UPCOMING EVENT: FLW SERIES - 2020 - Toledo Bend Lake

The answer is blowing in the wind

The answer is blowing in the wind
Vaulting into first place on day two of the Stren Series Texas Division tournament on Lake Amistad is Jim Milson of Odessa, Texas. He started the day in fifth place.

DEL RIO, Texas - Perhaps to nobody's surprise, the wind has a major role in this Stren Series Texas Division tournament on Lake Amistad.

Wind, afterall, is a fact of life on the high plains of west Texas, where it whistles through shallow canyons onto sprawling Lake Amistad, turning water in the major creek arms into a churning froth when it blows as it did Thursday for the start of the third Texas Division event of the season.

But today it died, and with it the bite for most of the field of 379 pros and co-anglers. If yesterday's weights looked a bit low for Amistad, with just eight sacks weighing 18 pounds or more, today's were indisputably low, with just two sacks weighing 18 pounds or more. Limits again weren't a problem, as 356 anglers weighed five fish. Size is what's hard to come by.Big bass of the tournament so far is this 9-pound, 10-ounce beast taken by Chris Hults of Vancleave, Miss. It went after a Heddon Flicker Shad crankbait.

Yet the biggest bass of the tournament was weighed today, a 9-pound, 10-ounce brute landed by second-place co-angler Chris Hults of Vancleave, Miss., who caught it on a Heddon Flicker Shad crankbait.

So what's up with the big bass bite on Amistad? Could the answer be blowing in the wind?

"In those four-foot waves yesterday they bit real good," said Stephen Johnston of Hemphill, Texas, who's in fifth place in the pro division. "But today when it got calm they didn't bite as good. Then the wind picked up again we went back to catching 'em."

So what will it be for Saturday's finale, wind or no wind? The forecast is calling for and east wind of 5-10 mph. There's a saying, "Wind from the east, fish bite least."

Ray Hanselman carried a bag of fish weighing 14 pounds off stage Friday, giving him a combined two-day weight of 33-pounds, 13-ounces, good for third place.Spare the dire predictions for tomorrow's bite from today's top 10, which includes five new members and a new overall leader. Joining Kevin Lasyone, Ray Hanselman, Russell Cecil, Jim Milson and Christopher Brasher for Saturday's finale are Stephen Johnston, Jim Tutt, Robert Collett, Waylon Bullard and Michael Herron. Milson's your new leader while yesterday's top gun, Lasyone, is in fourth.

Of those top 10 pros just two, Johnston and Bullard, caught heavier weights today than they did Thursday. Bullard had the heaviest weight of the day at 21 pounds, 14 ounces, a weight that was anchored by a 7-pounder.

The co-angler division saw even more upheaval, as six new members qualified for Saturday's party. Only Rich Dalbey, Debra Cunningham, Jesse Fry and Mike Power survived the cut, with Dalbey taking over the top spot from Power, who's now sixth.

Pro leader Milson is just delighted to be here. Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s he was a force toRussell Cecil moved up one place on day two with a bag of fish weighing 16-pounds, 6-ounces, good for second. be reckoned with in Texas tournaments, but not lately.

"I normally go to pieces in these things," Milson said after weighing 17-pounds, 12-ounces Friday, bringing his two-day total to 36-7. "But I decided not to this time."

The Odessa, Texas pro is fishing a spot he found on his last day of practice. He's presenting softbaits very slowly in 35 feet. Today it boated a limit that included a 6-pound, 3-ounce fish.

"It's working good for me," Milson said. "I have three areas but one is prime. I stayed on it all day today."

And tomorrow?

"I'll be there," he said. "Nobody's pressuring me. They don't know who I am."

Cecil takes over second

Russell Cecil just won't take his boat and go home, much to the chagrin of other anglers in the Texas Division. Fresh off a victory in March at Sam Rayburn, the Willis, Texas pro is threatening once again. He weighed 16-pounds, 6-ounces Friday for a two-day total of 35-15.

Cecil has a three-pronged attack. It calls for a Jewel football jig, an H2O Express crankbait and a Big Bite 10-inch worm.

