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Wind and waves open Texas Regional on Rayburn

Wind and waves open Texas Regional on Rayburn
Matt Morrison's twin lunkers helped lead Lamar University to the lead on Sam Rayburn.

NACOGDOCHES, Texas - It wasn't easy pickings, but Sam Rayburn Lake yielded a bunch of quality bass with a handful of lunkers on day one of the FLW National Guard College Fishing Series Texas Regional Championship.

The approaching cold front brought strong winds that reached 20 mph and sent waves washing over many a deck today. Of course, wind has its upside, too and while the blow limited offshore tactics, the waves turned on the shallow water bite. Twenty 2-man teams produced 84 keepers, with a half dozen boats sacking up their 6-fish limits.

Leading the field, Lamar University's Matt Morrison and Danny Iles weighed a limit of 17 pounds, 14 ounces. Anchoring the team's total was Morrison's two big bass that each topped 5 pounds. In fact, when a scale reset left his three bass alone in the tank, tournament host Justin Lucas noted that the weight was over 12 pounds. Adding another limit from Iles gave Lamar a total weight of 17-14.

Morrison said he and Iles caught fish early, but not would keep. His two big fish came later in the dayWhen the wind stymied their practice plan, Lamar University on 1/2-ounce white/chartreuse War Eagle spinnerbait with double willow leaves.

"The first one hit pretty close to the boat, so I really didn't have time to think about it," Morrison said. "The second one - yeah, I felt like it was a little better fish that we had been catching."

Although he was anticipating a positive influence from the day's weather, Iles said the conditions actually forced his team to make major adjustments. Some of their primary spots were inaccessible and their main pattern of throwing weightless Texas-rigged stick worms just wasn't happening.

"We couldn't cast into the wind, but if you cast with the wind, you couldn't feel (the bait), so we had to change everything," Iles said. "The wind blew a little harder than we were expecting, so we had to just junk our practice and start over. We went and fished new water and it worked out pretty good."

Blaze Platt and his partner Ryan Watkins took the hosting Stephen F. Austin to second place.Fishing 12 spots, all south of the launch site at Cassels-Boykin Park, Iles and Morrison mostly targeted hydrilla and hit a few lily pads for good measure. After Morrison landed his first spinnerbait fish, Iles switched from a swimbait to the blades but couldn't get bit. He ended up catching his keepers on a Strike King Series 6 XD in sexy shad.

Stephen F. Austin trails in close second

The hometown team of Ryan Watkins and Blaze Platt made it interesting when they brought a limit of their own to the stage and stuffed the tank with some of those Rayburn green fish. Stephen F. Austin's limit came in just 12 ounces off the lead at 17-2, but Watkins said he was pleased with his team's performance.

"The conditions aren't great for anyone to fish in but you have to make the right decisions and you have to make the right moves and I think we put ourselves in a good position to win this thing," he said.

Knowing that the day's conditions would push baitfish onto the shorelines, Watkins and Platt startedDespite lacking a solid game plan, Brandon Dickenson and teammate Zach Sears caught a limit that gave University of North Texas the third place spot. their day by focusing on wind-swept points. They secured their limits early on hollow body swimbaits and then look for opportunities to upgrade. They did so by working Spro frogs in heavy vegetation.

"We went to an area where we had practiced and we knew there were good fish in there - we just couldn't ever get them to hold on because they're pad fish," Watkins said. "We went up in there and they were right where we thought they were. We lucked out and caught a few and lost a few that would have put us close to 23-24 pounds."

Despite confusion, North Texas takes third

They're no strangers to Rayburn, but their time in the north end has been minimal, so this tournament's boundary area has University of North Texas anglers Zach Sears and Brandon Dickenson scratching their heads. Moreover, Sears got in just three hours of practice time and Dickenson had none. That scenario could have easily yielded a worse fate than the third place spot they earned with their 14-pound, 3-ounce limit.

Spro frogs and shaky heads did the trick for Josh Seale and Austin Adcock of fourth place angelo State."We have no clue what's going on out there, but I'll take the luck," Dickenson said. "I picked up a swim jig and fished it for 8 hours. I like fishing slow, but we fished fast today - we power fished like Kevin Van Dam.

"A cold front's moving in, the wind's blowing 20-mph - my mind tells me to fish major creeks with grass and keep a bait moving. If they're not going to eat it, they're going to react to it so you can see if there's fish in the area. That's what we did all day. I don't think we have a lot of areas with a lot of fish, but hopefully, we can scrape together something tomorrow."

Sears caught two of his keepers on a weighted Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper and finished his limit with a swim jig.

Angelo State shakes it up for fourth

Josh Seale and Austin Adcock put Angelo State University in fourth place with four fish weighing 13Seth Peugh shows off a pair of the bass he and partner Derek Doyle caught for Tarleton State.-15. One of their keepers ate a Spro frog and the rest of their fish came on a 3/16-ounce head with a sapphire blue V & M Pork Pin. Seale said the finesse pattern arose during practice.

"We started out throwing Texas-rigged baits in practice, but we just weren't getting the bites so we downsized and the numbers were just outstanding yesterday," Seale said. "Today, with this front coming in, conditions were tough but we ended up getting the bites.

"The majority of our fish came on the pause. It would fall and you'd let it sit and then you'd pick up on it Oklahoma Stateand your line would start moving away."

Tarleton State takes fifth

Derek Doyle and Seth Peugh bagged five keepers and took the fifth place spot with 13-11. Doyle said he and his partner drew several hits on a Spro frog but ended up catching their keepers on Rat-L-Traps.

Peugh said an equipment failure cost them a keeper and probably a couple places in the standings. "We had what would have been Derek's third fish coming to the boat and the net broke and I just couldn't reach out there and grab him."

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 leaders at the Western College Regional Championship:

6th: Doug McClung and Travis Laurent of LSU, 13-6
7th: Kyle Bates and David Doonan of Texas A&M, 12-7LSU
8th: Matthew McClellan and Tyler Fisher of University of Texas-Tyler, 12-0
9th: Brian Bauer and Joseph Garland of Baylor University, 11-4
10th: Nathan Gonsoulin and Tripp Elliott of Oklahoma State University, 10-13

Day two of FLW National Guard College Fishing Series action continues at Friday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7:30 a.m. (Central Time) at Cassels-Boykin Park located at FM Road 3123 in Zavalla, Texas.

Tags: david-a-brown  headline-story  2010-10-28-texas-regional-sam-rayburn 

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White Drops 24-12 at Clear Lake

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Topwater Gives Trim the W

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