UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Lake Norman

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Owens holds his ground for pro lead on Choke Canyon

Pro leader Kelly Owens stayed in one spot for all of day one and caught his fish on a variety of moving baits and plastics.

CALLIHAM, Texas - You know "those" house guests - the ones that show up with a nice welcome gift but then stay way too long, make a mess and leave you with a headache? Okay, that was the wind on day one of the EverStart Series Texas Division opener on Choke Canyon Lake.

The morning began with thick fog blanketing the lake and delaying the scheduled 7:30 a.m. takeoff by an hour and a half. Anglers knew that a cold front was heading into the area, and that the big winds ahead of the front would blow that fog right off the lake. That was the welcome gift. What followed was nothing short of rudeness, as 20-mph winds roiled the lake into a white-capped fury and left a lot of anglers exhausted, cold and light in the live well.

This, of course, greatly hindered mobility and thereby limited where anglers could fish. On a lake knownKelly Owens gets a bucket of water and Rejuvenade on his fish after taking the lead. for quantity and quality, catches were meager. Only 19 pros caught limits and only day one leader Kelly Owens broke the 20-pound mark. A handful of big fish were peppered across the weigh-is, although no one found a 10-pounder.

Hailing from Crowley, La., Owens topped the pro field with a limit weighing 25-1. As he explained, he fished a combination of moving baits and plastics to secure his fish.

"The wind affected my game plan a lot," Owens said. "I had a little area at the south end of the lake where I knew I'd be protected. I just got there, hunkered down and never left."

Working in five to 15 feet, Owens targeted a mixture of grass and wood and caught fish throughout his day.

"I found a few key areas in practice and I chose one of them today," he said. "I knew when I went there I'd never crank my big engine."

Guidry stays put, earns second

Placing second with 17-5, Jeremy Guidry had only six keeper bites, but he made them count.He only got six keeper bites today, but Jeremy Guidry, of Opelousas, La. converted his opportunities into a second place limit that weighed 17-15, including a 7-pounder. He, too, fared best by committing to a particular spot.

"I didn't have a very good practice, but I had one area that I knew had some fish," Guidry said. "It was getting a lot of pressure, but I didn't have anything else, so I just stayed in there all day and grinded it out."

Guidry stuck with moving baits and fished mostly around shallow hydrilla beds. Although he's keeping his bait selection under wraps, he noted that he made a change in what he thought he'd be throwing today and the substitute turned in a good performance.

"I caught three fish early, but then I didn't get a bite for four hours," he said. "Then I caught my three best fish late in the afternoon.

In third place, Russell Cecil, of Willis, Texas sacked a limit of 17-6.Fourth place pro Richard Cathey said the strong day one winds greatly limited the number of spots he could hit.

Cathey finds spawning fish for fourth

Contrary to the prespawn fish that most of the field was chasing, Richard Cathey of San Antonio went after bed fish that he'd located in the Nueces River. Throwing a mix of Rat-L-Traps, crankbaits, swimbaits and Texas-rigged plastics, he bagged four keepers that went 16-15.

"We caught all of our fish off of beds and every one of them were full of eggs," Cathey said, "Fortunately, our threes were 3 1/2 and our fours were 4 1/2. We just got lucky and put some good fish in the boat. I had four bites all day and got four fish in the boat. My co-angler got one bite and got one in the boat. Fortunately, they were all gorged with eggs."

Cathey said today's wind robbed him of options. "The wind was absolutely brutal. It kept me off the lake's south shore and kept me off some key bites. I didn't really have a special spot; what I had was a Moving baits retrieved slowly did the trick for fifth place pro Charles Bebber.bunch of spots with one or two fish on them. The wind cut out probably 70 percent of my opportunities, as far as one spot-one fish. But I got lucky and my spawning fish were still upriver."

Bebber slows it down for fifth

Just three ounces behind Cathey, Charles Bebber, of Willis, Texas sacked up a limit of 16-12. He wouldn't divulge what specifically he was throwing, but he described the strategy as: "Fast moving baits retrieved slowly."

As dig many of his fellow competitors, Bebber targeted grass lines. His strategy was to find the grassy spots with distinct bottom contour.

"We were targeting grass," he said. "There are some bushes under the water where I'm fishing, but the grass is the deal. Grass near a break is best. It can be a small 2- to 3-foot break, but they'll be right there on that break. We caught every one of our fish off of a small break from three to seven feet."This 8-pound, 12-ounce fish earned Big Bass honors for Andy Gaia.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 pro leaders at the EverStart Series Choke Canyon event:

6th: Kevin Lasayone, of Dry Prong, La., 16-7
7th: Todd Castledine, of Nacogdoches, Texas, 16-1
8th: Alton, Wilhoit, of Harrah, Ok., 15-3
9th: Robert Byrd, of Dallas, Texas, 15-1
10th: Cody Bird, of Granbury, Texas, 14-2

Andy Gaia, of Tomball, Texas took Big Bass honors with his 8-pound, 12-ounce largemouth.

Hawkins has the trick for co-angler lead

In the co-angler division, Keith Hawkins of Missouri City, Texas took the day one lead with a limit catch that weighed 16-10. Hawkins caught his fish on a trick worm.

Keith Hawkins of Missouri City, Texas topped the co-angler division with a limit weighing 16-10.Dan Wilson, of Pilot Point, Texas followed in second with 15-9, while Brent Broussard of Nacogdoches, Texas too third with 13-3. Tommy Hagler, of Abilene, Texas was fourth with 13-1 and Trevor Rogge, of San Antonio finished fifth at 11-14.

Hagler wowed the crowd with the biggest fish of the day - a chunky largemouth that weighed 9-13 and earned Big Bass honors for the co-angler division. He caught his big fish while slow rolling a 1-ounce spinnerbait along a grass line in seven feet of water. Hagler's spinnerbait was dressed in a custom tilapia color that he had made specifically to match Choke Canyon's abundant cichlid forage.

"I caught that big fish right off the bat. We hadn't been fishing 10 minutes when I got her in the boat," Hagler said. "When she hit it, there was no question. I said `Get the net - this is a hog.'

"I was shaking. I threw back out and caught a 3-pounder and I thought `This is going to be the day,' but that was the last bite I had. I only got two fish today, but I was thankful for those two."Co-angler Tommy Hagler caught the biggest fish of the day, a 9-13.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 co-angler leaders at the EverStart Series Choke Canyon event:

6th: Clinton McNiel, George West, Texas, 10-2
7th: Allan Morgan, of Stephenville, Texas, 10-1
8th: Matt Crawford, of Little Elm, Texas, 9-8
9th: Joseph Brozak, of Orange, Texas, 8-10
10th: Patrick McNutt, of San Antonio, Texas, 8-9

Day two of EverStart Series Texas Division action on Choke Canyon Lake continues at Friday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7:30 a.m. (Central) at Choke Canyon State Park in Calliham, Texas.

Tags: david-a-brown  headline-story  2011-01-20-choke-canyon 

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