By John Johnson
BassFan Senior Editor

Only four competitors at last week's Grand Lake Southwestern FLW Series weighed a limit on all three days. All current or former tour-level pros, they were the 2nd-, 3rd-, 4th- and 6th-place finishers.

The winner, 47-year-old Curt Warren of Rose, Okla., brought only four fish to the scale on each of the first two days. He finally weighed a full bag on the final day, and the 15-09 stringer was enough to give him the victory with a 46-07 total.

He finished 1-06 ahead of MLF pro Jason Christie, who'd led after the first day with a tournament-best 22-10 stringer but was eventually forced to settle for a runner-up finish.

"I just kind of stuck to my game," said Warren, who operates a construction firm. "I knew the bite was going to be tough shallow or deep, and I like to fish deep. I thought it could be won by getting five, six or seven bites a day, and even if I only had four I could get 15 or 16 pounds, and that's what happened on the first two days.

"Even on the last day, I told everyone that I wasn't going out to fish for keepers. I was fishing for 25 pounds and if I don't catch them, I don't catch them."

Had Previous Success

Warren, who completed his second year on the Southwestern Series, finished 8th in the Grand event in 2018. He won a BFL on the lake the previous year.

This victory was his most significant from an individual standpoint, but he's had several big triumphs in team tournaments with partner John Pilcher in events put on by Nichols Marine, Skeeter, etc.

He and Pilcher shared some water during the Series derby (Pilcher finished 27th). On Saturday, while Warren was competing in the final round with the rest of the top 10, Pilcher was soloing it in a team tournament and avoiding that water. He was rejoined by Warren for the finale of that event on Sunday.

"He had a hard time (on Saturday) because he laid off that water and let me have it," Warren said. "We had an agreement that if one of us made the cut, the other one would fish different stuff (to start the team event). It left us some ground to make up."

Quality Over Quantity

Warren, whose home is about an hour's drive from the launch ramp in Grove, had a good practice day on the Sunday prior to the tournament, then stayed off the water on Monday. He sought out other patterns that would produce keepers on Monday and Tuesday, but had little success.

His Sunday exploits convinced him to focus on water in the 15- to 30-foot depth range. The cover was big chunk rock, along with green brush that he and Pilcher had placed in various locations.

"That's something we do in the fall to get a little bit of an edge," he said of the brush-planting program. "We put them in places that aren't hot spots to try to draw fish to those places."

His pattern required him to fish painstakingly slow with a 3/4-ounce jig. That tactic accounted for 11 of his weigh-in fish the other two were enticed by a spinnerbait in schooling scenarios.

"I fished about as slow as a jig can possibly be fished. I told my co-anglers that I was counting rocks."

He got seven bites on the final day and hooked six of them. He lost a 5-pounder about 10 feet from the boat that he figured would cost him any chance of victory.

He didn't have a fish in his livewell at noon, then caught the five that he weighed between that point and 1:30.

"I never had another bite after that the window was very narrow," he said. "On the prior days I'd caught a couple early and that kept me settled down, but (day 3) was a pretty trying day.

"I know (Christie) well enough that I knew he'd be swinging to catch a big bag after struggling the day before. He fishes only for first place and I just had to catch as much as I could and not worry about what he was doing. It could easily have been him (who won) and not me."

Winning Gear Notes

> Jig gear: 7'4" extra-heavy Falcon Expert Series Amistad rod, Quantum EXO 200 casting reel, 22-pound Sunline Shooter fluorocarbon line, 3/4-ounce Bass X football-head jig (kicker craw), NetBait Pack Chunk, Strike King Rage Chunk or Zoom Brush Hog trailer (green-pumpkin or watermelon candy).

> His spinnerbait was an older 1/2-ounce model with silver double willow-leaf blades. "I only threw it when the shad came to the surface and the fish were chasing them."

Much of the tackle referenced above is available at the BassFan Store. To browse the selection, click here..



