Rambo and Clark take Texas Team Trail on Sam Rayburn

Cory Rambo, of Orange, and Rusty Clark, of Sam Rayburn, brought 29.77 pounds of bass to the scales to win the 2015 season-opening event of the Texas Team Trail presented by Cabela’s on Jan. 31 at Sam Rayburn Reservoir.

Thanks to contingency program upgrades, the winning anglers took home a brand new, fully-rigged Ranger Z119C powered by an Evinrude outboard.

Sam Rayburn lived up to its reputation as a big-fish factory, kicking out 14 limits over 20 pounds and nearly a 30-pound winning limit. The event recorded a TXTT record 300 teams registering for the tournament, which paid out more than $129,000 in winnings.

Approximately one month ago, Rambo and Clark found a mid-lake staging area that was loaded with prespawn bass. The spot was special because it had both numbers and big fish, and it would continually replenish.

“We’ve been sitting on this one spot,” said Rambo. “We knew it was good because the fish we’ve been catching are white and pale. That told us they were coming and it has just kept reloading.”

As boat No. 103, the two anglers were worried somebody else would arrive at their spot first. To their surprise, nobody was on it and the early bite was as good as they anticipated.

“We had a limit first thing this morning,” recalled Rambo. “Rusty caught a five-pounder and a little bit later I picked up an A-rig and caught a seven-pounder. At 8:30 the bite slowed a little and then we’d catch a good one every half hour or so. At about 1:30 we had a seven, two sixes, a five- and a 3.5-pounder. Right then, Rusty caught another five-pounder on a Carolina rig and we were done.”

Second-place finishers Skeeter Fowler, of Grand Saline, and Chad Penney, of Mansfield, brought a final weight of 26.15 pounds to take home $7,500.

“We had a limit by 9:45 this morning with four good ones,” said Penney. “We just could not get rid of that fifth fish. We culled our little one twice, but just by a tiny bit.”

Penney said he and his partner were not targeting grass. Instead, the two were jigging a 30-foot drain with a one-ounce jig with a soft plastic craw trailer

“We were trying to catch them as they move from deep water to shallow water,” said Penney. “Skeeter did all the prefishing and he found them.”

Rusty Harvey and Chris Harvey took the $4,500 third-place prize for their 25.06 pounds of bass. The anglers took advantage of the contingency prizes and added $2,112 in Anglers Advantage cash and another $250 in boat motor bonus money.

“We had one seven-pounder and the rest were just solid fish,” said Rusty Harvey. “We did have a two-pounder that we couldn’t get rid of and we lost a few fish too. I don’t think we had a chance to win and you’re going to lose some fish; that’s part of it. We’re happy with what we had.”

The next tournament stop for the TXTT is set for Feb. 21 at Toledo Bend.