Anglers win Nitro Z18 with 150-horsepower Mercury outboard
NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (May 8, 2018) – Chris Pels and Adam Pels weighed 28.70 pounds to win the final regular-season event of the Texas Team Trail presented by Cabela’s (TXTT) May 5 on Ray Roberts Lake. The anglers won a fully rigged Nitro Z18 with a 150-horsepower Mercury outboard valued at $28,995.
The two brothers took advantage of a recent uptick in temperatures, which proved key to their victory on Ray Roberts.
“Last weekend, we were practicing for (another tournament) and I caught some good fish in there, but we didn’t do any good during that tournament because of the cold snap we had,” said Chris Pels. “This weekend, it was probably 20 degrees warmer. We went back to the same area in this tournament and it really paid off for us.”
The Pels fished multiple areas but found most of their success in a major spawning creek known as Community Cove on the south side. Here, they targeted hardwoods and cedars in about 6 feet of water.
The team caught their fish on Texas-rigged creature baits with a 4/0 hook and 3/16-ounce sinker, a weightless Senko on a 3/0 hook and a Carolina-rigged creature bait. Across the board, watermelon with chartreuse accents was their preferred color.
“We tried to look for specific details in the trees, but it didn’t work; it was so random,” said Chris Pels. “You would throw at 20 big ones and then you’d come up to a small one and you’d catch a fish out of it; and then another fish out of a big one. We just couldn’t key on anything in particular.
“That’s one of the reasons we used a weightless Senko. We had one on the deck at all times and if we came across a shallower tree, we would pitch the Senko into it. We caught two fish this way.”
Overall, the Texas-rigged creature bait was most productive, but it took some experimentation to determine that. The brothers kept their boat in 6-8 feet of water and passed the first couple of hours without a fish.
“About 9 a.m. this morning, my brother caught our fish – a 6-pounder – off of a tree with a creature bait and we kept trying that for a while, but it wasn’t working,” said Chris. “Then, we started swapping around and when I picked up a Texas-rigged creature bait again, I caught another 5-pounder about 11:30. At that point, it seemed like we should stick with this bait, so that’s what we did.”
Second-place finishers Roger Haverkamp and Kevin Lain spread most of their day across several major creek arms on the lake’s west end where they targeted timber in about three feet or less. Pitching a Texas-rigged Zoom Baby Brush Hog in watermelon got them the majority of their 26.54 pounds, but a late-day move would finish off the effort.
“In the last hour of the hour of day – 2:55 and 3:15 to be exact – we caught our last two on a ledge in 12 feet of water,” said Lain. “It was later in the day and with the bluebird skies, we figured those fish would start setting up offshore better.”
The anglers caught their offshore fish on a Texas-rigged 10-inch Berkley Power Worm in the red bug color. Targeting big rock transitions that fish would pass on their way into and out of spawning pockets, the anglers used a slow dragging presentation.
“The key to our success was that last-hour decision to fish that drop,” said Lain. “We had 20-21 pounds with 30-45 minutes of fishing time left. We went there, made a cast, I caught one and while I was retying, my partner made a cast and he caught a second one. That took us from a decent stringer to a second-place stringer.”
The team won a total of $46,825, including $1,375 in Anglers Advantage cash.
Robert Lauck and Ted Martin placed third with 25.80 pounds. The key spot was a small main lake point with a subtle dip in the shoreline. Bass were bedding on top of the point in about 4 ½ to 5 feet of water, so the anglers focused on making super slow presentations with Texas-rigged black/blue Smash Tech stick baits Texas rigged on 4/0 light wire hooks with 1/4-ounce weights.
“The key was fishing slowly,” said Martin. “We had a bunch of guys come through our area and they were fishing way too fast, so they didn’t catch anything. You weren’t going to get a bite unless you just crawled your bait through there.
“We did most of our damage in the morning and then we upgraded a couple of times in the afternoon. We only had seven keeper bites today. It took us until noon to get our limit, but by 9:30, we had four fish for over 20 pounds.”
The anglers won a total of $4,520 for their efforts.
The remaining Top 10 are Jeane/Reynolds (fourth); Luker/Thornton (fifth): Owens/Broussard (sixth); Sweatman/Sprabary (seventh); Phillips/Ballard (eighth); Schroeder/Heigley (ninth); and Morrow/Barrera (tenth).
The next stop for the TXTT will be the championship event set for June 2-3 on Sam Rayburn. The two-day event will host some of the hottest bass anglers from Texas and surrounding states and determine the Lucas Oil Team of the Year winner.
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 2018.
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, Mercury, Minn Kota, Triton Boats, Power-Pole, NITRO, Lowrance, Protect the Harvest, Garmin, Valley Fashions, T-H Marine, Atlas, G-Juice, Navionics, Amphibia, Powertex Group.
For full results, please go to www.texasteamtrail.com/tournaments/events-results.