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2012 Shasta showdown under way

2012 Shasta showdown under way
EverStart Series Western Division anglers prepare to hit the open waters of Lake Shasta.

REDDING, Calif. - Well it wasn't the weather they'd hoped for. But nevertheless, with rains pouring down from the heavens in a steady stream throughout the morning, the full field of EverStart Series Western Division pros and co-anglers bundled up from head to toe and departed Bridge Bay Resort and Marina shortly after 7:30 a.m. with visions of a tournament title dancing in their heads.

While the rainy conditions - which are expected to last until late afternoon - will undoubtedly make for an extremely wet and cautious day of fishing, the weather won't be the primary hurdle for the field. That honor goes to the lake itself as Shasta has been producing nothing but stingy stringers for the last few weeks. As such, anglers will have to capitalize on every big bite they get if they are to have a chance to survive Friday's top-10 cut.

As the rains continue to pour from the skies over Lake Shasta, EverStart Series anglers perform a last-minute equipment check before takeoff."This lake is fishing a lot tougher than normal. It's kind of like the conditions we faced last year," said EverStart Series pro Bret Gouvea of Redding, Calif. "You'll still see some really good fishing being caught, but overall the fishing will probably be somewhat difficult. Normally during this time of year you can catch fish anywhere on the lake and probably count on landing 30 fish a day. But now, I'd say about three-quarters of the entire lake really doesn't have any fish at all. The fish are really nomadic right now and I think they're just starting to settle down a bit into their winter patterns."

With virtually no cover to speak of, anglers will have to target structure almost primarily throughout the three-day event.

"There's not a lot of cover so you're going to see the guys targeting a lot of shallow, tapering points, ledges and deep cuts near primary points," Gouvea said. "Normally, depth is also pretty important. But I've been catching fish anywhere from the bank to 40 feet of water so I don't think it's going to be a big factor for this event."

One variable that could come into play, however, is the wind.

"If the wind starts blowing, I think the reaction baits are going to come into play," said Gouvea. "If there is significant wind, I think you're going to see guys throwing swimbaits and some Alabama Rigs, which work really well here in the wind. But if the wind lays down flat, then I think you're going to see people throwing a lot of Darter Head jigs, Senkos and tubes."

With a difficult bite expected, Gouvea said that he's already tempered his expectations.

"What I'm looking to do is catch about 10 pounds a day," said Gouvea. "There are some fish in the 4- to 7-pound range in here, but I really think that the person who comes back every day with a solid, consistent sack will have a real advantage. Overall, I think 10 pounds a day should make the cut."

Tourney format

Bundled from head to toe, anglers prepare to battle the inclement conditions on Lake Shasta.During EverStart Series competition, pros supply the boats, fish from the front deck against other pros and control boat movement. Co-anglers fish from the back deck and compete against other co-anglers. Anglers are permitted to weigh in their best five bass each day. Every angler who receives weight credit in a tournament earns points that determine angler standings. The full field competes on days one and two, with the top-10 pros and top 10 co-anglers advancing to Saturday's final round of competition based on their two-day accumulated weight. Winners ultimately will be determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all three days.

Anglers will take off from Bridge Bay Resort located at 10300 Bridge Bay Road in Redding, Calif., at 7:30 each morning. Daily weigh-ins will also be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m.

Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

Pros will fish for a top award of $35,000 plus a Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. Co-anglers will cast for a top award consisting of a Ranger Z518 with 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $5,000 if Ranger Cup guidelines are met.

The EverStart Series consists of five divisions - Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of four tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division that could earn them the Strike King Angler of the Year title along with $5,000 for the pro and $2,000 for the co-angler. The top 40 pros and co-anglers from each respective division will qualify for the EverStart Series Championship, slated for the Ouachita River in Monroe, La., Nov. 1-4.

The EverStart Series tournament on Lake Shasta is being hosted by the Redding Convention & Visitors Bureau and Shasta Lake Chamber of Commerce.

Bass-fishing fans take note

With takeoff under way, anglers carefully departed the Bridge Bay Resort and Marina on Lake Shasta.EverStart Series action continues at today's weigh-in, scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. at Bridge Bay Resort, located at 10300 Bridge Bay Road in Redding, Calif.

Want to watch the weigh in live but can't make it in person? Then tune into FLW Live on FLWOutdoors.com shortly before 3 p.m. Pacific Time to watch live streaming video and audio of today's opening-round weigh in.

Vital statistics:

Sunrise: 7:25 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 49 degrees
Expected high temperature: 62 degrees
Water temperature: 48-50 degrees
Wind: From the northwest at 5 to 7 mph
Humidity: 80 percent
Day's outlook: Showers throughout the day

Tags: gary-mortenson  morning-story  2012-01-26-lake-shasta 

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