OSAGE BEACH, Mo. – With a different boater each day, co-anglers often find it tough to maintain consistency through consecutive days. Not so for Justin Moore, who dominated all three days of Stren Series Central Division competition on Lake of the Ozarks.
A limit catch of 12 pounds, 10 ounces on day one put him atop his division, and another limit of 8-13 a day later kept him there. In the final round, Moore found only three keepers, but their weight of 7-1 delivered the victory with a 28-8 total and a margin of 6 pounds.
Hailing from Portage, Mich., Moore fished a green-pumpkin Senko on a ¼-ounce Omega shaky head and a 1/2-ounce Strike King lipless crankbait in the sexy-shad color all week. On day three, the shaky head delivered the goods. For his efforts, Moore won a Ranger boat package valued at about $25,000.
“I caught all of my fish early this morning – I had them by about 9:30,” Moore said.
On day two of the tournament, Rick Brame took Folgers Big Bass honors with 5-pound, 15-ounce largemouth. Day three saw him weigh another big bass – this one went 3-3. Unfortunately, that was Brame’s only fish in the final round, and the angler from Festus, Mo., finished second with 22-8 and a check for $2,770.
Throwing green-pumpkin and black-blue jigs, Brame struggled with the day’s weather.
“With the wind and the high skies, the fish just seemed to shut down,” Brame said. “The bite was tough today.”
Slow pace gives Vaughn third place
Brien Vaughn of Kinmundy, Ill., caught three fish weighing 4-7 to end in third place with 22-8 worth $2,078. (The tie with Brame was broken by day-two standings.) Vaughn fished a green-pumpkin jig with a Zoom Super Chunk.
“I downsized today,” Vaughn said. “Earlier in the week, I was throwing a 5/8-ounce jig; today I threw a 3/8. With this cold front, I just had to slow down more.
“My partner (fifth-place pro Joe Bennett) set up just how I like to fish – slow, just flipping docks,” Vaughn said. “I had the opportunity twice to have a limit, but it just didn’t happen.”
Browns round out high five
Derek Brown of Osage Beach, Mo., took fourth place and $1,731 with 19-8, and Craig Brown of Powell, Ohio, was fifth with 18-2 worth $1,558.
Best of the rest
Rounding out the top 10 co-angler leaders at the Stren Series Lake of the Ozarks event:
6th: Mark Horton of Nicholasville, Ky., 18-3
7th: James Tucker of Pacific, Mo., 15-13
8th: Robert Nosbisch of Collinsville, Ill, 15-0
9th: Dennis Schilb of Prairie Home, Mo., 14-1
10th: Dennis Marcinek of Chicago, 13-13