UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Eufaula

Castledine tightens grip on first place

Castledine tightens grip on first place
Todd Castledine of Nacogdoches, Texas, held onto the overall tournament lead for a second day in the row at the EverStart Series Texas Division event at Toledo Bend.

HEMPHILL, Texas - Another day, another stellar performance by Todd Castledine of Nacogdoches, Texas. Not only did Castledine maintain his stranglehold on first place, but he upped his lead to nearly 6 1/2 pounds over his next closest competitor making him the odds-on favorite to walk away with the tournament title on Saturday.

"I'm just thrilled right now," said Castledine, who recorded a two-day total weight of 46 pounds, 9 ounces. "But I'm also pretty surprised. I thought I only had about 16 pounds today so when I found out I had 19-plus-pounds today I was pretty happy. I'll take it after the day I had."

According to Castledine, the fishing was a lot tougher today than on Thursday. And the numbers seemed to back him up. Although expectations were that it would take approximately 38 pounds over two days to make the cut, today's 10th-place finisher qualified for the finals with a little over 35 pounds.

Most pros cited the heavy fishing pressure from another event - which was rumored to be hosting a field anywhere from 400 to 700 boats - as the main culprit. But whether it was the slight change in weather, the fact that many bedfish have already been picked through or the increased fishing pressure from another event, the fact remained that Castledine had the answers when most pros didn't.

"I knew it was going to be tougher today," Castledine. "I caught two of my four good fish that I really wanted to catch early and had a limit by 10:30 a.m. A little later in the day I caught that 6-pounder and that helped. But it was a real grind out there. I now realize how much that other tournament is going to hurt our bite. But my goal was to catch 20 pounds - so coming back with 19 is still pretty awesome."

Like yesterday, Castledine said that he targeted most of his fish sight-fishing.

"I caught some good fish, but I left some others alone," he said. "I really wanted to save some fish for tomorrow because you can't win a tournament on day two. I wanted to make sure that I didn't have to cull out any 2 1/2- or 3-pounders today if I didn't have to. I still have about three or four pretty good fish left and I'm just hoping they're still out there. As far as tomorrow goes, I'm going with the same gameplan."

Martin claims second spot on leaderboard

Pro Lendell Martin Jr., of Nacogdoches, Texas, qualifed for the finals in second place with a total catch of 40 pounds, 3 ounces.Lendell Martin Jr., of Nacogdoches, Texas, qualified for the finals in second place with a total catch of 40 pounds, 3 ounces.

"I'm sight-fishing and I feel like you can win this tournament if you find the right fish," he said. "I'm just trying to cover a lot of water, running the trolling motor on high. I really feel like I can catch them tomorrow. But to win, I'm going to have to find a few bigger bites."

Like many of the anglers, Martin said that the fishing pressure generated from another multi-boat tournament has really increased over the past day.

"With this other tournament, boats are everywhere," he said. "You can go around the corner and you'll see 20 to 30 boats. So, that's going to make it a little tougher. But I think I can go out there and catch 20 to 21 pounds - maybe a little more - if everything goes right tomorrow."

Reneau claims third qualifying position

EverStart pro Tim Reneau of Del Rio, Texas, qualified for the finals in third place with a total catch of 40 pounds.Tim Reneau of Del Rio, Texas, qualified for the finals in third place with a total catch of 40 pounds.

"It was kind of a slow day but it really turned out to be a fun day in the end," said Reneau. "I wound up catching two big fish with 45 minutes to go and that allowed me to cull out two 15-inchers, so that really helped me."

Unlike many of the top pros Reneau isn't sight-fishing, instead he's keying on stumps and the "back of little drains" targeting fish in anywhere from 6 to 8 feet of water with a Strike King Game Hog soft plastic.

"I have one big area and nobody is really in it," he said. "It's the only spot that really produced for me in practice. It's an area that I keep thinking won't hold up but so far it has. My co-anglers have caught some good stringers there as well. Basically, I can get a bite once every hour so it's been pretty consistent so far."

Wilkerson nets fourth place

Chris Wilkerson of Conroe, Texas, netted a total catch of 37 pounds, 14 ounces to qualify for the finals in fourth place.

"Today was a lot tougher for me," said Wilkerson. "I caught a limit on a Carolina rig and then went sight-fishing the rest of the day and managed to cull out all of my fish except one. My goal tomorrow is to catch 20 to 25 pounds."

However, like most of the pros atop the leaderboard, Wilkerson acknowledges that it's going to be tough to dislodge Castledine from his first-place perch.

"I have a lot of ground to make up and, at this point, Todd is going to be hard to catch," said Wilkerson. "I really think it's going to be a race for second place tomorrow."

Best of the rest

EverStart pro Joe Elkouri of Lawton, Okla., qualified for the finals in fifth place.On the strength of a two-day catch of 36 pounds, 14 ounces, Joe Elkouri of Lawton, Okla., qualified for the finals in fifth place.

Rounding out the top-10 pro qualifiers for the Toledo Bend event:

6th: Russell Cecil of Willis, Texas, 36-9
7th: James Caldemeyer of Gilmer, Texas, 36-4
8th: Eric Wright of Scurry, Texas, 35-11
9th: Cody Bird of Granbury, Texas, 35-8
10th: Robert Brown of Round Rock, Texas, 35-6

Raul Morineau claimed the day's Snicker Big Bass award in the Pro Division after netting a 7-pound, 12-ounce largemouth.

Parker rises to first place in Co-angler Division

Rick Parker of Kaufman, Texas, used a two-day catch of 39 pounds, 11 ounces, to grab the overall lead in the Co-angler Division heading into Saturday's final day of EverStart competition on Toledo Bend.Rick Parker of Kaufman, Texas, used a two-day catch of 39 pounds, 11 ounces, to grab the overall lead in the Co-angler Division heading into Saturday's final day of EverStart competition on Toledo Bend.

"It was a real good day," said Parker. "It just seemed like I was in the right place every time. The fish seem to be biting anything right now. You just have to get the bait in front of them."

Parker said that he's been employing a Carolina rig equipped with a lizard, targeting bass along grass lines in 6 to 8 feet of water.

"I've had two really good partners these past two days and that's helped as well," he said. "I just hope I get to fish the same way tomorrow."

Honeycutt finishes the day in second

Day-one co-angler leader Keith Honeycutt of Temple, Texas, ultimately qualified for the finals in second place after landing a two-day catch of 36 pounds.

"I actually caught them a lot different today than yesterday," said Honeycutt. "I wound up catching most of my fish on topwater baits and it's a really exciting way to fish. I probably caught two limits today. And I fished with probably one of the best sight-fisherman (David Curtis) there is so I really had my work cut out for me."

Honeycutt said he's looking forward to the finals.

"I feel great," he said. "I'm going to fish with somebody in the top five so I feel pretty good about that. Heading into tomorrow I really feel that I have just as good of a chance (at a tournament title) as anyone."

EverStart co-angler Eric Richey of Paradise, Texas, parlayed a two-day catch of 32 pounds, 1-ounce into a fourth-place finish after the second day of tournament action on Toledo Bend.Co-angler Steve Hope of Ovilla, Texas, qualified for the EverStart finals on Toledo Bend in third place with a total catch of 34 pounds, 5 ounces.

Co-angler Eric Richey of Paradise, Texas, parlayed a two-day catch of 32 pounds, 1-ounce into a fourth-place finish after the second day of tournament action on Toledo Bend.

Best of the rest

Kevin Carter of Spring, Texas, rounded out the top-five co-angler finalists after boating a two-day catch of 31 pounds, 4 ounces.

The remaining top-10 co-angler qualifiers included:

6th: Stephen Francis of Brookeland, Texas, 30-10
7th: Brent Broussard of Nacogdoches, Texas, 29-7
8th: Rich Dalbey of Greenville, Texas, 28-4
9th: Randy Coyle of Nederland, Texas, 28-2
10th: Robert Moffett of Silsbee, Texas, 27-14

EverStart Series action continues during Saturday's final takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7 a.m. at the Fin & Feather Resort, located at 245 Fin & Feather Drive in Hemphill, Texas.

Tags: gary-mortenson  headline-story  2011-03-17-toledo-bend 

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