LSON’s own Mike Hughs fought hard, but could only pull four bass from Sam Rayburn Reservoir and finished in 66th place overall. He did help his Texas team finish a close second place to Louisiana in the team standings.
But one Texas did take home the win.
The frog bite was on at Sam Rayburn but Texan Albert Collins avoided that temptation and won the B.A.S.S. Nation Central Divisional.
While runner-up Brandon Pedigo and other contestants turned in double-digit sacks Saturday by fishing plastic frogs in the shallow grass, Collins stuck with an offshore summertime pattern of targeting channel swings near points. He brought a 17-pound, 4-ounce limit of five bass to the scales to clinch the victory. He noted the fish were caught at various depths.
“I was fishing different areas of the lake,” said Collins, who finished with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 53-4. “In some areas they were in 6 to 8 feet and in some areas they were in 18 to 20 feet.
“My primary lure, the one I caught the most fish on, was a Missile Baits Tomahawk worm [in the Love Bug hue].” The 48-year-old plumber from Nacogdoches, Texas, said he rigged the worm Texas style with a 5/16-ounce lead weight and a 5/0 Gamakatsu worm hook.
On the first day, he tried to fish as many different areas and types of habitat as he could to accumulate a decent weight, which he accomplished with a 16-12 limit to move into the runner-up spot behind Pedigo.
The second day started slowly for Collins, but he finished strong with the heaviest bag of the tournament (19-4) and leapfrogged over Pedigo to take over the lead. Collins won the Livingston Lures award of $250 because he led the tournament on Day 2.
The fishing got tougher for Collins during Friday’s final round, because he exhausted several of his best spots in order to build such a heavy stringer of bass on the second day.
“It worked out well though,” said the Nacogdoches Bass Club member. “I planned everything out, and it worked.”
Collins credits his partner in the draw tournament, Kevin Johnston of Missouri, for letting him call the shots in the final round. “He let me position the boat to the point to where I had a good advantage to throw at everything without getting interfered with,” he said.
By winning the divisional and finishing as the top angler on his state team, Collins earned a berth in the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship to be held on Lake Dardanelle in Arkansas, Oct. 24-26.
Other state winners who qualified for the National Championship were Doug Thompson of Arkansas; Beau Branine, Kansas; Ryan Lavigne, Louisiana; Randy Ladner, Mississippi; Brian Wilson, Missouri; Nick Ash, Nebraska; and Pedigo of Oklahoma.
Louisiana won the team championship for the second straight year with 301 pounds, 12 ounces, while the host Texas squad finished second with 280-15.
The Carhartt Big Bass Award of $500 was presented to Destre Dedeaux of Mississippi for his 8-6 largemouth caught on Day 1.