Texas pro Jason Bonds focused on bedding fish today and caught a limit weighing 18 pounds, 8 ounces to top the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by YETI on Sam Rayburn Reservoir with a two-day total of 45 pounds.
Bonds says his bite was slow to start, but once it got rolling, he put together a limit in short order.
Here are the details of the rest of the top five.
2. Andrew Upshaw – Tulsa, Okla. – 42 pounds, 8 ounces
Day-one leader Andrew Upshaw devoted another full day to sight-fishing and put together a limit of 15-7. Adding this to his first-round weight of 27-1, gave the Oklahoma pro a tournament total of 42-8.
“I kind of had a game plan coming into today; I knew we had a front coming in tonight and I saved all my prespawn Rat-L-Trap fish for day three,” Upshaw explains. “I never had touch this yesterday or today.”
As with day one, Upshaw put considerable effort into locating the biggest bed fish he could find. Unfortunately, the largest ones were less cooperative than the ones he encountered yesterday.
“I looked a lot today — I was looking for the right ones,” Upshaw says. “I stayed on a 9-pounder for three hours today and a 6-pounder for two hours and I never caught either one.”
3. Casey Sobczak – Willis, Texas – 42 pounds, 3 ounces
Making a big move up from 38th place on day one, Casey Sobczak caught the biggest bag of day two (25-7) and moved into third place with 42-3. The key to his success was giving a key spot more time to produce today.
On day one, Sobczak made a short visit to an offshore hard spot in 12 to 14 feet, but quickly shifted gears to bed fishing. Today, postponing that transition proved to the right call.
“I decided to gamble and go deep and stay deep longer,” Sobczak says. “I caught a [spotted bass] on a crankbait and I said ‘I’m going to make one more cast to see if they’re fired up.’ I caught an 8-pounder and another 4 1/2 and then a few more. After that, I went shallow and culled three or four times.”
Sobczak caught his deep fish on a 6th Sense Cloud 9 crankbait in the sexified chartreuse shad color. In the shallow scenarios, he fan casted a swim jig.
4. Jeff Reynolds – Calera, Okla. – 41 pounds, 13 ounces
After spending most of his first day bed fishing, Oklahoma pro Jeff Reynolds started day two by targeting prespawners. Early success helped set a relaxed tone to a day that would yield a limit of 20-9 and a fourth-place total of 41-13.
“On this lake, the big ones usually bite early,” says Reynolds. “If you wait and try to fish late in the day, it can be tough to catch them late in the day.
“This morning I caught one about 5 pounds and one about 3 and that really settled me down to where I could just take my time and look for some new fish. Fortunately, I caught one about 5 off a bed and then a couple of 4-pounders.”
Reynolds caught his early fish on reaction baits, but he prefers a jig for bed fishing. He fished his jig on 25-pound fluorocarbon around grass or 50-pound braid for beds tucked back in the brush.
5. Tommy Martin – Hemphill, Texas – 41 pounds, 2 ounces
Texas legend Tommy Martin expanded the search in his primary area and found a limit of 25-2, which moved him up to fifth place with 41-2.
“I went through there yesterday and caught four or five good ones; enough to get me what I have,” Martin says. “I didn’t stay in there very long, but I didn’t find this group of fish that I found today.
“I went back there today and I had a limit when I got there. I started trolling around and expanded out a little bit and I found this group. We probably caught 20 out of one little area.”
Martin caught his fish today on swim jigs and vibrating jigs.
Top 10 pros:
1. Jason Bonds – Lufkin, Texas – 45-0 (10)
2. Andrew Upshaw – Tulsa, Okla. – 42-8 (10)
3. Casey Sobczak – Willis, Texas – 42-3 (10)
4. Jeff Reynolds – Calera, Okla. – 41-13 (10)
5. Tommy Martin – Hemphill, Texas – 41-2 (10)
6. Ken Smith – Dallas, Texas – 40-15 (10)
7. Kris Wilson – Montgomery, Texas – 40-12 (10)
8. Ray Hanselman – Del Rio, Texas – 40-8 (10)
9. Todd Castledine – Nacogdoches, Texas – 39-11 (10)
10. Billy Billeaud – Lafayette, La. – 38-13 (10)