UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Smith Mountain Lake

Laskowski steamrolls competition on Lake Shasta

Laskowski steamrolls competition on Lake Shasta
Chris Laskowski of Anderson, Calif., used an 18-pound stringer to lead all pros after the first day of competition at Lake Shasta.

REDDING, Calif. - While the majority of Stren Series Western Division competitors struggled mightily to register weights in the double-digit range throughout the entire afternoon, local pro Chris Laskowski of Anderson, Calif., had no such trouble. Using a dominating catch of 18 pounds, Laskowski crushed the competition on day one at Lake Shasta, out-fishing his next closest rival by an incredible 5 pounds, 10 ounces.

"It feels great," said Laskowski. "I've never been leading a tournament before so it's kind of neat. My goal was to come out here today and catch 10 pounds. Everything on top of that was kind of a bonus."

Throughout the day, many anglers clearly struggled with the less-than-perfect fishing conditions. With a blanket of snow covering much of the Lake Shasta landscape and frigid conditions plaguing anglers all day, the field struggled to get big bites in the boat. Although 147 of the 150 pros ultimately managed to bring at least one fish to the scales, only 10 pros total were able to muster weights 10 pounds or greater - making Laskowski's achievement even more remarkable.

"Fishing has been really tough out here with all of the snow that we've had and the really heavy winds we had last week," said Laskowski. "But I do think the fishing is going to get better as we go along. By Saturday you could start seeing some really big bags come in."

However, after the first 30 minutes of today's weigh-in, it was clear that weights were going to be down across the board at least during today's competition. Obviously, the biggest contributor to that outcome was the weather. For the past several days a series of tremendous storms have rocked the northern California area. Heavy rains, gusting winds and plenty of snow have caused havoc in the region for the better part of the week. And with water temperatures ranging from 42 to 49 degrees, most anglers had a difficult time finding fish willing to bite.

But not Laskowski.

"I fish this lake about four days every week so I'm pretty familiar with the area," said Laskowski. "I probably have about 100 spots I fish and I went to about 25 of them today. I'm only fishing for spotted bass and I think I should be able to get about 9 or 10 pounds each day. But if I struggle, there are definitely some guys here who could catch up to me pretty fast. All of these guys here are capable of catching 20-pound bags. So I'm just going to have to take it one day at a time."

Veteran pro Mike Folkestad of Yorba Linda, Calif., turned in a 12-pound, 6-ounce stringer to finish the day in a tie for second place.One of those anglers who Laskowski needs to watch out for is veteran pro Mike Folkestad of Yorba Linda, Calif., who turned in a 12-pound, 6-ounce stringer to finish the day in a tie for second place with Bill Townsend of Redding, Calif. Folkestad is one of a handful of Western Division pros who is notorious for routinely challenging for a tourney title at nearly every event he enters.

Best of the rest

Rob Dearmond of Redding, Calif., netted fourth place overall with a total catch of 12 pounds.

Steve Klein of Oroville, Calif., rounded out the top-five pro competitors with a catch of 11 pounds, 12 ounces.Steve Klein of Oroville, Calif., rounded out the top-five pro competitors with a catch of 11 pounds, 12 ounces.

Stephen Keyes of Palmdale, Calif., won the day's Big Bass award with a 5-pound, 2-ounce bass. For his efforts, Keyes won $243.

Kimble snares co-angler lead at Lake Shasta

On the strength of a 9-pound, 10-ounce catch, Sean Kimble of San Leandro, Calif., grabbed the top spot in the Co-angler Division. On the strength of a 9-pound, 10-ounce catch, Sean Kimble of San Leandro, Calif., grabbed the top spot in the Co-angler Division.

However, with 25 co-anglers less than 2 pounds behind, Kimble will have to continue fishing with great acumen to hold off the rest of the field throughout the remaining four days of competition.

Best of the rest

Co-angler Adam French of Oakdale, Calif., snared second place overall with a catch of 9 pounds, 8 ounces. Adam French of Oakdale, Calif., snared second place overall with a catch of 9 pounds, 8 ounces. Meanwhile, Aaron Agner of Anderson, Calif., grabbed third place with a catch of 9 pounds, 4 ounces.

Rounding out the top-five co-angler leaders at the Stren Series Western Division event:

4th: Scott Burke of Oakdale, Calif., 9-3
5th: Vince Reiser of Redding, Calif., 9-2

Dan Tracy of Prunedale, Calif., walked away with the day's Big Bass award after netting a 4-pound, 1-ounce bass. For his efforts, Tracy won $128.

Day two of Stren Series Western Division action at Lake Shasta continues at Thursday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7:30 a.m. (PST) at Bridge Bay Resort marina, located at 10300 Bridge Bay Road in Redding, Calif.

Tags: gary-mortenson  headline-story  2008-01-09-lake-shasta 

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