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FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Co-angler Ballard wins by 24-pound, 3-ounce margin

Co-angler Ballard wins by 24-pound, 3-ounce margin
No one - pro or co-angler - caught more bass over the course of the tournament than co-angler champ Jimmy Ballard, who weighed in 93 pounds, 11 ounces over four days.

DEL RIO, Texas - In a tournament where the bass were so big and so plentiful that competitors were culling out 5-pounders, no one - pro or co-angler - caught more bass than co-angler champion Jimmy Ballard, who weighed in an unbelievable 93 pounds, 11 ounces of bass over four days.

That catch easily sets the record for largest margin of victory in Stren Series history, as Ballard beat No. 2 Michael Herron by a whopping 24 pounds, 3 ounces, and he had the tournament won before he ever weighed in a bass. Ultimately, he weighed in 23 pounds, 1 ounce, the heaviest weight of the day - pro or co-angler.

That four-day catch is also the heaviest cumulative weight brought in by a co-angler in any FLW Outdoors bass-fishing trail - ever. Making the whole experience even sweeter is that Ballard will leave Del Rio the No. 1-ranked co-angler in current Texas Division points standings. That's quite a week.

Co-angler Jimmy Ballard holds the trophy from a history-making win on Lake Amistad.Hailing from Powderly, Texas, Ballard kicked it off on day one with 26 pounds, 1 ounce and followed that up on day two with what would be his lowest weight of the tournament, a limit weighing 15-9. He returned to form again on day three with 29 pounds, one of the heaviest weights of the tournament, and caught 23-1 today to make FLW Outdoors history.

"Basically, today was the same thing - throwing a Senko," Ballard said simply. "We threw it in deep water. My first fish was that big one, and I caught three other keepers really quickly. Then I had a dead spell, so I picked up a Carolina rig and used a Brush Hog and got my fifth keeper. At that point, I felt like I had the tournament won."

Ballard fished out of the back of day-three pro leader Bob Coleman's boat today, and Coleman caught less than half of Ballard's catch, mainly due to a sore elbow. That elbow, though, wasn't enough to damper the affable Coleman's sportsmanship.

"I sat back and let my pro have the whole water, and he wouldn't let me," said Ballard, who ultimately ended up culling again. "The bite was slower. I think the high winds during the night stirred the lake up. The water temperature dropped a bit, and I think the fish backed off."

As for his records, Ballard is thrilled but knows that with a lake like this on the schedule, these records can just as easily be broken next year.

"I'm proud to be there, and I'm proud to be that man, but it will be broken because of this lake," he said. "I'm on cloud nine."

For the win, Ballard earned $5,000 plus a Ranger boat.

Herron climbs to second

Michael Herron sat 24 pounds, 3 ounces behind co-angler winner Jimmy Ballard but still ended up second with 69-8 over four days.Day-one leader Michael Herron of Paris, Texas, ultimately took second place with a four-day total of 69 pounds, 8 ounces. Making the one-two finish more interesting is that Herron and Ballard are traveling partners.

"I started out fishing different than I'm used to fishing, so it started out slow," Herron said of his day-four, 17-pound, 8-ounce performance. "But I still caught fish early. (Pro partner David Curtis) moved into areas where I could throw that big Senko, and things got better."

Herron said he and Curtis began the day in really deep water close to the dam, but later ended up in depths of 6 to 12 feet.

"That's where we caught them," Herron said.

For his finish, Herron earned $3,947.

Williams goes from 10th to third

Matt Williams jumped from 10th to third with a four-day total of 67-11.Finishing in the third position is Matt Williams of Nacogdoches, Texas, with 67 pounds, 11 ounces over four days. He had his best day yet today, bringing in a limit worth 21 pounds, 4 ounces.

"I caught them mostly on a 5-inch Senko," Williams said. "I caught them shallow the first two days, and I was putting a nail in the tail of that Senko to make it fall backwards. You could cast it into the bushes."

Bait color played a factor for many this week, Williams included. His Senko was bright red thanks to a tip from pro Lendell Martin Jr.

"He told me he had a bass that regurgitated a big red crawfish," Williams said. "He said, `Take some of those red Senkos.' It was like a Halloween red, and it worked really well."

Today Williams and No. 7 pro Jim Tutt fished main-lake flats in 21 to 35 feet of water. He earned $3,207 for his third-place finish.

Herline, Johnston round out top five

In the fifth position is co-angler Wayne Johnston, father of No. 5 pro Stephen Johnston.Taking the fourth spot is Neil Herline of Silsbee, Texas, with 64 pounds, 7 ounces of bass over four days that earned him $2,467. He caught his bass on a Carolina-rigged Baby Brush Hog and a Senko.

"I've had some great partners, and this is probably the most fun fishery I've ever been on in my life," he said. "I couldn't put it together today, but I still had a good time."

Behind him in the fifth position is Wayne Johnston of Port Arthur, Texas, father to No. 5 pro Stephen Johnston. He caught 63 pounds, 7 ounces and earned $1,974 on a drop-shot and a Senko.

Rest of the best

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

Co-angler Jacob Brown ended up sixth with a four-day catch of 60 pounds, 9 ounces.6th: Jacob Brown, Clyde, Texas, 18 bass, 60-9, $1,875
7th: Jim Behnken, Floresville, Texas, 18 bass, 56-9, $1,776
8th: John Vogt, Boerne, Texas, 17 bass, 56-6, $1,678
9th: Robert Ballard, Del Rio, Texas, 19 bass, 56-0, $1,579
10th: Clark Franklin, Midland, Texas, 17 bass, 50-9, $1,480

Coming up

The next Stren Series event is a Southeast Division contest at the Santee Cooper lakes near Manning, S.C., April 11-14.

The next Texas Division tournament is the third event of the season. It will be held at Toledo Bend near Hemphill, Texas, June 20-23.

Tags: jennifer-simmons  co-angler-headline  2007-03-21-lake-amistad 

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