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Schoonveld shoots to the top

Schoonveld shoots to the top

ZAPATA, Texas - Stren Series Texas Division anglers faced cooler temperatures and steady, but manageable, winds on day two of the season opener. The wind made boat position difficult for some, but the Falcon Lake bass didn't seem to mind. After catching 33 pounds, 9 ounces on day one, pro Dan Schoonveld backed that performance up with 34 pounds, 9 ounces Friday to take the lead with one day of competition remaining.

Schoonveld is originally from Mansura, La., but the Zapata area, and Falcon Lake in particular, has become his second home. He now guides on the lake and spends much of his time probing its depths for just the right honeyhole.

After back-to-back impressive catches, it appears that Schoonveld may have found that perfect tournament-winning area. Today he caught an 11-pound, 5-ounce bass - the biggest of the tournament thus far, which earned Schoonveld $450.

"I fished the same spot today and was done at 10 a.m. just like yesterday," he said. "It's a creek channel with gravel on the bottom. It's a coming-and-going spot. The fish go there before they spawn, and they go there after they spawn. If you looked closely at my bags, I had a mix of both pre- and postspawn."

To catch his fish, Schoonveld is Carolina-rigging a Zoom Brush Hog. The water is 26 feet deep in an area 20-by-20 yards, and Schoonveld is presenting the Brush Hog in anywhere from 18 to 26 feet.

"It could possibly be better tomorrow, because today I had a lot of pressure around me."

Although he yearns for a victory, the Stren Series veteran is also looking for acceptance from the Falcon Lake fishing community. With a total weight of 68 pounds, 2 ounces, Schoonveld will take off Saturday morning with nearly a 7-pound lead.

"It's pretty exciting to be leading, but I've had three second-place finishes at this level. Tomorrow I'm leaving it up to the Lord. I do hope that I've earned some people's respect here from this event."

Haralson maintains second

At the conclusion of day one, Charles Haralson had a 2-ounce lead on Schoonveld, but he trailed Rick Cathey by over 5 pounds. He overcame Cathey with a 27-pound, 9-ounce bag today, but Schoonveld moved ahead of him. Haralson's opening-round total was 61 pounds, 4 ounces.

Charles Haralson is in second place in the Pro Division after catching 61-4 over two days."I'm around a lot of fish," said the Laredo, Texas, pro. "I was done fishing yesterday in about 20 minutes, and I was done today in about 15. But I didn't get anything over 7 pounds today. It was a sack full of 5s and 6s."

Haralson took fourth place at last year's Stren Series opener on Falcon. He's fishing the same prespawn pattern in this tournament, although the spots are different. This year he's fishing an area southeast of the Zapata County Boat Ramp on the American side of the lake. His key baits are a Big Bite Trick Stick and Swim Shad. He also mixes in a 1 1/8-ounce Joe Baby spinnerbait and a 5/8-ounce Oldham's jig with Rage Craw trailer.

"I throw the jig and the spinnerbait just to give them a different look, maybe catch a big fish. The majority are coming as I Texas-rig the Swim Shad and the Trick Stick through the bushes.

"They're still prespawn, but they're getting closer. A week ago they were as far back as 30 feet. Today I caught some as shallow as 16 feet."

Each of his tournament days can be described as efficient, yet nondescript. That's hard to believe considering he's second among a 200-boat field that included some very talented anglers.

"I culled three more bags of over 20 pounds today, trying to get a big fish, but it never did come. I was getting bit just about every pitch. Tomorrow I'll run some more water, but it will still be the same pattern."

Cathey third

Cathey, the day-one leader and a Falcon guide from San Antonio, Texas, fell two places to third after Pro Richard Cathey slipped to third place after catching 22 pounds, 1 ounce Friday.catching 22 pounds, 1 ounce on day two. His opening-round total weight is 61 pounds, 2 ounces.

"I just couldn't get the big bites today," Cathey said. "Yesterday, every time I got bit it was an 8-pounder. Today, every time I got bit it was a 4-pounder."

Cathey is using an old-school 1-ounce silver spoon and a white-and-chartreuse spinnerbait to catch his fish.

"I love using it in the wintertime when the bite is tough," Cathey said of the spoon. "When I use the spinnerbait, I'm slow-rolling it through the middle of the tree. The water is like 28 feet deep, and I'm moving the spinnerbait through at about 20 feet."

Cathey has five areas, each approximately the size of a football field, located in the southeast corner of the lake, 20 miles from the Zapata County Boat Ramp.

"I was looking at a 30-pound bag all day today. I could see them on my graph, but they wouldn't go. If I'm going to have a chance to win, I need at least 30 pounds tomorrow."

Newberry rises to fourth

Pro Dicky Newberry finished the opening round in fourth place with 56 pounds, 11 ounces.Veteran pro Dicky Newberry of Houston ascended to the fourth spot after catching a limit Friday weighing 27-9. His two-day total stands at 56 pounds, 11 ounces. Newberry won the Texas Division qualifier on the Sam Rayburn Reservoir last year and has a chance to do the same on Falcon tomorrow.

