Team Allen/Loetscher Wins Texas Team Trail Presented by Cabela's Event on
Toledo Bend Reservoir
Anglers win Triton 189TRX with 150-horsepower Mercury outboard
NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (January 15, 2018) - Harold Allen, of Shelbyville, Texas, and Matt Loetscher, of Many, Louisiana, weighed 28.74 pounds to win the first regular-season event of the Texas Team Trail presented by Cabela's (TXTT) on January 13 on Toledo Bend Reservoir. The winning anglers won a brand-new Triton 189TRX with a 150-horsepower Mercury outboard, valued at $31,495.
The winning duo spent their day in the lake's upper third and focused on sheer drops in the main lake. Plunging from 10 to 20 feet, these spots presented classic winter strongholds that provided fish positional options.
"We fished spots that had some wood, not only on the bottom, but also hanging off the drop," Allen said. "Right now, the fish are either going to be right on top of the drop, or where it eases off. If you can find some cover off the side of the ledge, that's even better. Some of our fish were right on top of the ledge and some of them halfway down the sides of the drops."
Allen committed his day to a 3/4-ounce black/blue Santone jig with a Junebug craw trailer, while Loetscher used a 3/4-ounce brown Stanley jig with a green pumpkin Cajun Lures craw trailer. Their strategy involved feeling around for hard cover and then surgically picking it apart.
"We would work our baits fairly fast until we hit some type of structure and then we tried to bump that structure several times," Allen said. "When you bumped it or pulled your bait over, you'd kill the bait and let it go right down in there. That was the deal - working hard, slow and thorough."
With the morning take-off bringing temperatures in the 20s, Loetscher said they were shaking and bumping their rods to clear their guides of ice accumulations. Frosty conditions lingered most of the day and with lake temperatures in the mid-40s winter's grip remained apparent.
Nevertheless, Allen said his team's pre-tournament recon bespoke ideal conditions for their chosen tactics. Delighted with the cold, as well as the low lake level - about 5 feet below normal - the team followed their game plan to the letter.
"The lake dropped on us, which was in our favor because it pulls fish out to these drops," Allen said. "But then, we kept getting cold front after cold front after cold front. I told Matt, 'It's only going to make our stuff better, so what we have to do is just slow down, concentrate and fish.'"
On top of the new Triton boat and motor, the anglers added $2,550 in Anglers Advantage cash for a total of $34,045 in winnings.
Second-place finishers George Jeane Jr. and Tater Reynolds, both of Evans, Louisiana, weighed 27.47 pounds to win $9,740. The team concentrated on brush piles and wood for their limit.
"We fished jigs in brush piles because when it gets cold like this, those fish relate to wood and hard cover," Reynolds said. "A lot of the brush piles we fished were ones we put out, but if we went over one that was holding fish, we'd stop and work that one too."
The anglers fished with V&M Flat Line football jigs with Zoom Super Chunk trailers.
Bobby Vice, of Groves, Texas, and Ricky Guy, Humble, Texas, brought 25.92 pounds to the scales to take third place along with $4,060 in winnings.
A key adjustment propelled Bobby Vice and Ricky Guy from doing OK to sacking up the third-place limit. As Vice explained, they started their day dragging Carolina-rigged Big Bite Baits lizards, but after securing a small limit, Guy tried a different look and it was off to the races.
"Ricky picked up a 6th Sense football jig about 9:45 a.m. and caught a better-quality fish - a 4-pounder - so we both switched to that and stuck with that pattern the rest of the day," Vice said. "We upgraded the five we had in the well. We also caught a 5-pounder and one that was almost nine pounds.
The remaining Top 10 are Millender/Cannon (fourth); Farris/Hardin (fifth): Rambo/Clark (sixth); Owens/Broussard (seventh); Gulett/Rivers (eighth); Murray/Ivy (ninth); and Loving/White (tenth).
The next tournament stop for the TXTT is set for February 10 at Sam Rayburn. The 2018 schedule includes some of Texas' most legendary 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 at www.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 2018.
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, Mercury, Minn Kota, Triton Boats, Power-Pole, NITRO, Lowrance, Protect the Harvest, Garmin, Valley Fashions, T-H Marine, Atlas, G-Juice, Powertex Group.
For full results, please go to www.texasteamtrail.com/tournaments/events-results.