Final Standings

1. Curt Warren -- Rose, Ok -- 14-5 (4) -- 16-9 (4) -- 15-9 (5) -- 46-7 (13) -- $77,175

2. Jason Christie -- Park Hill, Ok -- 22-10 (5) -- 9-13 (5) -- 12-10 (5) -- 45-1 (15) -- $12,027

3. Toby Hartsell -- Afton, Ok -- 17-14 (5) -- 11-13 (5) -- 12-4 (5) -- 41-15 (15) -- $9,085

4. Bradley Hallman -- Norman, Ok -- 13-11 (5) -- 14-10 (5) -- 12-0 (5) -- 40-5 (15) -- $7,571

5. Cody Bird -- Granbury, Tx -- 19-3 (5) -- 13-11 (5) -- 6-8 (3) -- 39-6 (13) -- $6,814

6. Jeremy Lawyer -- Sarcoxie, Mo -- 13-14 (5) -- 11-6 (5) -- 11-1 (5) -- 36-5 (15) -- $6,057

7. Marcus Sykora -- Osage Beach, Mo -- 10-9 (5) -- 15-2 (5) -- 10-2 (4) -- 35-13 (14) -- $5,300

8. Lance Crawford -- Broken Bow, Ok -- 12-10 (5) -- 12-0 (4) -- 6-11 (2) -- 31-5 (11) -- $4,542

9. Allen Head -- Pryor, Ok -- 8-2 (4) -- 18-13 (5) -- 4-5 (2) -- 31-4 (11) -- $3,785

10. Paul Heavener -- Tulsa, Ok -- 14-11 (5) -- 10-4 (5) -- 3-8 (2) -- 28-7 (12) -- $3,028

The following anglers did not make the cut and did not fish on day 3.

11. Darrel Robertson -- Jay, Ok -- 11-5 (3) -- 13-4 (4) -- 0-0 (0) -- 24-9 (7) -- $2,839

12. Todd Castledine -- Nacogdoches, Tx -- 18-6 (5) -- 5-14 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 24-4 (8) -- $2,650

13. James Biggs -- Euless, Tx -- 13-2 (5) -- 9-10 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 22-12 (10) -- $2,271

14. Dakota Ebare -- Denham Springs, La -- 10-13 (5) -- 11-15 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 22-12 (10) -- $2,271

15. Casey Scanlon -- Lake Ozark, Mo -- 10-14 (5) -- 11-3 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 22-1 (10) -- $2,271

16. Sheldon Collings -- Grove, Ok -- 7-7 (4) -- 14-0 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 21-7 (9) -- $2,271

17. Shane Long -- Willard, Mo -- 9-15 (5) -- 11-0 (4) -- 0-0 (0) -- 20-15 (9) -- $2,271

18. Brandon Mosley -- Choctaw, Ok -- 11-13 (5) -- 9-1 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 20-14 (8) -- $2,271

19. Joe Beebee -- The Woodlands, Tx -- 5-4 (3) -- 14-12 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 20-0 (8) -- $2,271

20. Rick Clunn -- Ava, Mo -- 9-0 (5) -- 10-2 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 19-2 (10) -- $2,271

21. Roger Hughes -- Bartlesville, Ok -- 12-4 (5) -- 6-2 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 18-6 (8) -- $2,082

22. Rob Burns -- Plano, Tx -- 7-1 (3) -- 11-0 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 18-1 (8) -- $2,082

23. Mitchell Webb -- Skiatook, Ok -- 13-3 (5) -- 4-13 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 18-0 (8) -- $2,082

24. Dicky Newberry -- Houston, Tx -- 5-7 (3) -- 12-7 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 17-14 (8) -- $2,082

