UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Clear Lake

Huckaby leads on Lake Amistad

Huckaby leads on Lake Amistad
Trent Huckaby leads day one on Lake Amistad with 21 pounds, 6 ounces.

DEL RIO, Texas - Weights were much lower than expected, but that was no surprise given the hindrance that local weather delivered to anglers on day one of the EverStart Series Texas Division opener on Lake Amistad.

For starters, the morning takeoff was delayed nearly two and a half hours by a dense blanket of fog that draped the lake. This robbed most competitors of the early bite that, in recent days, has preceded an exasperating midday lull. Afternoon action was good, but dialing in a day's patterns doesn't usually happen immediately and many commented that they felt they could have been more productive had the opening round not been cut short.

"I did OK, but I wish I'd had a little more time to fish," said Louisiana pro Kelly Owens, who placed tenth with 18-8.

Once the fog lifted, cloudy skies kept things dim throughout the fishing day. The cloud cover broke just inDay-one leader Trent Huckaby gets some water on his tournament leading fish. time for today's weigh-ins, which saw 105 pros and 34 co-anglers bagging their limits.

Leading the pro field is Trent Huckaby, of Fort Stockton, Texas, who caught 21 pounds, 6 ounces. Reaction baits were most productive for him and making a key change put him in position to take the day-one lead.

"I spent a lot of time cranking," he said. "The fish were a little deeper, but I couldn't make that work. I adjusted and I was able to put together a decent day, so I'm satisfied."

When the deep bite in 20-plus feet failed to deliver what he had hoped for, Huckaby moved in shallower to the 10-15 range and found what he was seeking.

"I caught a pretty good one off a ledge and that sure saved the day," he said.

Day one also saw strong winds of 20 mph whipping up the lake, but also providing the usual fish-stimulating benefits of baitfish congregation and decreased visibility.

"I'm sure that helped us some," Huckaby said.

Castledine takes a close second

Trailing the lead by just 5 ounces, Texas pro Todd Castledine relied on one undisclosed bait all day.Nacagdoches, Texas pro Todd Castledine made a serious run at the top spot, but settled for second place with a limit catch of 21-1. Trailing the lead by a mere 5 ounces, Castledine said he was pleased with the way his fog-shortened day turned out.

"The (delay) threw me for a loop because I haven't been catching many fish to begin with," Castledine said. "I was just worried about a limit, but I caught some good ones today. I think I caught eight or nine fish today."

Castledine plead the Fifth on bait selection - apparently, he had plenty of company throughout the day. He did, however, note that he's committed to the same bait he threw almost exclusively in practice.

"There's one bait and I never put it down," he said. "I never put it down in practice and I'm not going to put it down in the tournament."

The key to Castledine's day-one success was a particular water condition, which must also remain confidential for the time being. "It's absolutely not about temperature or depth; it's just a certain type of water that I've noticed I can catch them in. I never catch more than two in 10 minutes. I might go an hour and a half without a bite. I must have run 50-60 miles of water today."

Castledine said he cemented his day's effort at the very end of his fishing time. "I culled twice in that last five minutes. I got a 3 1/2- and 4-pounder, so that helped me out."

Hawthorne takes third

Jacky Hawthorne of Greenville, Texas, was the only other pro to break the 20-pound mark. His limit Todaycatch of 20-1 came mostly on a perch colored War Eagle spinnerbait with tandem willow leaf blades, although a crawfish colored Storm Wiggle Wart also produced a couple of keepers.

"The wind was a big factor today that helped me," Hawthorne said. "The fish started relating more to the grass and that bite showed up better. If I get wind (on day two) and some sun, I think I'll have a good chance to be fishing Saturday."

Hawthorne said his better action came later in the day, as bigger fish started moving into the 1 1/2- to 6-foot range. Lake level was a concern, as the local dam's power generation schedule had been dropping the water all week and forcing fish to slide further out. Hawthorne was able to stay with the fish as they adjusted to falling water, but it was an ongoing challenge to adjust with their movement.

"I struggled this morning," Hawthorne said. "I got away from the crankbait bite because I thought I could get a limit on the bluffs and rocky stuff, but once I got to the grass with the (spinnerbait), that's what's working for me right now."

Stricklin ends up fourth

Cranking ledges yielded the fourth-place bag for James Stricklin.In another 5-ounce margin, James Stricklin Jr. of Texarkana, Texas, finished the day in fourth place with 19-12. During practice, he was finding fish shallow, mostly over flat bottom. With today's cloudy skies, his fish repositioned and he had to shift gears.

"Today, the sun didn't come out and it was tough," Stricklin said. "I backed off with a Norman DD22 (sexy shad) and I caught a big fish. I was cranking ledges, but I was basically just junk fishing because I was just jumping spot to spot.

"I didn't have a fish at two o'clock, but I just kept at it and kept at it and I got into one spot, caught a limit and had one 6-pounder. I said 'at least I have my limit.' Then I tried to find a big one shallow and it didn't work, so I picked the crankbait up and on my first cast, I caught another 6-pounder."

Location proved essential for Stricklin, as all of his fish came on ledges near the river channel. All of his catches came close to 100-foot drop-offs.

Tying for fifth place, Stewart Herndon of Graham, Texas, and Austin Terry, of San Angelo, Texas, bothTaking fifth on day one, Stewart Herndon sacked up 19-1. had 19-1.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 pro leaders at the EverStart Series Lake Amistad event:

7th: Justin Morton, of Etoile, Texas, 18-15
8th: Alton Wilhoit, of Harrah, Okla., 18-12
9th: Robert Collett, of Zapata, Texas, 18-10
10th: Kelly Owens, of Crowley, La., 18-8

Patrick Starnes, of Zapata, Texas, took Snickers Big Bass honors with his 7-pound, 11-ounce largemouth.

Propst picks up co-angler lead

This 7-pound, 14-ounce largemouth led Jerry Propst to the co-angler lead and earned him Snickers Big Bass honors.Topping the co-angler field was Jerry Propst, of Jasper, Texas. Sacking up his five-bass limit of 20-7, Propst was the only co-angler to break 20 pounds. In doing so, he carved out a 4-pound lead in his division.

Targeting shallow cover, he used a mix of reaction baits and plastics. The day-one weather seemed to favor his efforts, which included a 7-pound, 14-ouncer that took Snickers Big Bass honors.

"The cloudy and windy conditions are what helped me," Propst said. "It gives them cover. With the waves coming across, it breaks up the fisherman's silhouette."

Rick Parker of Kaufman, Texas, placed second with 16-7 while Chris Hogan of Cedar Park, Texas, took third with 15-13. Gregg Swindle of Katy, Texas, finished fourth with 14-13 and Donny Davis of Livingston, La., was fifth at 14-6.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 co-angler leaders at the EverStart Series Lake Amistad event:

6th: Brent Broussard, of Richmond, Texas, 14-5
7th: Kyle Mayfield, of Abilene, Texas, 14-0
8th: Ubi Figueiredo, of Lakeway, Texas, 13-15
9th: Dennis Bald, of Poteet, Texas, 13-10
10th: Keith Almand, of Chandler, Okla., 12-10

Day two of EverStart Series Texas Division action on Lake Amistad continues at Friday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7:30 a.m. (Central) at the Diablo East Boat Launch in Del Rio, Texas.

Tags: david-a-brown  headline-story  2012-02-02-lake-amistad 

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