By David A. Brown
CITY, St. (Month Day, 2019) — It’s unclear if Tazz Ferrell and Ryan Morott are Mick Jagger fans; but we can definitely draw a parallel between a famous Rolling Stones tune and their Lake Texoma victory during stop number two of the 2019 Texas Team Trail, presented by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s.
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you might find
You get what you need
So, here’s how it went. The event’s trailered format allowed anglers to put in wherever they chose and the winners headed in the direction of Catfish Bay in the upper end of the Ouachita River arm. With several years of experience on this Colorado River Impoundment, the anglers hinged their hopes on an area where they knew what to expect.
“This is an area we were familiar with because we’ve fished there a lot in the past,” Morott said. “We were fishing off memories.”
The only problem was that they had to scrap their planned starting point because when they launched, they found a boat sitting on their spot waiting for the official start. With another area close by, Ferrell and Morot simply idled to Plan B — the spot that would deliver the winning fish.
“I’m kinda glad that other boat was there,” Morot chuckled. “He just beat us to the spot. You could be on the water at 5:30. We just slept in a little later than he did, I guess.”
With Texoma’s water level down, fishable shoreline habitat was slim; in fact, several of the prominent rocks Ferrell and Morot have fished in the past were nearly dry. Fortunately, they came across the proverbial gold mine.
“As we were moving up, we found a spot with a few small rock piles and a little ridge i 6-8 feet that was about 50 yards long,” Morot said. “I think those prespawn fish were just staging on it.
“We had boats on either side so we just worked up and down that 50-yard stretch,” Ferrell said. “MORE…”
It didn’t take the anglers long to recognize their opportunity and the fish responded promptly. The duo had their limit in the first 45 minutes and locked up their winning weight by 9:30. The day-maker was Ferrell’s tank that went 7.33 (just short of the event’s Big Bass — a 7.81 caught by Bobby Badarack and Tony Dougherty.)
“We were just fishing along when we saw that ridge,” Morot said. “We backed up and made a few casts and he caught that one pretty quick. Without that fish, we wouldn’t have won.”
Even though the big fish gave his team plenty of encouragement, Ferrell admits that they approached the weigh ins with no assumptions.
“We thought we only had about 19 pounds, so after we had our weight, we were still trying to grind it out for another big fish,” he said. “I didn’t realize until we got to the scale that we had 23 pounds.”
Ferrell and Morot caught most of their fish on wobble head jigs with either a Strike King Menace or Rage Bug in black/blue or green pumpkin. The Menace proved most productive and that’s what the big fish ate. The winners also caught fish on a Carolina-rigged green pumpkin lizard.
Ferrell said the bites were aggressive but the fish definitely preferred the slower presentations. Another piece of the puzzle, he said, was distance. When they first arrived on their spot, fishing the shallow side yielded smaller fish — probably buck bass getting things ready for their females — while backing off and fishing deeper yielded the quality bites.
“There are two types of strikes: a reaction strike and a feeding strike,” Ferrell said. “The fish were feeding heavy, so there was no need for a reaction strike. All the fish we caught we just sitting in that deeper water and feeding in the morning.”
For their efforts Ferrell and Morot earned a Nitro Z18 w/ 150
Mercury valued at $30,905.
Winans, Moore second
The plan included a pretty broad coverage area, but Brady Winans and Shane Moore found their second-place limit of 22.56 pounds at the latter end of their journey.
“We covered a 30-mile section of the lake from the dam up to the Ouachita arm,” Winans said. “We started in the clean water at the south end and around 8 o’clock we left to go fish the dirty water.”
Winans and Moore caught all of their fish in less that two feet of water on spots where rock transitioned to sand. Winans said they likely were around a mix of prespawners and spawning fish.
“On Texoma, they’ll spawn on those sandy spots,” he said. “A couple of our bigger fish had bloody tales.”
Top baits for the second-place team were a 1/2-ounce Strike King Redeye Shad in craw color, a 6th Sense Thud 70X lipless bait in the craw bomb color and a black prototype 6h Sense hollow body frog. Winans said the sunrise silver mirror lenses in their Costa sunglasses provided a key advantage as the day turned dim with clouds and rain.
“The lake is 3 feet low, so there are no bushes in the water, so we were looking for anything the fish might spawn on,” he said. “Even in the rain, we could still see the target. If we saw one root ball or a piece of cover, there would be a fish spawning on it.”
For second place, Name-Name earned $8,610.00, which included $2,235.00 in Anglers Advantage cash and a $250 Ranger Boats bonus.
Conn, Reneau third
Despite an early heartbreak, Jason Conn and Dustin Reneau persevered and put together a third-place limit that weighed 22.10. Working in Catfish Bay, on a spot that Conn found in the last hour of practice, the anglers found opportunity knocking immediately.
“I found an 8-pounder on a bed, so we started where she was,” Conn said. “I actually hooked that 8-pounder first thing in the morning and my partner wasn’t even ready. I couldn’t see the bed and I just blind casted over there.
“Honestly thought it was the male, so I tried to boat flip it and when I did, it broke. If we would’ve had that 8-pounder we would have won.”
Tough start to the day, but Conn said he and his partner made it a point to shake off the frustration and get back to work.
“I’m a guide on Lake Fork and I fish every day for a living, so you just have to keep your head down and keep moving forward,” he said. “I never let one fish get me down.”
Targeting a mix of prespawners and bed fish, the anglers caught their fish on a Texas-rigged white V&M J Bug and a 1/4-ounce shaky head with a watermelon red V&M Chop Stick cut in half for a Ned rig presentation.
For third place, Name-Name earned $5,314, which included $3,675 in Anglers Advantage cash.
Name-Name fourth, Name-Name fifth
Cody Wilson and Shane Franks weighed five bass worth 21.61 pounds, taking fourth place and earning $3,940. Behind them was Jim Harcrow and Will Harcrow with 21.39 pounds. For fifth place, they earned $1,837.50.
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top 10 teams at the 2017 Texas Team Trail event on Toledo Bend:
6th: Robert Feagin – Eric Wright — 21.12
7th: Randal Albrights Jr – Randal Albright III — 20.87
8th: Marco Vaca – Doyle Idleman — 20.81
9th: Mark Boyett – Lester Springer — 20.53
10th: Colt Farris – Taylor Hardin — 20.42
The third event of the 2019 season for the Texas Team Trail presented by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s is slated for May 10 on Sam Rayburn. This event was rescheduled from the original February 2 competition date due to extreme high water. The next event, also on Rayburn, follows on May 11.