JASPER, Texas – On day one of the Texas Division EverStart Series on Rayburn Reservoir, Brandon Bray of Marble Falls, Texas, weighed in just two bass for 3 pounds, 14 ounces and found himself floundering in 39th place.
Hardly the start he had hoped for.
On day two, things got considerably better for Bray as he hauled in a limit for 11 pounds, 2 ounces to make the top-10 cut in 7th place.
Today, Bray was paired with pro Wade Hudgens – the very first pro he was paired with at Lake Amistad at the Texas Division season opener in January. Bray took it as sign of good things to come. And how right he was.
After weighing 11 pounds, 6 ounces today, and taking the leader’s “hot seat” at the final weigh-in in the Walmart parking lot, all Bray could do was sit and watch as six other co-anglers tried to top him. But it never happened.
When the fish quit dropping and the scales quit spinning, Bray sat atop the leaderboard as the 2013 EverStart Series Texas Division Rayburn winner.
“I don’t know what to say,” Bray said after being declared the winner. “I started the year with Wade – he was my first draw in an FLW event – and I ended the year with him, I guess it was meant to be.”
Bray’s two primary baits for the week were a 7-1/2 inch Berkley Power worm (blue fleck) on a ¼-ounce weight and a Live Target floating frog.
“Yesterday I caught most of my fish on the worm,” Bray said. “And today, it was all about the frog – it produced most of my fish. Right at the end of the day we stopped on one last place and I caught a kicker on a Carolina rigged Brush Hog that put me over the top.”
Bray takes home a new fully-rigged Ranger Z117 for his win.
Kevin Burks of Kountze, Texas, finished runner-up in the Co-angler Division with a three-day total of 25 pounds, 7 ounces for $3,434.
Burks’ key bait during the week was a Stanley Ribbit buzzing toad in a watermelon color fished on braided line.
Fussell’s primary bait during the week was a Zoom Ol’ Monster in plum rigged on a 1/2-ounce weight and tied to 17-pound test Berkley Vanish fluorocarbon.
Walker, Wilson round out top five
Cary Walker of Nacogdoches, Texas, finished fourth with a three-day total of 22 pounds even worth $2,404. Cary said a Senko in “any kind of green” was his key to success at Rayburn.
Dan Wilson of Pilot Point, Texas, rounded out the top-five among co-anglers with a three-day total of 20 pounds, 6 ounces for $2,061. Wilson’s best bait during the week was a Strike King finesse worm.
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top-10 co-anglers in the EverStart Series event on Sam Rayburn Reservoir:
6th: Robert Hill of Fort Worth, Texas, three-day total of 19-10, $1,717
7th: Mike Power of Conroe, Texas, three-day total of 19-9, $1,374
8th: Ralph Logan, Sr., of Magnolia, Texas, three-day total of 18-7, $1030
9th: Ron Knight of San Angelo, Texas, three-day total of 15-9, $687
10th: Michael Greer of Deridder, La., three-day total of 15-3, $549
Strike King Co-angler of the Year
Congratulations to Ralph Logan, Sr. of Magnolia, Texas, who won the Strike King Co-angler of the Year award in the EverStart Series Texas Division with 732 points. His finishes this year included a 47th place at Amistad, a 10th place at Toledo Bend, a 7th place at Texoma and an 8th place at Rayburn. Logan has now earned a 2014 Forrest Wood Cup berth on Lake Murray next August.