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What happened?Byron Velvick on Falcon Lake

5/7/2008

Lone Star Shootout Preview: Velvick's approach

Byron Velvick promised a lot in his preview thoughts (see link above) about the Falcon Lake Elite Series tournament. "It's out of control down here... There's no telling where this one will go," he said after two days of practice.

Now we know where this one went — straight into the record books.

During practice the anglers were catching good fish nearly everywhere. Velvick said it was so good it was hard to know where to fish. As the event progressed, however, this group of professionals determined that the biggest ones were along the points, in 15 to 35 feet of water.

Second place finisher Terry Scroggins; third place finisher Byron Velvick; and fourth place finisher Aaron Martens all weighed single-day, five-fish limits over 40 pounds. And winner, Paul Elias, missed joining that group by less than a pound.

Velvick also said that most of the anglers would be able to fish their strengths and that the bass would eat darn near anything thrown in the water. That was mostly right. The majority of the top finishers fished plastics on Carolina rigs. But they all fished with different plastics.

There didn't seem to be a favorite design, size or style. The common denominator was a slow and careful presentation, not a particular bait. And don't forget, most of Elias' fish were caught with a deep-diving crankbait.

Prior to the tournament Velvick had opined that six anglers would launch Sunday morning with over 100 pounds on the board. That's an extraordinary statement. It turned out that he was wrong about that. Only three anglers had that much weight before they launched Sunday morning.

Of course, the operative words here are "only" and "before." Three anglers over 100 pounds after three days is no small number. And, all 12 final day competitors ultimately broke the century mark.

He also told us that at least one record would fall, maybe two. He was right about that one. The all time four-day record was destroyed. Winner, Paul Elias, weighed a total of 20 bass that tipped the scales at 132 pounds, 8 ounces. That's well above the previous record of 122 pounds, 14 ounces set by Steve Kennedy at Clear Lake in 2007.

The single-day, five-bass record did survive, but not by much. Terry "Big Show" Scroggins brought 44 pounds, 4 ounces to the scales on Sunday. That was less than a pound shy of Dean Rojas' record of 45 pounds, 2 ounces set in 2001 on Lake Toho.

"I knew it was going to be ugly, but I really didn't realize the extent of it until maybe sometime into Friday. Guys were culling 6- and 7-pound bass," says Velvick, who finished third in the event. "It was almost frightening to be honest with you. I've never fished a tournament where the weights were so heavy and so many big bass were caught.

"Let me tell you how ugly it really was. I caught so many giant bass I ruined my balance beam. It couldn't take all the weight and abuse. They're not made for balancing 15 pounds of bass at a time. It was destroyed, all twisted and bent and pulled apart. I finally had to junk it. I'll have to go buy another one this week somewhere ... and start using a hand-held scale for my culling."

Velvick got it right. The 2008 Lone Star Shootout was an out of control bass fishing tournament. His grade is an A. He deserves it, even if no one feels particularly sorry for him because he has to buy a new balance beam before he goes to Amistad.

Lone Star Shootout Preview: Velvick's approach