Former Bassmaster Elite Series pro Randy Allen went into scramble mode to overcome a slow start and take the lead at the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open presented by Allstate at Lake Amistad.
The Shreveport, La., angler has a comfortable lead in the pro division after catching an 18-pound limit that included a 10-pound, 1-ounce largemouth.
â€œI knew that we could catch a big fish, but it is just luck of the draw on those big ones,â€ he said. â€œI knew that I was around some fish. I just had to keep throwing and hope for the best.â€
Morning temperatures were so cold, ice developed in Allen’s rod guides, and he worried that his line might break.
â€œIt kind of scared me this morning with the ice on my guides, especially when that big one got on,â€ he said. â€œMy biggest fear was that the ice on the guides would cut the line. My hook was bent out, and my drag was frozen.â€
He was finally able to steer the fish to his landing net. â€œThe good Lord was with us so it worked out,â€ he said.
Everything worked out well for Allen, despite two days of practice in which he never got a bite. Through previous scouting trips, Allen had planned out a series of stops where he believed he would find bass.
â€œToday was just going on a milk run where I knew these fish were and trying to catch them,â€ said Allen, who didn’t catch a fish until after 10 a.m. â€œIt was a nightmare trying to figure them out. It was just one here and one there. I would catch a couple and then not catch anything for an hour and half. Then I would catch two or three. I just had to hit 10 or 12 spots to get my limit.â€
Fellow Louisiana angler Brent Bonadona also got off to a slow start but recovered to catch four keepers weighing 15-6 to move into second place. After fishing shallow until about noon and not catching a bass, Bonadona decided to work a jig 35 feet deep, and that paid off.
â€œI was actually hoping to go out and just catch a couple of keepers because it has been a rough practice,â€ he said. â€œThe day went really well, and I exceeded everything I went out to do this morning.â€
Rounding out the Top 5 in the pro division were Oklahoma angler Chris Jones in third place with 15-4; Cody Ryan Greaney of Texas, fourth, 15-3; and Troy Broussard of Texas, fifth, 12-13.
Union Pacific Railroad worker Drake Wehrs moved into first in the co-angler division with a three-fish limit weighing 10-10. The 23-year-old New Mexico angler said he would reveal what he caught his fish on at the Friday weigh-in.
â€œThis is the first time I have ever done this (technique),â€ he said. â€œIt wasn’t anything my partner showed me out there. I just picked it up and started doing it and caught the three keepers I had.â€