UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Potomac River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Espe turns heartbreak into formidable title run on Lake Roosevelt

Espe turns heartbreak into formidable title run on Lake Roosevelt
On the strength of a three-day catch of 35 pounds, 8 ounces, Keith Espe of New River, Ariz., claimed the top spot at the FLW Series event on Lake Roosevelt.

PAYSON, Ariz. - On the strength of a three-day catch of 35 pounds, 8 ounces, Keith Espe of New River, Ariz., claimed the top spot at the FLW Series event on Lake Roosevelt. But while his skills as a professional angler undoubtedly put him in a strong position to win the title with only one day of fishing remaining, Espe argued that there is something much more compelling that is driving him towards victory.

"This year I lost both my mom and my dad," said Espe. "So that was really tough. But about five years ago, I found this fishing spot (on Lake Roosevelt) with my father. We wound up winning five team tournaments at that location and that's where I've been fishing this entire week. I think my dad has been out with me the whole time."

Although only 14 ounces separated the top four pros heading into today's events, Espe has now opened up a significant 3 1/2-pound lead over his next closest competitor heading into the final day of competition.

"It feels pretty awesome to be in the lead right now," said Espe. "I now have a really good chance to win this title. And I think I have enough fish to do it. I'm pretty confident my spot will hold up tomorrow."

According to Espe, his primary fishing location is nothing more than a deep fishing channel.

"I'm fishing a hump covered with trees with a nice little channel that runs around it like a horseshoe," he said. "It's a channel that was built when they were building the dam - it's called an overflow channel. And what I'm really excited about is that now that I've made the cut, I'm going to have that spot all to myself."

Espe said that he's been targeting bass all week with a specific worm presentation in about 20 feet of water.

"I'm absolutely sure this spot will hold up so I really feel like I have a legitimate shot at the title," said Espe. "My mom and dad sure would be proud."

Lee overcomes tremendous obstacle to net runner-up position

Robert Lee of Angels Camp, Calif., produce a three-day stringer weighing 31 pounds, 13 ounces to qualify for the finals on Lake Roosevelt in second place.If fishing an FLW Series event wasn't tough enough, Robert Lee of Angels Camp, Calif., also had to deal with the theft of his truck. Throw in the fact that most of his fishing equipment was in the stolen vehicle at the time and it's quite amazing that Lee was able to fish the tournament in the first place - let alone be in contention for a title.

"Yeah, I've had a rough week," said Lee. "My truck got stolen before the tournament. They later found it in the middle of the desert with all of the wheels removed. Unfortunately, I had all of my fishing gear in there except for what I'd left in my boat. I really haven't even had a chance to change my fishing line yet."

Amazingly enough, Lee still managed to produce a three-day stringer weighing 31 pounds, 13 ounces despite the setbacks. In addition, Lee has also had to contend with two dead fish over the past two days - which caused him to lose a full pound of tournament weight due to penalties.

"I'm really sick about those fish," he said. "I did everything I could to keep them alive. It still bothers me."

Lee said that given everything that's transpired, he is pleased to be where he's at in the standings.

"I probably caught about 30 fish today and I'm really managing my spot well," said Lee. "I have this little spot with some good hardwood and a little ditch. I'm basically fishing in about 15 feet of water targeting treetops. And so far, it's worked out well for me."

Lee said that he's been throwing various baits that were left in his boat including a Skinny Dipper swimbait, a Baby Brush Hog in a watermelon color and a combination of Robo worms rigged on a drop-shot.

"Who knows, maybe having all of my stuff stolen has helped me make the finals," Lee joked. "But anyway, I really think I'm going to have to go shopping tonight for some more baits. This has just been a crazy week."

Ehrler makes the cut, tightens grip on AOY title

National Guard pro Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif., used a total catch of 31 pounds, 9 ounces to claim third place overall heading into the FLW Series finals on Lake Roosevelt.Based on his total catch of 31 pounds, 9 ounces, Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif., remains on course for landing one of the biggest trifectas in bass fishing - winning a tournament title, winning the angler of the year award and getting an automatic invite to the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup. In short, so far, so good.

"I'm definitely excited," said Ehrler, who qualified for the finals in third place. "This angler of the year race was definitely weighing heavily on me all week and now it looks like I might be able to pull it off. Coming in here I really wanted to qualify for the Cup and I've done that as well. So I'm just really happy where I'm at right now. And if I could win the tournament title, that'd just be icing on the cake."

Ehrler said that he's been running all over the lake, fishing both shallow and deep.

"I ran shallow until about 9 a.m. and then I went deep the rest of the day," he said. "I'm literally fishing all over the place and I'm really not targeting anything in particular other than gravel and brush. I actually caught more fish today than yesterday but I haven't been able to land any real good fish. But I made the cut and that's what counts."

Savoini nets fourth place

Jimmy Savoini of Prescott, Ariz., parlayed a three-day catch of 30 pounds, 5 ounces into a top-five finish at the FLW Series event on Lake Roosevelt.Jimmy Savoini of Prescott, Ariz., parlayed a three-day catch of 30 pounds, 5 ounces into a top-five finish. But more importantly, Savoini now gets to fish another day for a tournament title.

"It was a great day today," said Savoini. "I'm around a lot of fish and I managed to cull about two or three times today. There's definitely enough fish in my area to get a huge limit so I still have a chance."

Savoini said that's he's been using a combination of topwater baits and jigs as well as flipping and drop-shot techniques to land the majority of his catch.

"Basically I'm in an area where the fish are coming in and out of a bottleneck," he said. "I'm fishing in about 10 to 25 feet of water, targeting deeper trees. I'm keying on bass that are funneling baitfish through that bottleneck where they can ambush their prey. And I'm keying in on that choke-point."

Klinger ekes out final-day appearance

National Guard pro Tim Klinger of Boulder City, Nev., used a catch of 29 pounds, 15 ounces to squeak into the finals at the FLW Series event at Lake Roosevelt.Although Tim Klinger of Boulder City, Nev., started out the day in first place, his 6-pound, 6-ounce catch in today's competition had him sweating out weigh-in until the very end. When the scales finally closed, Klinger could finally breathe a sigh of relief as his total weight of 29 pounds, 15 ounces was just good enough - by a mere 4 ounces - to qualify for the finals.

"It's a true blessing," said Klinger on making the cut. "I just had a brutal day out there today. Right off the bat I hung two fish on the trees and sure enough, they broke off. I only wound up catching five keepers and missed five or six bites so I'm pretty lucky I made it through."

Klinger said he's been targeting bass in trees in 8 to 11 feet of water, throwing a combination of Phoenix grubs, spinnerbaits, flukes and Zoom Brush Hogs.

The top-five pros at the FLW Series event on Lake Roosevelt acknowledge the crowd shortly after weigh-in."Yeah, but I think I'm going to have to change things up tomorrow," he said. "I really love this lake. It fishes a lot like my home lake of Lake Mead. But the bite's been pretty tough. I'm just going to go out there tomorrow and try to figure something out."

FLW Series action continues at today's weigh-in, scheduled to take place at 7 a.m. Pacific Time at the Lake Roosevelt Cholla Recreation Site, located 5 miles northwest of Roosevelt Dam on Highway 188 in Roosevelt, Ariz.

Tags: gary-mortenson  headline-story  2010-09-22-lake-roosevelt 

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