UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Ouachita

This memory will be colored green

After a long winless stretch, Jim Milson is back on top of the bass fishing world. The Odessa, Texas pro won the Stren Series Texas Division tournament on Lake Amistad with 52 pounds, 2 ounces.

DEL RIO, Texas - One night 40 years ago, Jim Milson was cruising around Del Rio with his high school girlfriend. They had heard a new dam was being built on the Rio Grande west of town and decided to check it out.

"We drove out there," Milson recalls, "and said, `Wow, that's cool!' Next thing you know, I'm fishing Amistad. I made the mistake of catching a bass."

The mistake became an obsession, and Milson became a bass pro. Forty years later, the Odessa, Texas, pro still thinks the lake behind the dam on the Rio Grande is pretty cool. Saturday it became profitable as well, as Milson won a first-place check worth $23,885 at the Stren Series Texas Division tournament on Lake Amistad.

Milson did it with a three-day weight of 52 pounds, 2 ounces. He was the only angler at this tournament to break the 50-pound mark as big bass were hard to come by.One by one Jim Milson placed his fish in the tank at the final weigh-in at Walmart in Del Rio. He topped second place Russell Cecil by 2 pounds, 5 ounces.

"The wait is over," a jubilant Milson said onstage at the final weigh-in. "I've never been so excited. This is the most wonderful fishing day of my life."

Milson found the wining pattern at 1 p.m. on his last day of practice. He stayed on the lake until 5:30 p.m. to see if the pattern would work elsewhere, and it did. His ability to read fish on his sonar and track them with GPS was a big part of his victory.

"I never saw where I was fishing other than on my electronics," he said. "My Lowrance sonar with Navionics chip was dead on. I was following contour lines the whole way."

All of his weigh fish came from 30- to 35-foot depths on a Texas-rigged watermelon-red Senko. He caught bass as shallow as 14 feet and as deep as 30 feet, with shallow fish coming during cloudy cover and deeper fish coming when the sun was out.

Milson had what he believed was a close call while making his last cast Saturday. He said he was tucking in his shirt and had placed his rod under his arm when a big bass hit. He grabbed the rod but it was too late; the bass had come off on a tree.

"I thought, `That's it. There goes the tournament,'" Milson said.

Co-angler Debra Cunningham of Phoenix weighed the biggest bass of day three, this 8-pound, 14-ounce largemouth.While the other competitors walked onstage to get their checks, an emotional Milson, standing alone to the side, said: "I love this sport. It's what my dad and I did. I did well in my 30s and 40s, and then things went south. I had to take care of my business and my dad died. When I came back I couldn't find the groove.

"But this year I learned that I was caught in coves. I wanted fish to come to me instead of going to the fish. I told myself, `It's time to go to the fish,' and to do that I had to lose sight of land. That was a valuable lesson I learned at Rayburn and Falcon. This time I felt I was going to put it together. I even told some friends I would win this."

A little confidence goes a long way.

Cecil remains in second

Russell Cecil ended the tournament where he ended day two - in second place. He finished with a three-day combined weight of 49 pounds, 13 ounces, with his smallest sack of 13 pounds, 14 ounces unfortunately coming on the last day.

But forgive Cecil if he had a few other things on his mind during the tournament. The day after leaving home to prefish, he learned his wife had broken her arm while setting up an umbrella on their patio. Then this morning Cecil's boat batteries died, and he needed a tow back to the docks.

But when he was actually fishing, Cecil did quite well, earning $9,546. Today the Willis, Texas, pro got his keepers on topwater lures after watching his co-angler, winner Chris Hults, catch one big bass after another.

"I had my chances today, but I failed to execute," said Cecil, who won the last Stren Series stop at Sam Rayburn in March. "When it's all over, I have myself to blame."

Johnston's climb ends at third

Stephen Johnston of Hemphill, Texas, made a steady climb up the standings, going from 18th on day one to fifth on day two to third on day three. He finished with a combined weight of 46 pounds, 12 ounces worth $7,637. But, like Cecil, his smallest sack came on day three and it weighed 14 pounds, 9 ounces.

"The wind was my friend here, and it always has been," Johnston said. "When the wind doesn't blow like it didn't today, I just do not get the bites. Today I caught just seven keepers all day."

Johnston spent the entire tournament throwing crankbaits on 10-pound-test line.

Lasyone finishes fourth

While Johnston made a steady climb, Kevin Lasyone of Dry Prong, La., went the other way. He was in first after day one, but fell to fourth for days two and three and finished with a combined weight of 46 pounds, 8 ounces worth $6,682.

