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Sanford wins 5k+ on Lake Sam Rayburn
ABA press release
ATHENS, Ala. – Roy Sanford won it all during the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series, operated by American Bass Anglers, Southeast Texas Division 10 opener, held March 17, 2012, on Lake Sam Rayburn.

Running out of the Umphrey Pavilion landing near Jasper, the 47-year-old Sam Rayburn angler caught five bass going 18.03 pounds. Catching a total of nine keepers, he anchored his bag with a 6.72-pounder that won the Boater Division big bass title. For the Boater Division victory, he collected $5,000 with a $680 bonus for the big bass.

“I fished really shallow,” Sanford explained. “The pressure was tremendous. I really had to slow down the presentation to catch any fish. I was throwing a weightless watermelon lizard, just letting it sink. The big fish came out of less than a foot of water.”

In second for the 138 boaters, Stephen Johnston, 42, of Hemphill brought in a five-bass tournament limit weighing 15.72 pounds with a 5.75-pound kicker. He earned a check for $2,239.

“I threw a Carolina rig and keyed on inside grass lines,” Johnston explained. “The boat sat in 10 feet of water and I threw a V&M watermelon blue lizard into about five feet of water. I dragged it slowly across the bottom. I caught about 18 keepers.”

Phil Hennigan, 44, of Center came in third among the boaters with a five-bass limit weighing 15.69 pounds. He caught eight keepers and went home with $1,492.

“I ran up north,” Hennigan revealed. “With the water levels coming up, I really didn’t have any preconceived ideas on what to do. I just went fishing. I was sight fishing with a fluke. After the sun got up, I switched to a swim jig. I also flipped a 3/8-ounce green pumpkin watermelon jig with a watermelon candy speed craw.”

Bradley W. Stringer of Huntington took fourth place with five bass at 15.65 pounds including a 4.50-pound kicker. William “Bill” Lee of Harker Heights rounded out the top five boaters with five bass at 14.76 pounds including a 6.01-pound kicker.

In the Co-Angler Division, Melvin Henslee, 71, of Beaumont took it all. He landed three bass going 15.64 pounds for a 5.21-pound average. He capped his bag with a 7.68-pounder that set the tournament lunker standard. For the win, he pocketed $2,500 with an extra $338 for the bucketmouth.

“I caught all of my fish before 8:30 a.m. and we continued to catch fish all day,” Henslee said. “I probably caught 40 fish. I was throwing a weightless watermelon magic fluke in very shallow water, less than two feet deep. I worked very slowly. The wind came up around 8:30 a.m. and the big fish moved out of the grass into deeper water.”

In second for the co-anglers, Jeff C. Stimits of Buna landed a three-bass daily division limit weighing 11.71 pounds. He anchored his bag with a 4.82-pound kicker.

Dusty R. McFadden of Nacogdoches took third among the co-anglers with three bass and 10.54 pounds capped by a 5.06-pounder. Rocky Wostal of Humble brought in three keepers for 9.63 pounds with a 4.64-pound kicker. In fifth place for the co-anglers, Tommy Nail of Dayton found three keepers weighing 9.11 pounds with one 5.07-pound kicker.

For more information on this tournament, call Porter Trimble at (318) 201-3474 or ABA at (888) 203-6222. On line,