Cecil Seizes Toledo Bend Lead

The biggest sack of the event pushed Russell Cecil into the lead at Toledo Bend.

MANY, La. - Now this is what the spawning season is supposed to look like. Sight-fishing specialist Russell Cecil hauled a massive stringer of bass weighing 29 pounds, 2 ounces to the scales and took over the lead on day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division tournament on Toledo Bend. The Willis, Texas pro, who made a big move up from 13th on day one, tallied a 2-day total of 45-15. Cecil said he worked new water today. "It seems to me like you have to find new ones every day," Cecil said. "It's not a tournament where you can pick out a few big ones to run to. I actually like this better because you don't end up with a bunch of boat races and people on top of one another so it's been a really enjoyable way to fish. "The other part is that this lake is so big, it is so much fun to fish here. It's one of the best tournamentRussell Cecil caught all of his fish by sight fishing. lakes in the country. At least the best in Texas, in my opinion, because of the fact that (the field) can get so spread out. You can win this thing from the dam, 80 miles up." Fishing toward the lake's lower end, Cecil said he's targeting new arrivals to the bedding scene. Here, the abundant grass keeps the water relatively cleaner - a distinct benefit to the way he's fishing. "The clearer water allows me to see a little deeper and those big ones tend to be deep," he said. Cecil caught his fish on a Texas-rigged Big Bite Warmouth - a soft plastic imitation of the small panfish that terrorize spawning bass by attempting to eat their newly-laid eggs. Naturally, impersonating these little nest raiders plays upon the largemouth's protective instincts. (The bluegill color pattern helps sell the deal.) "It seems to be getting those females aggressive," Cecil said. "Today, I had one male and four females. I had two in the 6- to 7-pound range and then a 9 1/2 (the day's Big Bass winner). Day-two leader Russell Cecil loads his fish back into his bag after taking over the pro division."My whole theory is that I want to throw something in there that will make them territorial and aggressive." Unlike hardbaits, jigs or any other lure with exposed hooks, the Big Bite Warmouth allowed Cecil to fish a realistic baitfish profile without snagging worries. "You're able to fish this bait as light as you want and then it's Texas-rigged so there's no exposed hook," he said. "It won't get hung on a stump or grass or anything." Cecil said he did a lot of pocket-hopping - moving from one spawning area to another throughout the day. His bites increased later in the day. "I think right now the afternoons are a little better because the water has not been warm and the afternoon sun is helping. By the afternoon, more of those fish are moving in and they're getting more aggressive because the water's heating up." A flurry of activity from about 1-3 p.m. kept Cecil busy. This period also produced his biggest bass. Castledine goes to second After leading day one with 24-4 - the second-heaviest bag of the tournament - Todd Castledine addedDay-one leader Todd Castledine slipped to second place on the second day of Toledo Bend action. 19-14 today and dropped a notch to second with 44-2. As he did on day one, Castledine spent his time looking for bed fish, but his day-two bite commenced a little earlier. "I went looking in totally different places," the pro from Nacogdoches, Texas said. "This morning, I went to a couple of the males I found yesterday and caught them and I had a limit before I had one yesterday. I wanted to make sure I had that so I could spend some time on a big one. "I found one or two (big bass) but I don't think I've come across an easy one yet. I've had to catch males and then wait for the (larger) females to move in. It's been alright; it's just a normal day of sight fishing, but I haven't had one of those where you just roll up and catch them." Castledine caught his fish on a Texas-rigged Kicker Fish Kicker Craw. He occasionally varied his presentations between the larger version and the smaller. With Saturday's forecast calling for cloudy conditions, the sunlight needed for sight-fishing may be dimmed considerably. If that's the case, Castledine said he'll likely throw a frog. Reehm steady at third A late-day catch helped  Clark Reehm hold on to his third-place spot.Texas pro Clark Reehm caught a limit of 18-10 today and held on to the third-place spot he secured on day one with a total weight of 40-2. With only six fish today, Reehm had slim opportunity, but he made the most of what came his way. "I actually caught one right off the bat that helped out," he recalled. "At 2:30, I only had four fish in the box and at 2:40 I caught my fifth one. It was one of those that I was hoping would squeak by, but I decided to go check one little area, so I ran through