Storms Wreak Havoc On Texas ABA Tournament

Winning angler Kendall Kersh.

Kendall Kersh won the second stop in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series, operated by American Bass Anglers, Southeast Texas Division 10, held on a stormy May 21, 2011, on Lake Sam Rayburn.

After taking fourth in the 2011 division season opener, the Nacogdoches, Texas, angler landed a five-bass tournament limit weighing 20.53 pounds to win the Boater Division. He anchored his bag with a 4.39 pounder.

After a nearly two-hour delay, the anglers launched at Umphrey Pavilion marina near Jasper to fish the massive reservoir on the Angelina River. Normally, ?Big Sam? covers 114,500 acres at pool stage, but a continuing drought lowered the water level, exposing many banks and concentrating fish in holes.

Brian Branum, 47, of Sam Rayburn, Texas, used the low water conditions to his advantage. He took second place, missing first by just 0.01 pounds. He landed five bass going 20.52 pounds to earn $1,591. Going for the big bite, he caught 12 keepers. He anchored his bag with an 8.63-pounder that took tournament big bass honors, netting Branum an additional $395.

?I?d been fishing the exact same area for a couple months,? Branum advised. ?The falling water is concentrating more fish in the same spots. It?s a deeper area surrounded by a lot of flats. I caught my fish on a swim jig with a Gambler Big Easy trailer on 65-pound braid. I caught the big one first thing in the morning on a buzzbait. I lost some good fish.?

Nick LeBrun, 26, of Vivian, La., took third among the 79 boaters with five bass for 19.68 pounds. Catching more than 25 fish, including 15 keepers, he anchored his bag with a 6.99-pound kicker to collect more than $1,000.

?I went to the spawning areas where I caught them in March, but the fish pulled out a little bit deeper,? LeBrun said. ?I caught most of my fish on a Spro BBZ swim bait in the afternoon. I had a limit around 10 a.m., but didn?t catch the bigger ones until later. With the wind so strong, it was hard to feel bites. I ticked the grass in deeper water and fished it really slow to get strikes.?

Mike Gray of Conroe, Texas, took fourth place with five bass at 18.15 pounds with a 7.14-pound kicker. Kris L. Wilson of Montgomery, Texas, landed in fifth place with five bass going 17.47 pounds.

Co-Angler winner Matt Gorum.

In the Co-Angler Division, Matt Gorum, 22, of Shreveport, La., bested the rest with three bass for 10.15 pounds. Catching 12 keepers, his biggest weighed 5.08 pounds, putting $1,551 in his pocket.

?I caught my fish on a Strike swim jig in sexy shad with a Reaction Innovation Skinny Dipper trailer,? Gorum said. ?I fished it in hydrilla on the edge of a drop. The fish bit best when the clouds were out. When the sun came out, the fish quit biting. Luckily, I caught a 5-pounder early in the morning. I broke off one big one.?

Duane L. McDaniel of Crosby, Texas, landed a three-bass division limit weighing 9.20 pounds with a 5.60-pound kicker. Sandy Jeane of Hardin, Texas, put three keepers on the scales for 8.50 pounds with one 4.39-pounder for third place among the co-anglers.

In fourth, John Dickerson of Orange, Texas, landed three bass hitting 8.28 pounds with a 4.70-pound kicker. James ?Tanner? Butler of Geismar, La., finished in fifth for the co-anglers with three bass at 8.20 pounds, including a 3.89-pounder. Cody R. Moreno of Sheppard, Texas, only landed one bass for eighth place, but his 7.55-pounder took division big fish honors.

For more information on this tournament, call Porter Trimble, tournament manager, at (318) 201-3474 or ABA at (888) 203-6222. On line, see

For a schedule of other upcoming tournaments, click here.

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