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Mlekush claims Clear Lake co-angler crown

Mlekush claims Clear Lake co-angler crown
Co-angler Brian Mlekush tallied a final-round weight of 31 pounds, 11 ounces in EverStart Series Western Division competition at Clear Lake.

CLEARLAKE, Calif. - After leading on days one and three, Brian Mlekush stayed the course and led when it counted most: day four. The co-angler from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., topped all the men in back and won $4,500 with a final-round weight of 31 pounds, 11 ounces in EverStart Series Western Division competition at Clear Lake.

"This has been an unbelievable week," said Mlekush, a Ranger owner who also won a new Ranger 519. "It's the best feeling in the world."

The winning co-angler incurred a little bit of luck when, after fishing with pro Sean Minderman and taking the lead on Friday, he was paired with eventual winning pro Brian Nixon on Saturday. Both Minderman and Nixon were fishing the same productive spot on Soda Bay.

"We went to the same exact spot and, once again, we were right next to Minderman," Mlekush said.

Same spot, same strategy. He mainly used a drop-shot with 4- and 6-inch oxblood Roboworms to haul in his 10-pound limit Saturday. He also caught a few on a spinnerbait.

"The idea was to just plug away and keep at it all day," Mlekush said.

Brian Mlekush of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., earned $4,500 cash as winner of the Co-angler Division at Clear Lake.It was an especially rewarding week for the co-angler winner. He was also celebrating his third wedding anniversary with his wife, who flew in for the final weigh-in.

"Without her support, this whole thing wouldn't be happening," he said.

Dan Powers of Weaverville, Calif., finished second for the co-anglers and collected $3,000 with a final weight of 30 pounds, 10 ounces.

"This was the toughest day here," he said. "I only caught six fish, and culled my last one five minutes before weigh-in."

Co-angler John Morla of Ione, Calif., finished third and collected $2,250 with 27 pounds, 1 ounce.

In fourth place was John Alimpic of Angwin, Calif., with 26 pounds, 11 ounces. He earned $1,900.

Opening-round leader Pat Wilson of Petaluma, Calif., finished in fifth place with 24 pounds, 14 ounces. He collected $1,700.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 co-angler finishers at EverStart Clear Lake are Gayle Janes of Palm Desert, Calif., with a final-round weight of 22 pounds, 4 ounces (6th place, $1,400); Steve Schultz of Hooper, Utah, with 22-4 (7th, $1,300); Kirk Beardsley of Huntington Beach, Calif., with 18-15 (8th, $1,200); James Rios of Brentwood, Calif., with 16-5 (9th, $1,100); and Dallas Merrick of Oroville, Calif., with 15-5 (10th, $1,000).

Coming up

The next EverStart Series event is an Eastern Division contest at Santee Cooper lakes near Summerton, S.C., April 21-24.

The next Western Division tournament is the fourth and final event of the season and will be held at the California Delta near Oakley, Calif., May 5-8.

Tags: jeff-schroeder  co-angler-headline  2004-04-14-clear-lake 

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