UPCOMING EVENT: ABU GARCIA COLLEGE FISHING - 2020 - Harris Chain of Lakes

Ducharme tops at Amistad

Ducharme tops at Amistad
The biggest bass of the tournament propelled JJ Ducharme to victory on Lake Amistad.

DEL RIO, Texas - In the waning minutes of day one, Brackettville, Texas, pro J.J. Ducharme made a key discovery that positioned him for a come-from-behind victory in the EverStart Series Texas Division on Lake Amistad.

"I found my fish with 15 minutes left in the first day and yesterday we just clobbered them," he said. "On day two, my co-angler and I went in there and we had like 45 pounds between the two of us."

After placing 12th on day one with 18-5, Ducharme earned his final-round berth by fishing his new area - a large bay crossed with ditches - sacking up 21-11 and surging up to fourth. Today, he added an even 23, tallied a three-day score of 63 pounds and took home the victory by a narrow margin of just 6 Four-year-old Madeleine joins he father and EverStart Western Division winner JJ Ducharme onstage after his Lake Amistad victory.ounces.

Sounds easy enough, but when Ducharme returned to his key spot today, he found a dramatically altered scene. On a day that saw an arriving cold front deliver winds of 20-25 mph and send daytime air temperatures tumbling into the 50s, Ducharme made a key adjustment to potentially ruinous conditions.

"There were 3-footers rolling in there and it was all chocolate milk," he said. "So basically, what I did was move to the outside where the clear water was and caught them. The fish couldn't see the bait up there in the mud."

Armed with 7-6 heavy-action Power Tackle rods and Shimano Curado reels carrying 20-pound XPS fluorocarbon, Ducharme caught his fish on perch-colored Strike King crankbaits (Series 5 and 6) and a 3/4-ounce Revenge spinnerbait. He rigged the latter with a Reaction Innovation's Skinny Dipper trailer for a larger profile.

"I just cut the head off (the Skinny Dipper) and used it as a trailer to make the spinnerbait look like a A perch colored Strike King crankbait was one of JJ Ducharmeperch with a little tail back there," he said.

This bait strategy worked throughout the day, but Ducharme's spinnerbait proved particularly attractive to a toad that went approximately 10 1/2 pounds. (The fish was not individually weighed, but Ducharme's first four fish weighed approximately 12 1/2 pounds. Adding a huge fifth fish gave him 23 pounds.)

A quick look at the stats shows why Ducharme took home the trophy:

He weighed the biggest bag of day three.

He was the only angler to catch a double-digit bass.

He was one of only two anglers (also second-place pro Todd Castledine) to catch two bags of 20-plus pounds.

He was the only final-round pro to turn in progressively larger sacks each day.

Perhaps the most meaningful statistic: Ducharme was the only pro accompanied onstage by a beautiful girl. His 4-year-old daughter Madeleine joined him on the hot seat after her dad took the lead.

Who needs a trophy when you have that?

Mechanical woes drops Castledine to second

Entering day three in first place, Todd Castledine of Nacogdoches, Texas, suffered a mid-morningEngine trouble cost Todd Castledine two hours of much-needed fishing time. engine problem that robbed him of about two hours of fishing time. Once he returned to action, he put together a respectable catch, but the lost time - and his only lost fish of the week - left him just 6 ounces short of the top spot and he finished second with 62-10. His daily scores were 21-1, 24-2 and 17-7.

Castledine caught all of his tournament fish on a prototype Strike Pro crankbait. He dialed in this bait selection during practice and never threw anything else.

"I started off today in area that I go to just to get numbers and I caught four, so I said `I think they're biting," Castledine recalled. "I went to where I caught them all yesterday and when I pulled up, it was 4-footers. It was just so nasty; I stayed five minutes and left. I ran back down to where I caught them earlier (today) and that's when I broke down."

Castledine said the breakdown left him vulnerable to rough conditions that threatened to wash him ashore. Fortunately, fellow competitor Austin Terry towed him to a safe location where he was able to rectify the mechanical issue. He started catching fish soon after returning to action, but time expired before he could amass the weight he needed.

Stricklin rises to third

Despite trolling motor failure, James Stricklin still managed to catch his heaviest bag of the tournament.James Stricklin Jr. of Texarkana, Texas, started day three in sixth place, but a sack weighing 21-11 nudged him up three notches to third with a tournament total of 59-10. He, too, endured mechanical challenges, but he was able to improvise and remain active the entire day.

