Ducharme tops at Amistad

The biggest bass of the tournament propelled JJ Ducharme to victory on Lake Amistad.

DEL RIO, Texas - In the waning minutes of day one, Brackettville, Texas, pro J.J. Ducharme made a key discovery that positioned him for a come-from-behind victory in the EverStart Series Texas Division on Lake Amistad. "I found my fish with 15 minutes left in the first day and yesterday we just clobbered them," he said. "On day two, my co-angler and I went in there and we had like 45 pounds between the two of us." After placing 12th on day one with 18-5, Ducharme earned his final-round berth by fishing his new area - a large bay crossed with ditches - sacking up 21-11 and surging up to fourth. Today, he added an even 23, tallied a three-day score of 63 pounds and took home the victory by a narrow margin of just 6 Four-year-old Madeleine joins he father and EverStart Western Division winner JJ Ducharme onstage after his Lake Amistad victory.ounces. Sounds easy enough, but when Ducharme returned to his key spot today, he found a dramatically altered scene. On a day that saw an arriving cold front deliver winds of 20-25 mph and send daytime air temperatures tumbling into the 50s, Ducharme made a key adjustment to potentially ruinous conditions. "There were 3-footers rolling in there and it was all chocolate milk," he said. "So basically, what I did was move to the outside where the clear water was and caught them. The fish couldn't see the bait up there in the mud." Armed with 7-6 heavy-action Power Tackle rods and Shimano Curado reels carrying 20-pound XPS fluorocarbon, Ducharme caught his fish on perch-colored Strike King crankbaits (Series 5 and 6) and a 3/4-ounce Revenge spinnerbait. He rigged the latter with a Reaction Innovation's Skinny Dipper trailer for a larger profile. "I just cut the head off (the Skinny Dipper) and used it as a trailer to make the spinnerbait look like a A perch colored Strike King crankbait was one of JJ Ducharmeperch with a little tail back there," he said. This bait strategy worked throughout the day, but Ducharme's spinnerbait proved particularly attractive to a toad that went approximately 10 1/2 pounds. (The fish was not individually weighed, but Ducharme's first four fish weighed approximately 12 1/2 pounds. Adding a huge fifth fish gave him 23 pounds.) A quick look at the stats shows why Ducharme took home the trophy: He weighed the biggest bag of day three. He was the only angler to catch a double-digit bass. He was one of only two anglers (also second-place pro Todd Castledine) to catch two bags of 20-plus pounds. He was the only final-round pro to turn in progressively larger sacks each day. Perhaps the most meaningful statistic: Ducharme was the only pro accompanied onstage by a beautiful girl. His 4-year-old daughter Madeleine joined him on the hot seat after her dad took the lead. Who needs a trophy when you have that? Mechanical woes drops Castledine to second Entering day three in first place, Todd Castledine of Nacogdoches, Texas, suffered a mid-morningEngine trouble cost Todd Castledine two hours of much-needed fishing time. engine problem that robbed him of about two hours of fishing time. Once he returned to action, he put together a respectable catch, but the lost time - and his only lost fish of the week - left him just 6 ounces short of the top spot and he finished second with 62-10. His daily scores were 21-1, 24-2 and 17-7. Castledine caught all of his tournament fish on a prototype Strike Pro crankbait. He dialed in this bait selection during practice and never threw anything else. "I started off today in area that I go to just to get numbers and I caught four, so I said `I think they're biting," Castledine recalled. "I went to where I caught them all yesterday and when I pulled up, it was 4-footers. It was just so nasty; I stayed five minutes and left. I ran back down to where I caught them earlier (today) and that's when I broke down." Castledine said the breakdown left him vulnerable to rough conditions that threatened to wash him ashore. Fortunately, fellow competitor Austin Terry towed him to a safe location where he was able to rectify the mechanical issue. He started catching fish soon after returning to action, but time expired before he could amass the weight he needed. Stricklin rises to third Despite trolling motor failure, James Stricklin still managed to catch his heaviest bag of the tournament.James Stricklin Jr. of Texarkana, Texas, started day three in sixth place, but a sack weighing 21-11 nudged him up three notches to third with a tournament total of 59-10. He, too, endured mechanical challenges, but he was able to improvise and remain active the entire day. "I got out there and right off the bat, they were biting," Stricklin said. "The wind was blowing like crazy and it was hard to hold on my spot. My trolling motor broke at 9 a.m. I had to idle (ahead of my spot), throw an anchor out and drift by my spot until the anchor came tight. I did that from 9 until 2:30 p.m. "I didn't want to leave. The fish were really fired up. I was thankful for what I had." Stricklin caught his day-three fish on a swimbait. He caught 19-12 on day one and followed with 21-11 on day two. Morton slips to fourth For Justin Morton, of Etoile, Texas, it was all about the drop - specifically, a heavy spinnerbait dropping Slow rolling spinnerbaits off ledges was the top tactic for Justin Morton.off the side of a ledge. He fished a 1 1/2-ounce Stanley Big Shot spinnerbait in tilapia color and caught a final-round limit weighing 18-8 to finish fourth with 58-11. "Lonnie Stanley has been building spinnerbaits for over 30 years and he builds one of the finest on the market," Morton said. The key to his presentation was casting his bait onto ledges in 18 to 19 feet of water and slow rolling it off the edges. Most of his strikes occurred on the drop. Morton placed seventh on day one with 18-15 and improved to third a day later when he sacked up 21 pounds, 4 ounces. Huckaby retains fifth Day-one leader Trent Huckaby finished fifth at Amistad.Day-one leader Trent Huckaby of Fort Stockton, Texas, got off to a strong start with 21-1 in the opening round. He slipped to fifth on day two with a limit catch of 18-4 and remained there today after his final catch of 16-13 gave him a 56-7 total. Huckaby caught his fish on a Norman Deep Little N and a Rock Crawler football jig. Although he found some quality fish, he said he had difficulty locating big bites on days two and three. "I bounced around from deep water to shallow water and I had a couple of patterns on ledges and shallow grass," he said. "I tried to stay patient and not just run around everywhere. "The first day, I was fortunate to catch a big bag but then I struggled the past two days," Huckaby said. "The fish just wouldn't bite the first half of the day, but then they would just turn on in the afternoon." Best of the rest Rounding out the top-10 pros at the EverStart Series Lake Amistad event: 6th: Stewart Herndon of Graham, Texas, 55-5 7th: Buz Craft of Vidalia, La., 55-1 8th: Philip Crelia of Center, Texas, 54-8 9th: Austin Terry of San Angelo, Texas, 52-11 10th: Terry L. Adams of Berwick, La., 49-7

