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The PAA’s Inaugural Event: Toyota Texas Bass Classic 
By: Chad Morgenthaler

www.chadmorgenthaler.com

The Pro Anglers Association’s highly anticipated first event the Toyota Texas Bass Classic held on Lake Fork TX (April 13-15) went off without a hitch.  This was an absolutely awesome tournament, and my hat goes off to the PAA Board and all the sponsors for putting on such a great event.

I personally love to fish Texas lakes and Lake Fork is no exception.  The Texas Parks and Wildlife has an awesome fishery and I don’t know an angler out there who wouldn’t jump at the chance to compete on Fork.   

In order to adhere to the strict regulations and slot limit the PAA devised the 40 team; 4 pros to a team format.  I have to admit, going in I was a little concerned about how it would all work out, and very shakey about only being allowed to fish 4 hours a day.   After it was all said and done it was a tremendous amount of fun and well worth the effort.  With no points on the line, we played to win. 

It was an honor getting to know and working with my fellow team #28 partners David Dudley, Mikes Hawkes, and Darryl Burkhardt.  We all did an outstanding job strategizing together to securing a 4th place finish with a total weight of 194 pounds.   During the course of the week we got to know each other really well and had a great time fishing together. It was gratifying to see the lines evaporate between FLW and BASS.  At this event we were just a group of professional anglers working together as friends to win a tournament and raise money for two great causes, the Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Catch a Dream Foundation.     

For this tournament we were allowed two official practice days and a half day on April 12th to fish the Pro Am.  My team’s general consensus after practice was to target staging fish rather than spawning fish. We felt this strategy gave us the best advantage due to the time restraints and the incoming bad weather.  For the majority of the tournament we fished main lake points and drains with a combination of stumps and grass.  The most productive technique for us was a drop shot rig using a 4 to 6 inch finesse worm in 6 to 12 foot of water.  We found a good group of fish close by that no one else was on that held together two days. Unfortunately on the third day we had to regroup and fish new water.   The team brought several bass to the scales that were over the slot limit.  On day one Mike Hawkes brought in the largest bass over the slot….10 lb 5 oz.

During all three days of competition I fished with Mike Hawkes while David Dudley fished with Darryl Burkhardt.  The first two days of competition Mike and I took the 4 hour morning session while David and Darryl took the afternoon session.  On the third day the format changed and all team members fished two four hour sessions. 

Not only did we have an amazing tournament, but it was also a spectacular show, which will air on CBS on Mother’s Day.  Anglers who were not fishing could spend time in the “Lunker Club” along with their families.  It was great to see guys huddle-up to watch the live leader board checking out how their team mates were doing.   Over the weekend everyone who attended enjoyed the family fun zone and vender expo.  After the Friday and Saturday weigh-ins crowds were also treated to a free concert by Tracy Lawrence and Clay Walker.  As you can tell, I have nothing but praise for this tournament.

Make sure and checkout the PAA’s website at www.proanglersassociation.com and read all about the Toyota Texas Bass Classic.  The PAA is truly a great organization ran by the anglers for the anglers.  If you’re not a member, you should be.

A special “Thanks” to all of my sponsors: Jasper Engines and Transmissions, Yamaha Motors, Ranger Boats, Lowrance Electronics, Svanda GM Motor Group, Maxima Line, Kistler Rods, Minn Kota, Plano , Penetrator Weights, Reaction Innovation, Nameoki Village Marine and Solar Bat.

Make sure and log onto my web site www.chadmorgenthaler.com and signup for my fan club.  E-newsletters are forwarded monthly and one lucky winner each month receives a prize.  Tournament summaries are posted after each tournament and pro tips are updated often.  It’s a great source of bass fishing information.