"Somebody would have to stumble for me to win, but I've been doing this a long time, and I've learned that sometimes they come when you least expect them to," he said.

Newberry is fishing 20 miles south of the ramp on the Mexican side of the lake. He's catching most of his fish flipping in 18 feet of water, but he also has a deep spot where he drags a football-head jig over a rock pile.

"When I'm flipping, I'm using Brush Hogs with a 1-ounce tungsten weight on 90-pound braid. When I'm using the jig, I'm fishing a drop that goes from 20 feet to 40 feet. Most of the jig fish are coming from about 25 feet."

Pro Jerry Green finished the opening round in fifth place with 55 pounds, 1 ounce.Green fifth

Pro Jerry Green, who recently moved from Del Rio, Texas, to Cullman, Ala., has returned to the Lone Star State to put a hurting on the Rio Grande largemouth bass. On day one, Green sacked 28 pounds, 11 ounces, and today he managed 26 pounds, 6 ounces.

"All I could catch today was 5-pounders," said Green, whose 55-1 puts him in fifth place.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros after day two on Falcon Lake:

6th: Larry Peacher of Bentley, La., 54-2
7th: Joe Don Setina of Pittsburg, Texas, 53-4
8th: Ray Hanselman of Del Rio, Texas, 51-5
9th: James Stricklin Jr. of Jasper, Texas, 51-0
10th: Jesse West of Strandquist, Minn., 50-1

Each of the top 10 pros caught limits Friday.

Kreuzer not headed to Amistad

Dean Kreuzer and his friend Steve Czerniski entered the Falcon Lake tournament with the intention of Dean Kreuzer widened his lead in the Co-angler Division after catching 25-14 Friday.simply enjoying themselves on the hottest bass fishery in the country. Since the field is cut following Friday's weigh-in, they planned to fish the Bass Champs team tournament on Lake Amistad Saturday. If nothing else, Amistad was on the way home to Arizona.

After Kreuzer accumulated 60 pounds, 1 ounce and established an 11-pound lead, those plans have changed. Still, the Mesa, Ariz., native is focused on having fun, not winning.

"There were more fish today, but they were smaller," said the co-angler leader, whose wife, Tanya, fishes the Women's Bassmaster Tour. "I think I caught 11 keepers on a 1-ounce jig with a 6-inch Yamamoto twin-tail grub trailer in green-pumpkin color."

With the permission of his day-one and day-two pros, Kreuzer was able to return to the spot where he caught 34 pounds, 3 ounces on day one. That catch set the co-angler record for the heaviest single-day weight in FLW Outdoors history. Today he managed 25 pounds, 14 ounces.

"Steve and I found this spot in practice, and it's been awesome. We really enjoy heavy-structure fishing, and that's exactly what this is. We're catching our fish on the inside turn of a creek channel in 16 to 24 feet of water."

Kreuzer says San Carlos Lake near his home occasionally produces 30-pound limits, but he has yet to find bass that possess the brute strength of the fabled Falcon giants.

"We're here because we love patterning deep structure. We didn't come here to fish shallow - we'd rather go home."

With another successful day on the water, Kreuzer may be headed home with a 177TR Ranger, powered by an Evinrude or Yamaha outboard, and trailer.Timothy Achee caught a 31-pound, 11-ounce stringer Friday and moved into second place among the co-anglers.

Achee second

The heaviest co-angler stringer of day two was caught by Tim Achee of Hemphill, Texas. Fishing with friend and pro Robert Robinson, Achee caught a limit weighing 31 pounds, 11 ounces, which pushed his total to 49 pounds even.

"We had a ball," said Achee. "I think I threw back three 5-pounders. I may be 11 pounds back, but on this lake that's not that big of a lead."

Achee is catching his fish with a Senko that has a pegged bullet weight approximately 2 feet above the bait. Today he presented the Senko in 14 to 20 feet of water.

"You have to feel your line and feel your bait through the trees."

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Keith Honeycutt of Temple, Texas (10 bass, 44-12); Chris Pennington of San Diego (8 bass, 42-4); and Kevin Slate of Choctaw, Okla. (9 bass, 41-0).

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers who will fish day three on Falcon Lake:

6th: Ray Peace of Arlington, Texas, 39-6
7th: Kenneth Pellerin of Pasadena, Texas, 39-2
8th: Robert Royal of Vidor, Texas, 38-4
9th: Jeff Lobaugh of Emory, Texas, 35-6
10th: Billy Rusher of Stilwell, Okla., 34-6

The final day of competition begins as the top 10 pros and top 10 co-anglers take off from the Zapata County Boat Ramp at 7:30 a.m. Central time Saturday.

Tags: brett-carlson  headline-story  2009-01-15-falcon-lake 

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