POTTSBORO, Texas – Tim Reneau has been hunting his first EverStart victory for several years and after three runner-up finishes (including 2012 at Toledo Bend), the Del Rio, Texas, angler finally notched a "W" with his convincing effort at the EverStart Series Texas Division tournament on Lake Texoma.
Reneau entered the final round a pound and a half behind California pro Troy Lindner, who lit up the field on day one with 27 pounds, 8 ounces – the tournament's biggest sack. Reneau said he was particularly pleased that this event did not end with another "almost."
"I knew I had the bites to win, so (those second places) were pretty hard to swallow," Reneau said. "The way (Lindner) had been catching them I thought 'here's another second,' so this is pretty amazing."
Buoying Reneau's win was his big second-round performance in which he bagged 24 pounds, 13 ounces – the tournament's second-heaviest stringer. This catch boosted him to second place after his day-one weight of 17-9 put him in 13th. Adding 16-4 today gave him a three-day total of 58-10 and a winning margin of 3-7.
"It was crazy – the first two big ones got off and then I had to regroup and get back into it," he said. "I threw back probably another 17-pound bag yesterday. It was a fun week. The first day of practice I caught 'em and the next two days I just went and looked for something that nobody was going to throw. I'm not into bed fishing or going into marinas and getting in line. I found a little something special and it worked out yesterday."
Day one saw Texoma whipped into a frothy slop, complements of the severe weather system that blew across southern Oklahoma and north Texas during the early morning hours. The cold front driving this line of storms dropped air temperatures into the 50s from the daytime highs of mid-80s that anglers saw during practice. The rain stopped in time for the 7 a.m. takeoff, but cloudy skies and strong northwest winds prevailed for most of the day.
The second day brought high bright skies and more wind, though not as fierce as day one. Typically, post-frontal conditions prove challenging, but Reneau ignored conventional thought and whacked a big sack of fish. Day three actually proved the most difficult, but his second-round surge was plenty to carry him across the finish line.
Reneau, who owns Del Rio-based Power Tackle, caught most of his day-one fish on a Strike King KVD 1.5 squarebill crankbait. On days two and three, he caught his fish on a Strike King Titanium umbrella rig baited with Strike King Caffeine Shads.
"What's different about this (rig) is that it has 100-pound titanium arms and when you reel, all of those arms compress and the baits get close together – just like a school swims," he said. "And if you stop reeling, the baits spread apart, like something scared the school."
Reneau caught most of his fish on rocky shorelines where the rocks extended into the water. Aside from dumping those day-two fish, Reneau said he fished cleanly.
"I caught everything that bit me today," he said.
Cade improves to second
Jeff Cade of Richardson, Texas, got off to a strong start with 22 pounds and a second-place position on day one. He'd slip one spot to third on day two with 17-6, but regain that ground on the third day by catching 15-13 and ending the week in second with 55-3.
Largemouth had comprised his previous two days, which he spent throwing a chartreuse and white blade jig around steep banks. Today, Cade showed off three nice smallmouths, including one pushing 4 pounds. He also caught these on the blade jig, but he found he needed a change of scenery.
"I got out there this morning and looked around and saw my boat and three others fishing the same area and I figured we'd probably beat that up pretty good, so I made a move," he said. "I had caught a good smallmouth in practice in one cove. It was kind of a (nondescript) looking place, so I went over there and caught all three of my smallmouths."
Cade said he fished mostly clear water so fluorocarbon line served him well. He estimated he caught a dozen keepers each on days one and three, with day two producing 16.
"I had a goal this year to make a top 10 and I finally did, so everything else is gravy," Cade said.
Lindner slips to third
"I came into this with no expectations so I'm really, really happy," Lindner said. "I knew at the end of today I would be third, maybe second. I knew I didn't have the fish to win."
Lindner caught his fish on a Rapala X-Rap, Spro swimbaits and a Texas-rigged Trigger X Spadetail worm. He said he's looking forward to future opportunities to learn Lake Texoma.
"I just didn't know where to go," he said. "I knew what I was looking for and what I wanted to see, but with the wind, I couldn't really run around. I just kept running the same areas that I had been running.
McCall gains two spots to finish fourth
Chris McCall of Brookeland, Texas, continued his path of improvement by gaining two spots to finish fourth with 52-9. McCall took 11th place on day one with 17-14, moved up to sixth the next day with 17-5 and ended the event with a final-round catch of 17-6.
McCall worked a shad-spawn pattern around docks and caught most of his fish on a Santone swim jig and a Santone spinnerbait. One of his day-three fish bit a Gambler Giggy Head jig with a Roboworm. McCall's bag included a fat spotted bass with the classic "football-with-fins" proportions.
"It's just unbelievable how well this lake's fishing," he said of Texoma's recent upturn in productivity. "You have all three species of (black) bass – largemouths, smallmouths and spots."
McAlester finishes fifth
Spencer McAlester of Denison, Texas, caught a limit of 14-13 in the final round and tallied a three-day total of 52-6. He caught 18-12 and 18-13 the first two days. McAlester said he caught his fish on a ChatterBait, swimbait and Texas-rigged Power Worm.
"I probably had 50 keepers on Thursday," he said. "That dropped down to about 15 on Friday and today, I probably had about 12 or 13. If you get out there and let the wind be your friend, you can catch them."
Best of the rest
Rounding out the top-10 pro leaders at the EverStart Series Lake Texoma event:
6th: Donnie O'Neal of Pflugerville, Texas, 50-3
7th: Eric Wrigh of Scurry, Texas, 49-9
8th: Rob Burns of Plano, Texas, 47-11
9th: Stephen Johnston of Hemphill, Texas, 46-6
10th: Chris Russell of Montgomery, Texas, 41-10