Walters laps field at Lake Fork

QUITMAN, Texas — A late-day decision turned victory into a double-dip of tournament stardom, as Patrick Walters of Summerville, S.C., notched a dominant win at the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks & Wildlife Department with a four-day total weight of 104 pounds, 12 ounces.

Walters placed second on Day 1 with 25-14 and took over the Day 2 lead by adding 26-14. On Semifinal Saturday, his limit of 29-6 — the event’s biggest catch — sent him into Championship Sunday with a 25-pound lead.

Today’s limit of 22-10 allowed him to surge across the finish line and secure his spot in the Century Club, which recognizes an angler for catching 100 pounds of fish in a four-day event. Walters won with an all-time Bassmaster Elite record margin of 29-10.

“What a week; it doesn’t seem real,” Walters said. “Everyone wants to catch 100 pounds, and it feels good.”

While his victory was never in serious jeopardy today, Walters found himself a couple pounds shy of his second objective with time running out. A 15-minute flurry in his last hour of fishing delivered three fish that elevated him well past the century mark.

Walters attributes his closing success to a gutsy relocation. All week, he had been targeting suspended bass amid main-lake standing timber in 10 to 20 feet. When he realized his spots weren’t firing, he moved to a small pocket and caught his final three fish around stumps in less than 5 feet of water.

“On Day 2, I caught a 4- and a 5-pounder in there, but I didn’t go back in there on Day 3; I said, ‘I’m going to save it,’” Walters said. “I think it was the wind. We’ve had the same direction wind the last three days and it has blown directly into that pocket.

“All the bait is in there and every single day, it has gotten more loaded. Today, my fish in the treetops would not eat my bait. They’d chase it for 40 to 50 feet and wouldn’t commit.”