The competition for nearly $1,500 in cash prizes drew 18 anglers and their accompanying in-boat officials to Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir for round five of the Pro Am Bass Trails Solo Cup Division on Feb. 18.
The series paid out cash prizes to the top three positions and for the single largest bass weighed in. This unique trail features an immediate catch, weigh and release format identical to television’s Major League Fishing show.
Each angler is paired with a volunteer official to compete in three periods of fishing separated by a mandatory 30-minute break. Each period runs either two or two and a half hours. Fish are caught, weighed and released then scored in real time thereby allowing spectators to track the field in real time.
Pro Am has recently begun working closely with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to take advantage of its new loaner scale program for weighing fish quickly and accurately, thus reducing handling time and fish stress and increasing fish survival.
The dense blanket of fog delayed the planned launch time, but once the first period began, fish started being landed quickly. Within minutes of the period’s start time, spectators at home watched Pro Am angler Frank Sharkey of Copperas Cove post the first numbers on Scoretracker Live with a 2-pound bass, followed shortly by Michael Provenzano’s similar catch.
Just as Major League Fishing is broken into rounds, Pro Am anglers were required to break for 30 minutes between rounds and race back to their starting points.
Periods two and three would be fished on different, pre-determined segments of the lake.
During these periods, Jason Larson and Sharkey battled it out for first place.
As the day wore on, the sun occasionally brightened the otherwise gray, cloudy skies. It was during one of these brief, brighter spans that John Del Rio landed the event’s largest bass, a 7.25-pound largemouth.
As the final seconds of the third and final period slipped away, second place was held by Sharkey with 11 pounds, 5 ounces of bass, and first place went to Larson with 13 pounds, 2 ounces. Larson took home $640 for his win.
“This tournament definitely forces you to attack the water differently than you would a normal tournament. It’s a lot of fun,” Del Rio said after taking home over $400 for third place and the big bass bonus.
The sixth and final event before going into championship qualification is scheduled for March 24. Lake locations are not announced until a short time before the tournament in order to maintain an element of surprise, thus forcing anglers to prepare in a short span of time.
Anglers are prohibited from fishing the announced lake the moment it is announced.
Registration for round six is currently open and the number of anglers able to be accommodated will be limited by the number of officials able to support the event.
To register for this event, visit Pro Am Bass Trails online at www.proambass.com. For more information on this tournament format, contact Linwood Cottner at 254-432-3060 or Ron Willhite at 832-935-5101 or go online to www.proambass.com.
Heroes on the Water
On Feb. 16, Copperas Cove resident Frank Aguilar and other volunteer leaders of the Fort Hood chapter of Heroes on the Water traveled to the Bass Pro Shops retail store in Round Rock to receive a donation valued at over $6,000 from the outdoor sports giant.
HOW is a bona fide 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with 87 chapters nationwide, eight of which are here in Texas.
The organization’s mission is to help warriors relax, rehabilitate and reintegrate through kayak fishing and the outdoors. Their motto is: Paddle. Fish. Heal.
Locally, HOW coordinates multiple annual events on nearby bodies of water to allow both servicemembers and first responders to have a chance at paddling their way to catch fish and enjoy the fellowship of others with like interests.
Over the last three seasons, the Fort Hood HOW chapter has put approximately 430 individuals on the water in fishing kayaks. Nationally, HOW has helped over 38,000 individuals.
The centerpiece of the donation was a four-kayak trailer valued at $1,600. The balance of the donation will go to procure fishing equipment, safety gear and kayaking accessories to further enhance the organization’s efforts.
HOW is looking forward to fielding its new gear at its next planned event scheduled for March 24 at Reveille Peak Ranch in Burnet. The event will run from 7:30 am to 2:30 p.m.
Those interested in volunteering and/or participating with HOW may reach Aguilar, the Fort Hood chapter president, at 254-630-6440 or at Ft.HoodTx@HeroesOnTheWater.org.