"I got out there and right off the bat, they were biting," Stricklin said. "The wind was blowing like crazy and it was hard to hold on my spot. My trolling motor broke at 9 a.m. I had to idle (ahead of my spot), throw an anchor out and drift by my spot until the anchor came tight. I did that from 9 until 2:30 p.m.

"I didn't want to leave. The fish were really fired up. I was thankful for what I had."

Stricklin caught his day-three fish on a swimbait. He caught 19-12 on day one and followed with 21-11 on day two.

Morton slips to fourth

For Justin Morton, of Etoile, Texas, it was all about the drop - specifically, a heavy spinnerbait dropping Slow rolling spinnerbaits off ledges was the top tactic for Justin Morton.off the side of a ledge. He fished a 1 1/2-ounce Stanley Big Shot spinnerbait in tilapia color and caught a final-round limit weighing 18-8 to finish fourth with 58-11.

"Lonnie Stanley has been building spinnerbaits for over 30 years and he builds one of the finest on the market," Morton said.

The key to his presentation was casting his bait onto ledges in 18 to 19 feet of water and slow rolling it off the edges. Most of his strikes occurred on the drop.

Morton placed seventh on day one with 18-15 and improved to third a day later when he sacked up 21 pounds, 4 ounces.

Huckaby retains fifth

Day-one leader Trent Huckaby finished fifth at Amistad.Day-one leader Trent Huckaby of Fort Stockton, Texas, got off to a strong start with 21-1 in the opening round. He slipped to fifth on day two with a limit catch of 18-4 and remained there today after his final catch of 16-13 gave him a 56-7 total.

Huckaby caught his fish on a Norman Deep Little N and a Rock Crawler football jig. Although he found some quality fish, he said he had difficulty locating big bites on days two and three.

"I bounced around from deep water to shallow water and I had a couple of patterns on ledges and shallow grass," he said. "I tried to stay patient and not just run around everywhere.

"The first day, I was fortunate to catch a big bag but then I struggled the past two days," Huckaby said. "The fish just wouldn't bite the first half of the day, but then they would just turn on in the afternoon."

Best of the rest

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

6th: Stewart Herndon of Graham, Texas, 55-5
7th: Buz Craft of Vidalia, La., 55-1
8th: Philip Crelia of Center, Texas, 54-8
9th: Austin Terry of San Angelo, Texas, 52-11
10th: Terry L. Adams of Berwick, La., 49-7

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

Strickland Hangs Tough on Harris

Strickland Hangs Tough on Harris

The final day of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Harris Chain was a bit tougher than expected. After putting over 30 pounds on the scale on day two of the weather-shortened derby, Laramy Strickland worked up 15 pounds, 4 ounces on the final day for a 61-4 total to earn the win. For the win, the Bushnell, Fla., rookie took home $100,000 and a big win over a stacked top 30 that included some of the best anglers in the country and some superstar Floridians. READ MORE »

Harris Chain Day 3 Coverage

Harris Chain Day 3 Coverage

The weather-shortened Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event presented by Bad Boy Mowers at the Harris Chain wraps up today with the top 30 pros. Follow along all day to see who can take home the hardware and $100,000. READ MORE »

Strickland Sticks 31-Pound Megabag

Strickland Sticks 31-Pound Megabag

Florida cold fronts are supposed to shut the fishing down, but that wasn’t the case for many of the leaders through two days of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Harris Chain. Rocketing into the lead from 35th place, Laramy Strickland popped a 31-pound, 6-ounce megabag to put his leading total at an even 46 pounds. In second, Jimmy Washam stayed steady, weighing 21-13 for second and a 41-13 total. In third, Hunter Freeman also made a big jump, hammering out 25-14 on day two to get up to 39-6. READ MORE »

Harris Chain Day 2 Coverage

Harris Chain Day 2 Coverage

The weather has made a 180 here in Leesburg, Fla., for stop No. 2 of the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Harris Chain of Lakes. Follow along for updates on all the action. READ MORE »

Day 2 at Harris Postponed

Day 2 at Harris Postponed

Day two of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Harris Chain has been postponed due to high winds. With a lake wind advisory in effect from 10 a.m. ET until later this evening, many pros believe staying off the water today was the right call. READ MORE »

