SHREVEPORT, La. — A change in his practice methods for the Bass Pro Shops Central Open #2 presented by Allstate on the Red River is paying off for Gerald Spohrer.
Last year the Gonzalez, La., angler ran the banks in practice and tried to make a milk run of spots during the tournament. However, he found crowds on most of those spots and eventually finished 49th in the Open.
This year, Spohrer looked for more offshore targets in practice, a strategy that has him leading the pro division with 28 pounds, 14 ounces.
“I spent my whole practice fishing stuff where I thought the tournament would be won,” he said. “I know this river very well, and I have a lot of experience here. I gambled and found some sweet spots that were holding some big ones.” Whenever he got a bite in practice, he marked a waypoint in the oxbows he was fishing, and each competition day he has keyed on those waypoints.
The change in weather from clouds and wind Thursday to sunshine and a light breeze on Friday made it easier for the 32-year-old Spohrer to work his area. “I had a problem with the wind yesterday,” said Spohrer, who had a 13-5 limit the first day. “It was blowing about 25 mph out of the south, and I was fishing the northern end of an oxbow.”
The rough water made it difficult to see the stumps he was trying to target, but today he was able to locate the stumps easier and caught a heavier limit (15-9) while flipping to wood cover. “The sun is positioning the fish on the stumps,” Spohrer said. Thursday and Friday he spent a couple of hours fishing the stump field to catch bigger fish and then moved to other spots to complete his limit.
“Tomorrow I might just stay in that area all day,” Spohrer said.
Defending 2013 Red River Central Open champion Stephen Browning barely made the Top 12 cut last year but is currently sitting in second place with 28-8 this year. The Bassmaster Elite Series pro said he is doing the same thing he did the final day of last year’s event. Only this time, he has a crowd with him. “I had a lot of company today, but it is what it is,” he said. “You can’t claim the whole pond. I just kept my head down and kept fishing.”
The rest of the Top 5 in the pro division are Elite Series pro Jeff Kriet, Ardmore, Okla., in third place with 27-8; first-day leader Aaron Johnson, Shreveport, La., fourth, 27-7; and Tommy Murray, Bedford, Texas, fifth, 26-0.
Co-angler Logan Latuso, of Gonzalez, La., kept his lead by catching a small limit of 4 pounds, 11 ounces to give him a two-day total of 17 pounds. The Louisiana angler failed to catch a fish until 12:30 p.m. and finally completed his limit by about 2 o’clock.
“I was able to fish about the same stuff today, but I had to really slow down today because it was a lot tougher bite,” he said.
The Allstate Good Hands, Great Day award of $250 was presented to pro angler Gary Clouse, of La Vergne, Tenn., in honor of climbing the most positions in the standings from Day 1 to Day 2.
Michael Robinson, of Carter, Okla., earned the co-angler Allstate Good Hands, Great Day award of $150 for his jump in the standings on Day 2.
The Livingston Lures Leader award of $250 was presented to the pro angler in the lead on Day 2, Spohrer. The leader of the Day 2 co-angler side, Latuso, received a Livingston Lures gift pack valued at $250.
Tomorrow’s launch will be held at the Red River South Marina, 200 Red River South Marina Drive, Bossier City, La.. The weigh-in will move to the Bass Pro Shops, 100 Bass Pro Drive, in Bossier City, and will begin at 3:30 p.m. CT.
Hosting this open is the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission.
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.
Get the full standings here.