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

Second shot at Sibley

Second shot at Sibley
Teams will be poking their way into every cove and corner of Lake Sibley with hopes of finding quality fish.

NATCHITOCHES, La. - First impressions are important, but it's also wise to keep an open mind and allow shy personalities time to emerge. That's the mindset for anglers entering day two of the FLW National Guard College Fishing Series Texas Regional Championship on Sibley Lake.

For starters, the stats can be deceiving. Only three teams caught limits, but that doesn't necessarily imply a slow day for everyone. Sam Houston State's Jeff Randolph reported 30-40 bass from day one. Of course, his teammate Clint Nowell quickly clarified: "They were mostly 11-inch fish."

Notwithstanding some smack talk from a few bitter souls with little faith in Sibley's ability to produce much more than a bucket full of bass just shy of the foot-long limit, others believe this lake has yet to reveal its potential. Glimpses of good things appeared during the day one weigh-ins, not the least of which was the confident swagger of the hometowners - Jeffrey Rich and Aaron Sistrunk fromNorthwestern State Northwestern State. Rich firmly stated his team had found enough big fish in practice to break 20 pounds. High pressure on day one fiddled with Sibley's fish, but Rich said he was looking for fireworks on day two.

Most promising was the third place team from Oklahoma State. Will Powell and Jeremy Bersche caught just three keepers, but their weight of 7-4 gives them an average of nearly 2-7. Do that six times a day and you win this deal.

Elsewhere, Texas A&M-Kingsville's Cody Burell and Jerod Hawkes finished seventh with 6-4. They missed their limit by one and Hawkes said he got a look at that fish. "I lost a nice one right at the end. I hung a 2-pounder in the last couple of minutes and it jumped off right at the boat. But you can't hold on to what happened (yesterday) and carry it over into (today). That will just hold you back."

Burrell agreed, adding: "It's just about clean fishing. We just can't lose any fish today."

Leading the field, BaylorFor tournament leaders Jay Holland and Andrew McAdams of Baylor University, success was nothing fancy - it was just casting and winding with a nose-to-the-grindstone mentality. McAdams said he doesn't expect anything different from day two. He and Holland are simply looking to grind out a good limit with reaction baits. Once they secure several solid fish, they may go hog hunting.

"We're going to do the same thing we did yesterday - we're going to hit as many holes as we can and we're not going to save a fish for tomorrow," McAdams said. "If we get the right bites and we have four or five in the boat that can go 8 pounds, then we might slow down a little. Other than that, we're going to run and gun."

Many teams reported junk fishing their way through day one, but it's likely that most will have their gameJosh Seale of second place Angelo State plugs in his numbers for the day plan dialed in better for day two. Some will look for reaction bites with crankbaits and Rat-L-Traps, while others will target specific cover and structure with plastics. Today's cloudy forecast bodes well for the topwater and spinnerbait game, but those who like to flip would rather see sunny skies pushing fish tight to cover.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi's Jacob Heath sits in 20th place with teammate Kennedy Schwartzburg, but Heath's blonde dreadlocks rival FLW host Justin Lucas's wind-swept do for the "cool hair" title. Notwithstanding this aesthetic advantage, Heath said he and Schwatzburg are swinging for the fences in hopes of making a major move.

"We're going to break out the big stuff and try to hit a homerun today," he said.

Tournament logistics

The top five FLW College Fishing teams from each of the four regular-season Texas Division tournaments gained automatic entry into the 2009 Texas Regional Championship at Northwestern State University. During the three-day regional event, 20 two-man collegiate angling teams will compete for a top award of $50,000, which includes a 177TR Ranger wrapped in school colors and powered by an Evinrude or Yamaha outboard engine.

Cloudy skies will help those looking for topwater action and spinnerbait bites.Qualified teams include Angelo State, Baylor University, LSU, LSU-Shreveport, Lamar University, Northwestern State, Oklahoma State University, Sam Houston State, Stephen F. Austin, Tarleton State, Texas A&M, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Texas A&M-Kingsville, Texas State University, Texas Tech University, University of Louisiana, University of North Texas and University of Texas.

Daily takeoffs are at 7 a.m. at the public boat ramp at 2019 Texas St. in Natchitoches, La. Daily weigh-ins are at 4 p.m. at Northwestern State University. The Reel Life Festival, which features the National Guard Warrior Challenge, will be held all three days of competition at the Prather Coliseum Parking Lot at Northwestern State University beginning at 4 p.m. on Sunday and at 1 p.m. on Monday. An iPod Nano will be given away Sunday, and a MacBook Air will be given away Monday.

The top five teams from each of the five National Guard regional championships (Western, Central, Northern, Texas and Southeast) will advance to the National Guard National Championship April 10-12, 2010, in Knoxville, Tenn. The winning team at the national championship will qualify for the prestigious 2010 Forrest Wood Cup.

Sunday's conditions:

Sunrise: 6:44 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 57 degrees
Expected high temperature: 80 degrees
Water temperature: 66 degrees
Wind: from the S at 8-10 mph
Max. Humidity: 78 percent
Day's outlook: Mostly cloudy

Tags: david-a-brown  morning-story  2009-11-14-texas-regional-championship 

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