there and at 2:55, I caught my last one." That final fish, Reehm said, took him to the absolute end of his fishing time. "I knew how long it took to get back and the wind started blowing and I said, `Alright, at 2:50, we have to go.' And that fish started nipping (my bait) and I said, `At 2:55, we have to go.' At 2:55, I stuck that fish and we ran back." Reehm said he saw lots of fish actively engaged in spawning activity. Rolling and twisting, the fish are easily spotted from a distance as their shifting positions tend to reflect sunlight more than fish sitting upright in the water. Wagner slips to fourth Ronnie Wagner, of Houston, Texas, got off to a strong start with a second-place bag of 22 pounds onFourth-place pro  Ronnie Wagner complemented his sight fishing with some moving baits. day one. Today, he added 17-4 and slipped to fourth with 39-4. Wagner said he mostly sight fished again on day two, but he also started throwing some moving baits around secondary points and channel bends for prespawn fish. This, he said, was as much about day-three preparation as it was day-two productivity. "I feel like the fish are really starting to move in, but with the front we have coming tomorrow and all the wind and (possibly) rain), it's going to make sight fishing a lot harder. Tomorrow, I'm probably going to change it up and throw more moving baits. "I caught 90 percent of my fish today sight fishing. But I needed to get on something for tomorrow because I think the game is going to change tomorrow. But it may not. All the conditions are right for (spawning), so we'll see what happens." Upshaw improves to fifth Fifth-place pro Andrew Upshaw ended his day with a big fish that crushed a topwater bait.Andrew Upshaw, of Tulsa, Ok., improved from eighth to fifth on the strength of a 19-pound, 7-ounce bag that raised his total to 37-10. He spent most of his day bed fishing, but decided to shift gears toward the end of his fishing time in an effort to upgrade his limit. "I was really fortunate to catch that fish and it was probably one of the biggest topwater blow-ups I've ever had in my life," he said. "I needed a big change, so I was running something I used to catch them on a long time ago. It was a pattern and I ran it right at the end of the day. I caught that big one and another one that culled. "I knew I had to make an adjustment from bed fishing because I just wasn't seeing a giant. I needed a giant and I didn't have a whole lot of time - I had about an hour left. So I said `This is what I have to do,' and I went and did it." Of his sight-fishing program, Upshaw said he's confident that his areas have new fish pulling in daily. Nevertheless, he'll start day three by running the pattern that produced the day-two afternoon drama. Best of the rest Rounding out the top-10 pro leaders at the Rayovac FLW Series Toledo Bend event: 6th: Ricky Guy, of Humble, Texas, 37-7 7th: Troy Broussard, of Beaumont, Texas, 35-14 8th: Lendell Martin Jr., of Nacogdoches, Texas, 35-11 9th: Jim Tutt, of Longview, Texas, 35-1 10th: Nick Lebrun, of Tyler, Texas, 34-12 Adjustments key to Kitchens' co-angler lead Jeff Kitchens, of Henderson, Texas earned his final-round berth by shooting up the standings from Jeff Kitchens took over the co-angler lead with the largest sack of this division. 10th to first. Adding 17-12 to his day-one weight of 10-4 gave him a total of 28-0. Fishing the mid-lake area, Kitchens and his pro partner found fish in the mornings, but making an afternoon move is what really delivered the opportunities. "We made a move later in the day that really paid off," Kitchens said. "The area that we were fishing is really obscure and there aren't a whole lot of people in there. We had quite a few fish that are moving up - they're staging fish. They're really thick right now." In addition to a location change, Kitchens said that adjusting his technique also proved beneficial. Slowing down his soft plastic presentations was the key. Day-one co-angler leader Kerry Barnett, of Waldron, Ark., dropped to second with 25-3, while Ronnie Ray Jr., of McKinney, Texas took third with 22-15. In fourth place, John Martin, of Buna, Texas, had 21-12 and Mike Power, of Conroe, Texas, took fifth with 21-3. Best of the rest  Mack McCoy took Big Bass honors in the co-angler division with this 8-pound, 7-ounce fish.Rounding out the top-10 co-angler leaders at the Rayovac FLW Series Toledo Bend event: 6th: Dan Wilson, of Pilot Point, Texas, 20-6 7th: Ryan Bailey, of Humble, Texas, 19-5 8th: Clint Lipham, of Conroe, Texas, 18-6 9th: Neil Herline, of Silsbee, Texas, 18-6 10th: Travis Kelehan, of Broussard, La., 18-5 Mack McCoy earned Big Bass honors for his 8-7. Day three of Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division action on Toledo Bend Reservoir continues at Friday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7:00 a.m. (Central) at Cypress Bend Park in Many, La.

