SHREVEPORT, La. — Aaron Johnson, of Shreveport, La., has a strategy that other local anglers might want to try when fishing tournaments on their home waters.
Johnson decided to skip the final day of practice for the Bass Pro Shops Central Open #2 presented by Allstate on the Red River and went to work instead. Even though he lives close to the river, Johnson said he limits the amount of time he spends on the water.
“The river is pretty rough on my equipment, so I don’t come here that often unless I have a tournament,” said the 41-year-old Johnson. The sales and marketing manager practiced on Saturday but skipped Sunday to spend time with his family. He then resumed practicing Monday and Tuesday and found five spots that were holding bass.
His strategy of fishing the river “only when I have to” paid off today as Johnson amassed a five-fish limit weighing 20 pounds, 8 ounces to take the lead in the boater division of the second Central Opens of 2014. His catch included a 7-13 largemouth that currently leads the Carhartt Big Bass of the tournament race.
Today’s cloudy weather caused the fish to react differently than what Johnson discovered in practice. “I really wanted the sunshine, but it was just out a little bit,” said Johnson, who won a Central Open in 2008 at Kentucky Lake. “The fish really weren’t setting up on the cover, but I was able to figure out how to get them to bite (in the cloudy weather),” he said. “Once I got that figured out, I popped them pretty good.”
A 45-mile one-way run and lock negotiation limited Johnson’s fishing time today. The local angler estimated he had only about 3 1/2 hours to fish, but he made the most of his time. He also has plenty of options available for tomorrow as he only hit one of his five spots today. “I will probably bounce around a little bit more tomorrow just because I have a later flight, so I should have a lot more time to cover more areas,” he said.
Another Shreveport angler, Colby Hand, moved into second place on the pro side with a 16-2 limit. The 36-year-old construction worker said he had a “so-so” practice catching only a couple of good fish here and there, but never really established a pattern.
“I didn’t make any adjustments today really,” said Hand, who ran to about five spots and caught his limit by about 9 a.m.
Rounding out the Top 5 on the pro side are Tommy Murray, Bedford, Texas, in third place with 15-6; Larry Puckett, Decatur, Texas, fourth, 15-4; and Elite Series pro, Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark., fifth, 14-15.
Co-angler Logan Latuso, of Gonzales, La., hopes to repeat what his father Robbie Latuso, a longtime B.A.S.S. Nation angler, did back in 2009 when he won the non-boater division of the Central Open at Toledo Bend. The 20-year-old Latuso, who works for his dad and attends a community college, leads the non-boater division with a three-fish limit weighing 12-5. “I had to grind it out and had the three right bites,” Logan said.
The local host for this event is the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission. Friday and Saturday’s takeoff, as well as Friday’s weigh-in will be held at the Red River South Marina, 200 Red River South Marina Drive, Bossier City, La. The final day weigh-in will move to the Bass Pro Shops at 101 Bass Pro Drive, in Bossier City.
2014 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Title Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
2014 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Presenting Sponsor: Allstate
2014 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Official Sponsors: Toyota, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon,
Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha
2014 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Supporting Sponsors: Boat U.S., Booyah, Carhartt, Diet Mountain Dew, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Plano, Power-Pole, Rigid Industries, Shimano
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), social media programs and events. For more than 45 years,
B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series presented by Allstate, B.A.S.S. Nation events, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series, Bassmaster High School Series, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro.