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Texas Fish & Game 2007 Article:

ALMANAC: Johnston Dominates Rayburn FLW Event!

By Matt Williams

Published February 2007

TOURNAMENT INSIDER

How do you turn 20 bass into a lucrative $69,500 payday?

Three steps:

1. Buy a 2004 or newer Ranger bass boat.

2. Ante up the $825 entry fee to compete on the pro side of an FLW Outdoors Stren Series bass tournament.

3. Start reeling in the big ones.

Hemphill bass pro Stephen Johnston made winning look easy as he blew the doors wide open in the 2007 Texas Division Stren Series season opener on Sam Rayburn Reservoir.

Johnston, a 16-year veteran Toledo Bend fishing guide and tournament pro, sacked up more than 70 pounds of bass over four days to claim the championship crown with a cushion of nearly 12 pounds over second-place finisher Shane Gibson of Kilgore.

“I had a great tournament,” Johnston said. “I was beginning to wonder if I was ever going to win one of these deals or not. Everyone always told me it would happen when it was my time. I’m glad my time finally rolled around.”

Johnston said he relied on a couple of patterns to seal the deal. He threw a 1/2-ounce Sebile Flat Shad lipless crankbait around inside grasslines during the opening round, then switched to a watermelon/red Texas-rigged lizard after falling water levels made the fish reluctant to chase.

Johnston’s first big league win earned him a major league payday. In addition to the guaranteed $25,000 cash prize, he won a fully rigged Ranger 519VX and another $4500 cash because he met all the contingency guidelines.

Gibson’s 58-7 total won him $10,000. He was followed by Jim Guzman of Coldspring with 53-0 and $9000; Randy Millenger of Teague, 52-11, $8000; and Charles Haralson of Laredo, Texas 52-8, $7000.

Kerry Barnett of Waldon, Arkansas, won the co-angler division with 52-8 and $5000. Barnett was followed in the standings by Bill Rogers of Jasper, 43-1, $4000; Ray Peace of Arlington, 40-11, $3250; Alan Moore of Lufkin, 40-8, $2500; and Bill Guillory of Jasper, 39-8, $2000.

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E-mail Matt Williams at freshwater@fishgame.com


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