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Castledine Sets the Pace

Day one of the Costa FLW Series Central Division opener on Lake Dardanelle saw two storms blow across this Arkansas River impoundment. One took the form of towering clouds laden with rain and bristled with lightning. The other came at the hands of a tall Texan named Todd Castledine, who sacked up a limit catch that weighed 22 pounds, 3 ounces to take the day-one lead in the tournament, which is presented by Mercury and hosted by Russellville Advertising & Promotions.

An accomplished sight-fisherman, Castledine never tapped into his renowned bed-spotting skills. Given the warming weather and rising water level – complements of a more severe storm system on Wednesday – Castledine surmises that he was likely around fish in prespawn and spawning stages, along with some recently done postspawners.

He didn’t spend any time “looking at them,” but Castledine says he felt comfortable putting himself in an area with fish coming and going.

“I probably had a combination of all three [prespawn, spawn and postspawn],” says Castledine, whose only Costa FLW Series win came in 2011 on Toledo Bend. “My last one, I think, was guarding fry.”

The morning began calm and partly sunny, but soon saw that thunderstorm make a brief, but intense cameo. Flat, sunny conditions followed, but by early afternoon the light late-morning breeze had grown into a lake-churning bluster that made the return to weigh-in interesting for many anglers.

None of this seemed to rattle Castledine’s day.

“It really started right off the bat this morning and continued through the end of the day,” he says. “I literally caught one in the first 10 minutes and the last 10 minutes.

Now, the only talent surpassing Castledine’s sight-fishing skill is his uncanny ability to speak at great length about a subject without revealing much factual detail. Having said that, we were able to wrest away a few summary points.

First, Castledine targeted backwater areas with the usual mix of grass and wood.

“I think I was just in the right areas that held them, and I just stayed with it,” he says. “There really wasn’t any rhyme or reason. I just put my head down and ground through the day.”

He found one bait that delivered all his bites but employed multiple presentations depending on scenario specifics. Staying off his fish and making long casts seemed to be the key technique point.

Notwithstanding his diligence and performance, Castledine gave a nod of gratitude to fate, which smiled during key moments.

“My fifth fish … I was reeling in the bait, it came up over a limb on a bush, and a big one came up and ate it,” he recalls. “Then I went to some new water and went behind a bunch of people and got my biggest fish. The fish got hung up in a bush, and it was a giant ordeal. But I got her, and she wasn’t even fully hooked.”

Castledine says his highlight-reel moment was nothing short of a gimme.

“My last fish came at the end of the day,” he says. “I had about 30 other boats around me, and I look over and see a fish swimming through the grass. I flipped over there and she ate it. That was my last cull. It was just one of those days when it all went my way for once.”

 

Complete results

 

Top 10 Pros

1. Todd Castledine – Nacogdoches, Texas – 22 pounds, 3 ounces

2. Greg Jones – Wentzville, Mo. – 19 pounds, 1 ounce

3. Troy Gibson – Mountain Home, Ark. – 18 pounds, 3 ounces

4. David Ryan – Levasy, Mo. – 18 pounds

5. Daniel Kweekul – Bryant, Ark. – 16 pounds, 7 ounces

6. Brien Vaughn – Branson West, Mo. – 16 pounds, 5 ounces

7. Todd Schmitz – Goshen, Ind. – 15 pounds, 12 ounces

8. Brent Algeo – Ozark, Mo. – 15 pounds, 8 ounces

9. Marshall Thompson – Paducah, Ky. – 15 pounds, 6 ounces

10. Cody Hahner – Wausau, Wis. – 15 pounds, 4 ounces

10. Chip Hawkins – Little Rock, Ark. – 15 pounds, 4 ounces

 

Olson Builds Big Co-angler Lead

Roger Olson Jr. of Eagle River, Wis., built a nice lead in the co-angler division by sacking up 16 pounds, 6 ounces and outpacing his closest competitor by nearly 3 1/2 pounds. Paired with fourth-place pro David Ryan, Olson found himself with abundant targets and did his best to make the most of what he encountered.

“There was so much area to fish that you couldn’t cover it all, so with the type of stuff we were fishing, you just had to pay attention to where your pro was putting his bait and follow up with different baits,” says Olson, who has three previous top-10 finishes in the Central Division. “I think the fish are so used to seeing the same types of bait silhouettes that I’m throwing something totally different than anyone else.”

Olson kept the bait details vague, but he says he’s fishing a flipping rig with an atypical soft-plastic trailer.

“That bait has worked for me everywhere I’ve gone in this region this time of year,” Olson says.

Given the murky influence of recent rains and today’s wind, a darkly-colored bait was essential. Also important: lightening up the rig.

“Weight size was important today,” he says. “You want to keep it in their strike zone longer so they can see it before it hits the bottom.”

 

Top 10 Co-anglers

1. Roger Olson Jr. – Eagle River, Wis. – 16 pounds, 6 ounces

2. Rob Crane – Fairview Heights, Ill. – 12 pounds, 15 ounces

3. Rusty Reinoehl – Robinson, Ill. – 12 pounds, 4 ounces

4. Taylor Ramey – Brandon, Ms. – 11 pounds, 7 ounces

5. Kevin Raposo – Doniphan, Mo. – 11 pounds, 1 ounce

6. Michael Watson – Chicago, Ill. – 10 pounds, 7 ounces

7. Zachary Pickle – Southlake, Texas – 9 pounds, 14 ounces

8. Charles Radford – Sullivan, Mo. – 9 pounds, 6 ounces

8. Derrick Wright – Carl Junction, Mo. – 9 pounds, 6 ounces

10. Doug Sagely – Rogers, Ark. – 9 pounds, 3 ounces

 

Tournament Details

Format: All 190 boaters and co-anglers will compete for two days. The top 10 boaters and co-anglers based on cumulative weight after two days of competition will advance to the third and final round, with the winner determined by the heaviest cumulative three-day weight.

Takeoff Time: 7 a.m.

Takeoff Location: Lake Dardanelle State Park, 2428 Marina Road, Russellville, AR 72801

Weigh-In Time: Days 1 and 2 at 3 p.m.; Day 3 at 4 p.m.

Weigh-In Location: Days 1 and 2 at Lake Dardanelle State Park; Day 3 at Walmart, 2409 E. Main St., Russellville, AR 72802

 

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Tags: todd-castledine  flw-series  lake-dardanelle  david-a-brown  headline-story  2016-03-31-lake-dardanelle 

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