Tags: headline-story 

/news/2015-05-23-brown-rallies-for-seminole-win

Brown Rallies for Seminole Win

When the Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Seminole started on Thursday, hot, slick conditions prevailed. The air temperatures pushed into the 90’s, water temperatures hovered between 80 and 85 degrees – summertime was on. Or was it? READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-23-jeter-takes-co-angler-crown

Jeter Takes Co-Angler Crown

Call it a local’s sweep at the Rayovac FLW Series on Lake Seminole. While local pro Clint Brown of Bainbridge, Ga., won the boater Division, his Bainbridge neighbor, Greg Jeter won the Co-angler Division to make it a local twofer. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-23-lake-seminole-day-3-midday-update

Lake Seminole Day 3 Midday Update

Second place pro Clint Brown was gaining some serious ground on Reneau as Brown had boxed four solid keepers for about 11 pounds on his very first spot – all caught from protected backwaters with a topwater. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-22-reneau-grabs-lead-on-seminole

Reneau Grabs Lead On Seminole

Though Reneau has weighed in 15-1 and 20-7 over two days for a total of 35 pounds, 8 ounces, he says he is only getting about six bites per day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-22-top-5-patterns-from-seminole-day-2

Top 5 Patterns From Seminole Day 2

A shake-up occurred on day two of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Lake Seminole. Day one was all about slow, summertime fishing in the lake’s deep timber. Overnight a frontal passage dropped water and air temperatures and left a north wind howling down the lake. As a result, the timber bite cooled off and those fishing shallower waters climbed up the leaderboard. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-22-lake-seminole-day-2-midday-update