25. Kyle Cortiana -- Coweta, Ok -- 5-4 (3) -- 12-8 (4) -- 0-0 (0) -- 17-12 (7) -- $2,082

26. Andrew Upshaw -- Tulsa, Ok -- 9-2 (5) -- 8-6 (4) -- 0-0 (0) -- 17-8 (9) -- $1,893

27. John Pilcher -- Kansas, Ok -- 13-7 (3) -- 3-9 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 17-0 (4)

28. Kirk Smith -- Edmond, Ok -- 12-15 (5) -- 3-13 (4) -- 0-0 (0) -- 16-12 (9)

29. Darold Gleason -- Many, La -- 14-1 (5) -- 2-10 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 16-11 (6)

30. Skeeter Fowler -- Grand Saline, Tx -- 10-15 (5) -- 5-10 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 16-9 (7)

31. Douglas R. Johnson -- Ponca City, Ok -- 13-11 (5) -- 2-13 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 16-8 (6)

32. Jake Ormond -- Sterlington, La -- 9-5 (3) -- 7-0 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 16-5 (6)

33. James Watson -- Lampe, Mo -- 5-12 (3) -- 10-7 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 16-3 (8)

34. Kyle Hall -- Rio Vista, Tx -- 6-7 (3) -- 9-12 (4) -- 0-0 (0) -- 16-3 (7)

35. Eric Wright -- Balch Springs, Tx -- 10-10 (5) -- 5-8 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 16-2 (7)

36. Eric Faucett -- Norman, Ok -- 7-15 (2) -- 8-2 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 16-1 (5)

37. Michael Matthee -- Centurion, Gp -- 12-6 (5) -- 3-9 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 15-15 (7)

38. Jeff Reynolds -- Calera, Ok -- 10-10 (4) -- 5-4 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 15-14 (7)

39. Jason Bonds -- Lufkin, Tx -- 12-7 (5) -- 3-3 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 15-10 (7)

40. Tim Reneau -- Richland Springs, Tx -- 8-1 (3) -- 7-5 (4) -- 0-0 (0) -- 15-6 (7)

41. Steve Oram -- Hallsville, Tx -- 11-6 (3) -- 3-14 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 15-4 (4)

42. Mike Richardson -- Thorndale, Tx -- 6-6 (3) -- 8-10 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 15-0 (6)

43. Alton Wilhoit -- Noble, Ok -- 11-0 (4) -- 3-11 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 14-11 (6)

44. Charles Whited -- San Marcos, Tx -- 9-1 (4) -- 5-7 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 14-8 (6)

45. Chad Warren -- Sand Springs, Ok -- 6-4 (2) -- 8-4 (4) -- 0-0 (0) -- 14-8 (6)

46. Brad Cook -- Afton, Ok -- 5-5 (3) -- 8-9 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 13-14 (6)

47. Patrick Vince -- Ethel, La -- 12-0 (5) -- 1-13 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 13-13 (6)

48. James Laramore -- Vidor, Tx -- 2-1 (1) -- 11-4 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 13-5 (6)

49. Jim Dillard -- West Monroe, La -- 11-5 (5) -- 1-14 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 13-3 (6)

50. Matt Pangrac -- Broken Arrow, Ok -- 6-12 (3) -- 6-6 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 13-2 (6)

51. Jeff Sprague -- Point, Tx -- 4-0 (2) -- 9-1 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 13-1 (5)

52. Blake Schroeder -- Whitehouse, Tx -- 3-4 (1) -- 9-10 (4) -- 0-0 (0) -- 12-14 (5) -- $1,500

53. Kevin Ledoux -- Choctaw, Ok -- 3-14 (1) -- 8-13 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 12-11 (4)

54. Tyson Patrick -- Mccamey, Tx -- 8-8 (4) -- 4-0 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 12-8 (6)

55. Cole Moore -- Anacoco, La -- 4-9 (2) -- 7-15 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 12-8 (7)

56. David Holbrook -- Lake Ozark, Mo -- 3-7 (2) -- 8-5 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 11-12 (5)

57. James Marsh -- Thomas, Ok -- 1-11 (1) -- 9-12 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 11-7 (4)

58. Kelly Owens -- Crowley, La -- 11-2 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 11-2 (5)

59. Lendell Martin Jr -- Nacogdoches, Tx -- 5-2 (2) -- 5-10 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 10-12 (5)

