UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - James River

Billmaier wins co-angler title on Lake Pleasant

Billmaier wins co-angler title on Lake Pleasant
Jason Billmaier of Las Vegas, Nev., used a catch of 9 pounds, 6 ounces, to capture the co-angler title on Lake Pleasant.

Nevada native nets $3,000 in winnings en route to victory

PEORIA, Ariz. - Although the final co-angler weigh-in wasn't nearly as exciting as that of the pros, Jason Billmaier couldn't have cared less. Using a catch of 9 pounds, 6 ounces, Billmaier stormed to victory and became the first co-angler champion in the history of the EverStart Western Division.

"It's a real rush," said Billmaier. "Everything just worked out perfectly today. I've really struggled on this lake in the past, so it feels really good to come out on top."

Like his pro partner, Brett Hite, Billmaier used a drop-shot technique and Robo worms to snare the majority of his catch.

(Photo by Gary Mortenson)" BORDER="1" ALIGN="left">"It worked out really well," he said. "I'd been using the drop-shot all week and that's exactly what my partner was using. It definitely helps to have a partner who is on a lot of good, quality fish. I couldn't have asked for a better combination."

Not surprisingly, Billmaier is already looking forward to the next Western Division contest.

"This is the best finish I've ever had," said Billmaier. "It's just an awesome feeling right now. I already can't wait for Lake Mead."

Merrick shows the young guns how it's done

Although Dallas Merrick of Oroville, Calif., was undoubtedly the oldest co-angler in the finals, he made sure to teach the younger generation a thing or two about bass fishing before the tournament was over. Using a catch of 7 pounds, 9 ounces, Merrick captured second place overall, a check for $3,000 and the respect of the entire tournament field.

"This was a lot of fun. It was a great experience," said Merrick. "It just goes to show that if you go out there and get your act together, everything will fall into place."

Merrick said that his performance in this tournament provided him with newfound excitement for the sport as well.

"I didn't expect to get as far as I did," said Merrick. "For me, it is really a shot in the arm to do something like this. It was a little nerve-wracking, but overall, I really feel good about this week."

Best of the rest

In third place, with a catch of 7 pounds, 5 ounces, was Jim Wickam of Morristown, Ariz. Wickam won $2,250 for his efforts.

Jon Griffith of Mesa, Ariz., used a catch of 6 pounds, 8 ounces to grab fourth place and a check for $1,900. Fifth place belonged to Dan Powers of Weaverville, Calif., by virtue of a tiebreaker. Powers recorded a total catch of 6 pounds, 8 ounces and walked away with $1,700 in prize money.

Rounding out the top 10 co-angler finalists were: Gary Collins of Moorpark, Calif., with a catch of 5 pounds, 15 ounces; Steve Amata of Payson, Utah, with a catch of 1 pound, 14 ounces; Joe Patz of Peoria, Ariz., with a catch of 0 pounds; Darrell Hagood of Wilton, Calif., with a catch of 0 pounds; and Todd Holverson of El Cajon, Calif., with a catch of 0 pounds.

EverStart Western Division action resumes March 5-8 at Lake Mead, located in Las Vegas, Nev.

Related links:

Photos
Co-angler results
Results of day-four pairings
Press releases

Tags: gary-mortenson  co-angler-headline  2003-01-29-lake-pleasant 

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