Live now : PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE 2020 Eufaula

Locals scale peak at Sam Rayburn

Locals scale peak at Sam Rayburn
Local pro Chris McCall of Jasper, Texas, earned first place on day one at Sam Rayburn with a five-bass catch weighing 22 pounds, 11 ounces.

JASPER, Texas - The Lone Star of Wednesday's opening-day weigh-in at the Stren Series Central tournament on Sam Rayburn Reservoir was perhaps the nearby town of Jasper, which is hosting the event. But this East Texas town had a strong supporting cast consisting of residents Chris McCall, who leads the Pro Division with a 22-pound, 11-ounce limit of bass, and co-angler leader Bill Guillory, who netted a 21-2 sack.

Texans hold'em

Rounding out the Jasper ensemble is Bill Rogers, who currently holds the runner-up position in the Co-angler Division. Texans, in general, have a grip on 80 percent of the top 20 slots in that division and 75 percent of the top 20 on the pro side.

McCall leads all

Despite local knowledge admittedly lending acumen to McCall's sizable catch, it should be noted that the seasoned bass fisherman preceded his success today with a rough practice period on his home waters and that he capitalized on changing weather conditions that thwarted a good portion of the other 196 pros fishing Sam Rayburn. And while the average weight of a single bass brought to the scale Wednesday, including co-angler catches, was a meager 2-6, McCall tipped the scale with a massive 8-11 that not only anchored his stringer but earned him $725 for the day's Snicker's Big Bass award.

"I didn't even catch them that well in practice," McCall said. "Things really turned around for me today. I'm just running my milk run."

But his "milk run" wasn't producing in the lead-up to today's tournament kickoff. McCall credits the drastic change in weather - heavy weekend rains followed by a cold front moving in - with part of his reversal of fortune. He added that he would welcome cloudy conditions, cool temperatures and wind - the very things that have stymied many of the other anglers - for the rest of the week.

"It helped me a whole lot," he said of the cold front.

McCall said his game plan today was "just covering a lot of water with a lot of baits," offering up spinnerbaits, square-billed crankbaits and Senkos as examples. He is catching fish "both going in (to spawn) and coming out," and he is fishing "anywhere from the bank" out to a depth of 8 or 9 feet.

Pro Bob Weaver of Lawton, Okla., is in second place after day one on Sam Rayburn with five bass weighing 22 pounds, 8 ounces.Weaver looms large in second

Bob Weaver is hot on the heels of McCall, only 3 ounces out of the top slot thanks to his five-bass catch of 22 pounds, 8 ounces. Though the Lawton, Okla., pro wouldn't divulge the specifics of his effective technique, he said Wednesday's considerable wind played into the pattern, whether he liked it or not.

"I'll say this much - we were in 3-foot swell on the rocks," he said.

Whatever his method, Weaver said he had a limit by 7:30 a.m. and that he caught his two toads - a 6-8 and a 6-5 - on back-to-back casts, while fishing somewhere on the south end of the reservoir. Even though he and his co-angler missed an hour of fishing due to boat maladies, which he said were quickly cured by skilled Ranger and Evinrude representatives, he still culled three limits' worth of bass.

Weaver is hoping to see some of the success this week on the pro side that his son, Chris, saw during the Central Division season opener on Lake Amistad, where he won $5,000 plus a Ranger boat for topping the Co-angler Division.

Pro Derek Remitz of Hemphill, Texas, is in third place at the Stren Central on Sam Rayburn with five bass, 21 pounds, 4 ounces.Remitz in third

Holding down the third position is pro Derek Remitz of Hemphill, Texas, who weighed in a limit worth 21 pounds, 4 ounces. Though Remitz is part of the Texas contingent topping the charts after day one on Sam Rayburn, he was probably less likely to shiver during the chilly afternoon weigh-in than his Southern counterparts as he is a relatively recent transplant from Minnesota. In fact, Remitz's family made the trip south to see him compete on one of Texas' most renowned fisheries; they also watched him compete in a BASS tourney on Sam Rayburn last week.

Remitz said he caught his bass doing "a little bit of everything," which included fishing spinnerbaits, Senkos and Rat-L-Traps. He caught his fish in 2 to 4 feet of water.

