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Amazing at Amistad

Amazing at Amistad
Craig Dowling's 31-pound, 1-ounce limit led the pros on Lake Amistad on day one.

DEL RIO, Texas - Despite a fog delay that shortened fishing time by two hours, Stren Series Central Division competitors weighed in an astonishing 4,062 pounds of bass from Lake Amistad on day one, including 130 limits from the pro field alone. The lake, which straddles the U.S./Mexico border, was expected to yield large numbers of heavy limits, but the results were jaw-dropping just the same.

Pro Kevin Lasyone brought in this 11-pound, 8-ounce monster to earn $750 as the day-one big-bass leader.Both the pro and co-angler leaders brought in limits exceeding 30 pounds, and the current top-20 cut weight on the pro side is more than 20 pounds. Bass after heavy bass were presented to the appreciative crowd, with the most monstrous of them belonging to pro Kevin Lasyone, who weighed in an impressive 11-pound, 8-ounce behemoth.

The 4,000-pound-plus haul is believed to be the heaviest one-day catch in Stren Series history, though anglers on the Wal-Mart FLW Tour have achieved that feat twice. The gluttony was such that the crowd barely noticed a bass that clocked in at less than 8 pounds or a stringer that weighed less than 20 pounds.

Leading the pack is Many, La., pro Craig Dowling with a five-bass limit totaling 31 pounds, 1 ounce. Dowling, who is making his Stren Series debut this week, brought in his leading limit relatively late in the afternoon, toppling No. 2 Chris Slopak, who had held the lead with 27 pounds, 9 ounces for most of the weigh-in.

"I found a really good pattern in practice," Dowling said. "I knew there were some good fish, and I found most of them on one spot. I caught my three biggest bass in about three casts, and I culled the rest of the day."

Helping Dowling haul in the big ones is a bite he says can go all day, a fact that is particularly beneficial given the two hours of lost fishing time this morning.

"You can (find) them more concentrated in the morning, but it's an all-day bite," he said. "I've been fishing really slow, catching most of them in deep water."

Dowling says he is not among the anglers who had been making long runs, instead staying close and looking for schools of fish while some others milk a sight-fishing pattern.

"I found some big ones on beds, but I'd rather fish for a school of big ones rather than one here and there," he said of his technique.

The key, he said, is timing, being in the right place at the right time. He noted that his success on day one was due to a pattern and not an area, something that could help him in the long run should he make the day-two and day-three cuts.

"It's a pattern," he said. "I'm not going to run out of spots. As long as the fish stay on the same pattern, I'm in good shape."

No. 2 Slopak on big fish

Despite losing a 9-pounder, Chris Slopak still brought in a 27-pound, 9-ounce limit to end day one in the No. 2 spot.Arkansas pro Chris Slopak ended the day in the No. 2 position with a limit of five weighing 27 pounds, 9 ounces. Despite losing two fish with estimated weights of 9 pounds and 7 pounds, Slopak says he is on fish that could keep him in the top 20.

"I knew where these fish were," Slopak said. "I stopped culling at 12:15. I've got people around me, and I can make the cut there."

Slopak said he, too, was fishing fairly close to the launch ramp and said his fish were in deep water.

"It's a subtle bite," he said. "It's the technique and the lure I was using, because I saw the people around me catching smaller fish."

Mauldin enjoys beginner's success

David MauldinDavid Mauldin of Tomball, Texas, brought in five weighing 26 pounds, 13 ounces today to land in the No. 3 spot.

"This is the first time I've ever been to this lake," Mauldin said. "I'm fishing a deep pattern and a shallow pattern. The deep fish are pretty reliable, but the shallow, you don't know what they're going to do."

Mauldin was unsure of the chances of his pattern and area lasting him through the cut days, saying, "I don't have enough spots."

Haralson, Matsubu tied for fourth
Ben Matsubu tied for the No. 4 spot on day one with a limit weighing 26 pounds, 12 ounces.
Charles Haralson of Laredo, Texas, and Ben Matsubu of Hemphill, Texas, each brought in 26 pounds, 12 ounces on day one to tie for the fourth position. Haralson has the benefit of prior knowledge, as his parents live near Lake Amistad.

"The fish are just trying to move back to spawn," he said. "They're halfway between where they were and where they want to go."

As for Matsubu, he said one obstacle is weeding out the small fish to get to the bigger fish, adding that he threw worms and jigs today to land his bass.

"It's a late bite," he said. "We just kept our heads down and fished hard."

Best of the rest

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

6th: Eddy May of Valley Center, Kan., five bass, 24-8
7th: Trent Huckaby of Fort Stockton, Texas, five bass, 23-14
8th (tie): Scotty Villines of Ponca, Ark., and Craig Workman of Fort Worth, five bass, 23-13
10th: James Davis Jr. of Ferriday, La., five bass, 23-12

Achee busts 30 pounds to lead co-anglers

Tim Achee leads the Co-angler Division with a day-one limit totaling 30 pounds, 10 ounces.Co-angler Tim Achee could not contain his enthusiasm after weighing in a co-angler-leading 30-pound, 10-ounce stringer of bass on day one.

"I knew it was going to be an awesome day," said the Hemphill, Texas, angler. "We weren't there five minutes when I had my first one. I finished at 11 o'clock and sat down."

Later, Achee threw a line in the water simply to throw off some nearby anglers - he didn't want them knowing that he and pro partner Dustin Grice had caught some serious fish. That casual cast resulted in another big fish that enabled him to cull a 5-pounder.

"He put us on 50 pounds of fish," Achee said of Grice, who caught 19-5 himself.

Behind Achee is Oklahoma co-angler Ed Gold, who brought in a limit weighing 26 pounds, 8 ounces. In third is Brett Killingsworth of Rowlett, Texas, who brought in the 10-pounder that fleshed out his 25-pound, 4-ounce limit.

Tied for fourth are Shawn Denny of Roswell, N.M., and Rodney Theesfield of Odessa, Texas, with 24 pounds, 12 ounces each. Theesfield brought in those numbers despite catching only four bass.

Best of the rest

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

6th: Jim Behnken of Floresville, Texas, five bass, 21-7
7th: Stetson Blaylock of Benton, Ark., five bass, 19-8
8th: Jeff Snyder of Royse City, Texas, five bass, 18-7
9th: Tom Medlock of Licking, Mo., five bass, 17-15
10th: Eugene B. Moore III of Little Rock, Ark., five bass, 17-14

Day two of Central Division competition at Lake Amistad begins at 7:30 a.m. Central time Thursday from Lake Amistad Marina on Highway 90 West in Del Rio. Following tomorrow's action, both fields will be cut to the top 20 anglers apiece based on two-day total weight.

Tags: jennifer-simmons  headline-story  2006-02-22-lake-amistad 

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