Jasper, Tx- Feb. 8- Blessed with awesome weather last Saturday, The FORD SETX Championship Series presented by SKEETER boats kicked off event #2 of the 2020 season. "So far, so good as far as the weather has been this year" said SETX tournament coordinator Stephanie Ryder. "Obviously we cannot control it, but its something we keep a very close eye on during the week leading up to our tourneys. We really want everyone to have an opportunity to enjoy our events, not just our captains and anglers. When the weather cooperates, it makes it fun for everyone." concluded Ryder. Early February in East Texas typically starts the quest for that trophy bass all anglers are hoping to catch. "From now until around mid March or so, the bass on Rayburn will be heavier than any other time of year" said SETX Board member Byron Dauriac of Silsbee. "Typically at our early tournaments, our winners may not break the 20 lb mark with their 5 fish limit, but the chance of catching the fish of a lifetime are at their best for he next few weeks. It may happen today for one of our teams!" concluded Dauriac.
With all of those teams hitting the water Saturday morning looking for that fish of a lifetime or that elusive 20 lb bag, we asked SETX weigh master Ray Beck where he would look for that 20 lb bag or that fish of a lifetime. Laughingly Ray replied, "no pressure right" and then went on to say "As for a bag of fish right now, if you can find any grass or combination of grasses, you are probably going to be near good schools of fish. The teams that find grass will be successful today. It's not as abundant as it was a couple years back, but it is out there, which makes it even better for those who put in the time and do their homework. There are many factors that go into how those fish will position themselves in that grass, but you can bet they are there." As for the big fish, Ray went on "Well, it's a huge lake and that fish could quite literally be 3 or 4 hundred yards from us or 35 miles from here. She could be in a foot of water or 30 feet of water. Does that narrow it down for you?" Beck laughingly concluded.
Tackle Addict First Place Team- 17.78 LBS- Huntington HS- Hallie Hanna and Ethan Collins - Boat Captain Randy Hanna
These two Seniors from Huntington are no strangers to the SETX Hot Seat. If they looked familiar, it is because this same team won an SETX event a couple years back. Now Seniors and almost exactly 2 years from their first SETX win, the team from Huntington find themselves in a very exclusive group of teams who have won multiple SETX events. In fact, the members of that group can be counted on one hand and you still may have a finger or two left!! An awesome accomplishment!!
After a few hours of pre fishing on Friday, the team launched their Skeeter/Yamaha at Hanks Creek early Saturday morning and focused in on wood in close proximity to drains and ditches on the upper end of the lake in the 2-4 foot depth range. Captain Randy Hanna reported that the team had their limit by 9 am and were able to cull up between 10-12 o clock on Saturday using Lews Rods and Reels. "All but one fish were caught on a Stanley Mud Puppy. The bait really displaces a lot of water and seems to produce bigger bites. I know it's a bit of an oxymoron, but the kids kind of Power/Finesse fished that bait to a victory". When asked about any key moments, Capt Hanna had this to say. "We pre fished clearer water in the mid lake area on Friday. After 3 or so hours, and only one bite, we decided to go north and actually look for "dirtier" water. We got 4-5 bites in one hour and we knew where we would start the next day. On Saturday, I still wanted to go back to mid lake and check an old Rat L Trap spot, but Ethan talked me out of it when he said this....."Uncle Randy, I am happy, lets not leave fish to find fish". That kind of wisdom is how you become a a two time SETX Champion! The team wished to thank Stanley, Skeeter/Yamaha, Lews, Sunline, Costa, Rat L Trap, Mid South Pipeline, Extreme Collision Repair, Ford Motor Company, everyone at SETX and most of all God, for keeping us safe.
