UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Hope floats on Falcon

Hope floats on Falcon
Co-angler Steve Hope displays his trophy for winning the inaugural FLW American Fishing Series event on Falcon Lake.

ZAPATA, Texas - As a dedicated co-angler, Steve Hope arrives at each FLW American Fishing Series event a few days early to practice. This allows him to have a firsthand look at the lake's current conditions. Recently, this routine has proven extremely beneficial. Last year Hope was the points champion in the Texas Division and after the first event of 2010 he is $10,000 richer.

Hope was particularly excited about the prospects of returning to the famed Falcon Lake. He's fished the Rio Grande River impoundment each of the past two years with moderate success.

"I knew I had to bring my A-game down here," said Hope. "The weights can be just unbelievable."

Co-angler champion Steve Hope holds up one of his five bass from day three on Falcon Lake.For Falcon, the weights were a bit off this year thanks to a record-breaking cold front. But Hope kept his nose to the grind and slowly moved up the leaderboard as the conditions improved. He caught five bass weighing 16 pounds Thursday while fishing with pro Jeffery Bunch of Lebanon, Tenn., to open the tournament in eighth place.

With calmer conditions on day two he added five more bass weighing 18-4 to make the top-10 cut in fourth place while fishing with pro Jim Milson of Odessa, Texas. On Saturday, he sealed the win with five bass weighing 27-2 while fishing with David Mullins. His 27-pound, 2-ounce stringer was the heaviest of the entire tournament for the co-anglers.

"At about 10:30 this morning I told my pro I had enough weight," recalled the Ovilla, Texas, native. "He told me to keep fishing and right after that I caught another giant. And as it turned out, I needed it."

Hope said his successful practice allowed him to fish to his strengths during the tournament. On day three he spent half of his time fishing shallow and half toiling out deep. To catch his fish, he employed Zoom Brush Hogs in watermelon candy color and Yamamoto Senkos in watermelon red.

"As it got warmer during the day we moved shallower. I think I caught around 15 keepers total."

With a three-day total weight of 61 pounds, 6 ounces, Hope won by a 1-pound, 11-ounce margin.

"You can't beat that," added the electrical contractor. "You can't beat it at all."
With a three-day total of 59 pounds, 11 ounces, Bo Standley finished second in the Co-angler Division.
High five co-anglers

Bo Standley was perhaps the most consistent co-angler this week - catching limits of 20-1, 18-13 and 20-13. His three-day total was 59 pounds, 11 ounces.

"It's been an awesome week; I've had some great partners," said the Silsbee, Texas, native. "I got to fish with Joe Don Setina on day one, Keith Combs on day two and Richard Cremo today. This was my first time to Falcon and it was absolutely amazing."

For most of the tournament, Standley fished with Carolina rigs and Brush Hogs in 14 to 30 feet of water. He did fish shallow at times on the final day with Cremo.

Standley enjoyed himself so much he plans to return to Zapata with his sons when the weather warms Co-angler John Ellender Jr. caught a five-bass limit on day three that weighed 24 pounds, 2 ounces. Ellender finished the tournament in third place.up. For finishing second among 150 co-anglers, he earned $4,000

John Ellender Jr. of Hemphill, Texas, finished third with a three-day weight of 52 pounds, 14 ounces and received a check for $2,000. Ellender's tournament got off to a slow start but it finished with a bang. On day one he managed only 4 pounds, 7 ounces. But on days two and three he caught massive five-bass limits from the back of the boat. Friday's weighed 24-5 and Saturday's weighed 24-2.

"I caught three babies and two giants today," said Ellender. "My biggest fish came at 8:30 this morning."

Ellender caught most of his fish this week with Yum Dingers and Brush Hogs.

Day-two leader Tom Jeser of El Paso, Texas, finished fourth with a total weight of 49 pounds, 4 ounces, taking home $1,750, and Ryan Parker of Kaufman, Texas finished fifth with a three-day combined weight of 45-1 for $1,500.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers at the American Fishing Series Texas Division event on Falcon Lake:

6th: Kevin Carter of Spring, Texas, three-day total of 42-2, $1,250
7th: Daniel Hocking of Houston, Texas, 40-1, $1,000
8th: Randall Vaughan of Blanco, Texas, 38-10, $900
9th: Robert Royal of Vidor, Texas, 37-10, $800
10th: Stacy Miller of Lubbock, Texas, 37-0, $700

The next American Fishing Series event will take place Feb. 4-6 on the Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Jasper, Texas.

Tags: brett-carlson  co-angler-headline  2010-01-07-falcon-lake 

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