Tags: headline-story 

/news/2015-03-27-topwater-takes-birge-to-the-top

Topwater Takes Birge to the Top

On a day when chilly, windy post-front conditions challenged many Walmart FLW Tour anglers who were relying on sight-fishing for spawning bass, Zack Birge bucked the trend and pulled out a pair of topwaters to haul in 17 pounds, 14 ounces. Birge jumped from third place past day-one leader Drew Benton to take over the top spot on Lewis Smith Lake in the event, which is presented by Evinrude. Birge’s two-day total of 36-13 has him positioned 1 pound ahead of Benton. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 2

While air and water temperatures plummeted on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude, the big surprise came in the stability of the fishing patterns amidst such change. Zack Birge found plenty of production on his primary pattern to send him to the top of the leaderboard, and those under him held true to their patterns as well to secure a ticket to day three’s top 20. Among the biggest surprises was the number of pros who were still able to pluck fish off beds. Most pros that were sight-fishing say the bass are committed to beds and that the cold snap will not run them off at this point in time. Despite the cold, some even found new fish on beds that were not there yesterday. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-lewis-smith-lake-day-2-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 2 Coverage

Day 2 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-benton-blasts-20-12-on-lewis-smith

Benton Blasts 20-12 on Lewis Smith

Panama City, Fla., pro Drew Benton jumped into the early lead at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude with a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 12 ounces. Benton caught a mix of largemouths and spotted bass, and revealed that both black bass species are spawning. He leads a tight top 20 that includes 18 pros that caught more than 15 pounds each. The first day was an absolute fish-fest. Of the 154 pros fishing this tournament, 138 weighed limits. Brad Roberts of Faubush, Ky., has a 2-ounce lead in the co-angler division with a 13-pound, 4-ounce limit. Tomorrow he’ll try to defend his lead on the final day of co-angler competition. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 1

While Drew Benton was busy bugging bedding fish for his day-one tournament lead, several others behind him were scoring big with other fishing options on Lewis Smith Lake. Sight-fishing also played a role in the top limits produce by Tracy Adams, Scott Martin and Ish Monroe, but Clayton Batts and Zack Birge both brought in big bags with other patterns. Click here to read about Benton’s day-one performance at the second Walmart FLW Tour event of 2015, which is presented by Evinrude. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-lewis-smith-lake-day-1-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 1 Coverage

Day 1 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-22-arkansas-anglers-win-college-open

Arkansas Anglers Win College Open

Consistency was the key for the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville here in the FLW College Fishing Kentucky Lake Open as Zachary Pickle and Drew Porto won the event with a two-day total of 43 pounds, 12 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-kendrick-king-on-guntersville

Kendrick King On Guntersville

Kendrick, who is fishing the Rayovac FLW Series in hopes of qualifying for the FLW Tour, caught more than 25 pounds each day of the event and finihsid in fine fasion when it counted. Kendick was catching nearly all of his bass around big schools of bait with a Houdini pearl-colored Scottsboro Tackle swimbait from 15- to 25-feet of water. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-epting-s-30-pounds-tops-on-santee-cooper

