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franklin county times

Smith secures berth in 2002 All American with 2nd place finish in regional

By Staff
Oct. 26, 2001
Ricky Smith of Collinsville had another banner fishing outing on the Red River last week at the regional bass tournament of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League held near Shreveport, Louisiana. Smith used a solid pattern to consistently catch fish all week on the way to an eventual 2nd place finish, which was worth $5,000.00, and an unprecedented second trip to the All American Tournament. Smith is the first local angler, and probably the only Mississippian, to ever qualify for more than one All American.
During the pre-practice time, Smith scoured the Red River in search of quality fishing habitat. As a result of his first practice round he decided that he wanted to stay away from the standing timber which all looked the same and to distance himself from the crowd.
On his second practice trip he found a key area on Saline Bayou that had black, clear water showing much promise. Several people told him that the locals didn't fish there because there weren't many bass in the bayou. That turned out to be one of the key aspects of his fishing plan. Since the locals didn't like the area, many tournament anglers shied away from it also.
Honey hole
It was during that practice round that Smith found several ledges on outside creek bends that held bass. One key ledge in particular turned out to be the honey hole that propelled him to the All American tournament. In fact more than 25 keeper bass were caught on the spot in 3 days of fishing.
On the first day Smith ran 75 miles one way to get to the fish. Once there, he caught a five fish limit of bass weighing 10 pounds 7 ounces within 15 minutes of arriving at the spot. The fish were located on top of a 10-foot ledge that dropped off into 22 feet of water. His weapon of choice on that day was a Norman Deep Little N in the blue, chartreuse color. The bass were feeding on shad that were suspended about 5 feet deep on top of the ledge.
Day two found him once again on the ledge. The shad had moved deeper off the drop however, and it took him a little longer to pattern the location of the fish. Once he located the bass he changed techniques and cast a Zoom green pumpkin centipede into the deeper water off the ledge. Just as the weight would hit the top of the ledge, the bass would nail the bait.
On the third and final day of the tournament the final 8 anglers fished off against each other with no weight carry-over from the previous days. Once again Smith was right on the money as he caught a quick five-fish limit on worms and crankbaits. His total weight of 9 pounds 3 ounces propelled him into 2nd place and another trip to the All American tournament.
Smiths' choice of fishing areas left him with little fishing time but paid off in the long run. With no other competitors braving the long run through 2 locks, Smith had the fishing area almost to himself until Saturday when a few non-tournament anglers decided to follow him to find out his secret spot. In the final analysis, Smith did his pre-fishing homework and developed a plan and stuck with it until it paid off. "I never thought that I had the fish to win it, but I thought I could catch a limit of fish each day and end up in the top 8 and qualify for my second All American," commented Smith. As it turned out he caught plenty of fish to secure his dream of a berth in the championship tourney.
First place in the tournament went to Tim Carroll of Owasso, Okla., with a 5 fish limit weighing 13 pounds 7 ounces. Carroll won a Chevy Silverado and a Ranger 518vx bass boat. Hank Perkins of Collinsville also had a fine tournament while placing in 10th place overall and narrowly missing an All American berth.
Shane Batton of Jackson took first place honors in the Co-Angler division and won a Ranger Bass boat and a trip to the All American as well. John Breedon of Brandon came in third and won $2,500.00. The 2002 All American will be held next May 29th through June 1st.