(Jun 11, 2015 - RIDGELAND, MS.)
Albert Collins is winning a numbers game he’d rather not play at the Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Central Divisional on Ross Barnett Reservoir.
Collins, of the Nacogdoches Bass Club, has a slim lead going into the final day with 27 pounds, 3 ounces. Less than one pound behind the Texan is Louisiana’s Jamie Laiche, with 26-6. Behind them is Wednesday’s leader Billy Lemon of Oklahoma with 24-5.
Friday, an overall winner will be determined, and the top angler from each of the eight competing states will advance to the premier event, the Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Championship.
“I’m catching a lot of numbers, but not the consistent quality bite that I need to be the leader,” said Collins, a veteran bass club angler and a 2013 Bassmaster Classic competitor.
To shake the numbers game, Collins admits he needs at least one or more bigger bass. That’s not a stretch. Each of the past two days has produced 5-pound class largemouth.
“On this lake and in this tournament, one big bass like that can make the difference,” he added. “I have an all-day area, so spending time running between a shallow morning spot and deeper midday place isn’t an issue for me.”
Collins described his key area as a main-lake dropoff that sharply tapers from 5 to 20 feet deep. That likely means the bass are feeding and biting early on the shallow side. As the water warms, the fish move deeper in search of cooler water.
Finding an all-in-one area means more fishing time and a better chance at catching quality bass.
“I have a shallow and deep bite, and fortunately it’s out in the main lake,” Laiche said. “I don’t need to run anywhere.”
To fill his limit Laiche is using a crankbait, Carolina rig and plastic worm, all of the lures proven fish-catchers in shallow and deep water.
By leading the tournament, Collins also goes home with a contingency prize as the Livingston Lures Day 2 Leader. The prize is valued at $250.
Oklahoma continues its dominance in the state standings with a cumulative weight of 188 pounds, 10 ounces. Louisiana is second with 177-10 and Mississippi is in third place with 155-15.
The winning state team is awarded a Skeeter/Yamaha boat, motor, trailer and accessories package valued at $33,340.
The contenders from eight states qualified from local bass clubs and then advanced to state championships. Each team has 14 members. Two of those anglers are part of another competition underway here.
State championship high school teams are competing alongside the adults to hone their skills at the higher level. Their cumulative weight is added to the overall score of the state team.
Each adult angler who wins his state here advances to the Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Championship in November on the Ouachita River in Louisiana.
2015 B.A.S.S. Nation Title Sponsor: Old Milwaukee
2015 B.A.S.S. Nation Premier Sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, GoPro, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha
2015 B.A.S.S. Nation Supporting Sponsors: A.R.E. Accessories, Carhartt, Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels, Huk, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Nationwide, Power-Pole, Rigid Industries, Shimano
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines,Bassmaster website, Bassmasters on ESPN2, social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series presented by Allstate, Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation events, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Costa Bassmaster High School Series, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.