Lone Star Outdoor News  

Tournament Fishing Success; Father, Like SonStephen and Wayne Johnston at the weigh-in during the FLW Stren event on Lake Amistad.

Written by Robin Keyton Edited by Craig Nyhus

Photo by Jennifer Simmons FLW Outdoors


Wednesday, 04 April 2007

It is an iconic American scene - the father/son fishing trip. It brings families together and binds them though a shared passion. And once in a while, it sends them on a road trip with a lucrative outcome.

After spending years fishing professionally as a tournament angler and outdoor guide in East Texas, Port Arthur native Stephen Johnston is no stranger to tournament trails. But Wayne, his father, is a newcomer.

Stephen, now from Hemphill, has made his living as a fishing and hunting guide at Toledo Bend Reservoir and Sam Rayburn since 1994. Since childhood, he has fished with his father, and since his teen-age years, he has fished tournaments.

Wayne’s retired last spring from a career in the oil and chemical industries, and was put to work in Stephen’s guide business.

In January, Stephen competed in the Texas Tournament Trail event held on Lake Amistad. Wayne tagged along and entered as a co-angler.

In February, Stephen competed in the FLW Stren Series event on Lake Sam Rayburn. For this four-day event anglers’ daily catches are accrue through the first three days. The field is then cut to ten for the final day.

It was not out of the ordinary for Stephen to call his father and report that he has done well in a tournament, or that he has a weigh-in he’d like the family to attend. Stephen had done well on the first day of competition, holding second place. On day two, he improved to lead the field by two and a half pounds. On day three, he increased his lead to three pounds.

That is when the call was made. “You and momma should be here tomorrow. I believe I can win this one.”

And he did, with his entire family cheering from the bleachers set up on the Wal-Mart parking lot in Jasper.

In March, the Stren Series’ next stop was Amistad. This time, Wayne proved to be more than just a supporter of his son.

The conclusion of day one of competition saw Wayne in 47th Place in a field of 199 co-anglers while Stephen ranked 39th on the pro side. On day two, both improved as Wayne brought in 22 pounds and Stephen 23, moving Stephen into the top ten. On day three, Wayne moved in to the top ten and Stephen held his ground.

With the entire family watching both father and son via live Internet video feed, they made their way to the scales. Wayne settled in 5th place overall, netting a nice check. Stephen also finished 5th on the professional side.

From the podium, weigh-master Ron Lappin asked the senior Johnston who was the better angler. The reply came with a big smile. “Well, I am, of course; I taught him everything he knows.”

Photo by Jennifer Simmons FLW Outdoors
Stephen and Wayne Johnston at the weight-in during the FLW Stren event on Lake Amistad.