UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Detroit River

Russell leads Walmart FLW Series event on Columbia River

Russell leads Walmart FLW Series event on Columbia River
FLW Series pro Neil Russell of Nampa, Idaho, stormed all the way back from seventh place to grab the overall lead on the Columbia River with a total catch of 37 pounds, 1 ounce.

UMATILLA, Ore. - Neil Russell of Nampa, Idaho, caught a five-bass limit weighing 14 pounds, 13 ounces Friday to capture the lead in the Walmart FLW Series National Guard Western Division tournament on the Columbia River. With a three-day catch of 15 bass weighing 37-1, he holds a 9-ounce lead over his closest competitor, Joseph Caporuscio of Coto De Caza, Calif., heading into the final day of competition.

"I didn't get a bass until three hours into the morning," said Russell, who has notched six FLW Outdoors top-10 finishes, including three on the Columbia River. "It's been kind of an afternoon thing for me. I think they're moving up there with the sun and warming up, and I noticed that. And it worked out later in the day."

Russell said he caught his fifth fish about 1:45 and it immediately eased his nerves.

"A 12-incher is another pound, and a pound is huge here," Russell said.

Russell said he did not lock through the first three days of competition, and believes the time saved by not locking through has been key for him this week.

"Even if the fishing's not quite as good, if you have more time and you do things right, you can make it work," Russell said.

Russell said every fish he caught Friday came in less than 6 feet of water except one. He said he has found an area that is holding bedding bass and is targeting fish he can see. Russell said both times he threw a jerkbait he caught 4-pound fish.

"I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing," Russell said. "It's been working out. I don't know each day if I'm going to catch them or not."

Caporuscio caught a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 36-8 to advance to the final round as the No. 2 seed.

"It's another awesome day of fishing," said Caporuscio, who is fishing the Columbia River for the first time. "It's hard to believe I've had three days of fishing like this all in a row. These are days you don't have very often. It's a pretty cool feeling. It would be amazing if I could have another day like this."

Caporuscio said he returned to the spot he had fished the first two days of competition and found new fish had moved in overnight. Caporuscio said he targeted the bass over shallow grass with a drop-shot rig tipped with a small plastic worm.

Caporuscio said his streak of luck continued on the third day of competition. Thursday he said he set the hook on one fish, but his line snapped and he lost his drop-shot rig and plastic worm. He threw back at the fish and caught it and ended up getting back his broken-off drop-shot rig. Twenty minutes after that, he lost a 2-pounder under the boat, waited a few minutes, then cast back to the fish and caught it. On Friday he said he caught his biggest smallmouth on his third cast before he even locked through on a spot he caught a big fish the day before.

Caporuscio said he caught eight or nine keepers throughout the course of the day and had his limit by 10:30.

"I snapped one off to start," Caporuscio said. "It was like a 15- or 16-inch largemouth. I was kind of bummed out."

Rounding out the top five pros are Ronald Hobbs Jr. of Orting, Wash. (12 bass, 35-15); Ron Mace of Kennewick, Wash. (15 bass, 35-11) and Marc Lippincott of Spokane, Wash. (15 bass, 34-10).

Also clearing the top 10 cut weight of 30 pounds, 6 ounces in the Pro Division are Cody King of Island City, Ore.; Ken Wick of Star, Idaho; Cody Meyer of Redding, Calif.; Randy McAbee Jr. of Bakersfield, Calif.; and Ishama Monroe of Hughson, Calif.

King earned the day's $283 Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 5-pound, 9-ounce bass.

Overall there were 333 bass weighing 559 pounds, 12 ounces caught by pros Friday. The catch included 50 five-bass limits.

Gary Haraguchi of Brentwood, Calif., won the Co-angler Division and $14,025 Friday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 29 pounds even followed by Patrick Touey of Nipomo, Calif., in second place with 15 bass weighing 25-7 worth $7,013.

"It was pretty darn tough out there today," said Haraguchi, who finished fourth in the 2008 FLW Series National Guard Western Division Columbia River event in Richland, Wash. "I had been catching a lot on reaction baits and mixing it up with a little finesse. I couldn't catch them on a reaction bait at the end, so I switched it over to a finesse bait. Three casts before we came in I caught a 3-pounder on a tube."

Haraguchi said he caught seven keepers Friday and that he didn't get as many bites as he had on previous days. He estimated he caught 70 percent of his bass on reaction baits and 30 percent on finesse baits. He also said his fish came from different structure types throughout the tournament.

"We were fishing a lot of rocks and stuff like that," Haraguchi said. "Each day was different. One day it was weeds, one day it was (something else). Today was primarily targeting rocks."

Haraguchi opened the tournament in 1st place Wednesday with five bass weighing 11-15 while fishing with pro Cody Meyer. On Thursday retained his lead on the strength of a five-bass catch weighing 8-6 while fishing with pro Ken Wick. He wrapped up the win Friday with a five-bass catch weighing 8-11 while fishing with pro Ishama Monroe.

"I've got to thank God," Haraguchi said. "I've had three blessed days of fishing."

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Toby Farkas of Woodland, Calif. (15 bass, 24-13, $5,259); Sunny Hawk of Salt Lake City, Utah (13 bass, 24-0, $3,506) and Chad Leblanc of Sutter, Calif. (14 bass, 23-13, $2,805).

James Leachman of Kennewick, Wash., earned $189 for the Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 4-pound, 10-ounce bass he caught while fishing with pro Bobby Barrack of Oakley, Calif.

Overall there were 246 bass weighing 355 pounds, 4 ounces caught by co-anglers Friday. The catch included 25 five-bass limits.

The 10 remaining pros will take off at 6:30 Saturday morning from Umatilla Marina and RV Park located at 1710 Quincy in Umatilla. Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at the Walmart store located at 1350 N. 1st St. in Hermiston, Ore. beginning at 4 p.m. Children will also be treated to a Family Fun Zone prior to Saturday's weigh-in from noon to 4 p.m. at Walmart. All activities are free and open to the public.

Coverage of the Columbia River tournament, hosted by the City of Umatilla, will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS, the network which brings anglers the best fishing programming on television featuring the most-trusted authorities on the water. The Emmy-nominated "FLW Outdoors," will air Aug. 2 from 11 a.m. to noon ET. "FLW Outdoors," hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to approximately 500 million households worldwide, including internationally through agreements with WFN (World Fishing Network) and Matchroom Sport to such countries as Canada, Germany, China, South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Russia, Hungary and the United Kingdom, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoor-sports television show in the world.

FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. FLW Outdoors also is taking fishing mainstream with FLW Fantasy Fishing, offering the largest awards possible in the history of fantasy sports, $10 million in cash and prizes. Sign up for Player's Advantage for only $10 to get your edge and win.

For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player's Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com.

Tags: press-release  2009-06-24-columbia-river 

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