Collins bolts into lead at Sam Rayburn

ZAVALLA, Texas—While dodging lightning bolts and getting pounded by torrential downpours, Albert Collins amassed a heavier sack than yesterday’s limit to take over the lead in the B.A.S.S. Nation Central Divisional at Sam Rayburn Lake.

Collins weighed in a 16-pound, 12-ounce limit yesterday to move into second and followed up today with a 19-4 limit to move to the top of the leaderboard with 36 pounds. However the 48-year-old plumber is unsure if he can repeat again tomorrow. “We hurt them pretty good today,” he said. “We had to do a lot of running around. We fished several different spots (10 to 12) today and I struggled to get what I had.”

The Nacogdoches Bass Club member obviously picked the right spots today since his partner, Gerald Spohrer of Louisiana weighed in the second heaviest limit of the day with an 18-12 bag. Battling the storms was the biggest adjustment Collins had to make today. “It made it risky. The lightning was bad but I think it actually made the fishing a little bit better for us than yesterday.”

 “We ran some of the same spots (both days),” said Collins, who qualified for the Bassmaster Classic last year through the Bassmaster Weekend Series. “Fishing was a little different today. I fished some new water with the same type of stuff.” Competing in his fourth divisional, Collins regularly fishes Sam Rayburn so he knows the summertime patterns well and is relying on his experience to find the right spots.

“We had some fishing pressure in our areas but not on the spots,” said Collins. “They were in the area but things I am fishing are specific little spots. I pull up and I might not have but a 6- or 8-foot area to throw at.”

If Collins finishes as the top angler on his Texas team he will qualify for the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship (FNC). Other state leaders hoping to make the FNC are Mark Hensiek of Arkansas; Matthew Waller, Kansas; Jamie Laiche, Louisiana; Randy Ladner, Mississippi; Brian Wilson, Missouri; Kent Priel, Nebraska; and Brandon Pedigo, Oklahoma.

The Louisiana squad leads the team competition with 192 pounds, 11 ounces, followed by the host Texas team with 182-14.

The Central Divisional contenders will launch for the final competition day at about 6 a.m. tomorrow at the Cassels Boykin County Park. The final weigh-in will begin at 2 p.m. at the same location.