SNOWDEN TAKES THE TTBC LEAD
Story and photos by Matt Pangrac
Conroe, TX - The second day of competition at the Toyota Texas Bass Classic on Lake Conroe was all about adjustments. Friday’s sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 80s gave way to overcast conditions, persistent rain showers, and temperatures in the 70s on Saturday.
The changing conditions ushered in significant changes at the top of the TTBC leaderboard, as the 50 anglers battled to make the top 10 cut and earn the right to compete on championship Sunday. Todd Faircloth and Jim Moynagh, who bested the field with matching 17 pound limits on Friday, were unable to deliver repeat performances.
Faircloth slipped to 5th place, weighing-in a 13 pound limit to boost his total weight to an even 30 pounds. Moynagh managed a limit weighing just 8 pounds to finish the tournament in 14th place with 25 pounds.
That opened the door for 2010 TTBC champion, Brian Snowden. The Missouri pro took advantage of the soggy conditions and boated one of the five limits that surpassed the 18 pound mark on Saturday. Snowden’s 18-12 effort increased his total weight to 33 pounds, giving him a 1 pound, 4 ounce lead heading into the final day.
Edwin Evers’ late flurry on Saturday vaulted him up to 2nd place in the standings. The Oklahoma pro’s 17-12 limit boosted his total weight 31 pounds, 12 ounces. After a 7th place finish at the TTBC in 2011 and a 6th place finish in 2010, Evers is hoping that the third time is the charm.
Fred Roumbanis finished Saturday in 3rd place with a limit weighing 18 pounds, 4 ounces for a total weight of 31 pounds, and Florida’s Terry Scroggins finished in 4th place after an 18 pound, 4 ounce effort gave him a total weight of 30 pounds 4 ounces.
There was a dramatic moment at the conclusion of the weigh-in at the Lone Star Convention & Expo Center when 2011 TTBC champion Keith Combs and Washington’s Luke Clausen finished the day tied for 10th place with a total weight of 26-12.
When the two anglers also tied in all four tiebreakers, TTBC Tournament Director Lenny Francoeur made the decision to allow both anglers to compete on Sunday, bringing the number of competitors still vying for the TTBC title to 11.
Saturday’s ATX Wheels Big Bass award went to Terry Scroggins, who crossed the TTBC stage with a Lake Conroe largemouth that weighed 7.70 pounds.
Snowden looking for his second TTBC title
Brian Snowden, the 2010 TTBC champion, entered Saturday on Lake Conroe tied for 7th place with a total weight of 14 pounds, 4 ounces. The Reeds Springs, Missouri pro had a rather pedestrian year on the Bassmaster Elite Series, recording just three top 50 finishes. His 16th place finish in the PAA Tournament Series AOY standings garnered a TTBC invitation after double qualifiers extended the number of invitations past 15.
After practice, Snowden was optimistic that he could end his season on a high note. “After a rough year on the Elite tour, I am excited to be here,” he stated on Wednesday. “Doing well on Conroe would be a big deal for me to finish up the year strong.”
With a limit weighing 18 pounds, 12 ounces on Saturday to boost his tournament leading weight to 33 pounds, Snowden ensured a third consecutive top 10 finish in TTBC competition.
“I’ve just fished the conditions for the last two days,” Snowden explained. “I spent all day yesterday fishing structure spots with a Carolina-rig, but I mixed it up and mainly fished shallow today with either a swim jig or a buzzbait.”
After boating several small keepers and breaking off a fish in the 3 pound range, Snowden said that he caught back-to-back 5 pounders in the span of five minutes. He boated 13 keepers over the course of the day.
Having tasted success on the Texas fishery under a variety of conditions over the past three years, Snowden said that his affinity for Lake Conroe stems from his Ozark roots. “You really have to fish a lot of spots to find where the fish are located. It’s a structure lake that sets up a lot like Table Rock Lake, but the main difference is that Lake Conroe is a lot shallower.”
Evers had a late flurry
Oklahoma’s Edwin Evers spent the majority of Saturday on Lake Conroe struggling to find the bites that resulted in a tie for 9th place on Friday. “I caught my fish late in the day yesterday, so I started with that pattern today and didn’t catch them. This afternoon, I went back to the pattern that didn’t pan out yesterday morning and started catching them again,” he said.
With only two keepers during the first seven hours of competition, Evers said that he finally found what he was looking for in the waning moments. “I stayed pretty calm, but it sure wasn’t going like I had hoped. I just went through every area where I’ve ever caught one on this lake and I finally ran across the right area.
“I’d say that catching four in the last hour qualifies as a pretty good flurry. I knew that it was going to happen today, but I really wanted it to happen a little bit sooner than it did,” said Evers, who finished Saturday with a 17 pound, 12 ounce limit for a total weight of 31 pounds, 12 ounces.
After finishing in 2nd place last week at the Bassmaster Elite Series Toyota Trucks All-Star Week in Decatur, Illinois, Evers said that a win on Lake Conroe would be sweet. “I’d love to win this tournament. I feel like I’ve been close here in the past, but I’ve lost monster fish and never could get it done.”
For Sunday, Evers said that his fate rests in his ability to boat a kicker largemouth. “You’re going to need to need a 7 or 8 pounder,” he concluded.
Roumbanis fished the conditions
Fred Roumbanis’ 2012 season closely resembled Brian Snowden’s. The Elite Series pro from Bixby, Oklahoma missed out on qualifying for the 2013 Bassmaster Classic on Grand Lake, but he tasted success in the PAA Tournament Series. In July, Roumbanis won the PAA Tournament Series on Neely Henry Lake and immediately turned his attention towards qualifying for the TTBC through the PAA Tournament Series AOY standings.
With a limit weighing 12 pounds, 12 ounces on Friday, Roumbanis found himself in a tie for 15th place heading into the second day on Lake Conroe. He jumped up to 3rd place on Saturday with a limit weighing 18 pounds, 4 ounces for a total weight of 31 pounds, just two pounds behind leader Brian Snowden.
“When the weather came in, I knew that it was time to move and groove,” said Roumbanis. “I covered a ton of water today and had several rods on my deck. I fired at anything that looked good depending on the situation.”
Roumbanis, who hasn’t caught more than one keeper off of a single spot during the first two days, said that he boated eight or nine keepers on Saturday. “I just had a feeling that they would bite. I’ve actually had four bites off of one stretch and I haven’t been able to land a single one of them,” he admitted. “If they’re not catfish and I’m able to get one of them to bite tomorrow, I might come in with a big one.”
For complete standings, visit www.toyotatexasbassclassic.com