Epting's 30 Pounds Tops on Santee Cooper

SUMMERTON, S.C. – Chris Epting of Chapin, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 30 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Santee Cooper. For his victory, Epting earned $3,679. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-wood-rock-key-for-middleton-s-victory

Wood, Rock Key for Middleton's Victory

HUDDLESTON, Va. – Dennis Middleton of Madison Heights, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division tournament of 2015 on Smith Mountain Lake. For his victory, Middleton earned $7,199. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-johnson-wins-on-dale-hollow

Johnson Wins on Dale Hollow

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. – Robby Johnson of Byrdstown, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mountain Division tournament of 2015 on Dale Hollow Lake. For his victory, Johnson earned $5,689. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-griffin-gets-win-on-ross-barnett

Griffin Gets Win on Ross Barnett

BRANDON, Miss. – Jason Griffin of Benton, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 23 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Ross Barnett Reservoir. For his victory, Griffin earned $5,349. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-top-5-patterns-from-guntersville-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Guntersville Day 2

The second day of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division tournament on Lake Guntersville proved as remarkable as the first – or perhaps better, considering today’s parade of big fish included a 12-pound, 10-ounce behemoth caught by fourth-place pro Trevor Fitzgerald for the day’s Big Bass prize. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-hall-holds-steady-for-lead

Hall Holds Steady For Lead

Joe Hall of Lake City, Minn. wasn’t confident about his chances going onto the second day of competition of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event on Lake Guntersville. Nonetheless, he held steady with a 27-pound, 5-ounce catch that only barely fell short of the 28-1 he weighed on the first day. With a two-day total of 55 pounds, 6 ounces, Hall holds a 1-pound, 12-ounce lead over Cameron Gautney going into the final day of the Mercury presented tournament. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-missouri-anglers-lead-college-open

Missouri Anglers Lead College Open

Andrew Nordbye and Adam Almohtadi of Northwest Missouri State University of Maryville, Mo., took the lead in the opening round of the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake with 25 pounds, 2 ounces. Heading into Saturday’s second and final round, the University of Kentucky’s Ryan Collins and Hunter Fulcher sit in second place with 22-14, while Ethan Flack and Konnor Kennedy of the University of Alabama are currently third with 22-9. Details to follow. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-day-1-patterns-from-the-college-open

Day 1 Patterns from the College Open

The Northwest Missouri State University team of Andrew Nordbye and Adam Almontadi took the day-one lead in the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake. While their pattern seems to be effectively refined – they were using only one lure and had no others out on the deck – Nordbye and Almontadi don’t have this one sewed up yet. The rest of the top five is just a few pounds behind the leaders. Here’s how they made it into contention going into the final day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-gautney-under-pressure

Gautney Under Pressure

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event on Guntersville is just as misty and nasty as the first. Lucky for us, the first day of the Mercury-presented event featured huge catches throughout the field. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-college-open-day-1-midday-update

College Open Day 1 Midday Update

“You should have been here yesterday” might have been the motto for the first day of fishing in the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake. Though many of the 194 teams entered in the two-day event out of Moor’s Resort & Marina reported good to excellent practices, many of the same anglers were complaining about a lack of fish on opening morning of the competition. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-19-gautney-cranks-up-the-lead

Gautney Cranks Up The Lead

Gautney says he keyed on staging fish in several very specific locations and one specific depth. He and co-angler Antoni Bicy caught 59 pounds, 8 ounces off of his spots, and he seems confident about his ability to keep catching them the rest of the event. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-19-top-5-patterns-from-guntersville-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Guntersville Day 1

The first day of the Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Guntersville was a welcome departure from the grumblings of practice. Though fans weren’t treated to multiple 30-pound limits on the pro side, like at the Walmart Bass Fishing League event at Guntersville a couple of weekends ago, it still took more than 25 pounds to get into the top five on day one of this Mercury-presented tournament. READ MORE »