LONGVIEW, Texas – A big first-round sack positioned Keith Honeycutt to absorb a plunge in day-two productivity and rebound to victory at the EverStart Series Texas Division tournament on Lake of the Pines.
The co-angler from Temple, Texas, caught a day-one limit of 17 pounds, 5 ounces – the heaviest bag of his division. Entering day two with a 3-13 lead, Honeycutt was in good shape to surge ahead until his pro's outboard failed shortly after takeoff.
"My pro asked 'What do you want to do?' and I said 'Get me to the bank so I can cast this jig around that wood,'" Honeycutt said. "I told him 'Man, I just need to catch one fish to stay in contention to fish on the final day.' Fishing's been really tough down here, but the one fish I caught on day two (1-13) kept me in first place."
On day three, Honeycutt was paired with pro winner Ritter Ferguson, who advised his co-angler partner to keep the tackle simple. Honeycutt did so and caught a final-round limit of 10-2, which boosted him to a winning score of 29-4.
Versatility, Honeycutt said, is intrinsic to winning as a co-angler. He fished shallow days one and two, before casting to 6- to 8-foot depths on day three. His final-round baits were a Texas-rigged Berkley Power Hog and a Berkley Straight Tail Worm on a 1/4-ounce shaky head.
"I caught probably seven or eight keepers today," he said. "I fished a lot different today. I fished deeper today, which is what I wanted. You have the chance to catch a big one out of this place.
"I'm really versatile, as far as my spinning rod goes. That's kind of my fall-back. I only had four today and I kept asking myself 'What do I need to do?' So I picked up my spinning rod and caught two keepers really quick."
Wilson winds up second
In second place Dan Wilson of Pilot Point, Texas, continued his path of improvement. He placed seventh on day one with 8-8, rose to third on day two by catching the same weight for an even 17 pounds. His final-day's weight of 9-10 gave him a tournament total of 26-10.
Flipping stumps and lay-downs in the lake's north end, Wilson caught his day-three fish on a Texas-rigged Strike King Baby Rage Craw. Some competitors mentioned upsizing jigs and Texas rig weights to compensate for the windy conditions of days two and three, but Wilson needed no such adjustments.
"A lot of times, I'd just swim it alongside the lay-downs and stumps," Wilson said. "I caught 10-12 fish this morning. Where we were fishing was a protected area so the wind didn't bother me."
Nelson Moves up to third
Two days in a row, Chuck Nelson of Elmore City, Okla., got key afternoon bites that gave him the weight he needed to make the top-10 and ultimately finish high in the standings. On day two, Nelson caught a 4-pounder around two o'clock and in the final round, a quality fish made him wait until about 30 minutes before check-in.
Nelson caught 7-13 on day one to place ninth. He moved up one spot on day two with 6-15 and rose five more spots on day three with 7-13. He ended his tournament in third place with 22-9.
David Underwood of Waco, Texas, finished fourth with 21-9, while Anthony Ferdinando of Spicewood, Texas, took fifth with 20-15.
Best of the rest
6th: Andrew Crain, of Grapevine, Texas, 18-10
7th: Darrell Denton, of Georgetown, Texas, 16-9
8th: Elton Brock, of Denton, Texas, 15-13
9th: Marc Logan, of Lawton, Okla., 15-2
10th: Kevin Carter, Spring, Texas, 14-13