Watson Wins PAA Table Rock

Category: press release

 Sep 8th, 2013 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Sep 8th, 2013 at 12:00 AM

In the highlight of his pro fishing career, James Watson of Waynesville, Missouri won the Bass Pro Shops PAA Tournament Series tournament on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri today. Watson, who qualified for his first FLW Forrest Wood Cup championship this year, has been on the FLW Tour four years. He’s also been fishing the PAA Series for four years. Only last year, Watson freed up time from his successful real estate business in order to devote more time to his pro fishing career – and he’s fast becoming a formidable force in pro fishing.

On Table Rock today, Watson struggled through the morning until he flipped his first respectable keeper on a War Eagle Heavy Finesse jig on the shoreward side of a boat dock in only a few feet of water to break the ice around 11 o’clock. Watson wasn’t too fazed by the late bite since 1 o’clock has been when his shallow bite got hot the last couple days anyhow.

James Watson setting his hook into one of his winning bass (PAA)

“I just put my head down and went after it…but never really had a good bite today,” admitted Watson. Of the 12.45 pound/five bass limit Watson weighed today, he caught three on a jig, one on a Horny Toad and one on a Super Spook. Watson’s three day winning weight was 44.01.

On Days 1 and Day 2, he caught his fish on basically the same baits as today – the Super Spook, Horny Toad, a Deps Buzzjet and the 3/8 oz War Eagle Heavy Finesse Jig laced with a Luck-E-Strike Baby Guido Bug trailer. He fished mostly topwater but as the event unfolded, Watson found his critical, key fish came on the jig. “You flip that finesse jig up there on floating walkways, the shallowest ones without much water under them, and the bass will take it from there,” smiled the newly-crowned champion of Table Rock Lake.

For winning, Bass Pro Shops and Nitro Boats awarded Watson the keys to a brand new 2013 Nitro Z8 equipped with a Mercury 225 Optimax (retail value of $36,000). Matt Reed, President of the PAA presented Watson with a $3,000 check for a total first place prize package valued at $39,000.

Shane Long finished second and Casey Scanlon third.

Long who lives in Willard, Missouri had one miscue and broke off a five-pounder today that cost him the tournament. Long had previously won the PAA event on Table Rock Lake in 2010. He caught seven keepers today. The five he weighed brought Long’s three day tally to 42.02 pounds, only 1.99 behind Watson.

Long fished shallow all day – and throughout the tournament – with a finesse jig. “They would be either behind a boat dock or in a bush, or under a laydown or just in a shady spot.” He caught fish in six inches of water to about four feet at the most.

Long credits his Typhoon sunglasses as his key to the whole week. “I saw close to half the fish that took my bait this week. I would see ’em and throw over there and catch them.”

His other key was sticking with the finesse jig. “Every fish I weighed came on the jig. It’s a confidence thing for me, and it catches big fish. I just stayed with it all week.” Long used a 5/16 oz. Luck-E-Strike finesse jig in green pumpkin with a little craw on it. “It’s nothing fancy but they eat it,” Long chuckled.

In third place, Casey Scanlon of Lenexa, Kansas had the heaviest limit on Day 3, weighing 15.82 pounds for a three day total was 41.31.

Scanlon fished shallow with a topwater in his hand. He primarily relied on a popper and a frog throughout the event.

Scanlon keyed on two things along the bank. First, small pockets. “The spots holding fish would have something like big boulders or laydowns on them. As the week progressed, I just developed an eye for which ones they might be on, and I ran water looking for those,” explained Scanlon. Second, he fished the shoreward sides of boat docks. “If I came across a boat dock, I’d fish behind the dock and that’s it. I didn’t throw anywhere else. I’d just fish behind the dock and get out of there. That’s basically what I did all week,” revealed Casey.

In fourth place, only 7/100ths behind Scanlon, Jeff Hager of Alexis, NC caught all his fish this week by flipping and swimming jigs shallow.

Other top finishers did concentrate on deep bass for a good percentage of their catches. Stacey King in sixth used a streamlined, pointy-nosed ¾ oz jig to probe snaggy brushpiles from 15 to 25 feet deep. He also used a Jika Rig with a Bass Pro Shops River Bug soft bait. Shin Fukae in seventh place relied heavily on a 10-inch Texas-rigged worm dropped deep into the heart of brushpiles from 20 to 25 feet down. Kelly Power in ninth relied mainly on ¾ oz football jigs to coax quick reaction strikes from bass in clearer water anywhere from 15 to 20 feet deep.

Whether they fished shallow or deep, a good time was had by all in Branson, Missouri this week. Speaking on behalf of all the PAA anglers here this week, we thank the event hosts, Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and CVB, Bass Pro Shops at Branson Landing and Ramada Branson for their hospitality. The PAA hopes to return to beautiful Table Rock Lake and Branson in the future.

Results for the top 16 pros who fished Day 3 are:

Rank     First Name     Last Name     Hometown     State     Day 3 Weight     Total Weight     Behind
1     James     Watson     Waynesville     MO     12.45     44.01      
2     Shane     Long     Willard     MO     12.37     42.02     -1.99
3     Casey     Scanlon     Lenexa     KS     15.82     41.31     -2.70
4     Jeff     Hager     Alexis     NC     14.84     41.24     -2.77
5     Jim     Dillard     Houston     AR     11.85     39.85     -4.16
6     Stacey     King     Reeds Spring     MO     12.12     39.68     -4.33
7     Shinichi     Fukae     Palestine     TX     13.32     38.54     -5.47
8     Brandon     Coulter     Knoxville     TN     13.16     35.72     -8.29
9     Kelly     Power     Cape Fair     MO     9.16     34.38     -9.63
10     Fred     Roumbanis     Bixby     OK     9.30     34.29     -9.72
11     Eric     Olliverson     Lampe     MO     12.61     33.87     -10.14
12     Brian     Snowden     Reeds Spring     MO     6.83     32.84     -11.17
13     Tommy     Brown     Louisville     TN     11.52     32.10     -11.91
14     Mike     McClelland     Bella Vista     AR     10.16     31.72     -12.29
15     Matt     Jones     Spokane     MO     5.76     27.33     -16.68
16     Matt     Reed     Madisonville     TX     1.62     25.33     -18.68
The event paid 16 places. For a full list of pro results visit www.FishPAA.com

More like this