Second Place Team- 16.31 LBS- Silsbee HS- Logan Simmons and Cash Glaze - Boat Captain Mark Simmons
Before launching at Preachers Ramp near the Black Forest Saturday morning, Capt Mark Simmons and his Freshman duo from Silsbee HS had to overcome a little adversity. "We had an alarm go off on our big motor Friday afternoon and were not able to get any kind of pre fishing in. Luckily for us, a friend offered us a boat to use and we were able to get out on the water Saturday." said Simmons. Once on the water Saturday morning, his team went to work fishing offshore grass in 4-8 foot of water with Rat L Traps and Chatterbaits, focusing in on areas near drop offs. "Due to the recent cold front, we felt the drop offs near grass would really produce." continued Simmons. The team accumulated 3 solid fish in the first hour, but struggled later in the morning. At 12:30, the team abandoned the area and made a run across the lake, where they quickly picked up fish #4. Time became an enemy real quick with only 5 minutes of fishing time remaining and only 4 fish in the live well. That 5th fish was worth the wait and came with 5 minutes remaining, "what a moment to remember" concluded Simmons. It also just happened to be the 2nd largest fish of the entire tournament at 7.01 LBS, which earned the team a brand new Lews reel to go along with their 2nd place overall prize. Thank you's go out to Byron Dauriac, the volunteers and sponsors that make this such a huge success. Also a special thanks to Blaine Christian for letting us borrow his boat this weekend.
Third Place Team- 15.89 LBS- Port Neches Groves HS -Grant Humphrey and Cade Latiolais- Boat Captain Chris Latiolais
When captaining a HS fishing team, one never knows just what types of duties they may have to perform during a given day....netting fish, managing live wells, picking up trash, or simply turning on the "go-pro"....."Yeah, the kids told me I had ONE JOB (cameraman) and I never hit the record button between 7 o'clock and 7:45, which was the time of the craziest action. "They have been giving me a hard time and that is quite OK, it's kinda part of this sport!" said Captain Chris Latiolais. The two Seniors from PNG made the most of the weekend before as they were unable to pre fish on Friday. The fish they found the weekend before were still there this past weekend and those fish earned them a 3rd place finish with almost 16 LBS. Launching out of San Augustine Park, Capt. Latiolais pointed them toward the Lower Ayish Arm and targeted hydrilla and hay grass in the 4-6 foot range with Rat L Trap's in a cherry bomb color. "The boys used Lews heavy action rods and Lews Tournament Pro Speed Spools with a very fast retrieve ratio (8.3-1) spooled with Seaguar fluorocarbon. The equipment was key as it allowed them to make proper presentations and rip the baits through the grass" said Capt. Latiolais. The team reported being able to cull up 2 or three times during the day and probably caught 25 keepers during the day. They fished clean and did not lose a single fish. The team wished to thank God first. "We always start the day holding hands and saying a prayer together on the front of the boat, thanking God for his blessings and opportunities" concluded Capt. Latiolais. The team wished to thank Tom and Peggy Selman, Rachel Scott, all the SETX crew and all the sponsors that make this possible.
REST OF TOP 10
4th Place- 15.69 LBS- Braxton Rambo and Cameron Dougharty- LCM HS
5th Place- 14.69 LBS- Trace Marks and Denton Peveto - Buna HS
6th Place- 14.45 LBS- Dylan Istre and Mckee Ridgaway- LCM HS
7th Place- 14.23 LBS- Karson Denton and Shelby Denton- Splendora HS
8th Place- 14.22 LBS- Gabe Constance- Hamshire Fannett HS
9th Place- 14.11 LBS- Tanner Jordan and Logan Killough- Vidor HS
10th Place- 13.90 LBS- Blaine Marks and Joel Sitton- Buna HS
Top 3 Big Fish of Weekend
8.02 LBS- Donovan Snider and Morgan White- Jasper HS (LEWS COMBO)
7.01 LBS- Logan Simmons and Cash Glaze- Silsbee HS (LEWS Reel)
6.35 LBS- Jace Call and Mark Daluz- Lumberton HS (Lews Rod)
Farmers Insurance Conservation Prize Winners
After a tough day on the water, Dylan Evans of East Chambers decided to snap a photo of his small, but legal fish, and released it. He then showed that photo at the FARMERS INSURANCE Conservation Booth and entered himself into the Conservation Prize Drawing and was the lucky winner of $500.00 from FARMERS. Thank you to FARMERS sponsoring this wonderful program!! Please go by the Farmers Tent for information on how your team can win this prize and also enter the FARMERS CONTINGENCY program that rewards teams having FARMERS BOAT INSURANCE POLICIES with CASH PRIZES. For more information on how your team can be the next winner, please contact your advisor or go by the farmers tent.
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, HUK, GIL, Rat L Trap, Rod Armorz, Seaguar, Farmers Insurance, Jordan Wilson and Church in the Country, Houston Methodist Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, Crystal Heigley and the Allman Real Estate Team
Story by Jet Donovan