Giant Bag Lifts Latuso Into The Lead At Bassmaster Central Open On Sam Rayburn
JASPER, Texas —

Logan Latuso, in his words, went from “zero to hero” Friday at the St. Croix Bassmaster Central Open at Sam Rayburn presented by Mossy Oak Fishing.

It’s a fair assessment.

Latuso, a 29-year-old pro from Gonzales, La., weighed a whopping five-bass limit of 31 pounds, 4 ounces on Day 2 of the derby in east Texas. It was a phenomenal improvement from his Day 1 output of three bass weighing 5-13, and it gave him 37-1 overall and the lead in the final Open of the season.

Latuso’s bag included bucketmouths of 9-13 and 9-11, and they were the first two bass he had in the boat Friday. It decidedly was not the start he envisioned after Thursday’s tough outing.

“Hanging out by the campfire last night, I knew I was just going to go fishing today,” Latuso said. “And the first bite was a 9-pounder. Then the second bite was a 9-pounder … They didn’t come off the same (grass) pile, but they were the first two keepers.”

“I died in the grass yesterday, so I went offshore today,” Latuso continued. “I swapped gears and swung for the fences. I didn’t think this would happen, but I’m sure glad it did.”

Latuso said he caught his best bass Friday in 15 to 25 feet of water. One of the 9-pounders came on a Gibbs Delta 1-ounce jig paired with a Missile Baits D Bomb (green pumpkin), and the other came drop shotting a Missile Baits Roboworm (morning dawn).

“Getting away from the grass altogether was what helped me, I think,” Latuso said. “I needed some big ones to come back.”

The 31-4 limit certainly provided the oomph Latuso needed. It was the biggest bag he’s ever weighed in a tournament, easily besting the 22-pound sack he caught in a Bassmaster Open on this reservoir in 2020.

“Rayburn is good,” he said, chuckling at Friday’s magnificent fortune.

Latuso is one of 10 anglers who made the cut and will fish for a share of $144,384. Joining him on Championship Saturday are Elite Series pro Kenta Kimura of Japan (33-13), Illinois’ Hayden Newberry (31-10), Tennessee’s Tristan McCormick (31-9), Oklahoma’s Austin Cranford (31-2), Texas’ Cody Bird (30-2), Elite Series veteran and Texas native Keith Combs (29-10), Day 1 leader Elite Series pro Tyler Rivet of Louisiana (29-9), Illinois’ Trevor McKinney (28-15) and Wisconsin’s Kyle Norsetter (28-14).

Of that group, the angler with the highest three-day weight will win $43,867 as well as a berth in the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic to be held March 24-26 on the Tennessee River in Knoxville.

Latuso’s 9-13 leads for the $750 Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award.

Rondell Joseph, of Manville, Texas, won the co-angler division which concluded Friday. His two-day total of five bass weighing 13-12 earned him $20,853. He caught his best bass on a chartreuse/white ChatterBait and a green pumpkin Senko worm.

“Nothing has sunk in yet,” Joseph said. “Normally I’m running around like crazy before a tournament, but I was calm before this one.”

Allen Heston, of Pittsburg, Texas, caught a 6-2 on Thursday which won him $250 for the heaviest bass among co-anglers.

Cory Weaver, of Ankeny, Iowa, was named the Bassmaster Opens Co-Angler of the Year on Friday for his cumulative performance in this year’s nine open tournaments. That title won him entry into the pro division in the Open circuit of his choice in 2023.

A total of 372 competitors (188 anglers and 184 co-anglers) started the tournament, fishing for a total of $312,000 in cash prizes. The Top 40 anglers in each division collected money.

Six spots in the 2023 Bassmaster Elite Series will be decided Saturday — three going to the anglers who finish atop the Central Open standings and three more to anglers placing highest in this year’s overall Opens points standings.

In the Central Division, Bradley Hallman of Edmond, Okla., lead the standings with 547 points. He is followed by Latuso (544), James Niggemeyer of Van, Texas (538), Kyle Norsetter of Cottage Grove, Wis. (537) and Cole Sands of Calhoun, Tenn. (534).

Alabama’s Keith Poche leads the overall standings with 1,507 points, followed by Canadian Cooper Gallant (1,437), Sands (1,436), David Gaston of Sylacauga, Ala., (1,421) and Kimura (1,403).

The final round will begin Saturday with a 7:15 a.m. CT takeoff from Umphrey Family Pavilion in Brookeland, Texas. Weigh-in is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. Full coverage of the action can be found on and live coverage will be available on FS1 beginning at 7 a.m. CT.

The Jasper-Lake Sam Rayburn Chamber of Commerce is hosting this week’s events.