UPCOMING EVENT: YETI College Fishing - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir


Harris hauls in Lake Shasta lead

Pro K.C. Harris of Shasta Lake, Calif. shows off his first-place, 31-pound, 1-ounce catch on Lake Shasta.

REDDING, Calif. - Facing a stacked field of tournament tested pros and battling steady winds in the 30-mph range during the second day of EverStart competition on Lake Shasta, K.C. Harris was doing everything in his power to live up to the pressure of fishing on his home lake. Entering today's competition, Harris was in fifth place needing a big sack just to qualify for today's top-10 cut.

"I caught a couple in the morning but my area was getting pretty beat up so I decided to leave it," said Harris, a resident of Shasta Lake, Calif. "I was running quite a ways but in the afternoon I just decided to go for broke."

And go for broke he did. While many anglers have attempted this strategy only to fall flat on their face, Harris' gamble paid off.

"Right about 3 p.m. I caught that big fish," he said. "There wasn't much time left so I'm really glad everything worked out."

The fish not only turned out to be one of the biggest bass recorded in the tournament to date - weighing in at a whopping 7 pounds, 7 ounces - but it was also enough to propel him into the tournament lead.

"It feels really good," said Harris, who now boasts a two-day catch of 31 pounds, 1 ounce. "This is my home lake so I really want to do well."

Harris said that he's continued to target bass with a combination of swimbaits and Senkos, targeting key areas of structure that he's become familiar with over the years.

"I'm hitting a lot of spots that have worked out for me in the past," he said. "But I'm also fishing some places that I've found in practice. I'm running a pattern but I'm also catching fish anywhere from a few feet to 30 feet of water. I'm fishing everything from rocks to long tapering points and flats."

Harris, who recorded the biggest one-day sack of the tournament to date with an 18-pound, 1-ounce limit in today's competition, said he has a pretty good idea what his game plan is heading into Saturday's finals.

"I'm just going to run those same spots I've been running and hope that the fish bite," he said. "I think I can get a decent limit for sure but I don't know if I can bring back the same type of weight that I caught today. But I have a really good area. And if it holds up, I think I have a good shot to win this."

Thompson holds onto second place

For the second straight day, pro Zack Thompson of Alameda, Calif., found himself in the runner-up position on Lake Shasta.For the second straight day, Zack Thompson of Alameda, Calif., found himself in a familiar position - standing alone in second place. But that wasn't the only thing that was familiar. As it turned out, Thompson realized early on that he was also sharing water with his long-time friend, travel partner and fellow top-10 competitor Matt Newman.

"Matt and I always room together, we travel together and now we're even sharing water," said Thompson. "So far it's been working out unbelievably well."

So were the two friends simply experiencing a psychic connection that brought them to the same place on the lake? Or was this a pre-planned deal?

"During practice, we're both looking for fish (that would be attracted to) reaction baits because I think we both knew that that type of bait would do well this tournament," Thompson said. "So I'm fishing a swimbait and I find this area that just looked like a perfect spot. And then I come around the corner and there's Matt - doing basically the same thing. I looked at Matt and said, `You've got to be kidding me.' So after that, we both spent the rest of practice trying to find other good areas but we just couldn't find any. It just so happened that we keyed in on the same thing at the same time.

"I'm actually surprised that nobody else found it," Thompson added.

As far as a description of the area, Thompson said it has a little bit of everything.

"It's really a live section of the lake," he said. "It's got lots of baitfish, some really good structure and it's holding lots of fish."

Thompson said he plans on continually targeting bass with a combination of 6-inch, Berkley Havoc Bottom Hopper worms and a Picasso umbrella rig.

"Today surpassed my expectations," said Thompson, who now boasts a two-day total catch of 26 pounds, 10 ounces. "And hopefully, I can get back in that double-digit stringer range tomorrow."

Church claims third

Pro Willie Church of Cottonwood, Calif., heads into the finals on Lake Shasta in third place.Bolstered by a two-day, 25-pound, 13-ounce catch, including the largest bass weighed in to date (7 pounds, 9 ounces), Willie Church of Cottonwood, Calif., found himself in third place heading into Saturday's all-important final day of competition.

However, that might not have been the case had Church not concocted a stellar, long-term game plan.

"When I was looking at this week's forecast, I saw that the wind was really going to blow today," he said. "And that really suits my style of fishing. So heading into yesterday, I just wanted to salvage the day and keep myself in the game. My hope was that the wind would blow today and I'd get to throw my bigger baits. Luckily, everything worked out."

On day one, Church did just that. He recorded a total catch of 9 pounds, 7 ounces - good enough for 24th place and more importantly, good enough to keep him in the game. Today, however, was a different story.

"It was tough out there today," he said. "With the wind blowing the way it was, I decided to go with my big baits. I only wound up getting five bites total but it worked out."

Indeed it did. When Church came to the weigh-in podium today, he was able to hoist a 16-pound, 6-ounce sack onto the scales - which was good enough to secure a third-place qualifying position heading into the finals.

