angler-article-ina (February 17, 2015) - Lucas Oil Pro Stephen Johnston struggled on day one, when he only caught four keepers for 7 pounds, 13 ounces. He battled back on Friday and Saturday with back to back limits of more than 14 pounds thanks to calmer conditions, sunshine and warming water that pushed more fish into his prespawn staging drain. His efforts boosted him to finish in 7th Place overall in the field of 112 professional anglers competing in the event.

“It seemed like the water really warmed up where I started [in the drain],” Johnston said at Saturday’s weigh-in. “It was 55 degrees, but the first day it was only 50. I saw some fish chasing today.

“I was finally able to move up shallow enough to put my Minn Kota Talons down, and I slowfished in a creek bend in 6 to 10 feet. Overnight the fish went from 14 feet and moved shallow. As the water warmed up, they kept moving. I didn’t know those fish were that shallow until I saw some come up schooling.

Johnston’s best drain was about 75 yards long. He also had a backup staging point outside of a main-lake pocket, but in both areas the key was a slow dragging presentation with a Texas-rigged V&M Chopstick worm in the watermelon seed color. He also caught a few keepers on a Strike King 1.0 square-bill crankbait around flooded huisache bushes.

This event was the first stop in a three tournament series in which the Lucas Oil Pro will compete. The next stop will be on Johnston’s home lake of Sam Rayburn in April before drawing to a close on Lake Texoma in May. Points earned in each event will qualify the top 35 anglers in the division for a Championship event to be held on the Ohio River in October.

Follow this series and others in which Johnston competes at

Television Schedule

Saturday, December 15
6:00 PM
- Chandler, AZ
Sunday, December 30
3:00 PM
- Chandler, AZ
Sunday, January 6
3:00 PM
- Chandler, AZ