Bassmaster Elite Series pro Stephen Browning positioned himself just out of the lead after two days of fishing yesterday, and capitalized today to win the Red River Bassmaster Central Open for the second year in a row.
His three-day total of 44 pounds, 3 ounces earned Browning a $40,000 boat package plus almost $10,000 in cash.
Gonzales’ Gerald Spohrer, who possessed a slim lead going into the tournament’s finale, wrapped up in second with 40-12, while first-day leader Aaron Johnson of Shreveport ended up in third with 40-2.
Texas’ Keith Combs took fourth with 37-11, and Pineville’s Chad Wiley rounded out the Top 5.
Click 2014 Red River Bassmaster Central Open results to see complete results.
The area Browning caught all of his big fish on the final day of the tournament in 2013 proved to be the key spot for Browning this year, as well.
The Arkansas pro started today with a small limit while his co-angler partner, Keith Glasby of Texas, got off to a fast start.
“Keith (who won the co-angler division) was putting it on me pretty hard and heavy, and I just kept telling myself to just breathe,” Browning said. “It was one of those deals where you have an area and a bait that you have a lot of confidence in, but if you start to scramble you are more than likely going to tank.
“I just kept that little plug in my hand and kept winding it around.”
Browning remained patient, knowing the sun would position his fish close to the wood cover from about 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“There was a magic moment of about 30 to 45 minutes when it all happened,” said Browning, who was able to cull all of the fish he had caught earlier.
On Thursday, Browning caught most of his fish on a 1/2-ounce chartreuse-and-white War Eagle spinnerbait when the wind was blowing. But when the skies turned sunny and calm on Friday and Saturday, Browning relied on the same lure (a sexy shad 3 1/2-inch square-bill crankbait) that made him a winner last year.
Flipping a Texas-rigged Missile Baits Tomahawk plastic worm in a lovebug color to stumps produced a second-place finish for Spohrer.
“I pretty much stuck with the same thing (all three days),” he said. “I didn’t scramble as much today as I had been doing the last couple of days.”
Co-angler Glasby won his second Open co-angler title with 22-8 and took home a Triton 17 Pro/Yamaha F115LA rig worth $25,000.
“My bread and butter was a little Bandit Series 100 crankbait in chartreuse with a black back,” said Glasby, who also won the 2012 Open as a co-angler at Lewisville Lake. “Today I switched up fishing behind Stephen Browning, who is so efficient, so I went with a little (Carolina) rig with a Senko on it.”