With a bag weighing 20-pounds, 8-ounces, Kevin Lasyone fell from first to fourth place on day two."I've been trash fishing," Cecil said. "One minute I'm in 18 feet and the next in 38. I throw the football jig in the grass and rocks, the worm in the trees and the crankbait in both places."

Hanselman carries the torch for Del Rio

Local guide Ray Hanselman dropped from second to third today with a 14-pound sack that brought his two-day total to 33-13. He said he's hoping to get back to the form that landed 19-9 on day one, but to do that he must change his ways.

"I fished out my starting hole yesterday," he said, "so I ended up running a bunch. I hope tomorrow I can settle in and fish. But being on the home lake makes me want to run everywhere."

Lasyone rolls with the waves

Kevin Lasyone knows as well as anybody how fickle tournament fishing can be, so he's taking his fall from first to fourth in stride and coming back to fight tomorrow. But to have a chance to win he knows he must do better than today's weight of 12-pounds, 9-ounces, which has his two-day total at 33-1.

"I knew I had to change today, but I waited too late," said the Dry Prong, La. pro. "The fish are still in the bushes, but I couldn't get them to bite today."

He caught 25 bass yesterday and seven today on a Zoom Twin-Tail Speed Crawl rigged on 1/2-ounce or 3/4-ounce football jigs. He said he has a spot where he did well at a tournament four years ago and will hit it first thing tomorrow, then return to where he finished today.Stephen Johnston of Hemphill, Texas started the day in 18th place, but used a limit weighing 16-pounds, 15-ounces to jump into fifth.

Hello again, Mr. Johnston

Hey, isn't that the same Stephen Johnston that won a BFL tournament two weeks ago on the Red River in Louisiana?

Yes, it is. The18-year pro from Hemphill, Texas is well known in these parts, having finished 19 times in the top 10 on the Stren Series. But he has just one win: at Sam Rayburn two years ago. He's currently second in the Texas Division points race behind Joe Don Setina.

"Years ago I was just thrilled to be in the top 10," Johnston said. "Tomorrow I'll swing for the fences."

Johnston is fishing deep hydrilla, 31-34 feet down. He's throwing crankbaits early in the day and a football-head jig once the sun is up. He said he's getting from 18-20 keeper bass per day, but needed a stroke of luck to land his Friday weight of 16-pounds, 15-ounces, which vaulted him from 18th place into fifth place with a two-day total of 32-3.

"I had about 13 pounds with 30 minutes to go," Johnston said. "Then I pulled up into shallow water and caught a 3-pounder and a 4-pounder. I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I'm around a bunch of fish."

Pros 6-10 for Saturday's final round

6. Jim Tutt, Longview, Texas, 30-7
7. Robert Collett, Zapata, Texas, 30-6
8. Wayne Bullard, Del Rio, Texas, 30-3
9. Michael Herron, Paris, Texas,30-1
10. Christopher Brasher, Spring, Texas, 29-13

Dalbey does well on day two

Co-angler Rich Dalbey of Greenville, Texas has a 1-pound, 11-ounce lead going into Saturday's final round, but he's not exactly nervous.

"Whatever happens, happens," said Dalbey, who weighed 10-pounds, 15-ounces Friday to bring his two-day total to 29-2. "I've had a good tournament so far. But it was very slow today. I had nine bites all day."

Dalbey switched to a new tactic that included a Senko worm rigged Texas style. He's fishing in 3 to 12 feet and covering a lot of water, he said.

Co-anglers 6-10 for Saturday's final round

6. Mike Power, Canyon Lake, Texas, 26-2
7. Jesse Fry, Round Mountain, Texas, 25-13
7. Danny Cherry, Kountze, Texas, 25-13
9. Daren Scott, Fort Worth, Texas, 24-4
10. Sonny Kopech, Tyler, Texas, 25-3

The final chapter of this Stren Series tournament will be written Saturday on sprawling Lake Amistad.Saturday's final round launches from the Blackbrush ramp off Highway 90 west of Del Rio at 6 a.m. Weigh-in begins at Walmart in Del Rio at 4 p.m. All events are free and open to the public.

Tags: vince-meyer  headline-story  2009-05-21-lake-amistad 

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