UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Eufaula

Lake Mead magician

Lake Mead magician
Pro Jeff Michels of Lakehead, Calif., caught zero bass Saturday but was able to hang on and win the Stren Series Western Division tournament on Lake Mead with a four-day total of 14 bass weighing 31-11. For his victory, Michels earned $25,000 cash and a $40,000 519VX Ranger boat powered by Yamaha. He also earned $4,500 in Ranger Cup and Powered by Yamaha bonuses for a total of $69,500 in winnings.

HENDERSON, Nev. - Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand.

In tournament fishing, the infinite wisdom of Cool Hand Luke generally carries little water because "nothing" is an undesirable descriptive for a day on the lake. Simply put, it translates into no catches and lost winnings.

Not so for Jeff Michels.

The pro from Lakehead, Calif., won the second Stren Series Western Division contest of the season at Lake Mead, collecting $25,000 and a new Ranger boat, with a four-day total weight of 31 pounds, 11 ounces.

And he did it without catching a single bass in Saturday's final round. Count Jeff Michels as the world's biggest fan of this year's switch to the cumulative-weight format.

"That is not the way I wanted it to happen," an exasperated Michels said Saturday evening. "I thought my chances were slim to none. I really thought Tim had me."

"Tim" is local pro Tim Klinger, who made a menacing push toward the top of the leaderboard over the last two days and who had his sights set squarely on Michels Saturday.

However, Klinger, who ultimately finished fourth, was a lesser worry to Michels than he realized. He had bigger problems in the form of Sean Stafford and even John Mikkelsen, the respective second- and third-place finishers.

And of course, there was that minor little detail about catching nothing.

The pink factor

"I didn't get a single bite today," Michels said. "In that clear water when we didn't have any wind, they just wouldn't bite. I saw a bunch of fish where I was fishing, but I just couldn't get them to bite. Boy, those last two hours of the day were the longest two hours of my life."

Michels won this event by virtue of the whirlwind he rode on Lake Mead over the first three days - literally. His three, solid, double-digit limits came as a cold front moved through the area Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, whipping the desert impoundment into a nasty froth.

As Stafford described it: "You know, I've fished all over the West, and Thursday was the biggest water I've ever seen. The only times I've seen water like that before were the last two times I was here."

However, the wind lay down like baby for Saturday's final round, and it greatly impacted the bass bite - most notably the lack of one experienced by the winner. The top 10 pros caught a collective 10 fish as a group. Stafford's three-bass catch weighing 8 pounds, 1 ounce was the heaviest of the day, and nobody else caught more than two fish. Four pros, including Michels, zeroed.

To say the least, it seemed that the pros who qualified for finals under windy conditions had a little bit of trouble adjusting to calmer water.

Still, Michels won this thing outright. His near-8-pound lead coming into the finals was more than enough cushion on a tricky fishing day.

Jeff MichelsHow he got there over the first three days was simple enough: He found a magic bait and some good holes on the lower end of the lake. In practice, Michels found success with a Senko on his drop-shot fishing in Las Vegas Wash and Swallow Bay. However, the Senko bite dried up shortly before tournament time, and he was forced to do something that he almost wouldn't admit: He had to go pink.

"Without (co-angler) Justin Regelin, my practice partner, I would not be standing here," Michels said. "I was whacking them with those Senkos, but then they stopped biting. He had these 4 1/2-inch Morning Dawn worms that he'd initially bought for his daughters to play with, and he just happened to bring them on this trip. I mean, these things are pink as (heck). It took about four hours of him beating me really, really bad before I finally put on a Morning Dawn worm. That's the only bait I threw the entire week."

Pro Sean Stafford's three-bass catch weighing 8 pounds, 1 ounce was the heaviest of the day. He finished second with a total of 28-7.Stafford tops for the day, climbs into second

Collecting $7,005 for second place with a four-day weight of 28 pounds, 7 ounces, Stafford's three-bass catch Saturday really was the only noteworthy sack of the day for the pros.

The pro from Fairfield, Calif., said he fished an Original Gitzit and brush hogs on offshore ledges in 20 to 40 feet of water. In simplest terms, he adapted best to Saturday's calmer, sunnier conditions.

"I had several ledges, and I was rotating them," Stafford said. "I just had to watch the sun and keep moving to where a ledge would create shade for the fish. Otherwise, they'd get in too close to the ledge, and it was too hard to get at them. The problem was, the first day and the last day I left my fish too early, and I regretted it."

