Husband & Wife Team Champion Annual Tx Shootout On Rayburn With Over 30 Pounds!

TX-Whiskey held their 2nd annual team event, the TX Shootout, on Sam Rayburn June 26, 2016.  With a guaranteed 1st place prize of $50,000 and a total payback over $111,000 a new record field was ready to fish for a portion of it.  Nineteen sacks over twenty pounds were weighed in, but it was the husband and wife team of Ashley and Mike Gibbs of Hemphill, TX who took home the crown weighing in over 31 pounds!

It was a classic hot sunny Texas day for contenders to hunt for the bass needed to win the biggest cash purse in a one day event.  259 boats searched Sam Rayburn for the right bites to catch a check in 33 places paid.  Scads of large sacks, and lots of big kicker fish were brought in, with the biggest of them all being a double digit sow.  Rankings were stacked tight throughout the payline, and teams were also offered a “Zero Bonus” to elect to release their fish instead of weighing them in if their weight would not otherwise win a check.  “With the large number of teams and the hot weather, it is a conservation effort to put that many less bass through the stress of the weigh in process,” explained Bass Champs President Chad Potts.

As teams began bringing in their creel, it was evident from the very beginning the bite on Big Sam was exceptional.  Troy Reed and Jeremy Stone brought in the first sack over 20 pounds, also establishing the mark to beat for Big Bass, weighing in a total of 23.67 pounds with an 8.03 lb kicker.  By far, that was not the last of the big sacks nor big bass to be weighed.

The weights continued to climb, many weights merely separated by 1/100th of a pound.  By the time Ashley and Mike Gibbs brought in their sack, 29.57 pounds was in the lead – and they beat it!  Heaving their huge sack to the scale, their weight locked in at 31.64 pounds, winning the guaranteed 1st place purse of $50,000 and another $200 from Sure Life for using the product in their livewell.  Chad asked the couple how they did it, and Ashley was quick to report that she had only caught one of their fish, so Mike would have to do the talking.  “We started out in deep water, 25Â’ coming up to about 17Â’ just hoping they would be there,” Mike began.  “We had found this spot in the McDonalds tournament.”  The area had deep flooded stumps, coming up to gravel and rock.  “We caught our biggest fish on the first cast!”  They caught a few more, then the bite slowed so they tried another spot about ¼ mile away.  “It was a ridge, and we caught two more nice fish there.”   At that point the smallest fish in their limit weighed about 2 ½ pounds, so they went looking for another spot, another fish that would cull that last smallest fish.  “We finally caught one about 4 ½ pounds to cull it with, and that pretty much made our day.”  Chad pointed out to them the field of competition they were fishing against, and asked if they had any clue they might win this.  “There are a LOT of really good anglers that were fishing this tournament.  We never dreamed that we might win, but we went for it!”  Not only did they garner a HUGE payday, they also received an etched bottle of TX Whiskey as part of their winnings.  “There are only four existing bottles like this in the world,” Potts explained.  “Two were awarded at last yearsÂ’ event and two are being awarded this year to the 1st place winners!.”

Spike Stoker of Stephenville, TX and Randy Sullivan of Breckenridge not only won 2nd place with their 29.57 lb sack, but won Big Bass as well with their 10.52 lb kicker.  “We fished deep water all day,” The team explained.  Using big spoons, jigs and crank baits, they concentrated their efforts at deep points and brush piles.  “Originally we were going to start in shallow water.  We went all the way out to the spot we wanted to fish, but by the time we got there somebody else was already on it.  We just turned the boat around and came all the way back to fish areas on the south end.”  They estimate having around 15 spots they made a milk run of, hitting them several times throughout the day.  “We put one in the boat around 8 ½ – 9 pounds, then lost one about the same size not too long after that.”  Undaunted, they continued fishing, catching several quality fish for their limit.  They had over 20 pounds in the boat, with the smallest being a three pounder.  “Our last fish of the day was the ten pounder.  That catch made all the difference for us!”  Indeed it did, paying off to the tune of $10,000 for a 2nd place finish plus another $1,000 for Big Bass.

3rd place winners Nick Diberardino of Onalaska, TX and Larry Cotton of Huffman had a great day of fishing, bringing in a total of 26.75 pounds that included a nice 9.00 lb kicker.  “We started out fishing frogs, and caught our first fish in about 30 minutes.  We kept fishing it for a while, and when that bite quit we just went flippinÂ’ the rest of the day.”  They had a hefty amount of fish in their livewell, and while there was still time to fish they were concerned for their bass and came on in early to weigh.  They were presented a check for $8,000 for their finish!

Rounding out the top ten, the weights got tighter and tighter.
4th  26.50 lbs  $5,000   Brent Broussard & Jason Bonds
5th  26.14 lbs   $3,000   Russell Cecil & Todd Castledine
6th  25.58 lbs   $2,500   David Curtis & Mark Mueck
7th  25.54 lbs   $1,800   Michael LaFleur & Clayton Boulware
7th  25.54 lbs   $1,800   Ryan Reynolds & Jason Lawson
9th  25.53 lbs   $1,300   Mark Everett & Scott Pickett
10th  25.49 lbs  $1,200   James Littleford & Mike Garrett
last in the money – 33rd  18.43 lbs  $1,000   Billy Wolcott & James Seale

Also donÂ’t forget to sign up for the 11th annual Berkley Big Bass tournament coming up on Lake Fork October 15-16!   Two days of hourly winners – it just takes one bite to win!  For more information click to or call 817-439-3274