Salewske Cracks 26 at Harris Chain

Salewske Cracks 26 at Harris Chain

Day one of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event presented by Bab Boy Mowers on the Harris Chain was a catchfest, but it wasn’t quite the sight-fishing showdown that some hoped for. In the lead, Rusty Salewske weighed 26 pounds, 10 ounces. Just ounces behind him, Miles Burghoff wrangled 26-8. In third, Jared McMillan put 22-1 on the scale to kick things off. READ MORE »

Harris Chain Day 1 Coverage

Harris Chain Day 1 Coverage

Anglers are enjoying near-perfect conditions for a day-one slugfest in Leesburg, Fla., for stop No. 2 of the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Harris Chain of Lakes. Follow along for updates on all the action. READ MORE »

FLW Live Leaderboard - Harris Chain

FLW Live Leaderboard - Harris Chain

FLW Marshals and media staff provide unofficial weight estimates for the second stop of the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers at Florida's Harris Chain of Lakes. READ MORE »

Guyot Catches 23-8 for Murray Win

Guyot Catches 23-8 for Murray Win

Boater Scott Guyot of Fayetteville, North Carolina, brought five bass to the scale Saturday totaling 23 pounds, 8 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake Murray in Prosperity, South Carolina. For his victory, Guyot earned a total of $4,359. READ MORE »

Flack Goes Finesse on Lewis Smith

Flack Goes Finesse on Lewis Smith

Local boater Jackie Flack of Cullman, Alabama, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 17 pounds, 3 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lewis Smith Lake in Cullman. For his victory, Flack earned a total of $6,011. READ MORE »

Fitzgerald Finishes Strong at St. Johns

Fitzgerald Finishes Strong at St. Johns

Trevor Fitzgerald of Belleview, Fla., moved ahead one spot in the standings on the final day of competition at the St. Johns River to earn his first Toyota Series victory. His three-day catch of 57 pounds, 12 ounces earned him the win by a 6-pound margin. READ MORE »

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 3

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 3

Day two of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener on the St. Johns River brought more fish, bigger fish and eight bags over 20 pounds – a marked improvement over what we saw on day one. Day three could go either direction, though, as a small cold front overnight left behind bluebird skies and abundant sunshine today. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 2

It’s been a question of when, not if: When is the first big wave of spawners going to move up on the St. Johns River? That question may have been answered on day two of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener, as more and more anglers brought big fish across the weigh-in stage, with many of the bass coming from beds or shallow cover where fish are staging to make their big move. READ MORE »

Big Day Puts Blair Ahead at St. Johns

Big Day Puts Blair Ahead at St. Johns

Jason Blair caught 22 pounds, 3 ounces – the biggest limit of the tournament so far – to take over the lead at the Toyota Series Southern Division season opener on the St. Johns River. The West Palm Beach, Fla., pro has a two-day total of 39-15 and a 1-pound, 11-ounce lead over yesterday’s leader, Trevor Fitzgerald. READ MORE »

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 2

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 2

After a warm but windy day to start the Toyota Series Southern Division opener on the St. Johns River, day two brought lower temperatures, rain and a shifting wind that blew right up the chute early this morning. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 1

The St. Johns River is fishing tough, and while weights were down across the board on day one of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener, the top five found a way to get the job done with some impressive stringers of big Florida bass. READ MORE »

Fitzgerald in Front on St. Johns

Fitzgerald in Front on St. Johns

Trevor Fitzgerald of Belleview, Fla., took the lead on day one of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener at the St. Johns River with a five-bass limit that weighed 21 pounds, 2 ounces. Fitzgerald has previously won a Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event on the St. Johns and is in contention to make his 12th top-10 finish with FLW. READ MORE »

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 1

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 1

As expected, the St. Johns River is still fishing pretty tough in the Toyota Series Southern Division opener, which kicked off this morning. The St. Johns holds plenty of good fish, but she’s not all that willing to give them up. READ MORE »

Littich Nets Big O Title

Littich Nets Big O Title

Boater Thomas Littich of Cape Coral, Florida, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 23 pounds, 14 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston, Florida. For his victory, Littich earned a total of $7,220, including a $2,500 FLW PHOENIX BONUS contingency award. READ MORE »

Dover Wins on Keowee

Dover Wins on Keowee

Boater Randy Dover of Buford, Georgia, brought five to the scale Saturday totaling 15 pounds, 10 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake Keowee in Seneca, South Carolina. For his victory, Dover earned a total of $5,627. READ MORE »