(Oct 2, 2015 - Branson, MO)
As super sleuth Sherlock Holmes would always say, “Elementary, my dear Watson.”
Nixa, Mo., pro angler James Watson would have made Holmes proud Friday as he solved the mystery of Table Rock Lake’s tough bass fishing and took the lead at the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open #3 presented by Allstate. Watson caught a five-fish limit weighing 15 pounds, 14 ounces for a two-day total of 30-3.
“I had to find calm water today,” said the 42-year-old Watson. “I couldn't get bit in the wind today, but yesterday I did get bit in the wind. So today I had to shift gears and find the calmest water I could to get bit.”
Having fished the lake his whole life, Watson understands the many faces of his home waters. “That’s Table Rock. It’s a crapshoot. If I am not catching them a certain way, I know I need to make a couple of adjustments to get that one clue. I got the clue this morning and I just stayed with it.”
During practice, Watson caught 15 to 16 pounds a day on multiple lures and patterns. The local angler also found out he needed to do a lot of running and gunning. “Today I fished nothing that I fished yesterday,” he said. “And tomorrow, guess what? (I’ll fish) all new stuff.”
Climbing into second place with 26 pounds was Justin Margraves of Diana, Texas. “I found those fish yesterday kind of early in the morning covering a lot of water, and I came back to them yesterday afternoon and filled the rest of my limit,” said the 32-year-old Margraves. “Today I sat there and stayed there so I had a limit a lot sooner.”
The Lake Fork guide is relying on one lure and one spot, which he believes contains plenty of fish. “I lost three or four really good ones today and there are a lot of fish in that area,” he said. “So I think what I got will hold up.”
In the pro division, Joseph Brantley of Willard, Mo., and Bassmaster Elite Series pro Rick Clunn of Ava, Mo., are tied for third place with 25-12; and Jacob Wheeler of Indianapolis, Ind., sits in fifth place with 25-3.
Jason Newberry maintained the lead in the co-angler division with 15-12, but he caught only two keepers Friday weighing 4-9. The Nixa, Mo., angler believes he has “beaten his fish up” after fishing in a championship tournament last week and relying on the same spot for this event. “I have fished a set of docks, and I think I have caught 28 keepers off that set of docks in three days, so I think it is pretty much done.” He caught his fish today on a football jig and a swimbait.
Watson will take home the Livingston Lures Leader Award of $250 for leading the tournament on the second day. Newberry will take home a Livingston Lures prize pack worth $250 for leading the co-angler division Friday.
The Allstate Good Hands, Great Day award of $250 will go to Josh Bertrand for climbing the most in points from the first day to the second day. Derek Mangold takes home $150 for winning the same award on the co-angler side.
Saturday’s launch will be held at 7 a.m. at the Table Rock State Park Marina. The weigh-in will move to the Branson Landing Water Fountain near the Bass Pro Shops at 1 Bass Pro Drive in Branson at 4 p.m. CT.
Host for the event is the Branson/Lakes Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
2015 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Title Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
2015 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Presenting Sponsor: Allstate
2015 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota
2015 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Premier Sponsors: A.R.E. Accessories, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, GoPro, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha
2015 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Supporting Sponsors: Carhartt, Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels, Huk Performance Fishing, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, 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. television show ,The Bassmasters ), 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.