Cecil slam dunks Stren Series field for win

HEMPHILL, Texas - Russell Cecil, a tackle representative from Willis, Texas, turned a scant 8-ounce lead in the Stren Series event on Toledo Bend into a commanding 9-pound margin of victory Saturday by bringing the biggest five-bass limit of day four weighing 19 pounds, 15 ounces. Cecil's four-day total came in at 76 pounds, 8 ounces to give him his first Stren Series win of his career. He collected $25,000 cash and fully rigged Ranger Boat for his victory. "What really makes this so sweet is the caliber of fishermen I had to beat to win," said Cecil, who referred to the field of the top 10 anglers as the "Toledo Bend All-stars." "I can't tell you how many times those guys have beaten me over here. Beating them on their home water is no small feat; they're such legendary anglers to me." Perhaps what helped propel Cecil to victory the most was his fresh perspective of the lake. With limited knowledge of the fishery, he found a few key places during practice that delivered his win. "I do know where some of the common community-type stuff is here," he said. "But I knew that with the McDonald's event going on, there was no way I could rely on those places for three or four straight days. So I committed several days of practice to fishing obscure flats and breaks on the lower Russell Cecil hauled in day four's heaviest catch - 19-15 - for the win.end that did not have much grass on them." Instead of practicing on the traditional grass areas, Cecil moved out to deeper water and began Carolina rigging water in 18 to 20 feet, searching for key stump beds near deeper breaks. During the last two days of competition, those deeper, less pressured areas ended up being his clutch spots. "The first two days I fished grass like everyone else," he explained. "My first 35 pounds from the first two days came from flipping deep grass. On day three, I moved out to the deeper stumps and discovered that those places had a lot more fish on them than I initially thought." While flipping and pitching the grass, Cecil used a Big Bites creature and a Lake Fork creature topped with Lake Fork 1-ounce and 3/4-ounce tungsten weights, tied to 65-pound-test braided line. "When I saw a really thick clump on my depth finder, I'd go to the 1-ounce weight to get through it," he said. When Carolina rigging the deeper stumps, he used a Lake Fork Ring Fry and a Big Bites little creature with a 1-ounce weight and a 30-inch, 20-pound-test fluorocarbon leader. As for his winnings, Cecil added, "We just finished building a house, so it couldn't have come at a better time." Harold Allen second Pro Harold Allen of Shelbyville, Texas, finished second with a four-day total of 67 pounds, 8 ounces and collected $8,082 for his finish.Harold Allen of Shelbyville, Texas, finished second with a four-day total of 67 pounds, 8 ounces and collected $8,082 for his finish. Allen focused his efforts on submerged wood north of the midlake region. "It was classic summertime fishing," Allen said. "I was targeting channel breaks and the end of old ridges that contained lay-downs on the bottom. Some places were 14 feet of water falling off into 25, and one of my best places was 25 feet falling off into 50 feet." Allen used a pair of V&M worms in a red-bug color: a straight-tailed Pork Pin worm and a large 11-inch ribbon-tail model. The Pork Pin was teamed with a 1/4-ounce weight while the 11-inch worm was paired with a 3/8-ounce weight, and both were fished on 15-pound monofilament. Mark Allen third Finishing up in the third-place position was Mark Allen of Kemp, Texas, with a Finishing up in the third place position was pro Mark Allen of Kemp, Texas, with a four-day total of 64 pounds, 12 ounces worth $7274.four-day total of 64 pounds, 12 ounces, worth $7,274. Allen fished in the midlake Carrice Creek and Cypress Bend area, targeting the outside edges of grass in 14 to 16 feet of water. His primary lures were a Wave Worm Tiki Dude craw and a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver creature bait, both topped with Lake Fork Tackle 3/4-ounce tungsten weights and both fished on 65-pound-test Stealth braid. "I used my electronics to stay on the edge of the grass, pitching my baits to thick clumps," Allen said. "With that technique, 99 percent of the fish hit it on the initial fall, especially when it punches through the deep grass." Johnston fourth Pro Stephen Johnston of Hemphill, Texas, ended the Toledo Bend event in fourth place with 62 pounds, 15 ounces for $6,466.Stephen Johnston of Hemphill, Texas, ended the Toledo Bend event in fourth place with 62 pounds, 15 ounces for $6,466. Johnston spent his tournament in the Six Mile Creek area pitching a 1-ounce Falcon jig and a 1 1/4-ounce Stanley jig to deep grass edges, especially edges that coincided with points and drains. "In the mornings, the fish were positioned right on the edge of the grass, and that's when I used the 1-ounce jig" he noted. "Later in the morning, they would tuck up in the thicker grass along the edge, and I would go to the 1 1/4-ounce for better penetration." Both of Johnston's jigs were pumpkin-green with a craw worm trailer and tied to 65-pound-test Shakespeare Ugly Braid. "Good electronics are a key component for that type of fishing," he added. "And a Lowrance 125 is hard to beat for deep grass fishing." Johnston also caught some fish off planted brush piles on a 7-inch ribbon tail worm. Burgay fifth Stan Burgay of Timpson, Texas, cranked his way to a fifth-place finish with a Pro Stan Burgay of Timpson, Texas, cranked his way to a fifth place finish with a four-day total of 60 pounds, 8 ounces for $5657 in winnings.four-day total of 60 pounds, 8 ounces for $5,657 in winnings. Burgay fished in the north end of Toledo Bend with deep crankbaits, including a DD-22 and Bomber 9A. He avoided the pressure of the community grass holes by fishing the corners and points of offshore ridges that were sweetened with stumps and wood. Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pros in the final day of the Stren Series Texas Division event on Toledo Bend: 6th: Tommy Martin of Hemphill, Texas, four-day total of 60-3, $4,849 7th: Glen Freeman of Converse, La., four-day total of 57-15, $4,446 8th: Jeff Buchanan of Zavalla, Texas, four-day total of 45-2, $4,041 9th: Shane Gibson of Kilgore, Texas, four-day total of 41-4, $3,637 10th: Yarri Schreibvogel of Sam Rayburn, Texas, four-day total of 38-13, $3,234