"I caught a ton of fish the first day, but yesterday was tough," said Lasyone, who weighed his smallest sack, 12 pounds, 9 ounces, on day two.

Lasyone's dragged a bream-colored jig worm slowly over weeds in 12 feet or less to catch most of his fish. He stayed consistently shallower than any other pro at the tournament. When the fish wouldn't take the jig, he went back at them with a Senko and got a few that way.

Herron works his way to fifth

By "grinding it out" with a Carolina-rigged Brush Hog and a drop-shot rig, Michael Herron of Paris, Texas,Michael Herron of Paris, Texas, placed fifth in the Pro Division with 45-pounds, 9-ounces. worked his way from 14th on day one to ninth on day two to a fifth-place finish with 45 pounds, 9 ounces worth $5,728. He said the magic depth was 23 feet.

Best of the rest

6th: Ray Hanselman, Del Rio, Texas, 45-4
7th: Jim Tutt, Longview, Texas, 41-8
8th: Christopher Brasher, Spring, Texas, 39-9
9th: Robert Collett, Zapata, Texas, 38-8
10th: Waylon Bullard, Del Rio, Texas, 32-3

Tags: vince-meyer  headline-story  2009-05-21-lake-amistad 

/news/2016-02-12-top-10-photos-from-lake-okeechobee-

Top 10 Photos from Lake Okeechobee

FLW’s coverage crew was all over the place during the Walmart FLW Tour kickoff presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee. The following photos are some of the best taken during a week of wild weather swings and big bass. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-10-dudley-links-up-with-livingston-lures

Dudley Links Up with Livingston Lures

Livingston Lures has added three-time Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year David Dudley to its pro-staff. The Virginia pro joins two-time FLW AOY Andy Morgan and former FLW Rookie of the Year Stetson Blaylock on the Team Livingston roster. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-10-power-pole-extends-partnership-with-flw

Power-Pole Extends Partnership with FLW

FLW announced yesterday that JL Marine Systems, manufacturer of Power-Pole shallow-water anchor systems, has signed a sponsorship extension for the 2016 season. This will be the sixth consecutive season that the two organizations have partnered. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-flw-college-fishing-western-conference-opens-season-on-shasta-lake

FLW College Fishing Western Conference Opens Season on Shasta Lake

REDDING, Calif. – FLW College Fishing is headed to Lake Shasta Feb. 20 for the first of three regular-season stops in the Western Conference. A full field of college teams will be competing for a top award of $2,000 and a berth in the FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-lake-shasta-set-to-host-costa-flw-series-opener-presented-by-minn-kota

Lake Shasta Set to Host Costa FLW Series Opener Presented by Minn Kota

REDDING, Calif. – The Costa FLW Series is headed to Lake Shasta Feb. 18-20 for a tournament presented by Minn Kota when as many as 300 pros and co-anglers will take to the water for the first stop of 2016 in the Western Division. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-montgomery-targets-prespawn-bass-for-win

Montgomery Targets Prespawn Bass for Win

Local angler Scott Montgomery of Eufaula, Ala., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 1 ounce, Saturday to win the first FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Bulldog Division tournament of 2016 on Lake Eufaula. For his victory, Montgomery took home a check for $4,127. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-top-10-patterns-from-lake-okeechobee

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Okeechobee

Oklahoma’s Bradley Hallman sewed up his first Walmart FLW Tour victory at the season-opener on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats by pitching and punching reed heads in the South Bay area with a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver. Hallman stuck with his program despite up-and-down air temperatures, high winds and all the curveballs Mother Nature could throw at him. Here's how the rest of the top 10 got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-08-top-10-baits-from-lake-okeechobee

Top 10 Baits from Lake Okeechobee

The Walmart FLW Tour presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee went from a tight race to a runaway in a hurry when Bradley Hallman just wouldn’t stop catching the big ones. As for the lures he used, and those put to work by the rest of the top 10, some Okeechobee staples were applied as well as a few oddball baits. If you’re thinking of heading down to the Big O or anywhere else in Florida soon, you might want to acquire a few of the lures they fished. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-07-hallman-wins-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Hallman Wins Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Okeechobee Presented by Ranger Boats

