DEL RIO, Texas — Minnesota angler Andy Young topped the hard-charging Stephen Browning to win the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open on Lake Amistad by a mere ounce.
The day started with Young in second place behind Shreveport, La., angler Randy Allen, who has a ranch 25 miles north of Del Rio and frequently fishes Amistad.
“I thought I was fishing for second,” said Young.
“The local hammer (Allen) had 18-pounds each day and I was about 11 pounds behind so I just went out and did the best I could.”
The best he could do ended up being a 13-pound, 10-ounce limit that gave Young the winning total of 39-6. While Allen caught only one keeper and dropped to third place with 37-12, Browning caught the heaviest limit of the day (14-6) and climbed into second with 39-5.
“This is a lifelong dream,” said Young of his victory and qualifying for the 2015 Bassmaster Classic if he fishes the two remaining Central Opens.
“I have been telling all my friends back home that I am living a dream and I am afraid someone is going to pinch me and wake me up or something.”
Young also won the top prize of a Triton/Mercury rig worth $40,000 and $7,083 in cash.
The Minnetonka Lake guide made his dream come true Saturday by catching three of his biggest fish on a Hog Farmer Bait Company Alabama Rig adorned with Big Bite Baits Cane Thumpers and his other two keepers on a drop shot rig with a Biovex Kolt Fish Tail.
He fished the Alabama rig 12 to 15 feet and the drop shot 21 to 25 feet deep along rocky humps and points.
Browning followed up a tough first day with a 20-14 limit the second day to jump back into contention.
“I had two stinking bites after Day One and I didn’t tuck my tail and run,” the Bassmaster Elite Series pro said.
The Arkansas competitor caught all of his keepers on an Alabama rig with Z-Man Elaztech DieZel Minnowz on main lake flats 35 to 45 feet deep.
“I was throwing it out and waiting for it to hit bottom and then just really slow reeling it,” he said.
“I think the key for me was using 20-pound Gamma Fluorocarbon rather than braided line like I usually do.”
Rounding out the top five in the pro division were Cody Ryan Greaney of Texas in fourth place with 34-3 and Jordan Lee of Alabama in fifth with 31-9.
Texas angler Joe Lee caught a three-fish 6-13 limit to win the co-angler division with 26-1. He took home a Skeeter/Yamaha rig valued at $25,000.
All of Lee’s keepers bit either a Texas-rigged Zoom Trick Worm or a finesse worm on a drop shot rig.
Another highlight of this tournament featured Jordan and Matt Lee competing in the pro division Top 12 on the final day. The two brothers both fished for the Auburn University team and gained valuable tournament experience in the Carhartt College Series.
Allen earned the Carhartt Big Bass award of $500 for catching the largest bass (10 pounds, 1 ounce) of the event.
Winning the Livingston Lures Leader Award of $250 for finishing as the top pro on Day Two was Randy Allen. The Day Two leader on the co-angler side, Joe Lee, earned a Livingston Lures gift pack worth $250.
The angler who advances the most places up the leaderboard from Day One to Day Two receives the “Allstate Good Hands, Great Day” award. Pro division angler Jason Lieblong of Conway, Ark., picked up $250 by jumping 94 places from 121 to 27. Co-angler Jonathan Mcdougald of New England, Ark., took home $150 by climbing 63 places from 83 to 20.
Toyota Bonus Bucks paid $1,500 to Young, who was the highest placing eligible pro angler entrant and $1,000 to the second highest placing pro, Stephen Browning.
On the co-angler side, the top eligible entrant received $300, and the second highest placing eligible co-angler gets $150.