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I was one of those lucky enough to be at Choke last fri/sat and take part in that memorable and historic weekend. Even though I wasn't there for BassChamps, I was fishing in the annual two day team tourney the Texas Bass Club for the Deaf hosts. On Friday, the first day of our tourney, JB Thoman caught that 13.12 fish. His team brought in a little more than 31 lbs on fri. Second had 20. My partner and I were in 10th with just around 10 lbs. Sad, I know.

What made me write this story is reading about how those 15+ sharealunkers died and a lot of the comments about that on this site... Thoman and his partner quit fishing immediately and ran to the store to get her weighed in. Take it for what it's worth to you. We were fishing for only a $1,500 purse and not more than 20-25K. But still, for those of you who really want to keep a Sharealunker alive - maybe this is what would really help keep those fish - doing what they've been saying about immediately taking it to a big holding tank that's way more oxygenated than a little livewell.

My story continued:

On Sat, 5 mins after we start fishing, I'm a little luckier. My second fish which I caught on a creature bait was just around 5. We fill our limit relatively quickly, mostly with small fish. During this time, I notice my aerator's running constantly. No biggie, I thought. I've got jumper cables with me. So, the battery dies for the first time in the early afternoon and I jump it and we run to what would turn out to be our final spot of the afternoon, which was in sight of the dam.

There, I finally find some clearer water and decide it's time to pull out the swimbait I bought specifically for Choke. I just thought it'd work - had to. I'm not a big swimbait person. I've caught maybe two fish in my whole life on the real big/hard swimbaits that you've got to bomb out there and I don't have a bunch of those. I've never had the right equipment to throw them with, too, etx... etx... but hey, this swimbait I dropped what I felt was a real pretty penny on and really, really don't want to get snagged in more than 5 feet of water, I can just barely throw on my sweet Shimano Crucial MH flippin stik with #20 Carbon Pro. I'd been throwing that swimbait on Thurs and Fri because it'd been blowing pretty good on those days even though I never felt like I was in the type of water that had enough clarity for that kind of bite to happen, but hey, on Sat, it was the last day, we're in the afternoon, had a good wind blowing and nice water clarity... I decide it's time to try it again. My first cast with it... so, so, so amazing... that feeling I got when I felt that ever so slight tick on my line - just knew it had to be a bite and I was just so excited I'd finally gotten something to hit a swimbait... I think I was expecting it to be in the 5-8 lb. range... but when it jumped for the first time... wow... unbelievable... I had to horse her just a little and that soft flipping stick really let me do that and then my partner had my 10.6 toad in the net, which let me break my old PB out of Lake Austin by a single ounce.

There were two guys in a Ranger who saw us catch that fish. We were in the gray/red/white 'cat. Hello!!!

So, I'm there bombing that swimbait for the rest of the afternoon and then we're gonna move. My boat wouldn't start. Couldn't jump it at all. There were two other guys in our T fishing a spot 200 yards from us. I troll over and tell them about my boat - great, I find out they were gonna stay on that spot for the rest of the afternoon. My partner jumps into their boat with our fish, runs to Calliham, and drives back to the South Shore ramp which was close enough for me to troll to and picks me up. Wow... really, really lucky turn of events, huh?

That day, we weighed in just around 20 and a half lbs and finished in fourth out of 16 teams. The winners had the 13 lb toad and over 42. Second was close with 40. Third beat us by 6 ounces. Still, not a bad comeback, if
 
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