UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Grand Lake

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Arizona angler wins wire to wire

Arizona angler wins wire to wire
Mesa, Ariz., native Dean Kreuzer won a 177TR Ranger after catching a three-day total of 78 pounds.

ZAPATA, Texas - As the hottest bass fishery going, Falcon Lake has piqued the interest of anglers from across the country. And in fishing, rumors of a hot bite travel fast. Just ask Mesa, Ariz., residents Dean Kreuzer and Steve Czerniski, who heard about the lake and just had to see firsthand what all the fuss was about.

Kreuzer and Czerniski entered the Stren Series Texas Division tournament with the intention of simply enjoying themselves on a world-class fishery. Since the field is cut following Friday's weigh-in, they planned to fish the Bass Champs team tournament on Lake Amistad Saturday. If nothing else, Amistad was on the way home to Arizona.

But while practicing together, the two discovered a small turn in a creek channel that was loaded with largemouth bass. With the permission of his pros, Kreuzer was able to return to that spot during the Dean Kreuzer celebrates after learning he clinched first place in the Co-angler Division.tournament. On day one it produced 34 pounds, 3 ounces - the heaviest single-day weight in FLW Outdoors history for a co-angler. On day two, the fish shrunk some, but he still managed 25 pounds, 14 ounces. On day three he fished different water and managed 17 pounds, 15 ounces.

"Steve and I really enjoy heavy-structure fishing, and that's exactly what this was," said Kreuzer. "We were catching our fish in 16 to 24 feet of water on a black 1-ounce Fat Bass poison-tail jig. We would tip the jig with a green-pumpkin 6-inch Yamamoto twin-tail grub."

Although Kreuzer just completed only his second Stren Series event, he is no stranger to tournament bass fishing. His wife, Tanya, competes as a pro on the Women's Bassmaster Tour, and the couple frequently fishes San Carlos Lake near their home.

Although he entered the final day with an 11-pound lead, the title was very much in doubt. Keith Honeycutt, the 2007 Stren Series Championship winner, had a banner day himself - catching 33 pounds.

"I squeaked that one out. When I saw his (Honeycutt's) fish, I thought I had no chance. In fact, I already had congratulated him.

"I just want to say thank you to my three pros. In this format, you cannot catch fish unless your boater puts you on fish. I can't say enough about those three guys."

With a three-day total weight of 78 pounds even, Kreuzer won by a 4-ounce margin. Since he traveled with Czerniski, who fished as a pro, Kreuzer now has to figure out how to get his new 177TR Ranger boat home.

"I didn't come here because I thought I was going to win. I came because I love patterning deep structure."

High five co-anglers

When Honeycutt caught 26 pounds, 13 ounces on day one, he thought that would go down as the Second-place co-angler Keith Honeycutt holds up his kicker bass from day three on Falcon Lake.greatest tournament day of his life. That sentiment quickly changed Saturday morning as the Temple, Texas, native had 33 pounds of Falcon Lake bass in his livewell by 9:30.

"I had caught 11 keepers in a little over an hour," he said. "It was just amazing."

All of those fish came on a 10-inch Berkley Power Worm in blue-fleck color.

"You want to win every tournament, but how can you be disappointed with 33 pounds? I'm off to a good start, and usually I'm in the middle of the pack and have to fight to make the championship. Any way you look at it, this has been a phenomenal tournament."

The day wasn't without its nerve-wracking, if not comical, moments. Honeycutt was partnered with Rick Cathey on day three and had the privilege of fishing an amazing area. He also found out that Cathey does not carry a dipping net in his boat.

"Rick told me, `When you catch one, you're going to stay calm, go down there and lip it.' I don't do real well staying calm, especially with fish that size."

For finishing second among 200 co-anglers, Honeycutt earned $4,000 plus a $2,500 bonus for being the highest-finishing Ranger owner. In less than a month, he will be competing on Lake Guntersville as a co-angler on the Walmart FLW Tour.

Timothy Achee of Hemphill, Texas, finished third with a three-day weight of 68 pounds, 4 ounces and received a check for $3,000. On day three, Achee caught a limit weighing 19-4. He also had the misfortune of weighing immediately after Honeycutt dropped 33 pounds on the scale.

"How do you follow that?" Achee quipped onstage. "Last year I came here and I had the worst tournament of my life, and I decided that it wasn't going to happen again. This area has the meanest fish and the nicest people."

Achee caught most of his fish this week with Senkos and Brush Hogs. He would add a pegged bullet weight approximately 2 feet above the bait.Co-angler Kenneth Pellerin caught 20 pounds, 5 ounces on day three and finished the tournament in fourth place.

"You had to feel your line and feel your bait through the trees."

Kenneth Pellerin of Pasadena, Texas, finished fourth with a total weight of 59 pounds, 7 ounces, taking home $2,500, and Chris Pennington of San Diego finished fifth with a three-day combined weight of 59-6 for $2,250.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers at the Stren Series Texas Division event on Falcon Lake:

6th: Kevin Slate of Choctaw, Okla., three-day total of 58-4, $2,000
7th: Robert Royal of Vidor, Texas, 48-9, $1,750
8th: Ray Peace of Arlington, Texas, 46-12, $1,500
9th: Jeff Lobaugh of Emory, Texas, 44-9, $1,250
10th: Billy Rusher of Stilwell, Okla., 34-6, $1,000

The next Stren Series event will take place Feb. 26-28 on Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston, Fla., the season-opening qualifier in the Southeast Division. The next Texas Division event is slated for March 19-21 on the Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Jasper, Texas.

Tags: brett-carlson  co-angler-headline  2009-01-15-falcon-lake 

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