Melton’s catch tops in Casting for Cash
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 17, 2003
LAKE ST. JOHN, La. &045; Ronald Melton won’t argue with you. He knows he was lucky Saturday.
The Tallulah angler finished the first day of the Isle of Capri Casting for Cash bass tournament in first place Saturday and is a day away from winning the fully rigged Triton TR185 boat.
But his leading catch of 4.52 pounds wasn’t caught in a shady spot on Lake St. John or courtesy of any other technique. He put in right at Spokane Landing, fired up his trolling motor and parked right behind Duck’s Nest restaurant early in the morning and came up with it on his second cast.
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&uot;It’s been a pretty good day,&uot; said Melton, who also won a bi-hourly prize of $300 for the biggest fish caught from daylight until 8 a.m. &uot;I fish quite a few of these (tournaments). You’ve got a way you want to fish, but it’s luck, I guess. If it would have stayed cloudy, it would have better.&uot;
Melton’s catch might not have required his boat to burn any gas, but he’s sitting in first in the pool of 196 entries into the bass tournament, the first of its kind held in the Miss-Lou since 1998 when it was held in conjunction with Lady Luck Casino.
But Melton doesn’t have a large lead to rest on after William Hatton’s catch on Concordia Lake weighed in at 4.43 pounds. Hatton, a Winnsboro resident, made the catch during the first bi-hourly session, and anglers hit the water at 5 a.m. today in hopes of topping Melton’s mark.
&uot;I hope he makes it, but he’s got a long night tonight and a long day tomorrow,&uot; tournament director Eddie Roberts said. &uot;I think there’s a degree of luck involved. It’s a little luck and a little skill, but I’ll take luck any day. I’ve had people who have never fished a tournament in their life (do that). You get one bite and one fish, and that could be the boat.&uot;
Melton’s story, however, doesn’t stop there. He just happened to be out of skirts for his spinner bait. Fellow angler William Perry offered him a skirt, and it just so happened he pulled in the biggest fish of the day on his second cast.
&uot;Fishermen are good sports,&uot; Melton said. &uot;I picked up my spinner bait and didn’t have a skirt. I went to digging and asked Mr. Perry if I could have a skirt. I made three casts with him standing there, and I caught that monster.&uot;
Melton and the other top three bi-hourly catches were all on Lake St. John, but the 16 winners were split down the middle on catches on St. John and Concordia.
Btu the morning catches were the biggest, save Dale Taylor’s catch of 4.33 pounds in the 10 a.m.-noon session that was 4.33 pounds. Johnathan Jewel’s catch of 4.08 pounds was third-best in the first session after participants had to wait through an early morning storm before getting out on the water.
Others winners were awarded cash prizes Saturday
night for bi-hourly catches Saturday. Jimmy Johnson had the fourth-best catch in the first session at 2.34 pounds, and the 8-10 a.m. session winners were J.D. Weeks of Natchez in first at 3.61, Hatton in second at 3.58, George Prince of Natchez in third at 3.33 and Mike Kendricks in fourth at 3.05 pounds.
Winners in the third session were Dale Taylor’s 4.33-pounder for first, Don Davis in second at 3.66, Jason Mabry in third at 3.34 and Prince in fourth at 3.26.
Wayne Tucker’s catch of 4.11 pounds in the final session was first. Jewel caught a 4.03-pounder for another second place, Susie Wood of Natchez won third with a catch of 3.40 pounds and Robert Yackey of Vidalia was fourth at 3.33 pounds.
The first-place winner in each session won $300. Second place won $200, third $100 and fourth $75.
The winners landed the top catches out of 196 contestants, and action continues this morning with the winners to be announced at the casino at 4 p.m.
&uot;We were really looking for more (contestants),&uot; Roberts said. &uot;We’re real disappointed in the local turnout. We’ve had about 70 percent out of town and 30 percent local.&uot;