Ultimate Bass

Jonston Wins Sam Rayburn Bassmaster Central Open

Texas’ Stephen Johnston had to abandon his preferred pattern during the second day of the Bassmaster Central Open on Sam Rayburn Reservoir after thick clouds moved in, but he was excited when he awoke for the last day of competition to see the cloud cover breaking. “When I woke up there was moon and stars shining, and I was smiling,” said Johnston…

Texas’ Stephen Johnston had to abandon his preferred pattern during the second day of the Bassmaster Central Open on Sam Rayburn Reservoir after thick clouds moved in, but he was excited when he awoke for the last day of competition to see the cloud cover breaking.

“When I woke up there was moon and stars shining, and I was smiling,” said Johnston, who lives in nearby Hemphill.

When the scales settled the local guide had clinched his first Bassmaster victory with a three-day total of 57 pounds, 5 ounces.

Bassmaster Elite Series pro Todd Faircloth moved up one spot to claim the second-place check with a 47-pound total, and Texas’ Kris Wilson moved up from sixth place to third on the strength of a 46-14 total.

Rounding out the top five were Texas anglers Landon Ware (42-14) and Todd Castledine (42-4). Full standings are below.

Johnston said he needed the bright sunlight to drive fish back to a few bare ridges from which he snatched a Thursday catch of 22 pounds, and Saturday the pattern again worked out perfectly.

“I had a game plan this morning that I was going to stay deep and make them bite,” he said.

His limits on the first and third days came from the same set of three bare ridges, on which he flipped Texas-rigged Grande Bass Mega Tail worms and ½-ounce Falcon Lures football head jigs.

“The shad early in the morning would come up and feed on the tops of those bare ridges, and the bass would follow them,” Johnston said. “I was sitting in the deep water and casting on top of the ridge, and I was just hopping the baits over the edge of those ridges.”

Johnston went into the last day with a comfortable 8-pound cushion, and was helped when the bite turned tough for his nearest competitors.

“In the past on Rayburn, the fish would get on the edge of a grass bed, and when you found one there’d be five or six right there,” said Faircloth, who has fished tournaments on the Reservoir since his early days. “Now, it’s like there’s just one bite here and there.”

After the second event in the Central Open circuit, the points race is beginning to shake out. Pros are vying for two Bassmaster Classic spots and seven Bassmaster Elite Series berths. The final Central Open event will be on Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin in November.

Castledine is leading the points race with 570 points, but nipping at his heels is Bassmaster Elite Series pro James Niggemeyer. Faircloth is in fifth and those standings can also be found below.

On the co-angler side of the Rayburn event, Louisiana’s William Loftin pushed ahead of the competition with a three-day total of 26 pounds, 5 ounces. His final-day limit was anchored by a fish weighing 9-1. For his efforts, Loftin earned a won a Triton/Mercury boat package valued at $32,000.

Colorado’s Michael Hubbard, the second-day co-angler leader, dropped to second with 24-10, while Bobby Lanham of Arizona claimed third with 24-8.

The last stop on the 2009 Central Open trail is Nov. 5-7 on Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin.

Fans also can find coverage from the Opens on Bassmaster.com.

Up next for the Central Opens is the final stop in the Central Open division, the Nov. 5-7 event on the Atchafalaya Basin out of Morgan City, La.

Sponsors of the 2009 Bassmaster Opens: Toyota Trucks, Berkley, BOOYAH Baits, Evan Williams Bourbon, Mercury, OPTIMA Batteries, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Marine.

FINAL STANDINGS – 2009 BASSMASTER CENTRAL OPEN – SAM RAYBURN RESERVOIR

2009 Central 2 – Sam Rayburn, TX BO 09/03-09/05 Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Sam Rayburn Texas (BOATER) Standings Day 3

Angler Hometown No./lbs-oz Pts Total $$$

1. Stephen Johnston Hemphill, Texas 15 57-05 315 $49,629.00
Day 1: 5 22-00 Day 2: 5 19-06 Day 3: 5 15-15

2. Todd Faircloth Jasper, Texas 15 47-00 295 $22,057.00
Day 1: 5 18-04 Day 2: 5 13-13 Day 3: 5 14-15

3. Kris Wilson Montgomery, Texas 15 46-14 290 $18,749.00
Day 1: 5 12-03 Day 2: 5 17-15 Day 3: 5 16-12

4. Landon Ware Jewett, Texas 15 42-14 285 $13,786.00
Day 1: 5 15-10 Day 2: 5 14-15 Day 3: 5 12-05

5. Todd Castledine Nacogdoches, Texas 15 42-04 280 $11,029.00
Day 1: 5 13-07 Day 2: 5 17-15 Day 3: 5 10-14

6. Todd Littleton Bossier City, La. 14 41-08 276 $9,926.00
Day 1: 5 14-04 Day 2: 4 11-04 Day 3: 5 16-00

7. Cliff Crochet Pierre Part, La. 15 41-05 272 $8,823.00
Day 1: 5 13-02 Day 2: 5 14-01 Day 3: 5 14-02

8. Bradley Hallman Norman, Okla. 13 41-01 268 $7,720.00
Day 1: 5 20-05 Day 2: 4 12-15 Day 3: 4 7-13

9. James Niggemeyer Van, Texas 15 39-15 264 $6,617.00
Day 1: 5 13-09 Day 2: 5 12-07 Day 3: 5 13-15

10. Gary Key Laveen, Ariz. 15 39-05 260 $5,514.00
Day 1: 5 15-04 Day 2: 5 12-09 Day 3: 5 11-08

About BASS

For more than 40 years, BASS has served as the authority on bass fishing. The organization advances the sport through advocacy, outreach and its expansive tournament structure while championing efforts to connect directly with the passionate community of bass anglers through its Bassmaster media vehicles.

As the flagship offering of ESPN Outdoors, the Bassmaster brand and its considerable multimedia platforms are guided by a mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry-leading publications Bassmaster Magazine, BASS Times and Fishing Tackle Retailer; comprehensive Web properties in Bassmaster.com, BASSInsider.com, ESPNOutdoors.com and ESPN360.com; and ESPN2 television programming, Bassmaster provides rich, leading-edge content true to the lifestyle.

BASS oversees the prestigious Bassmaster tournament trail, which includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bassmaster Opens, Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Women’s Tour, BASS Federation Nation and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Bassmaster Classic.

BASS offers an array of services to its more than 500,000 members while spearheading progressive, positive change on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.



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