20 Bags over 20 Pounds on LBJ – Tomasists and Laudadio Land the Biggest Bag at Bass Champs to win $25,000

By: Patty Lenderman
Skeeter Bass Champs launched 209 teams on Lake LBJ to host the Central Regions’ second event of the season March 3, 2018. Conditions were ripe for the catch, giving way to a tremendous weigh in having twenty teams bring in sacks in excess of 20 pounds! More than $68,000 was up for grabs to the top teams, reflecting a 105% payback. In the end, it was Ray Tomasists and Cary Laudadio who topped them all winning a mother load.

They say if you don’t like the current weather here in Texas, just wait 15 minutes and it will change. The morning greeted the field of 219 contending teams with a light mist. As the day wore on the sun came out with the help of a little wind, then by weigh in time the rain was back. Apparently it was just the right weather mix to get the bass biting!

Winners Ray Tomasists and Cary Laudadio targeted pre-spawn bass, going to areas they typically stage at before moving up to the shallower water. “The overall temperatures have been climbing, giving the water a warming trend. We had five or six staging areas picked out to focus on,” Ray reported. Their first spot proved fruitful, having a limit in the boat within 30 minutes. “Our limit only weighed about 12 pounds.” They positioned their boat in 8’ depths, casting to deeper water, around 10’. “We were using ‘moving baits’, and just continued to chunk and wind all day.” Throughout the day, one by one, they culled their original limit for larger bass. “The bigger bass bit later in the day. We ended up catching three big ones, two of them on back to back casts!” Later, Randy caught their last big bite. “She hit my bait twice, but pulled off when I tried to set the hook. Cary threw right back in there and caught her!” They made their best cull of the day, exchanging a 1 ¾ pounder for an 8.32 lb sow. “We never culled the last fish from our original limit, but had a really great day.” Their total weight was 28.26 lbs, earning the guaranteed 1st place $20,000 check. In addition, they won the Skeeter Bonus money for another $5,000! “Cary and I have been partners fishing Bass Champs for eight years. Bass Champs puts on a great show, and have earned the best reputation. We really appreciate the tournaments they put on!”

It was the father and son team of Rick and Adam Clark who reeled in a 2nd place win with another incredible limit. “We had a lot of fun,” Adam began. “We took off to a shallow creek and fished in water less than a foot deep.” There, they put a limit together anchored by a seven pounder. “After that we headed to deeper water and lost two, around four and five pounds. Still, we caught some to cull with but only by ounces.” Finally they pulled up to their last spot using jigs in 6’-12’. “We just collided with a good group of fish. I caught one 7 ½ pounds, then dad landed an 8 ½ pounder. We just needed one more good bite!” Their final weight was 27.12 pounds, winning 2nd place and $5,000. They also received the Lowrance sponsor bonus for another $250. “We were so close! It was still a great day.”

3rd place winners Don Dobbs and Mike Marshall report “it was a lot of hard work, but the day went great for us.” They too chose to start in a pre-spawn area 5’-8’ deep. “We used custom chatter baits and spinner baits that I build,” Don stated. He fired up their day with a six pounder to christen their live well with. “We had about twenty pounds in the boat by 9am. The front came through around 10:00 and it slowed down a lot for us, getting only one bite per hour or so. We decided to head up river to another area, but didn’t catch anything so we came back to our first spot and started culling up.” Mike latched on to their biggest fish at 7.75 lbs, bringing their total weight to 24.69 pounds to earn a $4,000 check. “Mike flies here from Atlanta, GA to fish Bass Champs. Winning 3rd place in an event like this is a great feeling for us!”

Of all of the big bass caught and weighed in, it was Clayton French who caught the biggest of them all fishing with partner Kelly Hudson. Kelly recalls starting their day losing a solid four pounder on a top water bait. “Shortly after that, Clayton was using a weightless senko as we fished boat docks in 4’-6’ of water. She tapped the bait, he set the hook, and she didn’t move – he knew it was a big one!” When the bass did start moving, she slowly went under the dock. While Clayton was wrestling the big sow, Kelly scrambled to get the net ready. “That was our first fish of the day, and the biggest fish Clayton has ever caught!” That fish tipped the scales to 9.80 pounds, earning a $1,000 check for that single catch. They took 23rd place overall with 19.81 lbs for another $650 as well. “It was not only a fun day on the water – it was exceptional!”

It took 19.08 lbs to earn a check in 28 places paid. Daniel and Adrian Barnes caught the last $600 paycheck.

The Central Region is halfway through their season with only two tournaments to go. All teams accumulate points that are totaled after the final event, and the team with the most points earn the Anglers of the Year title and all of the benefits associated with it. The top five teams after two events are:
396 pts. Lee Beuershausen & Randy Grounds
393 pts. Byron Albrecht & Michael Johnson
383 pts. Adam Clark & Rick Clark
373 pts. Jake Kennamer & Carson Conklin
360 pts. Travis Daugherty & Steven Cockerham
360 pts. Daniel Barns & Adrian Barnes

The next Central Region tournament will be April 14 on Belton, and the final qualifying tournament will be May 5 on LBJ. In the meantime, Bass Champs staff and crew are headed for Sam Rayburn March 10 for another East Region tournament.


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