Cecil slides by on Toledo Bend

After nearly bombing on day one, Russell Cecil recovered and won the Toldedo Bend event.

MANY, La. - It's cliched, but true: you can't win a tournament on the first day, but you can certainly lose it. Well, Russell Cecil is happy that he came out on the right side of that premise and found himself victorious at the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division tournament on Toledo Bend. "On the first day, I was so close to spinning out," the Willis, Texas pro recalls. "At noon, I had no fishRussell Cecil reacts to the news of his Toledo Bend victory. and I decided I had to run somewhere, do something and change everything up. I ran to a place I'd fished and practice and caught two little ones - like 15-inchers - and saw a 7-pounder on a bed with a buck (male bass) with her. I caught the buck and she pulled right up there and I caught that 7-pounder. "With 5 minutes to go, I pulled into a pocket I was saving. I had one hot fish in there; I caught it and got to the weigh-ins with 16 pounds, 13 ounces. And I almost had nothing the first day." Day two was the meat wagon, as Cecil sacked up a whopping 29-2 - the tournament's heaviest catch. This raised him from 13th place to first and positioned him to overcome the final-round's unforeseen limitations. "Every big fish I came across I caught," Cecil said. "I had a 6 1/2-pounder, a 7 1/2-, a 9 1/2-. It was just one of those days. I was incredibly blessed yesterday. I couldn't do anything wrong. A Big Bite Warmouth was the main bait for Toledo Bend winner Russell Cecil.Weather complicated matters on day three, as a dense fog covered the lake and forced FLW officials to postpone the final takeoff by 4 1/2 hours. In an effort to allow anglers as much fishing time as possible, the day was extended by two hours. Nevertheless, that critical morning bite was gone and anglers found themselves scrambling to rework their game plans. Again, Cecil found himself in a nearly heart-breaking situation. With Todd Castledine sitting less than two pounds off the lead, Cecil's decided to secure an early limit and then go hunting "game-changers" - big kicker fish that could push him over the finish line with a comfortable margin. As it turned out, Cecil caught a limit fairly easily, but never found his big-fish opportunity. Ultimately, he'd catch 15-10 on day three to end with a tournament total of 61-9 and a 7-ounce margin of victoryA huge day-two catch fueled Russell Cecil over second-place Clark Reehm. "I'm about as excited as I've ever been about winning one of these because I sure didn't think I pulled it off today," he said. Fishing the mid-lake area, Cecil caught all of his bass by sight fishing. His primary bait was a Big Bite Warmouth in the bluegill color. This soft plastic bait resembles the small perch that harass bedding bass by attempting to eat the eggs. "I also mixed it up some," he said. "I was trying to trick them, sneak up on them, and do the best I could to catch them." Reehm rises to second After holding at third for two days, Texas pro Clark Reehm, caught the heaviest sack of day three - 21-0 - and gained a notch to finish second with 61-2. For him, committing to a sight-fishing program and exercising a high level of patience and persistence was intrinsic to his success. "When you're bed fishing, it comes down to decisions," he said. "I had three different fish that I married today. I was in one pocket almost the entire time." Joined by his son Ash, second-place pro Clark Reehm shows off one of his fish.Here, Reehm engaged in an often-frustrating chess match with big, cagey females and the smaller males intent on impressing the gals with their nest-guarding skills. The challenge was to get the heavyweight females sufficiently irritated so they'd bite the bait before the scrappy little males. Reehm recounted multiple instances of the males getting to the bait first, but he got enough of the right ones when it counted. Of course, he must have lamented the clock running on a big one that might have changed the event's outcome. "With about 10 minutes left, I got one of those big females to bite and she ripped my bait off," Reehm said. "I decided to rig up again and the whole time, I'm having my co-angler tell me the time - how much longer do I have? "I pitched my bait back in there and my line takes off to the side - it was one of those stinking males again. The whole time, that female's nosing down (on the bait) and I'm counting the minutes down and finally I said `We have to go.' I got back to the check-in at 4:59. Again, it comes down to decisions and I was around the right fish." For baits, Reehm said: "I ran the gamut with sight-fishing tools. My boat looks like a porcupine when I'm fishing because I have rods sticking everywhere. But when I'm bed-fishing, I have two primary deals: I have a big baits as an aggravator because I'm trying to get those fish fired up. A lot of times that bait won't even have a hook because I don't want to hook the fish. There's too much plastic there and the bait balls up on your hook. "Then, I have two baits that are my closers. One is a Kicker Fish Baits High Tail Hole Shot, which has air chambers in the tail so the bait stands up in the fish's face. The other is a (discontinued) Gene Larew floating craw worm. It's really soft, so when I get that bite, the hook is going to penetrate that bait quickly. For those fish that are just nipping at the bait, I can jam on it." Castledine goes to third Day-one leader, Todd Castledine struggled through a frustrating final round, but strong efforts the firstDay-one leader  Todd Castledine ended up in third place. two days - 24-4 and 19-14 - enabled him to salvage a third-place finish with 58-0. "This might have been my worst final day ever," Castledine said. "I think if it could go wrong, it happened to me. I don't think I've ever broken off braid, but I did it three times today. I broke a rod, bent three hooks - I did everything." An accomplished sight-fisherman, Castledine went looking for fish to look at again today. On days one and two, he had to scrap what he had found in practice because the fish weren't cooperating. He ended up fishing entirely new areas to find his fish. "I messed up today and went back to those same areas, trying to make it happen again and I should have gone somewhere else," Castledine said. All week, Castledine caught his fish on Kicker Fish Kicker Craws. He alternated between a watermelon red flake and a bubble gum color. Upshaw moves up to fourth Bed fishing with Gene Larew plastics led  Andrew Upshaw to a fourth-place finish.Oklahoma pro Andrew Upshaw sacked up the second largest limit of day three (behind Reehm) and that 20-pound, 3-ounce effort enabled him to climb one more notch to finish fourth with 57-13. Upshaw spent most of his tournament bed fishing with Gene Larew plastics, but at the end of day two, a wakebait produced a 7-pounder that very likely made his tournament. The rest of the time, he matched wits with bass paired up for the spawn. "I caught all the male bass on a white Gene Larew Salt Craw," he said. "It seemed like the male bass were a lot more aggressive and they liked the white color. I caught the big females on a Gene Larew Biffle Bug in the Bama Bug color." Wagner winds up fifth Plagued by mechanical issues, which cut into his fishing time the first two days, Houston pro RonnieTexas pro  Ronnie Wagner finished in fifth place. Wagner ended up in fifth place with 55-8. Wagner spent a little bit of his time throwing an Alabama rig, but most of his fish came off the beds. His top baits were a Kicker Fish Kicker Craw, a Big Bite tube and a Big Bite Warmouth. Wagner said that lighter colored baits were key. "When you're bed fishing, you want to be able to identify your bait in the bed," he said. "To be able to work the beds properly, you have to be able to see that bait." Best of the rest Rounding out the top-10 pro leaders at the Rayovac FLW Series Toledo Bend event: 6th: Nick Lebrun, of Tyler, Texas, 52-13 7th: Troy Broussard, of Beaumont, Texas, 51-14 8th: Lendell Martin Jr., of Nacogdoches, Texas, 51-4 9th: Jim Tutt, of Longview, Texas, 49-5 10th: Ricky Guy, of Humble, Texas, 42-1