Pro John Mikkelsen of Temecula, Calif., who held onto third place with a three-day weight of 26-14.Mikkelsen third

Ringing in with just one bass - but a decent one at 3 pounds, 2 ounces - was pro John Mikkelsen of Temecula, Calif., who held on to third place with a three-day weight of 26-14. He collected $6,305.

"There were fish on the spot where I caught them yesterday," he said. "I could see them, but the wind and the weather wasn't blowing on them, and they just didn't want to eat."

Klinger's comeback stalls, takes fourth

Klinger, a pro from Boulder City, Nev., still has yet to win the big one at home. He caught just one bass Saturday weighing 2 pounds, 15 ounces and finished fourth with a final weight of 26-13. He won $5,604.

"The other day I lost a couple of giants, so that hurt. But this is still pretty good for not practicing," said Klinger, who arrived at the Lake Mead tournament straight off the Lake Travis Wal-Mart FLW Tour event the week before. "One of these days, if you keep coming here, I'm going to win one."

Pro Charley Almassey of Oakley, Calif., finished fifth with a four-day total of 25 pounds, 1 ounce. He caught two bass weighing a collective 6-6 Saturday.Almassey climbs to fifth

In ninth place coming into the day, pro Charles Almassey of Oakley, Calif., finished fifth and earned $4,904 with a four-day total of 25 pounds, 1 ounce. He caught two bass weighing a collective 6-6 Saturday.

"These fish just have bony mouths, and when you fish with light line like I am, you've got to make sure you stick them," he said.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 Pro Division finishers at Lake Mead, based on four-day combined weight:

6th: Jimmy Reese of Witter Springs, Calif., 25-0, $4,203
7th: Dennis Kolender of Henderson, 22-7, $3,855
8th: Tom Phillips of Corona, Calif., 20-6, $3,503
9th: Tom Matsunaga of Gardena, Calif., 20-0, $3,152
10th: Fred Ward of Phoenix, 18-10, $2,803

Coming up

The next Stren Series event is a Central Division contest at Bull Shoals near Bull Shoals, Ark., Feb. 28-March 3.

The next Western Division tournament is the third event of the season. It will be held at Clear Lake near Kelseyville, Calif., April 25-28.

Tags: jeff-schroeder  headline-story  2007-02-21-lake-mead 

Lake Eufaula Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Lake Eufaula Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Michael Smith established the pace at the Toyota Series Southeastern Division event on Lake Eufaula with a five-bass first-day limit that weighed 25 pounds, 7 ounces. He leads a crew of mostly offshore sticks that are mining Eufaula’s brush piles and ledges for some seriously big bass. Though, it’s worth pointing out that several in the top 10 did catch some or all of their keepers up shallow today. Here’s a rundown of the top five after one day of fishing. READ MORE »

Smith Smacks 25-7 at Eufaula

Smith Smacks 25-7 at Eufaula

It’s a 90-minute drive from Michael Smith’s Andalusia, Ala., home to Lakepoint Resort State Park where the Toyota Series Southeastern Division kicked off its season today on Lake Eufaula. That’s just close enough, says Smith, that he fishes here more than anywhere else. His understanding of how Eufaula’s bass transition from the bank to postspawn ares to the main lake really showed today while Smith put together an impressive 25-pound, 7-ounce limit to gain the day-one tournament lead. READ MORE »

Lake Eufaula Midday Update – Day 1

Lake Eufaula Midday Update – Day 1

It’s pretty clear from what went down on Lake Eufaula this morning that this lake is plumb full of fish. Almost everybody we pulled up on was catching bass. Yet, the consensus was that the bite isn’t quite as good today as it was during practice. No one reported the kind of mega-weights everyone expects to see. But there’s still some time. READ MORE »

Shad Spawn Carries Kelly

Shad Spawn Carries Kelly

Boater Danger Kelly of Somerset, Kentucky, brought five bass to the scale Saturday totaling 14 pounds, 14 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event on South Holston Reservoir in Bristol, Tennessee. For his victory, Kelly earned a total of $3,021. READ MORE »