Pro Jim Tutt of Longview, Texas, is in fourth with five bass, 20 pounds, 8 ounces.Tutt takes fourth

Jim Tutt of Longview, Texas, held down the fourth spot by the end of Wednesday's weigh-in, having anchored his 20-pound, 8-ounce limit with an 8-plus-pounder. Like fellow veteran Stren Central and Wal-Mart FLW Tour pro McCall, Tutt said he also had a sketchy practice.

"I finally had a good day today," he said. "I did what you're supposed to do when fishing is this tough: I slowed down, filled in my area and just kind of picked it apart."

Tutt said he is fishing grass with Senkos in 2 to 5 feet of water, on the north end of the reservoir.

Pro Jerry Dolezal of Bullard, Texas, is in fifth with five bass, 19 pounds, 7 ounces.Dolezal gets five for fifth

Jerry Dolezal's five bass, weighing 19-7, were good enough for fifth place.

The Bullard, Texas, pro said he changed plans today to adjust for the weather. He caught his fish flipping jerkbaits and hardbaits.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros competing in the Stren Central event on Sam Rayburn:

6th: Ron Hopkins Sr. of Mounds, Okla., five bass, 19-1
7th: Art Garza of Buna, Texas, five bass, 17-7
8th: Trent Huckaby of Fort Stockton, Texas, five bass, 17-4
9th: Chris Slopak of Prairie Grove, Ark., five bass, 16-2
10th: Wesley Dawson of Silsbee, Texas, five bass, 15-8

Bill Guillory of Jasper, Texas, leads the Co-angler Division after day one of the Stren Central event on Sam Rayburn with five bass weighing 21 pounds, 2 ounces.Guillory grabs massive co-angler lead

Bill Guillory of Jasper, Texas, made surmounting the tough fishing conditions of his hometown fishery look easy Wednesday, hauling in the fourth-heaviest sack of the day - including pros - constituting five bass that weighed 21 pounds, 2 ounces. He carries nearly a 4-pound lead over the co-angler competition heading into day two on Sam Rayburn.

"It was just fortunate that I got the bites," he said humbly.

Once those bites started coming, Guillory and his pro partner, Andy Coffman, stayed put in an area on the south end of the reservoir. He said he "slowed way down" to catch his bass with spinnerbaits in 4 feet of water.

The second half of the Jasper, Texas, two-step in the Co-angler Division was taken by Bill Rogers, who caught a five-bass limit worth 17-3. He said he caught his fish shallow on a bait to be identified later, "casting it out and bringing it back."

Rogers' pro partner, Rick Turner, summed up the native's prowess on Sam Rayburn thusly: "Now I know why these pros get a funny look at the pretournament meetings when they draw Bill Rogers. I was so busy netting fish, I didn't have time to catch any myself."

Stetson Blaylock of Benton, Ark., earned $245 for the Snicker's Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division on day one of the Stren Central event thanks to an 8-pound, 4-ounce bass.In third place among co-anglers is Stetson Blaylock of Benton, Ark., who anchored his 14-pound, 12-ounce four-bass sack with an 8-4 kicker worth $245 as the Snicker's Big Bass of the day in his division. Blaylock was the youngest angler to ever qualify for the FLW Tour Championship in 2005.

Billy Yelverton of Baton Rouge, La., holds down the fourth slot in the Co-angler Division with a limit weighing 14-4.

Co-angler and FLW Outdoors Magazine writer Matt Williams of Nacogdoches, Texas, took fifth place with four fish weighing 13 pounds, 14 ounces.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers on day one of the Stren Central event on Sam Rayburn:

6th: Thomas Szwankowski of Hope, Ark., five bass, 12-12
7th: Doug Barton of Pittsburg, Mo., five bass, 12-5
8th: Kirk Broussard of Mauriceville, Texas, five bass, 11-15
9th: Stephen Francis of Brookeland, Texas, five bass, 11-9
10th: Kenta Kimura of Livingston, Texas, five bass, 11-8

Stren Central action resumes Thursday at 6:30 a.m. Central when 197 boats launch onto Sam Rayburn Reservoir from Umphrey Family Pavilion outside of Jasper, Texas.

Tags: patrick-baker  headline-story  2006-03-22-sam-rayburn-reservoir 

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