Big Sam Delivers Big at Top 150 Solo
ZAVALLA, Texas – Cole B. Moore barely missed breaking into double digits with his lunker largemouth, but he did win the American Bass Anglers Top 150 Solo Series, Presented by Caymas Boats, Southwest Division season opener, held March 18, 2023, on Lake Sam Rayburn.
Originally scheduled for a 2-day tournament, severe weather forced the cancelation of the first day. On what would have been the second day, the anglers launched at Cassel Boykin Landing near Zavalla, Texas.
Moore from Anacoco, La., landed an impressive 5-bass tournament limit weighing 32.94 pounds for an astonishing 6.59-pound average. Less than one-third of an ounce from the double-digit plateau, Moore securely anchored his bag with a 9.98-pound largemouth. He collected $14,000 for the win and an extra $1,000 for the tournament lunker.
“I fished an Alabama Rig in drains that tapered out into a flat,” Moore advised. “That’s where prespawn fish stage in eight to 15 feet of water. I started the morning fishing a drain that had been good to me for the past couple of months, but the big fish moved about 75 yards away. When I found them again, I started catching fish at about 8:30 a.m. In the next 45 minutes, I put three big ones in the boat. I fished a brush pile down the lake and spotted the biggest one on my electronics. I tossed a jerkbait over the top of her, and she ate it at 11:30 a.m. I never caught another good fish after that.”
In second among the 93 competitors, Aaron M. Freeman from Montgomery, Texas, brought in five bass for 28.90 pounds. He capped that catch with a 5.87-pounder and earned $5,800 for the effort.
“I used an oversized swimbait and a jerkbait,” Freeman commented. “The water cooled before the tournament. When I came in with almost 29 pounds, I thought I had the tournament won, but this is Sam Rayburn. On this lake, there’s always a chance someone might bust 30 pounds and it happened.”
Landing in third place, Chad D. Marler of Jasper, Texas, found five big keepers for 22.13 pounds. He anchored that sack with a 6.98-pound bucketmouth, the fifth largest bass brought to the scales. Marler pocketed $4,500.
“I made a long run to get away from everybody,” Marler remarked. “I caught most of my fish from four spots. The magic number for me was 15 feet of water. I caught all my fish except two on an Alabama Rig with Cross Baits black and blue trailers. One of the others came on a Cross Baits SkinnyZilla. The other one hit a wacky rig. I did lose a fish on a crankbait that might have bumped me up a little.”
Chris B. Lewis from Hallsville, Texas, finished fourth with five bass at 21.06 pounds. His largest bass weighed 8.12 pounds, tied for the second largest fish caught in the tournament. Lewis picked up a check worth $2,900.
“I caught fish with all different kinds of baits,” Lewis detailed. “I caught some dragging and some cranking. I even caught one on a wacky worm. I just kept rotating through 12 different spots. I had a small limit by 8 a.m. I probably caught at least 75 fish in all. Most of them were all about the same size.”
Rounding out the top five, Brennan M. Flick from West Monroe, La., only caught three keepers, but made each one count. Barely behind fourth place, he finished fifth with 21.05 pounds for a 7.02-pound average. His biggest fish weighed 7.61 pounds, the fourth largest lunker seen in the tournament. Flick took home a check worth $2,200.
“I had never fished this lake until I practiced on it before the tournament,” Flick revealed. “I fished offshore at one spot I found in practice. I had four bites on crankbaits all day and lost one big one right by the boat.”
Top Twenty PL Angler Fish Big Bass Total Points Payout 1 Cole B. Moore 5 9.98 32.94 250 15000 2 Aaron M. Freeman 5 5.87 28.90 249 5800 3 Chad D. Marler 5 6.98 22.13 248 4500 4 Chris B. Lewis 5 8.12 21.06 247 2900 5 Brennan M. Flick 3 7.61 21.05 246 2200 6 Garrett C. Hilton 5 19.50 245 1600 7 Richard L. Wagnon 5 6.42 19.15 244 1300 8 Wyatt A. Frankens 5 18.57 243 1200 9 Justin M. Morton 5 18.11 242 1125 10 Shane Howell 5 15.33 241 1075 11 Michael Weems 5 15.29 240 1000 12 Brad L. Smith 5 14.11 239 900 13 Kevin L. Lasyone 5 14.00 238 850 14 Brett T. Clark 5 13.60 237 800 15 James JD D. Chandler 5 13.35 236 775 16 Easton J. Heigley 5 13.34 235 750 17 Blake Blake A. Schroeder 5 13.26 234 725 18 Bill T. Bean 5 13.20 233 700 19 Shane H. Gibson 5 12.03 232 20 Bruce M. Anderson 3 8.12 11.90 231
From Lake Sam Rayburn, the division anglers next head to Lake O’ the Pines on April 28-29, 2023. Competitors will launch at Lakeside Park, located at 5177 FM 726 in Jefferson, Texas. To register for this event, CLICK HERE.
The Southwest Division season concludes its season May 26-27, 2023, at Toledo Bend Reservoir on the Louisiana-Texas line. That event runs out of Lost Frontier, located at 5518 TX-21 in Hemphill, Texas. To register for the Toledo Bend event, CLICK HERE.
For information on the Southwest Division, call Tournament Director Chris Wayand at (256) 230-5627 or CLICK HERE.
For more information or to register for any ABA Solo 150 event, see www.americanbassanglers.com/Top150.
American Bass Anglers is sponsored by Caymas Boats, Mercury Marine, MotorGuide, T-H Marine, Power Pole, RT Outdoors, Optima Batteries, Hotel Planner.com, and LurePartsOnline.com.
About American Bass Anglers: American Bass Anglers is committed to providing low-cost, close-to-home tournaments for the weekend angler and, at the same time, offering each competitor an upward path for individual angler progression.
For more information about American Bass Anglers, the Open Series, the American Fishing Tour, the American Couples Series, the annual Military Team Bass Tournament, and the Top 150 Solo Tour, all presented by Caymas Boats, visit www.americanbassanglers.com or call (256) 232-0406.
This story was written by ABA staff writer John N. Felsher. To submit articles of interest, email email@example.com.
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