Texas Team Trail Wraps Up on Lake Ray Roberts
Winning anglers bring in a 25-pound, five-fish stringerNORMAN, OK - Stephen Johnston, of Hemphill, Texas, and Dicky Newberry, of Houston, Texas, brought 25.03 pounds of bass to the scales to win the 2015 Texas Team Trail presented by Cabela's (TXTT) event at Lake Ray Roberts on March 28. The winning anglers took home a Ranger Z119C with a Mercury ProXS 225 and an additional $2,220 of Anglers Advantage money for a total prize package worth $47,220.Heading out the morning as boat No. 78, Johnston and Newberry knew it was going to be a struggle. On Thursday night, a cold front hit the area and put the bass in a major funk. That was followed with extremely high winds Friday, which further deteriorated the water clarity in the backs of pockets and creeks. While the bass are beginning to spawn all over the lake, seeing them proved to be a challenge, which played right into Johnston and Newberry's hands."Yesterday in practice we only got four bites so we knew what we were in for," said Johnston, the Lucas Oil pro. "These are Floridas (Florida-strain largemouths) and they get that high pressure headache and don't want to bite. But we've been here enough that we know some of the areas where they live. This morning we started on our first spot and got two little bites and missed them both."Johnston then returned to a stretch of bank where he shook off a giant in practice. Right away the 8.22-pounder bit his 5-inch V&M Thunder Shad swimbait."That just kind of got us started," recalled Johnston. "It doesn't always happen like that, but when it does, it sure is nice. Then pretty quick after that we got a 2.5-pounder. Then Dicky pulled into another tree and caught an eight-pounder."The anglers limited out at 11:15 a.m. and culled another fish to gain a few more ounces. The final tally between the two was seven keepers, with the five best weighing 25.03 pounds."When we weighed our 25 pounds we were just hoping for a top 10," said Johnston. "Then after a while we noticed the weights were down and we were hoping for a top five. To win is absolutely unexpected."Greg Chapman, of Keller, Texas, and Paul Delgado, of Grapevine, Texas, finished second with five bass weighing 24.78 pounds. To reach that total, the two employed a unique wait-and-see approach with their best area."We had been fishing one certain creek for a while," said Delgado. "We knew there would be a ton of boats there in the morning so we purposely stayed away from it."Instead of running their primary program, Chapman and Delgado started with a Strike King KVD swim jig. But with just a three-pounder and a two-pounder in the livewell at 12:30 p.m., they knew it was time to make their move."We went back into that creek, pulled up to a point and caught our first fish, which was about an eight-pounder," said Delgado. "Then we just started culling through quality fish, but we never got another one over five pounds."Slowly dragging watermelon-colored Flukes, one angler would throw towards the bank and the other would throw parallel to the bank. Only one fish, their last keeper of the day, came from sight-fishing."We fished a lot of cedar trees and the whole key was knowing where to throw," said Chapman.For second place, Chapman and Delgado earned $6,100 and added another $1,628 in Anglers Advantage cash.Winners of last year's TXTT event at Lake Ray Roberts, Russell Cecil, of Willis, Texas, and Todd Castledine, of Nacogdoches, Texas, weighed 23.76 pounds for third place, but were one bed fish away from taking another title. The two anglers started on a spawning seven-pounder this morning, but couldn't get her to bite."We thought we might be able to go back to it later, but someone swooped in there and caught it," explained Cecil. "We gambled and we lost. It was nothing unsportsmanlike."After unsuccessfully coaxing the first spawner, Cecil and Castledine decided to just go blind-fishing."I was mainly throwing a 5.5-inch Big Bite Baits BB Kicker on a half-ounce J-Will swimbait jighead," said Cecil. "We would also mix in some flipping in the trees. We probably got up to 20 pounds doing that and then we made a couple key culls sight-fishing late."For third place, the two earned $5,640 with Anglers Advantage, Ranger and Evinrude bonuses.The next tournament stop for the TXTT is set for April 25 at Lake Texoma. The 2015 schedule includes some legendary Texas bass fisheries and features huge payouts with unprecedented contingency opportunities.For additional information, anglers are encouraged to call 210-788-4143 or check out the TXTT website atwww.texasteamtrail.com. Site visitors can register for events, review the television schedule, get official Texas Team Trail gear, view results and learn more about what's in store for 2015.Texas Team Trail events are made possible through the sponsorship and continued support of these well-respected brands: Cabela's, Ranger Boats, Lucas Oil, Evinrude, RAM, Mercury, Minn Kota, Triton Boats, Power-Pole, Amphibia, Arctic Ice, Stratos Boats, Lowrance, Navionics, Protect the Harvest, General Tire, SuperClean, Mustang Survival, iON Cameras, Garmin, Valley Fashions, T-H Marine, Atlas, G-Juice and Powertex Group.