UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

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/2016-07-23-thompson-co-angler-champ-on-1000-islands

Thompson Co-angler Champ on 1000 Islands

The 1000 Islands is a great place to take a vacation, especially if you are from the south and want to escape the heat. That is exactly what co-angler Joe Thompson of Clayton, Ga., did and wound up capturing the top spot in the co-angler division bringing home a Ranger Z117 with a 90 hp motor. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-penn-state-university-wins-flw-college-fishing-northern-conference-event-on-chautauqua-lake

Penn State University wins FLW College Fishing Northern Conference Event on Chautauqua Lake

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. – The Penn State University duo of Clayton Frey of York, Pennsylvania, and Derek Horner, of State College, Pennsylvania, won the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference event at Chautauqua Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and qualified the team for the 2017 FLW College Fishing National... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-michigan-s-dobson-leads-wire-to-wire-wins-costa-flw-series-event-at-1000-islands-presented-by-mercury

Michigan’s Dobson leads wire-to-wire, wins Costa FLW Series Event at 1000 Islands presented by Mercury

CLAYTON, N.Y. – Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Michigan, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to win the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event at 1000 Islands presented by Mercury with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 68 pounds, 8 ounces. For his win, Dobson earned $82,669, including a new Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-dobson-dominates-1000-islands

Dobson Dominates 1000 Islands

Scott Dobson didn’t expect it to come so quickly, but 30 minutes is all it took for him to find the winning pattern during his first day of practice for the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands. That pattern would lead him to three consecutive limits of more than 20 pounds, including today’s final-round bag worth 21-12 – the day’s biggest limit, yet his smallest of the tournament. His three-day total weight of 68-8 earned him a check for more than $37,000 along with a Ranger Z518C with a 200-hp engine for being Ranger Cup qualified. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-1000-islands-top-5-patterns-day-2

1000 Islands Top 5 Patterns Day 2

Strong winds limited competition to only the St. Lawrence River on day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands, but that was no problem for the majority of the top 10. Even though most of them fished Lake Ontario on day one, they were able to adjust and stay on the fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-dobson-extends-lead-at-1000-islands

Dobson Extends Lead at 1000 Islands

A windy day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on the 1000 Islands didn’t stop day-one leader Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Mich., from sacking up the biggest bag of the day. Dobson threw down an impressive 22-pound, 3-ounce limit to extend his lead to 5 pounds over Cal Climpson – a noted Lake Ontario maestro. Dobson’s two-day total stands at 46-12, and with lighter winds tomorrow some big bags are expected. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-lake-ontario-out-for-day-2

Lake Ontario Out for Day 2

It is never good when you wake up the morning of a tournament and every flag you see is standing straight out at 3 a.m., but that was the case this morning for day two of the Costa FLW Series event on the 1000 Islands. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-1000-islands-top-5-patterns-day-1

1000 Islands Top 5 Patterns Day 1

Past experience on this fishery seems to be a big advantage for the top pros through one day of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands. Scott Dobson leads the way with 24 pounds, 9 ounces, yet there are some serious hammers right on his heels. Dobson fished both the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario for his limit, while others went straight to the lake and stayed there. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-dobson-drops-24-9

Dobson Drops 24-9

Despite the weights being dropped on the scale for the opening round of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on the 1000 Islands presented by Mercury, it has actually been a tough day of fishing. Strong winds made it hard for the anglers regardless of if they were fishing the lake or river. Smallmouth guru Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Mich., sacked up 24 pounds, 9 ounces on day one to take a 1-8 lead over Canadian stick Cal Climpson. Dobson utilized both the river and lake for his limit, which could play to his advantage if the wind blows like the weathermen are forecasting tomorrow. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-professional-bass-fishing-s-forrest-wood-cup-set-to-visit-wheeler-lake

Professional Bass Fishing’s Forrest Wood Cup set to visit Wheeler Lake

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of professional bass fishing, will visit Wheeler Lake and the Huntsville, Alabama, area August 4-7 to crown bass fishing’s top angler of 2016. Hosted by the Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the tournament will feature 50 of the world’s best bass-fishing... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-1000-islands-midday-update-day-1

1000 Islands Midday Update Day 1

Day one of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands hasn’t been about if the wind will blow, but when. Everyone knew the gales were coming eventually. Still, the majority of anglers hung a left out of the dock this morning and charged toward Lake Ontario into a steady breeze that turned into a howling wind by midmorning. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-2016-forrest-wood-cup-angler-intro-music

2016 Forrest Wood Cup Angler Intro Music

Each season, the anglers that make the Forrest Wood Cup get to choose the intro music that will play when they walk out on stage at weigh-ins. Naturally, the selections vary as widely as the anglers’ personalities and backgrounds – David Dudley once selected the Chicken Dance song, if that tells you anything. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-transition-time-at-1000-islands

Transition Time at 1000 Islands

The second tournament of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division kicked off on 1000 Islands in an event presented by Mercury this morning out of the Clayton Village Ramp. The 137 pros and co-anglers are challenged with the tough task of dissecting not only the massive St. Lawrence River but also Lake Ontario in search of jumbo-size smallmouths. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-20-solving-the-1000-islands-puzzle

Solving the 1000 Islands Puzzle

For its second stop, the 2016 Costa FLW Series Northern Division heads back to the 1000 Islands region of upstate New York for the first time since 2012. The 1000 Islands region includes the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario and produces some of the best smallmouth fishing on the planet with 4- and 5-pounders being the norm, not the exception. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-19-forrest-wood-cup-attractions-

Forrest Wood Cup Attractions

Fifty FLW anglers all taking a run at the most coveted title in bass fishing will without doubt take center stage over the course of the four-day Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart in Huntsville, Ala., Aug. 4-7, but fans won’t have to wait for the daily weigh-in times to soak up all the action. FLW and its sponsors and partners put together a full schedule of additional events to coincide with the 2016 Cup. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-19-2016-icast-wrap-up

2016 ICAST Wrap-up

Even at a distance, ICAST can be a blur of new fishing stuff. Below, we’ve gathered everything we published from the week at ICAST – if you missed something, you can find it here. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-18-sisk-by-ounces-on-ohio-river

Sisk by Ounces on Ohio River

Marty Sisk of Evansville, Indiana, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 13 ounces, Saturday to win the third FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Illini Division tournament of 2016 on the Ohio River. For his victory, Sisk took home $7,456. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-18-boggs-flipped-shallow-wood-for-title

Boggs Flipped Shallow Wood for Title

Drew Boggs of Lebanon, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 10 ounces, Saturday to win the fourth FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Music City Division tournament of 2016 on Old Hickory Lake. Boggs took home $3,028 for his victory. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-18-profile-jeremy-lawyer

Profile: Jeremy Lawyer

A year ago, Jeremy Lawyer endured a harsh reality as the door to a Forrest Wood Cup berth slammed shut on his runner-up finish at the BFL All-American on Kentucky/Barkley lakes. Flash-forward to June 11 and the boater from Sarcoxie, Mo., saw life come full circle with his All-American win on Barkley. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-18-poffenberger-found-the-right-four

Poffenberger Found the Right Four

Jake Poffenberger of Brookville, Ohio, weighed four bass totaling 9 pounds, 7 ounces, Saturday to win the fourth FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Buckeye Division tournament of 2016 on the Ohio River. For his victory, Poffenberger earned $4,684. READ MORE »