UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Dale Hollow Lake

Stymied

Stymied
Pro Clayton Meyer of San Diego caught a five-bass limit weighing 13 pounds, 8 ounces to take the lead going into the final day of competition at the EverStart Series Western Division event on Lake Havasu.

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. - Well, at least the anglers can say they spent a nice day under the sun on Lake Havasu.

Competitors fishing the EverStart Series Western Division finals on this part of the Colorado River have had a seemingly rough go of it this week. The first two days the anglers had to deal with - of all things - heavy rain in the desert. Then, as the 10 pro and 10 co-angler finalists took off from Windsor Park Friday morning, the skies parted and the familiar Arizona sun rose high in the sky and made for a beautiful day on the water - if you're into water-skiing, that is.

Problem was, as the sun came the bass bite went.

Just two pros managed to eke out a five-bass limit Friday and four of them caught just one keeper fish. Four co-anglers zeroed and just two of them managed to catch more than a single bass.

Through it all the most consistent angler of the week, Clayton Meyer of San Diego, was able to maintain his lead in the Pro Division Friday. The opening-round leader weighed in one of the day's limits - worth 13 pounds, 8 ounces - to lay claim to bragging rights heading into the final day of fishing Saturday.

Not that there was much to brag about.

"Today, I had a long, long day," Meyer said. "I had a five-hour stretch there where I only had one bite and I missed it. I only caught six keeper fish today. I kind of feel terrible because, while I had a good day (in competition), it was a bad day (fishing)."

And that's the leader talking.

While he has been understandably hush-hush about his fishing pattern this week, Meyer said that he continued to do the same thing Friday that he has all week. Fishing the "main lake" in 5 to 15 feet of water, he kept throwing whatever bottom bait it is that seems to appeal to these finicky, winter smallmouths at Havasu. His sack again was filled with bronzebacks, the bulk of which he said he caught early in the morning and later in the afternoon.

"The fish are grouped up and I know where they're at, so I still feel fairly confident. When I caught one fish, I would catch another," he said. "I can't see changing what I'm doing. I've been throwing the same thing for four days and I've caught all my fish on one bait. (The smallmouths) are feeding on something that looks like it."

Pro David Kromm of Kennewick, Wash., caught the second limit of the day - 13 pounds, 4 ounces - and sits in second place heading into Saturday.Kromm claims second

After edging out local pro Mike Goodwin, last year's EverStart Lake Havasu champ, to claim the 10th-place qualifying position for this week's finals, David Kromm of Kennewick, Wash., found himself Friday as one of the few in position to push Meyer for this year's title.

Kromm caught the second limit of the day - 13 pounds, 4 ounces - and sits in second place heading into tomorrow.

If not for another run of good fortune, however, Kromm wouldn't be in such a favorable position. He had just four smaller fish in his livewell when his co-angler partner, Paul Bailey of Agoura Hills, Calif., alerted him to the presence of a smallmouth hiding out in a sunken barrel.

"The fish swiped at Paul's spinnerbait," Kromm said. "Instead of throwing back in there he told me about it, and it was that 3-pound smallmouth that made the difference for me. I want to make sure to thank him for that."

Hodges, Roland, Kerr next

After the top two, nobody else broke double digits with their weights Friday.

Claiming third place for the pros was Paul Hodges of Glendale, Ariz., who returned to his 300-yard stretch of water and tallied four bass weighing 7 pounds, 15 ounces.

"I'm just beating it with a crankbait," he said. "I caught two fish early and then two more later in the afternoon."

Fourth place went to Art Roland of Brentwood, Calif., for two bass weighing 7 pounds, 11 ounces.

Roland, who said he's flipping and pitching, wants the sun to stick around for Saturday's competition - and not because he's working on his tan.

"I hope it stays sunny and we don't have a lot of rain and clouds," he said. "Because, if that happens, these guys are going to catch a lot of fish and I don't want that to happen."

Justin Kerr of Simi Valley, Calif., last year's third-place finisher at Havasu, claimed the fifth spot Friday with three bass weighing 6 pounds, 2 ounces.

Rest of the pro top 10

Rounding out the top 10 pros heading into Saturday's action at Lake Havasu:

6th: Richard Smith of Santa Clarita, Calif., two bass, 5-3
7th: Gary Dobyns of Yuba City, Calif., one bass, 3-12
8th: Clifford Pirch of Payson, Ariz., one bass, 2-9
9th: Tim Klinger of Boulder City, Nev., one bass, 2-1
10th: Gregg Warne of Mesa, Ariz., one bass, 1-11

Notable

- In 2004, Klinger took home $200,000 as the winner of the FLW Tour's Wal-Mart Open at Beaver Lake. Later in the year the resident of suburban Las Vegas won $180,000 playing progressive slots at the casino.

This week Klinger is using an aluminum jet boat in order to access and fish remote backwater a long ways upriver. After his dismal showing Friday, Klinger said: "I'm a gambler. I'm going to go all the way to Laughlin (Nev.) tomorrow and see if I can get a 20-pound bag." Then, in response to a question about his $380,000 in FLW and casino winnings last year, he said: "It's still never enough. That's why I'm going to Laughlin tomorrow."

For the record, Laughlin is 70 miles - an hour-and-a-half - away from Lake Havasu City up the Colorado River. And that's traveling by car.

- Pirch, on how the bass were reacting to his reaction baits Friday when the sun came out: "They'd come right up, look at it and turn right back around, I guess."

- Saturday, due to a high-speed water-ski race, EverStart anglers will have deal with a long "safety zone" running roughly 25 miles along the lower half of Lake Havasu. From 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., anglers' movements will be restricted along the lake from Lake Havasu City all the way to Parker Dam. The anglers will be able to move within the safety zone, but they'll have to check with the Coast Guard first so they don't get in the way of 40-foot power boats pulling daredevil water-skiers at speeds exceeding 85 mph.

Pro Paul Hodges' take on the matter: "So what happens to us when we pass them?"

Tyler Vanderhorst of Washington, Utah, caught two bass weighing 5 pounds, 15 ounces to lead the Co-angler Division.Vanderhorst leads co-anglers

Tyler Vanderhorst of Washington, Utah, leads the Co-angler Division with two bass weighing 5 pounds, 15 ounces.

Close behind him in second place for the co-anglers is Craig Griffin of Lehi, Utah, with two bass weighing 5 pounds even.

"I just caught a couple throwing blades," Vanderhorst said. "But I'm kicking myself; I lost a couple today or I'd be sitting pretty."

Coming in third place was co-angler Michael Kirk of Redding, Calif., with one bass weighing 2 pounds, 8 ounces.

Fourth place went to opening-round leader Jim Wickham of Morristown, Ariz., for one bass weighing 2 pounds, 6 ounces.

Paul Bailey took fifth place for one bass weighing 2 pounds, 2 ounces.

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers:

6th: Lance Dudley of Phoenix, one bass, 1-12
7th: Greg Pishkur of Flagstaff, Ariz., zero bass
8th: Trent Stewart of Palmdale, Calif., zero bass
9th: Matt Russ of Peoria, Ariz., zero bass
10th: Rod Livermore of Bullhead City, Ariz., zero bass

Final round Saturday

Day four of Western Division competition at Lake Havasu begins as the final-round field of 10 boats takes off from Windsor Park at 7:15 a.m. Mountain time Saturday. Friday's weights carry over to Saturday, and each division's winner will be determined by two-day combined weight.

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

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