Tags: headline-story 

/news/2015-04-20-top-10-baits-from-lake-murray

Top 10 Baits from Lake Murray

Competitors in the FLW College Fishing National Championship mostly targeted bass feeding on spawning blueback herring on shallow points and main-lake pockets. Across the board, herring-imitating baits such as soft jerkbaits, swimbaits, topwaters, wake baits and umbrella rigs dominated the event. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-jig-bite-carries-holmes-on-wateree

Jig Bite Carries Holmes on Wateree

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-bryan-slows-down-for-chickamauga-win

Bryan Slows Down for Chickamauga Win

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-morfis-dominates-with-34-pound-limit

Morfis Dominates With 34-Pound Limit

OKEECHOBEE, Fla. – Joshua Morfis of Cape Coral, Florida, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 34 pounds, 14 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Gator Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Okeechobee. For his victory, Morfis earned $6,336. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-salzman-cracks-31-pounds-on-guntersville

Salzman Cracks 31 Pounds on Guntersville

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-lanter-wins-on-rend-lake

Lanter Wins on Rend Lake

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-19-top-10-patterns-from-lake-murray

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Murray

As contestants in the FLW College Fishing National Championship on Lake Murray discovered last week, fishing the blueback herring spawn can be backbreaking work. All that stooping over to grab a different rig to cast at bass busting their favorite forage, and then quickly straightening, is hard on the old spinal column. Flexing up and down is what it took to contend in the championship, however, as bass couldn’t make up their minds whether they wanted their grub served on the surface or closer to the bottom. Typically, the collegians were fan-casting Carolina rigs, umbrella rigs, hard jerkbaits and even crankbaits to likely looking points and broad flats. Sometimes they caught fish with such random prospecting, but perhaps more bass were taken when anglers found themselves within casting distance of blowups and were quick enough to grab a soft jerkbait rig or topwater lure and virtually spoon-feed it to the fish. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-18-gamecocks-win-college-title

Gamecocks Win College Title

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-18-gamecocks-win-national-title

