 17.40 LBS- Brett Raines and Todd Raines- Lufkin HS
7th Place- 17.22 LBS- Ty Roman and Christian Silva- Diboll HS
8th Place- 16.81 LBS- Hayden Holland and Cole Trick- Kountze HS
9th Place- 16.78 LBS- Hunter Muncrief and Landen Mccary- West Sabine HS
10th Place- 16.22 LBS- Maverick Winford and Dustin Walters- Atascocita HS
Top 3 Big Bass
1st Place- 10.66 LBS- Trent Buchholz and Grady Doucet- Hamshire Fannett HS
2nd Place- 8.87 LBS- Breanna Poole and Sarah Noddin- Vidor HS
3rd Place- 8.26LBS- Braden Berryman and Brennon Davis- Kirbyville HS
V&M Baits/Leak Sealers Conservation Prize Winners
Price English and Austin Schaper- PNG HS
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