Williamson Wins Elite Opener
As the weekend progressed, the temperatures on Lake Amistad warmed up and so did Jason Williamson. The third-year BASS pro from Aiken, S.C., shoved aside consistency and posted a backbreaking total of more than 68 pounds through the final two days, which was enough to advance from 38th position to third heading into Day 3, then secure his first BASS victory and the accompanying $100,000 top prize Sunday at the 2009 Bassmaster Elite Series season opener, the OPTIMA Batteries Battle on the Border.
Williamson’s four-day total of 96 pounds, 6 ounces, was enough to hold off a consistent Alton Jones of Waco, Texas, who finished second with 87 pounds, 15 ounces. Williamson was able to overtake Jones with a tremendous two-day charge, which accounted for more than 70 percent of his weight.
Williamsons’ catches Saturday and Sunday were all cultivated from one ultra-productive spot that yielded nothing for him in the first two days of competition. However, as the rain died, the clouds dissipated and the sun came out, the spot became crystal clear and an ideal area for big bass.
The area included three to four submerged trees positioned around a drainage channel and was a pathway for visiting and departing bass. Williamson mined the area with an 8-inch Osprey swimbait, which he threw to the trees in nearly 20 feet of water.
“There were so many fish in that area that I think they were in competition for my bait,” said the 28-year-old. “That’s not a bad thing when you can get that going. It was like clockwork.”
No stranger to the particulars of the area, Williamson first found his productive spot in 2007, at an Elite Series event. He primarily focused on it at a 2008 Elite event and finished fifth, his best performance in an Elite event at the time. The key to enticing the right bites this year, he said, was allowing the swimbait to sink and keeping it wet for lengths of time.
Williamson has been close to BASS victory before, scoring two second-place finishes, but was able to close the deal this time at Amistad with a final-day total of 34-12, the biggest bag of the tournament. His limit was buoyed by a 10-4 lunker, the largest Williamson has ever landed.
“I’m just a country boy who grew up loving to fish, so you bet this is a huge deal. The victory solidifies everything I have ever done in this sport,” Williamson said. “It’s also a shot in the arm for the rest of the season. I can fish with confidence now. The timing of this win was just perfect.”