Gamecocks Win National Title

As any good Palmetto State bass fisherman will tell you, home lake advantage only works if you’re consistent in your catches from day to day. Anthony Gagliardi proved it here on Lake Murray last summer in the Forrest Wood Cup, and the University of South Carolina proved it again in the FLW College Fishing National Championship that concluded Saturday. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-18-hallman-prevails-on-grand

Hallman Prevails On Grand

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-18-lake-murray-midday-update-day-3

Lake Murray Midday Update Day 3

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-17-top-5-patterns-from-grand-lake-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake Day 2

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-17-college-championship-race-tightens

College Championship Race Tightens

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-17-hallman-out-front

Hallman Out Front

Spawning bite continues to produce for the anglers in the Rayovac FLW Series event on Grand Lake. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-17-lake-murray-midday-update-day-2

Lake Murray Midday Update Day 2

The air temperature reached a high of 53 degrees here yesterday, which tied a record for the coolest high temperature for that date. Apparently, the short-lived cold snap also had a chilling effect on the fishing at Lake Murray this morning, as several competitors in the FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance Insight Genesis College Cup reported meager results. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-16-liberty-leads-college-championship

Liberty Leads College Championship

A 22-pound, 2-ounce stringer anchored by a 7-pound, 9-ounce largemouth boosted Liberty University’s Travis Rulle and Caleb Eppler into the opening-round lead of the FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance Insight Genesis College Cup here on Lake Murray. Rulle and Eppler were the last anglers to weigh in on day one, and their five-fish limit gave them a lead of more than 3 pounds ahead of Eastern Kentucky University veterans Kyler Raymer and Ethan Snyder, who had 18-15. The surprise team of the tournament so far is Colorado Mesa University’s Josh Worth and Kennedy Kinkade, who brought in 18-10 despite never having fished east of the Mississippi River before. Worth and Kinkade are in third place, followed by Cade Laufenberg and Wyatt Stout of Winona State University, and Benn Curry and Tim Ward of Auburn University, both teams with 17-8. Lamar University’s Cameron Lafleur and Justin Royal in 10th place set the cut mark at 16-8. The entire field will fish again tomorrow, and only the top 10 based on two-day cumulative weight will fish in Saturday’s final round. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-16-castledine-stands-tall-on-grand

Castledine Stands Tall On Grand

Day one of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Power-Pole on Grand Lake produced stunning weights. With “thousands” of bass on the beds, the pros brought in a total of exactly 2,240 pounds and it took 16 pounds to make the top 60. Rising above the crowd was Nacogdoches, Texas, pro Todd Castledine, renowned for his prowess in Texas, the sight-fishing master cracked 23 pounds, 13 ounces and leads second-place pro Jonathan Henry by 1 pound, 6 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-16-top-5-patterns-from-grand-lake-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake Day 1

The first day of the Rayovac FLW Series Central Division tournament was all about the sight-bite – from day-one leader Todd Castledine on down. The event, presented by Power-Pole and hosted by the Grand Lake Association, undoubtedly featured other patterns, but every angler who did well relied in large part on bedding bass. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-16-lake-murray-midday-update-day-1

Lake Murray Midday Update Day 1

With precipitation ranging from an incessant mist to torrential downpours sweeping the area throughout the morning, the odds favored a slow start to the FLW College Fishing National Championship being presented by the Lowrance Insight Genesis College Cup here on Lake Murray. As it turns out, however, the bass apparently liked the extra water and reacted accordingly. A number of the teams that found prime spawning areas for blueback herring in practice earlier this week returned on day one and were rewarded with limit catches of largemouths and spots by midmorning. Among them was the local favorite, the University of South Carolina, which reportedly had culled up to about 13 pounds by 11 a.m. Likewise, the Oregon State University was sitting on about 15 pounds and had culled five times. Tanner Masters and Wyatt Ryan of East Central University (of Oklahoma) caught their limit fishing seawalls and riprapped banks during the sporadic herring spawns that fired up as soon as boats reached their first fishing destinations. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-11-hanselman-wins-back-to-back

Hanselman Wins Back-to-Back

Once you get Ray Hanselman going, just get out of his way. The Del Rio, Texas, pro is riding an incredible high right now after sewing up his second consecutive Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division win. Hanselman won the opener on Lake Amistad in February, then backed it up this week with a win on Sam Rayburn Reservoir in an event presented by Mercury. For his final-day limit, Hanselman plowed deep into Rayburn’s flooded cover to track down a five-bass limit worth 16 pounds, 10 ounces, raising his three-day total to 60-08 for a win by more than 7 pounds. For his efforts, Hanselman earned a cool $35,815 check and another trophy to add to his mantle. READ MORE »