UPCOMING EVENT: TACKLE WAREHOUSE PRO CIRCUIT - 2020 - Harris Chain of Lakes

Castledine takes Amistad lead

Castledine takes Amistad lead
With his second bag of 20-plus pounds, Todd Castledine took over the lead on Lake Amistad.

DEL RIO, Texas - He didn't change his focus or his bait, but Todd Castledine dialed in his target for another day of 20-plus pounds en route to taking over the EverStart Series Texas Division lead on Lake Amistad.

Castledine said that, after yesterday's 2 1/2-hour fog delay, he relished having a full day in which to work. The only angler to break 20 pounds on both days, he added 24-2 to his day-one score of 21-1 and tallied a two-day total of 45-3 and established a lead of 2-7 going into the final round.

Indeed, with warmer temperatures complementing the longer fishing day, the overall day-two picture was one of increased productivity. Pros caught 119 limits, up from yesterday's 105 and co-anglers caught 65 limits - 31 more than yesterday. The Snicker's Big Bass competition saw several strong contenders of 6-plus pounds.

Castledine has been throwing a prototype Strike Pro crankbait since practice. Color is critical, so he Todd Castledine watches closely as his day-two weight leads him to the top spot.couldn't divulge that just yet, but he said it's the right fit for the habitat he's fishing.

"It just matches the water where I'm fishing," he said. "It didn't take very long in practice for me to realize that's what I needed to be doing."

Yesterday saw Castledine making a long run of about 60 miles and scrambling around to find sporadic scenarios of a particular water condition that he wanted to fish. Today, he was able to narrow his search to a large bay with ditches. There, he found plenty for today's productivity, along with what he believes could be a winning bag for tomorrow's final round.

"I still ran a long way but I got honed in on an area where I caught all but one of my fish," he said. "I caught a 4 1/2-pounder there yesterday and today, I caught four of them and about 10 more fish.

"I only practiced one little part of this bay, but not where I caught all my fish. I saw it and I thought 'I'm catching fish around there and I can catch fish in there.' I didn't fish it that hard yesterday, but I'm going to fish it hard tomorrow."

Castledine said most of his action was in shallow water. The latter half of the day, he said, was most With the heaviest bag of the event - 26 pounds, 1 ounce - Buz Craft raced up from 17th place to second on day two.productive.

"It took me until 10 o'clock to get a limit," he said, "but once I caught my first big one, it all happened within an hour. After that, I left it alone."

Craft climbs into second

Vidalia, La., pro Buz Craft started the day in 17th place, but after sacking up 26 pounds, 1 ounce - the event's heaviest catch - he gained 15 spots to second with 42-12.

Craft said he fished a range of depths from two feet out to 20 and used a selection of crankbaits, swimbaits, Carolina rigs and Texas-rigged worms. Today's meteorological conditions, he said, seemed to stimulate the fish, as well as disperse them.

"Cloudy weather scatters fish, plus the temperature warmed up considerably today," he said. "The temperature where I was fishing (increased) three or four degrees and that's a lot this time of year. I think that's what moved the fish. They're looking and they're hungry."

Today's action started early for Craft. "I was in the first flight and they bit good early. I had a limit within the first 30 minutes. I had 22 pounds by 8:30."

Craft's biggest fish - a 7-2 - bit a crankbait in six feet of water. The fish nearly caught him off guard.

"It was kind of a surprise - he short-stringed me right at the side of the boat," he said. "He came right byWorking a spinnerbait off deep drops put Justin Morton in third place. the boat. That was pretty awesome."

Morton moves into third

Justin Morton of Etoile, Texas, improved on his day-one weight of 18-15 with 21-4 today and moved up from seventh to third with a two-day total of 40-3. Working a 1 1/2-ounce Stanley Big Shot Tilapia spinnerbait along rocky ledges in 16-18 feet proved most effective for him.

"It's just falling off that drop and then I just slow roll it," Morton said. "When that thing falls off (the edge), it's on."