"I feel pretty good," said Church. "This is the first event I'm fishing as and pro in an FLW event. It's my home lake and I put a lot of pressure on myself. So yeah, it feels pretty good."

As for tomorrow?

"I'm just going to have to see how tomorrow plays out," he said. "I'm going to stick with the big stuff and swing for the fences. And then we'll see what happens."

At the end of the day, Church received an additional piece of good news as well. Church's 7-pound, 9-ounce bass turned out to be good enough to snare the Snicker's Big Bass award in the Pro Division.

Newman snares fourth place

Buoyed by a total catch of 25 pounds, 11 ounces, pro Matt Newman of Agoura Hills, Calif., found himself safely within the cut by the end of the day's weigh-in.Buoyed by a total catch of 25 pounds, 11 ounces, Matt Newman of Agoura Hills, Calif., found himself safely within the cut by the end of the day's weigh-in.

"I'm feeling pretty good," said Newman. "Today was tough out there. And it was kind of scary for me. Yesterday I had about 35 bites and today I only had nine. But overall, it feels great."

Newman said that he's been using swimbaits "exclusively" to land the majority of his catch. And while plenty of other anglers are targeting bass in deep water - anywhere from the 30- to 60-foot range - Newman said he's doing the exact opposite.

"I'm fishing in about 1 to 4 feet of water," he said. "I'm using a Picasso prototype swinbait and it's working out pretty well so far. As for tomorrow, I'm going to the exact same area and I'm going to be fishing the exact same thing."

Japanese native turns in top-five performance

Pro Kazuki Kodama of Torrance, Calif., proudly displays his fifth-place catch on Lake Shasta.At the end of today's event, fifth place belonged to Kazuki Kodama of Torrance, Calif. Kodama ultimately recorded a two-day catch weighing in at 23 pounds, 6 ounces.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 qualifying pros:

6th: Dave Russell of Cottonwood, Calif., 23-4
7th: Tony Peterson of Livermore, Calif., 22-10
8th: Aaron Cole of Salida, Calif., 21-11
9th: Chris Fancelli of Redding, Calif., 21-4
10th: Jason Milligan of Shasta Lake, Calif., 21-2

Christiansen grabs top spot in Co-angler Division

Using a two-day catch of 17 pounds, 5 ounces, Blaine Christiansen of San Jose, Calif., took over the top spot in the Co-angler Division heading into the final day of competition.

"You know what, I think I had a little bit of luck. I wound up catching my final keeper today at 3 p.m.," said Christiansen. "It was my birthday yesterday and so far, everything has worked out. But I don't want to jinx it."

Christiansen said that he's caught the majority of his fish drop-shotting a 6-inch Morning Dawn Robo worm.

"It feels great," said Christiansen of his qualifying position heading into the finals. "I came out here just to go fishing. But to make the top 10 as well, that's an added bonus."

Second place in the Co-angler Division belonged to William Penrod of Salome, Ariz., who boated a two-day catch of 17 pounds, 3 ounces. Second place belonged to William Penrod of Salome, Ariz., who boated a two-day catch of 17 pounds, 3 ounces. Penrod also walked away with the Snickers' Big Bass honors after landing a 4-pound, 15-ounce bass, tops in the Co-angler Division.

Meanwhile, Aaron Britt of Yuba City, Calif., snagged third place overall with a catch of 17 pounds.

"I can't tell you how much fun I'm having," said Britt. "I literally live, eat and dream of fishing tournaments. It just feels unbelievable right now."

Although Britt is probably having more fun this week than any angler at the tournament, he did acknowledge that today's conditions were not the easiest to work with.

"It was tough out there," he said. "It was cold and pretty windy. But it was also a lot of fun. I had a limit first thing in the morning but I only caught eight keepers. I also caught two nice fish with about 10 minutes left in the day, so that really helped."

Best of the rest

Day-one leader Daniel Leue of Colusa, Calif., grabbed fourth place overall with a total catch of 16 pounds, 11 ounces.

Fifth place belonged to Charles Keller of Redding, Calif., who landed a total catch of 16 pounds, 8 ounces.

Rounding out the top-10 co-anglers:

6th: Gayle Janes of Bermuda Dunes, Calif., 15-15
7th: Jerry Lee of Redding, Calif., 15-14
8th: Toby Farkas of Woodland, Calif., 15-11
9th: Brian Ferris of Galt, Calif., 15-11
10th: Russ Greenlee of Sacramento, Calif., 15-5

Bass-fishing fans take note

EverStart Series action continues during Saturday's final takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7:30 a.m. at the Bridge Bay Resort, located at 10300 Bridge Bay Road in Redding, Calif.

Fans who can't make tomorrow's weigh-in in person can also tune into FLW Live on FLWOutdoors.com shortly before 2:30 p.m. Pacific Time to watch live streaming video and audio of Saturday's final weigh-in.

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


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