UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Dale Hollow Lake

Meyer leads by more than 5

Meyer leads by more than 5
Pro Clayton Meyer of San Diego caught a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 31 pounds to lead round one of the EverStart Series Western Division event on Lake Havasu.

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. - Once again, Clayton Meyer says that he didn't know it when he came off the water at Lake Havasu Thursday, but he had a killer limit in his bag. Surprising even himself, the San Diego native led all pros in the opening round of EverStart Series Western Division competition by more than 5 pounds.

At most big-fishing Western tournaments, 5 pounds doesn't seem like much. But here at a winter-season Havasu where the prespawn bass are acting fickle, 5 pounds is a ton.

Meyer, who came into the day in second place with a 16-pound, 4-ounce limit on day one, nearly doubled his weight with a 14-12 five-bass stringer on day two and totaled 31 pounds even for the opening round. He led second-place Richard Smith by exactly 5-2.

"I didn't think they were as much weight as they were," Meyer said Thursday, repeating a mantra he articulated the day before. "I'm not used to catching these smallmouths."

But catch them he did; his limit was filled by five good-sized smallies.

But how he's catching them is a bit of a mystery.

Wednesday, Meyer said that he was simply "bottom fishing" and "moving around a lot."

Thursday, "I did the same thing," he said. "I kind of fumbled around a lot. I didn't go to a lot of places that I practiced in because I was worried about breakdowns, so I fished up here."

Then he specified, saying that "here" was the "main lake."

"I'd just fish one spot, then go to another spot and find a school of fish," he said. "They're fairly common areas."

Pro Richard Smith of Santa Clarita, Calif., landed the day's Snickers Big Bass award - 5 pounds, 11 ounces - and climbed into second place with a two-day total of 25-14.Smith second

Landing the day's Snickers Big Bass Award and climbing into second place was Smith, who hails from Santa Clarita, Calif.

Anchored by a 5-pound, 11-ounce largemouth, his limit of 14-0 Thursday pushed his two-day total to 25-14.

"I caught that 5-11 on a spinnerbait pretty early, but then (the bite) just shut off," said Smith, an EverStart rookie. "Then I went to my best water and caught the rest on a crankbait. This is my first EverStart, and it's a great show. It's also my first time on this lake, and it's a great lake."

Smith said he caught the bulk of fish in practice off shallow brush piles, but found - perhaps spurred by the appearance of the sun today - that the bass had moved out a little bit.

"I have one area about a mile and a half that I'm working," he said. "I'm just covering a ton of water."

Dobyns junks his way to third

What Western bass tournament would be complete without the appearance of the indomitable Gary Dobyns? The 2003 EverStart California Delta pro champion from Yuba City, Calif., climbed up from the cut line into third place with an opening-round weight of 25 pounds, 11 ounces.

Pro Gary Dobyns of Yuba City, Calif., climbed up from the cut line into third place with an opening-round weight of 25 pounds, 11 ounces."Honestly, I'm junk-fishing," said Dobyns, who also said the same thing yesterday. "I had seven bites today. I broke one off and one was a short. The one that I broke off, I just lost it before I came in and it was a 4-pounder."

Dobyns' "junk-fishing" approach might translate into a winning pattern if he keeps it up. He caught two sacks weighing more than 12 1/2 pounds over the first two days doing it.

"Let's see. I've caught them on a crankbait, rip bait, tube, drop-shot, dart-headed worm - oh, and a spinnerbait," he said. "I like fishing like that because I like to stand on the trolling motor and cover water, but I'd also like to have a pattern. And I just don't have one.

"Dude, I'm in over my head," he elaborated. "There's no telling where I'm going to fish tomorrow. It's a recipe for crashing and burning is what it is."

Pro Paul Hodges of Glendale, Ariz., landed in fourth place after the first two days at Havasu with an opening-round total of 25 pounds, 8 ounces.Hodges hauls in fourth

Pro Paul Hodges of Glendale, Ariz., landed in fourth place after the first two days at Havasu with an opening-round total of 25 pounds, 8 ounces.

In contrast to Dobyns, Hodges appeared comfortable with the shallow, crankbait pattern he's been working.

"The pattern's been here for four days," he said. "When the wind came up this afternoon, it really turned them on. I've been able to catch 12 to 14 pounds per day. This pattern's holding still and I don't see any reason for it to quit."

Klinger stays fifth

Holding on to the fifth spot for the pros was Tim Klinger of Boulder City, Nev. Using a jet boat to reach some otherwise inaccessible backwater upriver, he caught 10 bass weighing 25 pounds, 8 ounces in the opening round.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros to make the opening-round cut into Friday's competition at Lake Havasu:

6th: Art Roland of Brentwood, Calif., eight bass, 23-6
7th: Gregg Warne of Mesa, Ariz., nine bass, 22-11
8th: Clifford Pirch of Payson, Ariz., nine bass, 22-8
9th: Justin Kerr of Simi Valley, Calif., eight bass, 22-3
10th: David Kromm of Kennewick, Wash., 10 bass, 22-1

Jim Wickham of Morristown, Ariz., caught nine bass weighing 19 pounds, 7 ounces to lead round one in the Co-angler Division.Wickham returns to spotlight, leads co-anglers

Jim Wickham of Morristown, Ariz., the 2003 Western Division co-angler points champion, found his stroke again and led the opening round at Lake Havasu with a two-day total of 19 pounds, 7 ounces.

Last season was a bit of a down year by Wickham's standards; he just missed the cut at the March tournament here at Havasu and finished in 11th place, his best showing of 2004.

Today, he grabbed the opportunity at a familiar lake to jump-start a new season.

"Yeah, I love this lake," said Wickham, who caught a 9-pound, 9-ounce limit Wednesday and a 9-14, four-bass stringer Thursday. "I'm just drop-shotting a 4-inch Roboworm behind the pros, hitting the structure that they're not. Luckily, the fish are there."

So is this a return to top form for the former standings champ?

"I hope so. It wouldn't hurt my feeling at all to make another run at it," he said. "But it's hard to top what happened two years ago."

Greg Fishkur of Flagstaff, Ariz., the day-one co-leader, took second place in the opening round with five bass weighing 15 pounds, 3 ounces.

Trent Stewart of Palmdale, Calif., climbed into third place for the co-anglers with seven bass weighing 14 pounds, 15 ounces.

Michael Kirk of Redding, Calif., placed fourth with six bass weighing 14 pounds, 10 ounces.

Matt Russ of Peoria, Ariz., took fifth with four bass weighing 12 pounds, 4 ounces.

Tom Phegley of Lake Havasu City caught the day's Snickers Big Bass in the Co-angler Division - a 5-pound, 13-ounce bass.Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers to make the cut:

6th: Craig Griffin of Lehi, Utah, five bass, 12-3
7th: Tyler Vanderhorst of Washington, Utah, six bass, 12-1
8th: Rod Livermore of Bullhead City, Ariz., four bass, 11-11
9th: Lance Dudley of Phoenix, five bass, 11-10
10th: Paul Bailey of Agoura Hills, Calif., five bass, 11-7

Tom Phegley of Lake Havasu City caught the day's Snickers Big Bass in the Co-angler Division - a 5-pound, 13-ounce bass.

Into the cut

Day three of Western Division competition at Lake Havasu begins as the semifinal-round field of 10 boats takes off from Windsor Park in Lake Havasu City at 7 a.m. Mountain time. Anglers' weights are reset to zero for Friday, and winners in both fields are determined by the heaviest accumulated weight over the next two days.

Tags: jeff-schroeder  headline-story  2005-01-26-lake-havasu 

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