Walters Targets Timber For Lake Fork Lead

QUITMAN, Texas — Patrick Walters said he believes there are fish on every piece of standing timber in Lake Fork, but dialing in the right scenario allowed him to take the Day 2 lead at the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department with a total of 52 pounds, 12 ounces.


Patrick Walters, of Summerville, S.C., is leading after Day 2 of the 2020 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks & Wildlife Department on Lake Fork with a two-day total of 52 pounds, 12 ounces. 

                                                           Photo by Seigo Saito/B.A.S.S.

Walters positioned himself well on Day 1 with a second-place limit of 25-14 and trailed Rick Clunn by 3-6. Adding 26-14 today, the Summerville, S.C., angler carries a lead of 11-3 into Semifinal Saturday.

Returning to the standing timber he fished on Day 1, Walters enjoyed a fast start with a limit of 18-15 by about 8:30. His second catch, a 6-1, got his day going in the right direction.

“That made me feel pretty good, catching that 6-1 first thing; it was like, ‘Okay, they’re still here and they’ll still bite,’” Walters said. “I was worried that the big fish just bit yesterday because of weather or something, so I had no idea what I was going to be able to catch.

“It was good to know they would bite again today. Yesterday, I caught a 4-pounder off that same tree where I caught the 6-1 today.”

Walters said that amid the fields of standing timber, he’s looking for a particular type of structure. He declined to elaborate but noted that the right spots also held bait schools. Finding the fish positioned at the right feeding depth meant it was game-on.

“I also checked some of my other areas that I found in practice,” Walters said. “Everywhere on this entire lake has fish. When you set the boat down, there are fish there. You just have to figure out how to catch them.

“I just needed to expand to make sure I wasn’t missing a better area. You don’t know where the bite’s at, so you have to keep putting your feelers out.”

Walters caught his fish on a Rapala Shadow Rap, complemented by Duo Realis and Megabass jerkbaits. Each one had a role to play, based on bait action, depth and sky conditions.

“You have to show them the buffet,” Walters said. “These fish in Texas like to eat, but they’re very picky at the hog trough.

“You have to let the fish do the talking. When that bait’s right, they’re going to eat it. When it’s not right, they’ll just follow it.”

Walters noted that a lot of his fish weren’t eating the bait well; they were just swatting at it. Around 1 o’clock, this noncommittal behavior created a tense moment when a lengthy fight ended with Walters boating a 5-10 that was skin-hooked on the top of the head by a single treble hook barb.

“At that point, I really needed a good cull, so I went into the back of a pocket where I had some good ones follow my bait in practice,” Walters said. “I saw that fish (on my electronics) and she started chasing my bait. Today, they’d chase the bait for 30 feet and then they’d just turn down.

“I was just working it, working it, working it and at the last minute she grabbed it. I saw it was skin-hooked — and I’ve lost several fish on treble hooks — so it had me worried.”

Ed Loughran of Richmond, Va., is in second place with 41-9. Improving from fifth, he added 19-12 to his Day 1 weight of 21-13. Loughran said he did most of his work after noon.

“I had one fish for 1 1/2 pounds at 12:30 and I was going down a row of docks where another angler had just left,” Loughran said. “I know what the other angler does, so I went over to a dock where I had a fish in practice and threw something a little different and caught a 5-pounder about 3 minutes after he left.”

Knowing he had likely made the Top-40 cut, Loughran decided to finish out his day in an area where he’d caught several big fish. A 30-minute flurry produced a 6-pounder, a 5 and a 3.

Loughran caught his fish on a 3/8-ounce Z-Man ChatterBait JackHammer with a Missile Baits Shockwave Trailer, as well as a drop shot with a Missile Baits Fuse.

Chad Pipkens of Lansing, Mich., is in third place with 41-2. After placing 13th on Day 1 with 17-11, Pipkens landed 23-7 today. Starting on a large timber flat in 14 to 17 feet that he called a “feeding place,” Pipkens caught a 6-8 on his third cast.

“Yesterday, I went to this place with about an hour left and in 10 casts caught a 2-pounder, a 4-pounder, a 5-pounder and lost one over 6,” Pipkens said. “Today, I started there and then went shallow. I came back later in the day, but nothing. I came back 40 minutes later and caught three big ones.”

Pipkens caught one of his fish flipping shallow cover. The rest, he caught on crankbaits.

Seth Feider of New Market, Minn., is in the lead for Toyota Tundra Big Bass honors with his 9-9 caught on Day 1.

Clark Wendlandt of Leander, Texas, leads the Bassmaster Elite Series Angler of the Year standings with 689 points, while David Mullins of Mt. Carmel, Tenn., follows in second with 677. Walters is third with 669, Jake Whitaker of Fairview, N.C., is fourth with 668 and Austin Felix of Eden Prairie, Minn., is fifth with 651.

Saturday’s takeoff is scheduled for 6:40 a.m. CT at Sabine River Authority (SRA) — Lake Fork. The weigh-in will be held back at the SRA — Lake Fork at 3 p.m.

Live coverage of the event will start at 8 a.m. on and ESPN3.

The tournament is being hosted by the Sabine River Authority and Wood County Economic Development Commission.

2020 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2020 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Abu Garcia, Berkley, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Ranger Boats, Skeeter Boats, Talon, Yamaha

2020 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Bass Pro Shops, Carhartt, Garmin, Huk Performance Fishing, Mossy Oak Fishing, Rapala

2020 Bassmaster Elite Series Conservation Partners: AFTCO, Huk

2020 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest Local Hosts: Sabine River Authority, Wood County Economic Development Commission

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