UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Smith hauls in 18-plus to lead tough TTT championship

Smith hauls in 18-plus to lead tough TTT championship
Barry Smith leads the TTT championship with a day-one catch of five bass weighing 18 pounds, 3 ounces.

CONROE, Texas - You know it's a tough day when 50 of Texas' best bass pros bring in only 92 fish. Such it was on day one of the Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail Championship on Lake Conroe, a lake recently drawn down several feet to investigate damage on the dam in the aftermath of Hurricane Rita.

Before day-one takeoff, pro Jacky Roberts said this weekend on Lake Conroe, you're either on them or you're not, and that proved to be glaringly true, with Barry Smith of Palo Pinto leading the pack with a respectable 18 pounds, 3 ounces. However, eleven pros blanked, and 13 brought in only one fish.

Not only is the lower water level a problem, but so is fishing pressure, as several anglers reported fishing crowded boat docks to try and find the fish. Weather conditions as always could play a part, as at least one competitor bemoaned the lack of wind.

Two solid fish anchored Smith's pro-leading limit of five, including one that weighed 5 pounds, 11 ounces. Smith is a TTT rookie who ranked 40th to earn a spot in this weekend's championship.

"It's tough," he said. "With the water down, it's fishing small. A lot of the areas are getting beat up."

To cut through the clutter, Smith developed a pattern that is obviously getting bass in the boat.

"One of the keys is not to power fish," he said. "Slow down, and take your time."

Smith also said he's covering a lot of water, no doubt crucial when a bigger lake acts like a smaller lake.

Cecil in second

Russell Cecil landed in second place after day one with a 17-pound catch.One pound, 3 ounces behind the leader is Willis pro Russell Cecil, who brought in five bass weighing 17 pounds to end day one in second place. To hear him tell it, today's success was a lot of luck - and a conveniently situated hometown.

"The key is local knowledge - I live here," he said. "I've just got a lot of experience. I grew up here, and I kind of know where they live."

Cecil said he cranked all day to catch his limit of bass. He was the No. 36-ranked pro in 2005 to earn a championship position.

Adams behind in third

Guy Adams holds up a pair from his 14-pound, 7-ounce day-one catch that put him in third place heading into the final day.Guy Adams of Corpus Christi brought in a limit of five today weighing 14 pounds, 7 ounces to sit in the No. 3 position heading into the second and final day. Like many, Adams fished boat docks on day one.

"I was fishing boat docks really, really slowly, keying on every nook and cranny," Adams said. "Everybody's fishing them, but if you slow down, you can catch them. It's nothing new."

Adams said he has two particularly prolific hot spots and claims the fishing here is getting better every day.

Henry, Morgan round out day-one top five

In fourth is Reagan Henry of Voss with a five-bass limit weighing 14 pounds, 4 ounces.

"I caught them flipping shallow docks and shallow grass," he said. "It's not rocket science. I think it's more the bait than the whereabouts. It's a really small bait, but that seems to be what they like."
Trey Morgan ended day one in the No. 5 position with a limit weighing 13 pounds, 15 ounces.
Behind him in fifth is Trey Morgan of Goldonna, La., with a limit of five weighing 13 pounds, 15 ounces.

"I'm catching all my fish flipping," Morgan said. "I'm fishing hard baits a good bit - some crankbaits. There's a lot of pressure on the lake right now and not a lot of fishable water."

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top 10 pros after day one on Lake Conroe:

6th: Nicholas Albus of Trinity, five bass, 13-11
7th: Stan Gerzsenyi of Alba, three bass, 12-11
8th: Daren Sebek of Belton, four bass, 12-3
9th: Ronnie Wagner of Conroe, three bass, 11-11
10th: Chad Griffin of Cresson, three bass, 10-5

Lee takes co-angler lead

Todd Lee took the co-angler lead on day one with a four-bass catch weighing 10 pounds, 12 ounces.On the co-angler side, Todd Lee of Grove, Okla., leads the pack with a four-bass catch that weighed 10 pounds, 12 ounces. He fished with local pro Sean Hoernke, who ended the day in the 27th position.

"I had a good partner," Lee said. "I scrounged around and stayed versatile. I caught one on a jig, two on a crankbait and one on a Rebel Pop-R. I had to keep trying new things."

Lee is a Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League veteran but a TTT rookie who finished the year ranked 14th in co-angler points.

Rogers, Joiner in the hunt

Perennial contender Bill Rogers of Jasper once again put himself in contention for a win by bringing in three fish today that weighed 7 pounds, 11 ounces, good enough for second. Rogers, who competes in the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, EverStart Series and BFL, ranked No. 2 in 2005 TTT co-angler points.
Danny Joiner holds up a 6-pound, 7-ouncer that landed him in third place on the co-angler side.
Danny Joiner trails Rogers in third with only one bass, but it was a good one, weighing in at 6 pounds, 7 ounces. Joiner was the 31st-ranked TTT co-angler in 2005.

Craig, Morales round out top five

In fourth with two bass weighing 6 pounds, 5 ounces is Casey Craig of Spring. Trailing him by 2 ounces is Frank Morales Sr. of Heath with a one-bass catch weighing 6 pounds, 3 ounces.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers after day one on Lake Conroe:

6th: Trey Ellis of Humble, two bass, 5-7
7th: Alan Gregston of San Angelo, two bass, 5-4
8th: Bill Guillory of Jasper, one bass, 3-2
9th: Jerry Lee of Kiefer, Okla., one bass, 3-1
10th: Richard Carpenter of Sam Rayburn, one bass, 3-0

Competition will conclude tomorrow, and the pro and co-angler winners will be determined by the heaviest two-day weight. Tomorrow's takeoff begins at 7 a.m. from April Plaza Marina, located at 17742 Highway 105 West in Montgomery.

Tags: jennifer-simmons  headline-story  2005-10-15-ttt-championship 

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