UPCOMING EVENT: FLW SERIES - 2020 - Toledo Bend Lake

Bucking up, Tuck grabs Shasta lead

Bucking up, Tuck grabs Shasta lead
Pro Michael Tuck of Antelope, Calif., caught a five-bass limit weighing 12 pounds, 6 ounces Friday to capture the lead in the Stren Series Western Division tournament on Lake Shasta with a three-day catch of 15 bass weighing 35-5.

REDDING, Calif. - Shaking off a mediocre practice round before the tournament and some windy weather Friday, Michael Tuck of Antelope, Calif., caught the third-heaviest five-bass limit of the day and surged into first place on the pro side heading into Saturday's final round of Stren Series Western Division competition at Shasta Lake.

Tuck's catch Friday weighed 12 pounds, 6 ounces and pushed his three-day total to a leading 35-5, moving him up from fourth place yesterday.

But his lead is by no means substantial. Tuck is a little under a pound ahead of second-place Cody Meyer, and the leaders the first two days, Gene Gray and Jim Davis, are looming close behind in third and fourth place, respectively, not more than 2 1/2 pounds back. It's a testament to this prolific bass fishery and all the limits produced this week that, in a cumulative-weight tournament, the lead has changed three times in three days.

"You know, I really didn't think that I'd do this well. I was only catching about 8 pounds a day in practice," Tuck said. "Before the tournament started, I talked to (Yorba Linda, Calif., veteran pro) Mike Folkestad. He said, `Keep your head up and stay in the game.' I really want to thank him for that."

Advice from Folkestad would certainly help any tournament angler, but perhaps his disappointing practice round inadvertently benefited Tuck as well. He's not really fishing a whole lot differently than everybody else: The sun and cold have essentially shut down the swimbait bite, so it's all worms, all the time for most of the pros this week. Tuck said he's throwing a Prism Craw Roboworm on a ¼-ounce darthead in deep cuts on flats. So there's nothing special there, but it's where he's throwing it that stands out. Tuck readily admits that he's staying close to home, basically fishing the points and flats on the main lake right around the tournament staging site at Bridge Bay Marina. Anyone who wanted to could probably see him working his way along the bank throughout the day from the Interstate 5 bridge around the corner to Packers Bay. While many of the leaders are chugging miles up the Pit and McCloud River arms of the lake to fish, Tuck found his big fish right out the back door.

"Everyone's catching fish, so I don't think any one spot is really better than another. It's just a matter of finding which ones are biting," Tuck said. "I've been here for three weeks, and I definitely understand how these fish are biting. These fish are definitely in a prespawn pattern already, and you really have to slow down a whole lot."

Two other factors contributed to his success Friday. One is the Voodoo swim jig that he's been throwing at the bank early in the morning to catch a few shallow fish before the deep worm bite turns on. Two, the wind picked up significantly Friday, gusting up to 25 mph out of the north, which kicked up his deeper fish at 50 to 70 feet later in the day.

"The wind helped me quite a bit," Tuck said. "It just made them bite better. The bigger ones loosened up a little bit and came off the bottom so I could see them on the graph. Without that graph, I'd be completely lost."

Cody Meyer, a pro out of Grass Valley, Calif., caught the second-heaviest limit of the day - 12 pounds, 14 ounces - and improved from eighth place to second with a three-day total of 34-8.Meyer busts big sack, slips into second

Also making his move up the leaderboard was Meyer, a young pro out of Grass Valley, Calif., who caught the second-heaviest limit of the day - 12 pounds, 14 ounces - and improved from eighth place to second with a three-day total of 34-8.

Meyer said he caught his fish working around main-lake points and cuts with dartheads and Senkos, but he did employ some swimbait technique to his advantage, as well.

"My big fish first followed up on a swimbait but didn't bite. I came back about 30 minutes later and caught it on a Senko," Meyer said. "I kind of just got lucky, I guess."

Pro Gene Gray of Atascadero, Calif., slipped to third place Friday after posting his lightest limit of the week - 9 pounds, 4 ounces. His three-day total sits at 33-11.Gray third

Wednesday's pro leader Gene Gray of Atascadero, Calif., slipped another notch down to third place Friday after posting his lightest limit of the week - 9 pounds, 4 ounces. His three-day total sits at 33-11.