60. Craig Workman -- Fort Worth, Tx -- 10-9 (4) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 10-9 (4)

61. Jeff Ragsdale -- Gardendale, Al -- 2-9 (1) -- 7-14 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 10-7 (4) -- $1,000

62. Caleb Gibson -- Tahlequah, Ok -- 0-0 (0) -- 10-2 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 10-2 (5)

63. Russell Cecil -- Willis, Tx -- 9-12 (4) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 9-12 (4)

64. David Wencil -- Buda, Tx -- 5-3 (2) -- 4-1 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 9-4 (4)

65. Terry Luedtke -- Burton, Tx -- 7-5 (3) -- 1-14 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 9-3 (4)

66. Josh Bensema -- Willis, Tx -- 3-0 (1) -- 6-1 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 9-1 (4)

67. Cameron Mattison -- Bossier City, La -- 4-8 (3) -- 4-8 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 9-0 (5)

68. Steve Tennison -- Lexington, Ok -- 2-10 (1) -- 6-3 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 8-13 (4)

69. Joe Gerard -- Concordia, Ks -- 5-7 (2) -- 3-1 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 8-8 (4)

70. Michael Bennett -- Mustang, Ok -- 6-0 (2) -- 2-4 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 8-4 (3)

71. Trevor Toliver -- Sapulpa, Ok -- 5-13 (3) -- 2-0 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 7-13 (4)

72. Woodard Chance -- Paris, Tx -- 4-8 (1) -- 2-10 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 7-2 (2)

73. William Blaine -- San Angelo, Tx -- 3-6 (2) -- 3-5 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 6-11 (4)

74. Steven Gilliam -- Blanchard, Ok -- 1-5 (1) -- 4-14 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 6-3 (3)

75. James Caldemeyer -- Gilmer, Tx -- 5-12 (2) -- 0-0 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 5-12 (5)

76. Jordan Lane -- Conroe, Tx -- 5-12 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 5-12 (2)

77. Roy Whisenhunt -- Valliant, Ok -- 5-11 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 5-11 (3)

78. Charley Slaton -- Valliant, Ok -- 5-9 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 5-9 (2)

79. Victor Martinez -- Laredo, Tx -- 2-11 (1) -- 2-14 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 5-9 (2)

80. T.R. Andreas -- Kerrville, Tx -- 1-14 (1) -- 3-9 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 5-7 (3)

81. Bronk McDaniel -- Alexandria, La -- 5-5 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 5-5 (3)

82. Gary Riffle -- Paris, Tx -- 5-3 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 5-3 (3)

83. Randy Cisler -- Mesquite, Tx -- 3-4 (2) -- 1-15 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 5-3 (3)

84. Colby Miller -- Elmer, La -- 0-0 (0) -- 4-12 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 4-12 (1)

85. Cody Greaney -- Manchaca, Tx -- 3-4 (2) -- 1-8 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 4-12 (3)

86. Tommy Martin -- Hemphill, Tx -- 2-0 (1) -- 2-12 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 4-12 (3)

87. Justin Wojcik -- Bulverde, Tx -- 0-0 (0) -- 4-9 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 4-9 (2)

88. Dave Parsons -- Yantis, Tx -- 2-3 (1) -- 1-12 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 3-15 (2)

89. Justin Morton -- Etoile, Tx -- 2-11 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 2-11 (1)

90. Trent Holloway -- Kingwood, Tx -- 2-7 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 2-7 (1)

91. Jack Covas -- Waco, Tx -- 0-0 (0) -- 1-13 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 1-13 (1)

92. Danny Weems -- Como, Tx -- 0-0 (0) -- 1-13 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 1-13 (1)

James Martin Longview, Tx -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0)

Waylon Harvey Henderson, Tx -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0)

Jimmy Mize Ben Lomond, Ar -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0)

Mark Mitchell Mesquite, Tx -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0)