CLEWISTON, Fla. – Pro Bradley Hallman of Norman, Oklahoma, brought just two bass to the scale Sunday totaling 6 pounds, 8 ounces, but it was still enough to earn the win at the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Hallman’s four-day cumulative total of 16 bass weighing 71 pounds, 2 ounces earned him the win by an impressive 14-pound, 14-ounce margin over second-place pro Alex Davis of Albertville, Alabama, and $100,000 in the tournament that featured 169 of the best bass-fishing anglers in the world competing in the first FLW Tour event of the regular season. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-07-big-hall-man-on-okeechobee

Big (Hall)Man on Okeechobee

It was the Bradley Hallman show all week long at Lake Okeechobee at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats. Though, the Norman, Okla., pro struggled on day four and brought in only two fish for 6 pounds, 8 ounces, he pulled off the wire-to-wire victory in his first event on Tour. The 13-pound, 9-ounce lead that Hallman built up through the first three days of competition was enough that he didn't actually have to weigh his fish today. Hallman's tournament total of 71 pounds, 2 ounces far exceeded the 56-04 caught by runner-up Alex Davis. For the win, Hallman earned $100,000. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-07-lake-okeechobee-day-4-coverage

Lake Okeechobee Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-top-5-patterns-from-lake-okeechobee-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Okeechobee Day 3

Across the board, weights fell off on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats and hosted by Roland and Mary Ann Martin's Marina and Resort and the Hendry County Tourism and Development Council. No one in the top 20 crossed the 20-pound mark. Cloud cover, which prevented the water temperature from rising much above 65 degrees, and low water clarity might both have slowed the replenishment of bass moving into spawn. Tournament leader Bradley Hallman experienced a bit of a stall in the action as well, bringing just four fish to the scales, but he still managed to increase his lead to 13 pounds, 9 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-hallman-extends-lead-on-day-three-at-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Hallman Extends Lead On Day Three At Walmart FLW Tour On Lake Okeechobee Presented By Ranger Boats

Anchored by an 8-pound, 10-ounce kicker, pro Bradley Hallman of Norman, Oklahoma, brought four bass to the scale Saturday totaling 14 pounds, 3 ounces to extend his lead to more than 13½ pounds heading in to the final day of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Hallman’s... READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-can-anyone-catch-hallman-

Can Anyone Catch Hallman?

Despite catching only four keepers on day three, Norman, Okla., pro Bradley Hallman extended his lead at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee. With a day-three weight of 14 pounds, 3 ounces and a tournament total of 64-10, his margin over second-place angler Alex Davis is now 13 pounds, 9 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-montgomery-wins-flw-bass-fishing-league-bulldog-division-opener-on-lake-eufaula

Montgomery Wins FLW Bass Fishing League Bulldog Division Opener on Lake Eufaula

EUFAULA, Ala. – Local angler Scott Montgomery of Eufaula, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 1 ounce, Saturday to win the first FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Bulldog Division tournament of 2016 on Lake Eufaula. For his victory, Montgomery took home a check for $4,127. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-okeechobee-day-3-coverage

Okeechobee Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-top-5-patterns-from-lake-okeechobee-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Okeechobee Day 2

Fueled by 25 mph north winds, the Lake Okeechobee washing machine cleansed some livewells today, keeping them free of the 20-pound limits that are so common here when the weather is sunny, 75 and calm. However, a few 20-plus-pound limits still snuck through the rinse cycle to grace the scales. The biggest limit once again belonged to Bradley Hallman of Norman, Okla. He added 25 pounds, 7 ounces to the 25 he caught on day one. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-oklahoma-s-hallman-extends-lead-at-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Oklahoma’s Hallman Extends Lead at Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Okeechobee Presented by Ranger Boats

CLEWISTON, Fla. – Pro angler Bradley Hallman of Norman, Oklahoma, brought a five-bass limit weighing 25 pounds, 7 ounces to the scale Friday to extend his lead on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Hallman will bring an 8-pound, 8-ounce advantage into day three of the four-day competition that features 169 of the top bass-fishing anglers in the world competing for a top cash award of up to $125,000. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-cales-earns-co-angler-win

Cales Earns Co-angler Win

Co-angler Tim Cales of Sandstone, W.Va., earned his second win with FLW after sacking up 30 pounds, 11 ounces over two days in the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-hallman-way-in-front

Hallman Way in Front

Bradley Hallman is doing his best to make the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats a one-man show. But Alabama pro Alex Davis hopes to spoil Hallman’s hopes of a wire-to-wire victory. Today, Hallman weighed in 25 pounds, 7 ounces to raise his two-day total to 50-07. He’s led the tournament each day thus far. Davis weighed in 20-15 to move from third to second but is still 8 1/2 pounds behind the leader. READ MORE »