Stephen Browning was the last angler into the 12-cut Friday at the Red River Bassmaster Central Open. On Saturday, he surpassed all 11 anglers who began the final day in front of him to claim the trophy, the top prize package and a berth in the 2014 Classic.
The veteran Arkansas pro caught a 16-10 sack on day 3 to finish with a 40-10 total.
The good Lord blessed me to even be standing here today,” he said said. “(Friday), with about 5 minutes left, I caught about a 5-pounder and only had two (other) fish. I don’t know why, but during the last two tournaments, right at the end of the day when I really needed one, sometimes I would just say a prayer, and He answered them. He answered them today because I was struggling big-time.”
Retrieving a square-bill crankbait at high speed in an erratic fashion, he keyed on driftwood laydowns in 3 to 5 feet of water close to sandbar drops. “I crashed it into everything I could possibly crash it into,” he said.
Most of his strikes came after the lure deflected off the wood. Earlier in the week, he caught some of his keepers on a Z-Man ChatterBait. Full details of his winning pattern will be published soon.
Below are the final totals for the Top 12:
1. Stephen Browning: 40-10
2. Wesley Strader: 38-12
3. Ken Iyobe: 38-08
4. Randall Tharp: 37-10
5. Mike Pedroza: 36-00
6. Chad Morgenthaler: 35-14
7. Justin Lucas: 35-13
8. Mike Iaconelli: 34-06
9. Roy Sanford: 33-04
10. Peter Daniels: 33-04
11. Craig Schuff: 29-04
12. Roger Richter: 27-01