Texas’ Albert Collins takes lead at Central Divisional

RIDGELAND, Miss. — Albert Collins is winning a numbers game he’d rather not play at the Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Central Divisional on Ross Barnett Reservoir. 

Collins, of the Nacogdoches Bass Club, has a slim lead going into the final day with 27 pounds, 3 ounces. Less than one pound behind the Texan is Louisiana’s Jamie Laiche, with 26-6. Behind them is Day 1 leader Billy Lemon of Oklahoma with 24-5.

Friday an overall winner will be determined and the top angler from each of the 8 competing states advance to bass club angling’s premier event, the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship.

“I’m catching a lot of numbers but not the consistent quality bite that I need to be the leader,” said Collins, a veteran bass club angler.

To shake the numbers game, Collins admits he needs at least one or more bigger bass. That’s not a stretch. Each of the past two days has produced 5-pound class largemouth.

“On this lake and in this tournament one big bass like that can make the difference,” he added.

“I have an all-day area so spending time running between a shallow morning spot and deeper midday place isn’t an issue for me.”

Collins described his key area as a mainlake dropoff that sharply tapers from 5 to 20 feet deep. That likely means the bass are feeding and biting early on the shallow side. As the water warms the fish move deeper in search of cooler water.

Finding an all-in-one area means more fishing time and a better chance at catching quality bass. Jamie Laiche is benefitting from it.

“I have a shallow and deep bite and fortunately it’s out in the main lake,” he said. “I don’t need to run anywhere.”

By leading the tournament, Collins also goes home with a contingency prize as the Livingston Lures Day 2 Leader. The prize is valued at $250.

Oklahoma continues its dominance in the state standings with a cumulative weight of 188 pounds, 10 ounces. Louisiana is second with 177-10 and Mississippi is in third place with 155-15.

The winning state team is awarded a Skeeter/Yamaha boat, motor, trailer and accessories package valued at $33,340.

The contestants qualified from local bass clubs and then advanced state championships. Each team has 14 members. Two of those anglers are part of another competition underway here.

State championship high school teams are competing alongside the adults to hone their skills at the higher level. Cumulative weight caught is added to the overall score of the state team.