Lake Seminole Day 2 Midday Update

The hot summer at Seminole turned back into spring this morning as a cold front blew through the area dropping air temps some 10 degrees with a blustery north wind. Sweatshirts were needed again as the cold air felt more like April than May. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-enfinger-leads-on-seminole

Enfinger Leads On Seminole

Enfinger said he got off to a “fast start” this morning, sacking a limit by 10 a.m., but he only upgraded twice after that, catching about eight keepers on the day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-top-5-patterns-from-seminole-day-1

Top 5 Patterns From Seminole Day 1

Bradley Enfinger took the day-one lead at the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Lake Seminole fishing suspended bass in timber. Others in the top-5 fished both wood and grass on day one. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-lake-seminole-midday-update

Lake Seminole Midday Update

Lake Seminole is known to be more of a quality lake than a quantity lake and that trait showed on the morning of day one as anglers who were catching fish were not necessarily getting many bites, but 3-pound pluses seemed to be the norm for the ones hauled in over the gunnel. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-ledges-lift-wilson-to-top

Ledges Lift Wilson to Top

Tim Wilson of Gas City, Indiana, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 29 pounds, 10 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Choo Choo Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Guntersville. For his victory, Wilson earned $5,584. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-two-in-a-row-for-fox

Two in a Row for Fox

Dwight Fox of Gainesboro, Tennessee, weighed four bass totaling 16 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Mountain Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Cumberland. For his victory, Fox earned $4,463. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-bluff-walls-carry-meredith

Bluff Walls Carry Meredith

GROVE, Okla. – Mitch Meredith of Hulbert, Oklahoma, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 18 pounds, 4 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Okie Division tournament of 2015 on Grand Lake. For his victory, Meredith earned $7,165. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-tidwell-slows-down-for-title

Tidwell Slows Down for Title

MCCORMICK, S.C. – Brian Tidwell of Seneca, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Clarks Hill Lake. For his victory, Tidwell earned $3,021. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-ginter-gets-the-win

Ginter Gets the Win

CELINA, Ohio – Gary Ginter of Maplewood, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 4 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division tournament of 2015 on Grand Lake. For his victory, Ginter earned $3,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-jig-does-the-trick-for-roselle

Jig Does the Trick for Roselle

MARBURY, Md. – Mike Roselle of La Plata, Maryland, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division tournament of 2015 on Potomac River. For his victory, Roselle earned $6,235. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-17-thrift-by-3

Thrift by 3

The “numbers game.” It’s a term that Bryan Thrift used to describe his fishing on Lake Eufaula back in 2013 when he finished runner-up to Randy Haynes in a Walmart FLW Tour event. The method to his numbers madness was to hit as many solitary objects – stumps, brush piles, rocks, logs – on the bottom of Lake Eufaula as humanly possible in an eight-hour tournament day. When Thrift saw that Lake Eufaula was back on the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour schedule for May of this year, he grinned that patented Bryan Thrift grin because he already knew how to crunch the numbers at Eufaula. And Thrift is still grinning. After sacking up a final-day catch of 15 pounds, 5 ounces to top off 69-14 for the week, Thrift made the numbers work for his fourth FLW Tour win. He added another $125,000 to his bank account. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-17-lake-eufaula-day-4-coverage

Lake Eufaula Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Eufaula presented by Quaker State. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-16-morrow-thrift-neck-and-neck

Morrow, Thrift Neck and Neck

Georgia pro Troy Morrow brought in 15 pounds, 4 ounces on the third day of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State on Lake Eufaula to increase his tournament total to 54-13. Morrow maintains his lead for the second consecutive day, but he won’t sleep comfortably tonight with North Carolina hammer Bryan Thrift just 4 ounces off the lead with 54-09. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-16-top-5-patterns-from-lake-eufaula-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Eufaula Day 3

Troy Morrow is leading the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State on Lake Eufaula. However, with one day left to fish, he has a big problem going into the last day: Bryan Thrift. The Shelby, N.C., pro is just 4 ounces behind Morrow. Here’s how Thrift and the rest of the top five caught their fish. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-16-lake-eufaula-day-3-coverage

Lake Eufaula Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Eufaula presented by Quaker State. READ MORE »