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 thered be five or six right there, said Faircloth, who has fished tournaments on the Reservoir since his early days. Now, its like theres 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 Louisianas 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, Louisianas 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.
Colorados 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 Louisianas 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
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