Youngest angler reaches Top 10

Elliott Gardner of Brenham, Texas, signed up for the Bassmaster Central Open on Sam Rayburn Reservoir out of curiosity. After three days of competition, his first Bassmaster event concluded with a ninth-place finish on the co-angler side.

Heading into his junior year at Brenham High School, Gardner fishes when he can, but he spends much of his time raising turkeys and Boer goats. The former is part of his school’s 4-H program, while the latter is a part-time job for agricultural shows.

With hopes of nurturing his fishing career after high school, Gardner said he learned a lot this week by watching his pros and picking up on the electronics skill.

“I only fish shallow around my home, but I learned how to fish deep this week, so I'll definitely be putting that to use,” Gardner said. “I learned how to graph. My pros really showed me how to find fish.”

Page views

Almost "GO TIME"!

It’s been a fantastic week here in Jasper, TX on historic Sam Rayburn Reservoir. I can’t say enough about the hospitality of the Jasper/Lake Sam Rayburn Chamber of Commerce and the City of Jasper. They had a lot of adversity in the last few weeks and we appreciate all their efforts to move forward with the tournament. 

About to get started with the best part of the week. Big Bass, Bog Stage, Big Dreams!

Douglas with three

Josh Douglas has added his third keeper. This one took several minutes to boat after wrapping itself in the brush pile Douglas was fishing.

But after a lengthy pull and tug, the fish came free. It gives him about 6 pounds on the day.

Again it came on spinning gear. He’s in the bottom of the boat respooling at the moment.

Page views

Douglas adds second keeper

Josh Douglas just added his second keeper. It’s nothing huge. He has two that weight somewhere in the 3-pound range.

What’s notable, though, in this land of giants is Douglas caught the fish on light line and a drop shot. The fish came from a brush pile, the same one he lost an 8-pounder out of yesterday.

The drop shot was his last resort this morning. And when he hooked up it was well into the brush. Made us think he might have the big one on again.

He’s getting bites, though. He did lose a big one earlier. But feels he can get some retribution on that one later in the morning.

Page views

Matsushita on the board

Andy Crawford just reported that Masayuki Matsushita has two keepers in the livewell for 9 pounds, including this one he estimated weighing around 6 pounds.

He is working through a network of brushpiles on the main lake, carefully watching his Garmin Panoptix LiveScope for visually spotting individual fish.

As this is written I am transcribing lure detail interviews for next week's top lures gallery. This morning Matsushita showed myself and Andy a Texas-rigged Zoom Ol' Monster, and a swimbait made by Deps Lures. More details to come.

Page views

A spectacular morning

I mentioned the boats and activity in this area earlier. But before all of that showed up it was a spectacular morning on Sam Rayburn.

The photo is an example of the beauty. But if you’ve been paying attention then you’ve seen a bunch of big bass weighed in. Darold Gleason had two 9 pounders yesterday. Practically everything angler in our final has caught at least one of those donkeys.

That makes Sam Rayburn even more spectacular

Gleason with two

Darold Gleason has two keepers in his well at the moment.

They are not two 9-pounders like had yesterday. Together they won’t come close to matching either of those fish. But he’s getting bit in the middle of a bunch of his spectators and those watching Keith Combs nearby and on the other side of Combs is Josh Douglas with a few boats on him.

It’s a bevy of activity out here and Gleason seems unfazed by it all.

Page views

A crowded situation

The first thing that struck me this morning after Darold Gleason got to his first spot was the number of boats following him.

That photo is just a piece. But there are about 15 boats scattered around Gleason in his area.

That makes for a crowded situation. But one this area is used to. Boats have been rolling around and in and out all week.

It’s obvious though these folks like them some Darold Gleason.

A big gator

During the Rayburn Central Open Day 2, Wyatt Wimberley with Wyatt Burkhalter found a big gator.

From Minnesota to Texas

"I could have a mega-bag."

Minnesotan Josh Douglas said that to Andy Crawford, who is with him now. Douglas has about 14 pounds in the livewell, although it could be much more. He lost a 5-pounder at the boat, and a largemouth he estimated weighing around 8 pounds that got entangled in a brushpile.

Key to his strategy is not what he learned here, but what he brought from his home state to Sam Rayburn. Douglas fishes the pro tours and also doubles up during summer with a guide gig on Mille Lacs Lake, known for its superb offshore smallmouth bite.

"All I did in practice was idle around, marking isolated cover," he said.

Douglas has about 50 waypoints stored in his Lowrance unit, and he only hit half of those on Day 1, to weigh 22 pounds, 5 ounces, to take fourth place in a leaderboard dominated by local anglers.