This one isn’t just for the fun of it.

There will be over $9,000 in prize money awarded at the TNT Tournament of Champions Invitational held at Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir.

The two-day event starts on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. and Day 1 ends at 3:30 p.m.

On Sunday, the tournament will also go from 7:30 a.m until 3 p.m.

There were 25 teams invited to the event based on performance and participation levels in the Tuesday Night Tournament, which is sponsored each week by Tightlines Premium Fishing Tackle.

In this championship event, each team can weigh-in five fish per day.

“I think a total of 26 pounds is what it will take to win the event,” said Dean Thompson, co-owner of Tightlines.

The first place team is guaranteed $4,000.

“I wouldn’t say any one team is the favorite,” Thompson said. “Any team can make it happen over two days.

“Consistency is the key. It takes a lot of planning and practice to win this event. These guys are all experienced in tournaments. It should be competitive.”

Craig Gilbert and Dexter Thompson are the two-time defending champions of this event.

“Craig and Dexter spend a lot of time fishing the lake,” Thompson said. “They know what’s going on at the lake. But don’t mention ‘three-peat’ to them about this event — they are trying not to jinx themselves.

“It may be tougher on them this year because they haven’t fished this season as much as they have in the past.”

The team of Donnie Mathes-Tim Rake have won the TNT five times this season.

“I think everyone will be looking out for Donnie Mathes and Tim Rake because they’ve done very well this year,” Thompson said. “They spend a lot of time on the water.

“The more time you spend on the lake the easier it is to pattern the fish.”

Contact Allan Mandell at or 254-501-7566 and read his column at

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