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Wendlandt Back at the Top

It’s been 14 seasons since Clark Wendlandt last stood on a Walmart FLW Tour stage and hoisted a tournament championship trophy. Since that time, the Texas pro has experienced ups and downs, including an Angler of the Year title (his third) in 2009 and a major medical issue that sidelined him for most of the 2014 season. All that’s in the past now, however, and Wendlandt is right back where he belongs in the world of bass fishing – in first place after the final day on the Potomac River in the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

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Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River

Clark Wendlandt didn’t pull off any secret techniques to win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. He simply found an area with the right quality of bass to win and managed it perfectly despite facing a medley of Mother Nature’s toughest challenges. The rest of the top 10 stuck with the standard Potomac targets too, namely grass, docks and wood cover. The only underlying trend of the top 10 is that they found areas to themselves. Here’s how the rest of the top 10 got it done at the 2015 Tour finale. READ MORE »

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Wendlandt Receives Helping Hand

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Top 5 Patterns from Potomac River Day 3

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Wendlandt in Familiar Territory

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Jersey Boy Leads the Pack

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It might seem impossible for 405 miles of water to fish small, but space was hard to come by on day one of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. The creeks near takeoff at Smallwood State Park have seen as much traffic as a Washington, D.C. highway at rush hour. On the flip side, anglers who were able to develop patterns that got them away from the crowds, such as day-one leader Adrian Avena, have been able to reap the benefits of what has been a stingy fishery. Here’s how the rest of the pros in the top five caught their fish today. READ MORE »

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AOY Shake-Up: Martin Makes His Move

Scott Martin has been talking about winning the Angler of the Year title since before the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour season started. It’s on his mind and for good reason: Angler of the Year is the only major FLW title he hasn’t won in what Martin has built into one of the most decorated professional fishing careers in FLW Tour history. Today, on the first day of competition at the Tour finale on the Potomac River, Martin has unofficially moved into the lead in the AOY race for the first time all season. READ MORE »

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O Canada! Richardson Leads Day 2

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Top 5 Patterns From All-American Day 2

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All-American Midday Update Day 2

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Padgett Leads All-American With 27

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Top 5 Patterns From All-American Day 1

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All-American Midday Report

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