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.
“I knew that we could catch a big fish, but it is just luck of the draw on those big ones,” he said. “I knew that I was around some fish. I just had to keep throwing and hope for the best.”
Morning temperatures were so cold, ice developed in Allen’s rod guides, and he worried that his line might break.
“It kind of scared me this morning with the ice on my guides, especially when that big one got on,” he said. “My biggest fear was that the ice on the guides would cut the line. My hook was bent out, and my drag was frozen.”
He was finally able to steer the fish to his landing net. “The good Lord was with us so it worked out,” 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.
“Today was just going on a milk run where I knew these fish were and trying to catch them,” said Allen, who didn’t catch a fish until after 10 a.m. “It 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.”
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.
“I was actually hoping to go out and just catch a couple of keepers because it has been a rough practice,” he said. “The day went really well, and I exceeded everything I went out to do this morning.”
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.
“This is the first time I have ever done this (technique),” he said. “It 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.”