JJ Ducharme’s weekend of fishing didn’t get off to a great start Thursday on Lake Amistad.
Conditions changed drastically from early in the week until the time to the tournament started, forcing Ducharme to search for clear water.
“I never thought I had a chance to win,” said Ducharme. “We got to the spot I have been fishing all week and between the cold front that rolled through today and the wind that brought 3 to 4 foot rollers, it had turned the water to chocolate milk, I knew I was in trouble.”
Ducharme, of Brackettville, righted the ship in time to weigh a five-bass limit totaling 23 pounds Saturday to win the EverStart Series Texas Division on Lake Amistad with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 63 pounds.
For his victory, Ducharme earned $35,000.
“I have been fishing the same bank pretty much all by myself all week,” Ducharme continued. “I just knew the fish were in there. Leading up to the bank is a grassy flat that is about 7- to 10-feet deep. The outer edges are about 14- to 16-feet deep so the fish can move in and out. Today we got there and the water had gone from crystal clear to chocolate milk. We were able to find some clear water on the outer edges and after lunch the bass started biting! I had about 10 back up spots that I had fished on days one and two but none of them had been productive, I just couldn’t get anything going so I decided to stay in my main area.
“All week the afternoon bite has been the most productive,” Ducharme went on to say. “On the first day I caught my 10-pounder 10 minutes before we had to check in and we left them biting. On day two, between my co-angler and I, we caught 45 pounds in three hours there — it was incredible.
“And today my big fish didn’t come until after 2. Staying in the game mentally was really my biggest challenge all week, especially with the bite not turning on until after noon.”
Ducharme indicated that he was fishing with Strike King Series 5 and 6 crankbaits mostly in the color bluegill.
Rounding out the top 10 pros were:
2nd: Todd Castledine, Nacogdoches, Texas, 15 bass, 62-10, $12,000
3rd: James Stricklin, Jr., Texarkana, Texas, 15 bass, 59-10, $10,000
4th: Justin Morton, Etoile, Texas, 15 bass, 58-11, $9,000
5th: Trent Huckaby, Fort Stockton, Texas, 15 bass, 56-07, $8,000
6th: Stewart Herndon, Graham, Texas, 15 bass, 55-05, $7,000
7th: Buz Craft, Vidalia, La., 15 bass, 55-1, $6,000
8th: Philip Crelia, Center, Texas, 15 bass, 54-8, $5,000
9th: Austin Terry, San Angelo, Texas, 15 bass, 52-11, $4,000
10th: Terry Adams, Berwick, La., 15 bass, 49-7, $3,000