Morton caught about 16 bass in his main area and then left the fish biting. "I have an area that I have pretty much all to myself and I pulled out of there around 1 o'clock today. I have a bunch of fish up there and I think I can catch a big bag tomorrow."

Late bite puts Ducharme in fourth

A hot afternoon bite gave JJ Ducharme what he needed to move into fourth place.J.J. Ducharme of Brackettville, Texas, caught a limit of 21-1 and moved up eight spots from 12th to place fourth with an even 40 pounds. Throwing a perch colored Strike King Series 6 crankbait and a perch colored spinnerbait, he worked one particular spot and found the afternoon bite most productive.

"I actually found this spot yesterday with about 15 minutes left to fish," he said. "I already had about 16 pounds (yesterday) but then I jumped a big one off and caught a big one. I actually started there this morning and did not catch them. But I went back this afternoon and I ended up catching almost 22 pounds.

"Generally speaking, the mornings are good but the last couple of days, the afternoons have been (better). I guess it's because it's been warming up and the fish are turning on."

Huckaby slips to fifth

Day-one leader Trent Huckaby of Fort Stockton, Texas, caught a solid limit of 18-4 today, but with othersDay-one leader Trent Huckaby slipped to fifth on the second day. surging ahead with bigger sacks, he slipped to fifth with a two-day total of 39-10 - just 6 ounces behind Ducharme.

Huckaby said his bite started slowly and he only had two fish in his well at noon. Fortunately, he found a big kicker that buoyed his catch.

"I was bouncing around from deep water to shallow water, just trying to pick up keepers and I was This 8-pound, 11-ounce largemouth earned Snickers Big Bass honors for Philip Crelia.lucky to get one big one that went about 7 pounds on a football jig," he said.

Best of the rest

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

6th: James Stricklin Jr., of Texarkana, 37-15
7th: Austin Terry, of San Angelo, Texas, 37-0
8th: Terry L. Adams, of Berwick, La., 36-5
9th: Philip Crelia, of Center, Texas, 36-2
10th: Stewart Herndon, of Graham, Texas, 35-15

Crelia took Big Bass honors with his 8-pound, 11-ounce largemouth.

Reaction baits deliver co-angler lead for Gray

Fast baits gave Princeton, La., co-angler a fast ride to his division's top spot. After placing 39th on day one with 8 pounds, 15 ounces, Gray sacked up 22-12 and rocketed up the standings to the lead position with a total weight of 31-11. Gray's big catch included a 7-pound, 6-ouncer that won the Snicker's Big Top co-angler Travis Gray also caught his divisionBass award.

"We were throwing a lot of crankbaits and spinnerbaits and covering a lot of water," Gray said. "Covering water was the key."

Fishing in 10-30 feet, he worked about 25 spots with a combination of Strike King 6XD and 5X and Norman DD22 crankbaits and a 1/2-ounce Booyah spinnerbait. Gray said that diversifying his presentations was the key.

"I caught some burning the spinnerbait and some down deep with the crankbait, ripping it out of the grass," he said.

Donny Davis, of Livingston, La. placed second with 29-6, while Kyle Mayfield, of Abilene, Texas finished third with 28-13. Rick Parker, of Kaufman, Texas was fourth with 27-8 and Jerry Propst, of Jasper, Texas took fifth with 27-6.

Best of the rest

Hank, a 17-week-old Great Dane, spent as much time people watching as he did watching the weigh-ins.Rounding out the top-10 co-angler leaders at the EverStart Series Lake Amistad event:

6th: David Wharton, of Del Rio, Texas, 26-15
7th: Brent Broussard, of Richmond, Texas, 26-9
8th: David Underwood, of Waco, Texas, 26-1
9th: Kerry Barnett, of Waldron, Ariz., 25-13
10th: Chad McClendon, of North Richland Hills, Texas, 24-12

Day three of EverStart Series Texas Division action on Lake Amistad continues at Saturday'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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