by; David Glezman, Southeast Region Director
The Southeast Region wrapped up the 2015 season this past Saturday, June 13th, on Sam Rayburn Reservoir out of Jackson Hill Marina. This last and final event of 2015 had come to be a very important event in the Angler of the Year race and the Club of the Year race. After five events the A.O.Y. was being lead by Bass Anglers of Lake Houston angler Wesley Bennett. Wesley knew that he had to produce at this event to take the title as there were 4 anglers within easy striking distance ready to take the title of the best of the best of the Southeast Region. On the other race for Club of the Year there has been a back and forth battle between the Seven Coves Bass Club and The BASS Club again this year. In 2014 the Seven Coves Bass Club maintained a small lead over The BASS Club up until the last event at Toledo Bend where The BASS Club prevailed and captured the title. This year the SCBC is coming into the final event with a very small lead over TBC. With these two races in play it was very evident from the look on their faces it was time to get busy.
The Southeast Regions anglers were greeted with slightly overcast skies, breezy conditions and air temps in the 70’s at take off and the 80’s at weigh in. Weather reports called for the chance of showers during the day and the winds to pick up to the 15 mph range out of the South/Southeast which most anglers would have argued was more like 20 mph. The anglers were also met with high water conditions from recent flooding rains during the month of May that have raised the lakes water lever to around 9.10 feet above pool. Up until June 1st the regions last event was scheduled to be on Lake Belton but due to rising water levels there of up to over 14 feet above pool we were notified by the host facility, B.L.O.R.A., our reservations were cancelled and the facility is closed. With the notification a decision was made to move the event to Sam Rayburn after Terry Sympson at Jackson Hill welcomed us on the short notice. At approximately 5:45 a.m. all 115 registered anglers were in position to start the event and after a prayer by Asst. Director Derek Taylor and the playing of the National Anthem the anglers began their final 9 hours of the final event of 2015.
At the end of those 9 hours the final weigh in of the season began. Nacogdoches Bass Club angler Albert Collins was one of those 115 anglers that took to the water. Albert came to Sam Rayburn directly from the B.A.S.S. Nation Central Divisional at Ross Barnett located in Mississippi where less than 24 hours before this weigh in Albert claimed 4th Place in the event and will be representing Texas at the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship this November seeking another chance at the Bassmaster Classic. You would think that this would have an effect on Albert but they don’t call him “Mr. Sam Rayburn” without reason. Albert showed up at the scales with a 5 fish limit that weighed 24.74 pounds and was backed by a solid 6.73 pound kicker to claim the top honor as Champion of the event. Albert said that he had not been on Sam Rayburn in over 2 weeks so he just went and fished some of his known spots in the 8-10 foot range using Tomahawk worms made by Missile Baits. Prior to Albert coming to the scales, Nick “Chris” Diberardino of the Bass Anglers of Lake Houston had came to the scales early and set the mark with his limit that weighed in at 20.36 pounds that was backed by a 6.70 pound kicker fish. Chris led the event up until Albert hit the scales but his catch was good for a 2nd Place finish and very valuable points in the A.O.Y. race. Steve Lee of The BASS Club claimed the 3rd Place honors with his limit that tipped the scales at 16.87 pounds just 0.76 of a pound better than Beaumont Bass Angler David Hearnsberger’s limit that was good enough to claim 4th Place and David’s 6.81 pound kicker fish claimed him the 2nd Place Big Bass check. Chester Ables of the Onalaska Bass Club continued his hunt for the A.O.Y. title with a 5th Place finish. Chester brought a limit to the scales weighing 15.38 pounds with a 6.80 pound big fish that was just edged out for big bass money by Hearnsberger’s 6.81. Chester has crossed the scales this year with several 6 pound fish and he said this has been one of the best year’s he has ever had fishing. Paul White of the Brazos Anglers Bass Club came to the scales with only 2 fish in his sack that weighed in at 9.99 pounds but he pulled out a GIANT! 8.26 pound monster that was easily good enough for the BIG BASS of the event.
There were 353 bass brought to the scales with 98 of the 115 registered anglers weighing fish for a total of 812 pounds. Wesley Bennett came into the event leading the A.O.Y. race by only 25.21 points above fellow club member Chris Diberardino. Wesley managed a small limit weighing 9.45 pounds to claim a 36th Place finish and Diberardino’s 2nd Place finish pushed him to the top and is the Southeast Region’s 2015 Angler of the Year. Like any race it isn’t how you start the race or the pace you hold during the race. The BASS Club proved that it is how you finish the race. The BASS Club members came to fish and managed to put better weights on the scales that the SCBC and claimed the Club of the Year title for 2015. The BASS Club came from a 13.46 point deficit to a 34.94 point win over the SCBC which is about what the point spread was in 2014. It looks like 2016 could see these two clubs at battle again for the C.O.T.Y. title.
We had a good turnout for our final event this year. I want to thank the Region Staff for their help this year and the Bass Anglers of Lake Houston volunteers and Brazos Anglers Bass Club volunteers for their help. Special thanks to Terry Sympson of Jackson Hill Marina for providing us the site on short notice and having breakfast ready. Robbins Chevrolet/Nissan (Ricky Bishop) for sponsoring the awards again this year, Lakeside Boat Repair, Pro Tungsten, Impulse Rods, Mr. Twister Lures, G & S Trolling Motors and BIOBOR Fuel Additives.
The TOP 40 Championship will be held at Cedar Creek Reservoir on October 16-17, 2015 out of Log Cabin Marina. This year’s championship will be different with the boaters and non-boaters being separated resulting in the top boater and top non-boater moving on to the State Team. The TOP 40 Championship information will be posted in a few weeks along with the revised rules and regulations. Until then please direct any questions through your club president.