UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - James River

'Class' act

'Class' act
Top co-angler George Coffman caught only two fish on day four, but a strong effort during the previous three days sustained him.

DENISON, TEXAS. - He was worried that missed opportunities would cost him, but as it turned out, Marlow, Ok. angler George Coffman had more than enough to ride his day-three lead all the way to the big finish at the Stren Series Texas Division event on Lake Texoma.

Entering the final round atop his division with 35 pounds, 4 ounces - a 2-9 lead over second - Coffman paired with pro winner Dave Parsons and sacked just two fish weighing 4 pounds, 5 ounces. Fortunately, none of his fellow co-anglers amassed enough weight to overcome his steady performance.

After second-place finisher Stephen Francis - second to last on stage - temporarily took the lead byAfter cranking his way through most of the qualifying days, George Coffman caught his final-round fish on a jig. just 15 ounces, it was clear that Coffman was the winner even before weighing his fish. At that moment, all remorse over opportunities missed melted in the warm glow of victory.

Recalling the anticipation of watching nine competitors taking their shot at his lead, Coffman said: "Besides the birth of my children and marrying my wife, that's the most nervous I've ever been."

Coffman, who serves as Marlow's Superintendent of Schools said he already has plans for his $5,000 winnings: "My kids have wanted to go to New York to see the Yankees play - I think this will get us there."

Crankbaits had been his primary bait earlier in the week, but after losing two good fish on his Lucky Craft, Coffman decided to switch up when Parsons moved to a spot with more cover. He caught one of his fish on a jig and the other on a Sweet Beaver.

Francis sticks with spinner and seals second
Finishing second, Stephen Francis relied on a 3/8-ounce double willow leaf Terminator spinnerbait all week.Brookeland, Texas angler Stephen Francis practiced consistency by sticking with one bait all week. Slinging his 3/8-ounce double willow leaf, chartreuse and white Terminator spinnerbait, he placed 14th on day one, fourth on day two and second on day three. Holding on to the No. 2 spot, he caught two fish in the final round and tallied a 36-3 total.

Bait positioning, Francis said was the key to his success. While most used spinnerbaits to imitate shad, he also relied on the shad to help him determine his presentation depth.

"When I was reeling, I could feel the shad attacking the spinnerbait," he said. "Maybe they were scared of it or maybe they were trying to ward it off. As the day went on, it seemed like they dropped down as the sun (rose). If I kept that spinnerbait in the pecking zone, I'd get a bite."

As the day's heat pushed the shad, retrieve speed became a critical factor for Francis. "I was reeling three times slower than (any of the pros) I was fishing with. I was dragging the bottom. They were fishing high on the docks and I was catching the ones down below."

Underwood enjoys diversity en route to third
Gaining one spot, David Underwood of Waco, Texas caught one of only two limits in the co-angler Splitting his time between a homemade spinnerbait and a 6-inch Yamamoto grub delivered a third-place finish for David Underwood.division. His 8-pound, 13-ounce bag gave him a tournament total of 32-5. Underwood relied on a homemade chartreuse/white spinnerbait made by a friend of his from Temple, Texas and a 6-inch purple/emerald flake Yamamoto grub.

"I was throwing mainly at docks and isolated structure that the guys on the front of the boat left, but there wasn't much left," he joked.

After four days of reveling in Texoma's diversity, Underwood lauded the lake's appeal. "This fishery is awesome. It has (multiple) species of bass - smallmouth, spots, blacks - and I caught all of them."

Cassill catches biggest bag for fourth
Twenty-year-old Zac Cassil made a strong showing with a fourth-place finish.Twenty-year-old Zac Cassill of Fairfax, Iowa caught the other co-angler limit, this one weighing 9-14 - the division's heaviest. Gaining six places in the final round, he recorded a total of 30 pounds, 11 ounces.

Cassill fished a Lethal Weapon jig on Cabela's 15-pound fluorocarbon line. Wearing the National Guard jersey, he gave a shout out to American service members. "I want to thank all of our (armed forces) who allow us to do what we're doing here. Any of these people are welcome to fish with me anytime."

Rose rises to fifth
Entering the final round in eighth place, Terry Rose of Eastland, Texas caught three fish weighing 6 Fishing a spinnerbait, crankbait and dropshot, Terry Rose moved up three notches to finish fifth.pounds, 13 ounces and posted a 29-3 total. Fishing around docks in five to 15 feet of water, Rose caught his fish on a spinnerbait, dropshot and crankbait.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 co-angler leaders at the Stren Series Lake Texoma event:

6th: Bo Middleton, Elgin, 28-0
7th: Gary Evans, Basalt, Co., 27-3
8th: Chris Bobo, Sherman, Texas, 27-2
9th: Darin Deatherage, Shawnee, Ok., 26-11
10th: Rusty Harvey, Nederland, Texas, 26-7

Tags: david-a-brown  co-angler-headline  2008-05-07-lake-texoma 

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