Wheeler Wins on Pickwick

Wheeler Wins on Pickwick

What started out as a scouting trip to better learn Pickwick Lake turned into another tournament victory for Jacob Wheeler’s ever-expanding career resume at the second Toyota Series Central Division event of the season. Today, Wheeler brought in a limit of bass for 17 pounds, 11 ounces to take the win with a three-day total of 56 pounds, 8 ounces worth $38,545. READ MORE »

Pickwick Midday Update – Day 3

Pickwick Midday Update – Day 3

For two days Pickwick Lake gave up some nice early morning flurries for the top10 fishing the Toyota Series Central Division event. But this morning, the lake might as well have been frozen over. Despite ample amounts of current still rolling down the lake, and fairly light fishing pressure for a beautiful Saturday morning in the Tennessee Valley, the early bite was shut down for most of the field. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Pickwick – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Pickwick – Day 2

Today’s weather was much sunnier, warmer and calmer; conditions that some think could push fish out deeper. But some are still counting on shallow grass. Here is a rundown of how the rest of the top five caught their fish on Pickwick today. READ MORE »

Murray Leads Wheeler by an Ounce

Murray Leads Wheeler by an Ounce

Sacking up 22 pounds, 10 ounces on day two of the Toyota Series Central Division event on Pickwick Lake, John Murray rocketed up the standings from 14th place to the lead. With a total of 38-14, Murray is just one ounce ahead of Jacob Wheeler, who weighed 20-11 on day two to move up from ninth place. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Pickwick – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Pickwick – Day 1

Grass seemed to be the dominant theme at the top of the day one leaderboard at the Toyota Series Central Division event on Pickwick Lake. Not only did Buddy Gross target grass for his leading catch, but three others in the top five seined the grass for top catches as well. READ MORE »

Buddy Blasts 24-1 on Pickwick

Buddy Blasts 24-1 on Pickwick

Buddy Gross won his first FLW Tour event on Pickwick Lake in May of 2016 fishing a shad spawn on eelgrass along the Tennessee River channel. Today, Gross rekindled those old memories from four years ago to bring in 24 pounds, 1 ounce and take the day one lead in the Toyota Series Central Division event on Pickwick. READ MORE »

Pickwick Midday Update – Day 1

Pickwick Midday Update – Day 1

Pickwick Lake didn’t disappoint on the first morning of the Toyota Series Central Division event. As predicted, fish were biting right off the bat. READ MORE »

Abram’s Dream Comes True

Abram’s Dream Comes True

All week on Lake Martin for the third stop of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit the weights have been close, so it was only fitting that the final weigh-in followed suit. READ MORE »

Lake Martin Day 4 Coverage

Lake Martin Day 4 Coverage

Complete coverage of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit's third stop at Lake Martin in Alexander, Ala. READ MORE »

Abram One Day Away

Abram One Day Away

Day three of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event on Lake Martin was a bit tougher for the 30 pros on the water, and while quality has been tough to come by all week, that was especially the case today READ MORE »

Lake Martin Day 3 Coverage

Lake Martin Day 3 Coverage

Complete coverage of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit's third stop at Lake Martin in Alexander, Ala. READ MORE »

Abram Out Front on Martin

Abram Out Front on Martin

Same story, different day on Lake Martin for the third stop of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit. When it comes to catching fish, Martin is on fire at the moment. However, just like on day one, big bites are tough to come by on the Alabama fishery. READ MORE »

Lake Martin Day 2 Coverage

Lake Martin Day 2 Coverage

Complete coverage of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit's third stop at Lake Martin in Alexander, Ala. READ MORE »

Adams Leads at Martin

Adams Leads at Martin

Catching fish wasn’t going to be the issue for the third stop of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event on Lake Martin and after day one that certainly was the case. With the entire field catching a limit, the weights are stacked with a little over 4 pounds separating 100th and 10th. Finding a Lake Martin kicker was Barron Adams, who sacked 17 pounds, 2 ounces to take the lead – thanks in large part to his 8-13 Berkley Big Bass. Just 15 ounces back is Derrick Snavely and the weights tighten up a lot from there. READ MORE »

Lake Martin Day 1 Coverage

Lake Martin Day 1 Coverage

Complete coverage of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit's third stop at Lake Martin kicks off a day early from Alexander, Ala. READ MORE »

FLW Live Leaderboard - Lake Martin

FLW Live Leaderboard - Lake Martin

FLW media staff provide unofficial weight estimates for the third stop of the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Lake Martin. READ MORE »