UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Eufaula

Mission: possible

Mission: possible
Tim Klinger looks to avenge a near-miss on his home lake two years ago.

HENDERSON, Nev. - At Lake Mead this week, there's been Jeff Michels, and then there's been everybody else. The problem for Michels is that there are some seriously determined pros in that group of everybody else.

One of those other pros seemed so determined at the Stren Series Western Division finals Saturday morning that it looked like he could have used a trip to a masseuse. Literally. Tim Klinger - who yesterday said he was so sore from running around in the bumpy conditions this week that he actually caught a fish while lying on the boat deck trying to rest his back - didn't say much to anyone at takeoff this morning and smiled even less. It was obvious that the local pro seemed quite focused on avenging his 1-ounce loss at his home lake two years ago.

Michels has an almost 8-pound lead on Klinger and John Mikkelsen, so it would appear he has the upper hand. But not so fast.

Michels is the only pro finalist who has yet to have an off day on a finicky Lake Mead this week. So, to put it bluntly, he's due for a clunker - a fact of which he's well aware.

The finalists head out of Callville Bay Saturday.Plus, with the full field of 127 boats the first three days, this big impoundment actually fished quite small and crowded. Now with just 10 boats on the water, look for the big guns to find some more room to roam.

Not only that, the wind has finally subsided a bit, which will only increase mobility for the anglers.

"Yeah, he's got a lot more water to fish today," Michels said about Klinger. "He's been fishing in a crowd, but not anymore. He easily could kick my butt up and down the lake."

If Michels limits today, this one's over. But if he lays an egg, the door is wide open for pretty much everyone in the finals, despite their big deficits to the leader. Second-place Klinger and eighth-place Tom Matsunaga are separated by a mere 3 pounds, 14 ounces. Sandwiched between them are some scary sticks like Mikkelsen, who caught the big sack yesterday, Jimmy Reese, the reigning Western points champion, Dennis Kolender, a Lake Mead phenom who has steadily increased his catch weights each day, and Sean Stafford, who also caught a big bag yesterday.

This one could come down to one thing. Michels' co-angler partner Saturday, 17-year-old Scott Christenson, put it this way: "It's the nerves, you know?"

Both the pro and co-angler winners will be determined Saturday by four-day combined weight.

The pros are fishing for a top award of $25,000 plus a $40,000 519VX Ranger powered by an Evinrude or Yamaha outboard and equipped with a Minn Kota trolling motor, Lowrance electronics and EverStart batteries if contingency guidelines are met. Ranger will award another $3,000 to the winner if he or she is a participant in the Ranger Cup program. If the winner is not a Ranger Cup participant, Ranger will award $1,500 to the highest-finishing participant in the contingency program. Yamaha will match 50 percent of Ranger Cup earnings if "Powered by Yamaha" guidelines are met.

The co-anglers are competing for a top award of $5,000 plus a $30,000 Ranger boat and trailer if contingency guidelines are met.

Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 300 E. Lake Mead Drive in Henderson beginning at 4 p.m. Pacific time.

Click here for Saturday's conditions.

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

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