"Today, I don't know what happened," said Gray, who's fishing Senkos rigged wacky-style with an 1/8-ounce weight. "I missed the first six fish that bit. Then I put some scent on the Senkos, and it was better. I still missed some fish, but they were eating it better. The way I'm fishing, though, today the high winds killed me."

Pro Jim Davis of San Jose, Calif. Davis mustered just 7 pounds, 6 ounces Friday but held onto fourth place with a three-day total of 33-1.Buoyed by first two days, Davis hangs on for fourth

Also battling the conditions and posting his smallest limit of the week was Thursday's pro leader Jim Davis of San Jose, Calif. Davis mustered just 7 pounds, 6 ounces Friday but held on to fourth place - thanks to stout limits the first two days - with a three-day total of 33-1.

"I'll tell you what, I've been here for three weeks, and this is the worst day I've had," said Davis, who's also throwing worms. "The wind just killed me. Tomorrow it's pushing to lay down, though, so that looks good for me."

Pro Mike Menne of Redding, Calif., caught the limit of the day with 13 pounds, 1 ounce and moved all the way up from 28th place to fifth with a three-day total of 32-15.Local Menne pops big one, climbs to fifth

Pro Mike Menne out of Redding, Calif., caught the limit of the day with 13 pounds, 1 ounce and moved all the way up from 28th place to fifth with a three-day total of 32-15.

"I had a great day today, the best out of three," said Menne, who's throwing MF worms in deeper water. "Hey, the local boy does good. I'm just trying to show these out-of-towners how it's done."

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros to make the cut after three days at Shasta Lake:

6th: Bill McLaughlin of Redding, Calif., 32-12
7th: Phil Strader of Glide, Ore., 32-11
8th: Gary Dobyns of Yuba City, Calif., 31-13
9th: Gary Howell of Stockton, Calif., 31-11
10th: Robert Lee of Angels Camp, Calif., 31-8

Each of the top 10 pros caught limits all three days of the opening round. On Friday, 146 pros out of the total field of 155 caught limits.

Greg Hatleberg earned $250 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 4-pound, 8-ounce bass.

Jason Milligan of Anderson, Calif., leads the Co-angler Division thanks to a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 30-10.Milligan tops co-anglers

Steady Jason Milligan climbed to the top of the co-angler leaderboard with a three-day total of 30 pounds, 10 ounces. He caught a limit weighing 9-14 Friday, which is roughly the same weight he's caught all week.

"The trick is just staying consistent," he said. "That, and just fishing slow."

Rest of the best

Charles Keller of Redding, Calif., who led the co-anglers the first two days, dropped to second place with a three-day total of 29 pounds, 14 ounces. He caught 7-9 Friday.

Co-angler Scott Burke of Oakdale, Calif., made the cut in third place with a total weight of 28 pounds, 12 ounces.

Charles Bean of Brentwood, Calif., and Michael Peterson of Redding, Calif., tied for fourth place and rounded out the top five co-anglers, each with a three-day weight of 28 pounds, 9 ounces.

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers:

6th: Roy Desmangles Jr. of Lincoln, Calif., 28-7
7th: Stacy Gee of Sacramento, Calif., 28-7
8th: Willie Cummings of Tucson, Ariz., 28-6
9th: Vaughn Hansen of Saint George, Utah, 28-6
10th: Gary Haraguchi of Brentwood, Calif., 28-2

Each of the top 10 co-anglers also caught five-bass limits all three days so far. Overall, out of 155 co-anglers, 120 of them had limits Friday.

Don Shimatsu of Forestville, Calif., earned $131 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 4-pound, 4-ounce bass.

Final round Saturday

Day four of Western Division competition at Shasta Lake begins as the final-round field of 10 boats takes off from Bridge Bay Marina at 7:30 a.m. Pacific time Saturday. Each division's winner will be determined by four-day combined weight.

Tags: jeff-schroeder  headline-story  2007-01-10-lake-shasta 

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