DEL RIO, Texas — Charging up from third place, 41-year-old hunting outfitter and lodge owner Trent Huckaby of Fort Stockton, Texas, pulled off his first BASS win Saturday at the Bassmaster Central Open season finale Saturday on Texas' Lake Amistad out of Del Rio.
His prize was $6,000 in cash and a Triton/Mercury boat package valued at $50,000.
Huckaby's tournament total of 53 pounds, 12 ounces, squeaked past Robert McFarlane of San Antonio, Texas, who finished with 52 pounds, 9 ounces.
Friday's leader, Bassmaster Elite Series pro Jami Fralick, 31, of Martin, S.D., fell to third with 51-10. Doug Garrett of Cabot, Ark., was fourth with 51-5 and Mike Bates of Canyon Lake, Texas, scored fifth with 49-7.
"I knew I had to do something different every day to win," said Huckaby, who fishes Amistad regularly. "I didn't think I even had a shot at winning today, although my wife told me I was going to win. She dreamed of little green fish, and told me that meant I was going to win."
He said his "confidence" bait was a 1 1/4-ounce Oldham's Jig in a camo finish rigged with a Twin Tail Bass Pro Shops grub in a smoke color with a copper flake.
"I thought I was being hard-headed to drop a jig in grass," he said. "There's very little grass in Amistad now, and the fish aren't bunched up like they normally are."
McFarlane advanced on Saturday from 10th place to secure his best finish in a BASS event. The key was consistency with the same pattern: targeting suspended bass in small holes of "an underwater forest of trees."
"I threw the same bait all three days in Castle Canyon and San Pedros areas in water 8 to 12 feet deep," said the 50-year-old whose wife, Robin McFarlane, competes on the Mercury Marine Women's Bassmaster Tour presented by Triton Boats. "It was a Wave Worm Tiki Stik in watermelon red. I think what made a big difference was that I dipped the tip of the worm in a chartreuse dye."
In the co-angler division, the winner of the top prize of $2,000 cash and a $32,000 Triton/Mercury boat package was Gennaro "Jerry" DiCola of Bedford, Texas, who moved up from fourth place for the win with 36 pounds, 11 ounces.
He said his primary lures were a green-pumpkin finesse worm and a jerkbait. He hit schooling fish in shallow water as well as bass in water as deep as 25 feet.
Second place was a tie at 35 pounds, 13 ounces, between Thursday leader Eric Sheley of Longmont, Colo., and Friday's leader Johnny Denny of Lancaster, Ky. Fourth and fifth were two Texans: Jerry Eichler of Granbury with 35-07, and Raymond Balcerowicz of Crosby with 35-00.