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

Crelia remains atop Rayburn

Crelia remains atop Rayburn
Once again, the Spro frog delivered a big catch for pro leader Philip Crelia.

JASPER, Texas - Friday the 13th delivered a fearful experience for day-one leader Philip Crelia, but the Center, Texas pro pulled off some last-minute heroics and retained his lead in the EverStart Series Texas Division tournament on Sam Rayburn Reservoir.

After topping the event yesterday with 19 pounds, 2 ounces, Crelia followed up with 18-14 and extended his lead to 3-13 with a two-day weight of 38 pounds even. Crelia said his fishing time was nearly up when his fortune changed in a matter of moments.

"I had about 11 pounds in the last 10 minutes," he recalled. "Then on back to back casts, I caught my two biggest fish."

Crelia said he was targeting a windy point and catching his fish in about three feet of water. Same asTwo big fish on consecutive casts salvaged Philip Crelia day one, he caught all of his fish on a white Spro frog. Targeting, he said was critical.

"There's a particular type of grass that I'm catching them on - it's a little clump and almost every time you see it, there's a fish by it," Crelia said. "The shad school there. You can go down 100 yards of bank and then find that one clump and there's a fish in that one clump."

Contrasting the overcast skies of day one, today's sunny conditions had the fish holding more tightly to cover. Wind always helps the reaction bite, but Crelia said today's blustery blow proved challenging.

"It was a lot tougher today," Crelia said. "Toward the end, we got too much wind there for a little while. I needed the clouds today, but that didn't happen. But the fish finally pulled in there and started feeding."

Crelia said he's been pleasantly surprised with the frog's productivity. During practice, he caught a slew of little fish on the frog but no big ones. He's still finding plenty of small fish, but the larger bass have become more frequent.

The tournament"I know where the big ones should be and they're just now starting to get right," Crelia said. "I had planned on fishing deep, because I had caught some deep fish in practice, but I haven't had to go out there yet. I'll take whatever works."

Loyd leaps into second

Lamonte Loyd, of Gilmer, Texas, 13-15 raised a few eyebrows when he brought a two-handed bag to the day-two scales. His limit catch of 20-pounds, 4 ounces was the tournament's biggest so far and the only bag over 20. His combined weight of 34-3 moved him up six notches to the second-place spot.

Loyd caught his fish on Strike King 6XD crankbait in his own hand-painted custom color, Amistad Bream. With cranking his favored tactic, Loyd said he struggled to find a decent practice limit on other baits.

"I could catch 100 fish a day, but they wouldn't weight anything," he said. "I decided that I'm going to go do what I like to do, so I did. I have confidence in it and stuck with it.

"My co-angler today caught them on Carolina rigs and finesse rigs," Loyd recalled. "I tried that for a little bit and thought 'This isn't for me.' I caught my two biggest fish when I went back to the crankbait."

Loyd was fishing north of the 147 bridge. His boat sat in about 28 feet and he was running his crankbait over a long shelf in 18-20 feet. He said he caught about 50 fish today.Patrick Fuller returned to the same area he fished on day one and remained in third place.

Fuller holds steady at third

Patrick Fuller, of Tyler, Texas caught 14-8 today and held on to his third-place spot with 31-4. Returning to the same creek channel he fished on day one, Fuller fished a Texas-rigged Zoom Old Monster worm and a wacky-rigged trick worm with a 1/16-ounce weight through the grass.

"It was a lot slower today and I had to work really hard to get them," he said. "We didn't have the cloud cover we had yesterday and the wind came out of a different direction today. I had a harder time fishing my little spot."

Fuller said most of bites came earlier in the morning, with the bite waning later in the day. He had a limit by about 9 a.m., culled twice, but couldn't get rid of one small fish.

Marks slips to fourth

A slower day two dropped Phil Marks to fourth place.Dallas pro Phil Marks added 13-7 to his day-one weight of 16-14 and slipped two spots to fourth with a total weight of 30-5. After having to spend more time on his spot than he wanted to on day one and day two, Marks had to devote part of his second day to scouting.

"I wanted to make sure I had enough weight to make the cut, so once I had about 13 pounds, I went and practiced (for day three)," he said. "I burned my fish up pretty good, so I spent the last few hours looking around. I think I found something for tomorrow."

Marks caught his fish on a weightless green pumpkin Strike King caffeine shad, a Strike King KVD 1.5 crankbait and a Strike King Tour Grade Buzzbait.

Big sack moves Griffin up to fifth

If we had a "Most Improved" award, Timothy Griffin would be a lock. The Zapata, Texas pro started dayA big day-two Timothy Griffin up 41 spots to fifth place. two in 46th place after catching 9-15 on day one. Today, he nearly doubled that weight with a limit of 19-12 and rocketed up the standings into the fifth-place spot with 29-11.

"Yesterday, I was catching them on a Carolina rig, but today it was a crankbait," Griffin said. "I was catching 20 pounds a day on plastics in practice. I wanted them to hit a crankbait and they finally started hitting it today."

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 pro leaders at the EverStart Series Sam Rayburn event:

6th: Kris Wilson, of Montgomery, Texas, 27-6
7th: Justin Morton, of Etoile, Texas, 26-12
8th: Austin Terry, of San Angelo, Texas, 26-1
9th: Shane Hilton, of Alexandria, La., 24-2
10th: John Tanner, of Quitman, Texas, 24-0

Cody Malone, of Sulphur Springs, Texas won the Snickers Big Bass award for his 6-10.

Despite slower day, Bartlett keeps co-angler lead

James Bartlett had a slower day, but still retained his co-angler lead.James Bartlett, of Crowley, La. added 9 pounds, 9 ounces to the 16-13 he caught on day one and held his co-angler top spot with a two-day total of 26-6. He leads his division by 1-10 going into day three.

Bartlett caught his fish shallow on a Texas-rigged watermelon red flake Senko with a small weight. With the fish showing less aggression, day two required a more persistence than day one.

"They liked it slow today so I would just throw it in there and dead stick it," he said. "Today was a lot tougher bite than yesterday. I just fished really had and I didn't stop."

One big bite secured a final-round berth for second-place David Kayda, of Crosby, Texas. Anchoring his limit catch of 16-10 was the event's largest fish - a 10-pound, 6-ounce whopper that earned Snickers Big Bass honors. His two-day total of 24-12 moved him up from 35th place on day one.

Howard Hartley, of Berwick, La. slipped a notch to third with 22-8, while Buddy Hicks, of Port Neches, Texas took fourth with 21-9. Randy Hicks, of Lumberton, Texas was fifth at 20-9.

Benny Aylor, of Round Rock, Texas placed third with 13-1. Allen Wares, of Austin, Texas was fourth with 12-8 and had the fifth-place bag at 12-2.David Kayda

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 co-angler leaders at the EverStart Series Sam Rayburn event:

6th: Chad McClendon, of North Richland Hills, Texas, 20-5
7th: Neil Herline, of Silsbee, Texas, 20-2
8th: Dan Wilson, of Pilot Point, Texas, 19-2
9th: Taylor Brooks, of Edgewood, Texas, 18-15
10th: Brent Broussard, of Rosenberg, Texas, 18-11

Day three of EverStart Series Texas Division action on Sam Rayburn Reservoir continues at Saturday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 6:15 a.m. (Central) at the Umphrey Family Pavilion located at 5438 Recreation Road 255 W. in Sam Rayburn, Texas.

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