Some will call Craig Schuff a fast learner. After all, the Watauga, Texas, angler had never thrown a swimbait before coming to Lake Amistad for the Bassmaster Central Open this week, but Saturday his 24-pound limit with one of the big swimming lures propelled him to his first Open win with a three day total of 68 pounds, 9 ounces.
Ray Hanselman, a guide on Amistad the past 17 years, claimed the runne-rup spot with 67-9, while Bassmaster Elite pro Clark Reehm finished third with 66-3. Aaron Johnson finished fourth with 63-3; Dean Alexander, the day two leader, dropped to fifth with 62-4; and Trent Huckaby, last year’s winner here, took sixth with 61-2.
Fishing under cloudless skies with only a slight wind, Schuff targeted prespawn and postspawn bass moving up and down tree and hydrilla-lined ditches leading to a spawning flat in a large cove on the Mexican side of the lake. Keeping his boat in 15 to 18 feet of water and working an Osprey swimbait very slowly in 8 to 10 feet of water depth, Schuff caught a 4 ½-pounder on his third cast, a 5-pounder two casts later, then a 7-pounder en route to his 24-pound day.
“The bass were changing positions each day,” said Schuff, “and today they were more shallow than yesterday. It took me about an hour to fish three key places I had identified, and I occasionally alternated the swimbait with an 8-inch Yamamoto Senko, which also produced some good fish for me.
“I was truly blessed this week,” added Schuff, who won more than $50,000 for his week’s effort. “I watched how Jason Williamson won the Elite tournament here with a swimbait and came determined to fish the way he did. After I caught about 28 pounds with the Osprey one day in practice, my confidence really grew, but today I had to fish it so slow I could barely feel it swimming.”
He fished the Osprey with 25-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon line on a Falcon Amistad 7’3” heavy action rod and a Shimano Curado reel.
Hanselman fished the same general area as Schuff, working both Zoom Trick Worms and Berkley Power Worms through hydrilla in 12 to 15 feet of water. For him, the key was fishing fresh, growing hydrilla in a spot about 50 yards square; he rigged the worms with 3/16-ounce TruTungsten sinkers and crawled and swam them slowly through the vegetation.
Interestingly, Reehm and Alexander also shared the water with Schuff, as did 17th place finisher Mike Kernan, who finished with 52-10. Although Reehm and Alexander also fished other areas, this one bay produced more than 300 pounds of fish during the tournament.
Sam Koebcke of Austin, fishing his very first Bassmaster Open tournament on only his second trip to Amistad, won the co-angler division with a three-day catch of nine bass weighing 46-9, an average of more than five pounds per fish. He caught them Carolina rigging Zoom Flukes and Zoom Old Monster 10 ½-inch worms between six and 20 feet deep.
Only the top 30 pros and non-boaters fished Saturday. The series will move from Amistad to the Red River out of Shreveport, La., on June 3-5. The circuit will close out on Oct. 21-23 on Lake Texoma out of Denison, Texas.
Complete tournament coverage, including real-time leaderboards, will be available at www.Bassmaster.com each Bassmaster Open. Other coverage will include extensive daily photo galleries, BASSCam video interviews, and standings and results.
The local sponsor of the tournament was the Lake Amistad Bassmaster Central Open is the Del Rio Chamber of Commerce, www.drchamber.com
BASSMASTER CENTRAL OPEN- LAKE AMISTAD- BOATER STANDINGS
2010 Bassmaster Central Oprn Tour 1 Del Rio, TX BO 04/08-04/10 Lake Amistad, Del Rio Texas
(BOATER) Standings Day 3
Angler Hometown No./lbs-oz Pts Total $$$
1. Craig Schuff Watauga, Texas 15 68-09 305 $51,943.00
Day 1: 5 20-00 Day 2: 5 24-09 Day 3: 5 24-00
2. Ray Hanselman Del Rio, Texas 15 67-09 295 $23,086.00
Day 1: 5 23-02 Day 2: 5 18-11 Day 3: 5 25-12
3. Clark Reehm Russellville, Ark. 15 66-03 295 $16,160.00
Day 1: 5 24-00 Day 2: 5 20-15 Day 3: 5 21-04
4. Aaron Johnson Bossier City, La. 15 63-03 285 $11,543.00
Day 1: 5 23-08 Day 2: 5 19-07 Day 3: 5 20-04
5. Dean Alexander Florence, Texas 15 62-04 285 $10,389.00
Day 1: 5 22-10 Day 2: 5 23-01 Day 3: 5 16-09
6. Trent Huckaby Fort Stockton, Texas 15 61-02 276 $9,234.00
Day 1: 5 18-04 Day 2: 5 19-14 Day 3: 5 23-00
7. Rob Burns Plano, Texas 15 60-03 272 $8,080.00
Day 1: 5 19-12 Day 2: 5 18-11 Day 3: 5 21-12
8. Timmy Reneau Del Rio, Texas 15 59-06 268 $6,926.00
Day 1: 5 23-04 Day 2: 5 18-03 Day 3: 5 17-15
9. Joey Nania Liberty Lake, Wash. 14 57-10 269 $5,771.00
Day 1: 5 24-00 Day 2: 5 12-13 Day 3: 4 20-13
10. Keith Combs Del Rio, Texas 15 57-05 260 $5,194.00
Day 1: 5 20-12 Day 2: 5 16-02 Day 3: 5 20-07
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