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Christiansen claims co-angler crown at Lake Shasta

Christiansen claims co-angler crown at Lake Shasta
Blaine Christiansen of San Jose, Calif., holds up his first-place catch en route to winning the EverStart co-angler title on Lake Shasta.

REDDING, Calif. - During an EverStart Series event on Clear Lake in 2011, Blaine Christiansen of San Jose, Calif., entered the final day of the tournament in second place. Ultimately, he had to settle for a fifth-place as things didn't go entirely as planned. But today, with a Lake Shasta title on the line and holding the coveted No. 1 qualifying position, Christiansen was determined not to make the same mistake.

In short, he wasn't about to let a tournament title slip away ... again.

"I know how tough it is to win these types of events," said Christiansen.

But as it turned out, Christiansen was able to out-fish the rest of the field when it counted most. Realizing that most of the big weights of the tournaments were coming on the latest bait sensation, the Alabama Rig, Christiansen decided to switch things up in the finals. And his gamble paid big dividends.

"I decided to change things up a little bit and fish the Alabama Rig," he said. "I brought of a bunch of them with me but I hadn't fished them until today. And it worked out. On my third cast, I hooked into that huge fish (a 6-pounder give or take). It really freaked me out. For a few seconds there, I forgot how to use my reel. But when I finally got that fish in the boat, I knew I just needed to get four little ones and I would have a good shot to win this."

Blaine Christiansen of San Jose, Calif., shows off his first-place trophy after winning the EverStart co-angler title on Lake Shasta.And that's exactly what happened. When all was said and done, Christiansen brought in an impressive 13-pound, 6-ounce limit to the scales - good enough for a 4-pound-plus victory. For his efforts, Christiansen walked away with a brand new, fully rigged Ranger Z518 bass boat.

"It really hasn't hit me yet," said Christiansen of his victory. "It's crazy. These guys all could have won (the title). They're that good. It was my birthday a few days ago so I think I had a little bit of luck on my side. But I'm happy. This is the biggest win of my career."

Christiansen said that he targeted bass today fishing the back of rivers in "super shallow" water.

In the end, Christiansen said he couldn't have been happier with the outcome.

"On this lake, it's really anyone's game in the finals," said Christiansen, who ultimately recorded a total weight of 30 pounds, 11 ounces. "I was just fortunate enough to get the right bites at the right time. I'm still amazed I won. I think it really won't hit me until the drive home."

Britt loses hearbreaker

Co-angler Aaron Britt of Yuba City, finished the EverStart Lake Shasta event in second place.Fishing in only the second EverStart tournament of his career, Aaron Britt of Yuba City, Calif., was determined to make the most of his experience. Without any question, he surely accomplished that. Unfortunately for Britt, the one thing he didn't accomplish was winning the Lake Shasta tournament title outright.

But, to be sure, it wasn't for lack of trying. Buoyed by a healthy, final-day sack weighing 9 pounds, 7 ounces, Britt stormed into the overall lead with only Christiansen left to weigh in. At that point, Britt had registered a total, three-day weight of 26 pounds, 7 ounces and thought it just might be enough to win the tournament.

"I was feeling really good at that point," he said. "I really thought I was going to win."

Unfortunately for Britt, Christiansen produced a monster sack of his own to walk away with the title.

"I'm just devastated right now," he said. "I'm really at a loss for words. To work as hard as I did and get the title ripped away at the end, it's tough.

"But I really do want to congratulate Blaine," Britt continued. "He fished a great tournament."

Britt, who threw a combination of tubes and Alabama Rigs during today's competition, also had high praise for his pro partners all week, especially his final-day partner Willie Church.

"Willie struggled a little bit today," he said. "And even though he wasn't doing as well as he hoped he would, he made sure to put me on fish. He really helped me out as much as possible and he couldn't have been a better partner. I owe 100-percent of (this finish) to him."

In the end, after netting nearly $4,000 in winnings, Britt said that while the loss still hurt, he was able to put things into perspective.

"I had a fabulous week," he said. "I really did."

Penrod nets best-ever finish

On the strength of a total catch weighing 23 pounds, 13 ounces, William Penrod of Salome, Ariz., finished in third place overall at the EverStart Lake Shasta event.On the strength of a total catch weighing 23 pounds, 13 ounces, William Penrod of Salome, Ariz., finished in third place overall, netting nearly $3,700 in winnings in the process.

"It feels great," said Penrod. "This is my first-ever top 10. I've been close before a couple of times so I've very happy right now. It's unbelievable. It's my best tournament yet."

Penrod said that he used a drop-shot all week to land his catch, fishing in anywhere from 25 to 40 feet of water.

But to finally crack the top 10, Penrod said, is something he'll remember for a long time to come.

"All of these guys are good fishermen," he said. "They're the best of the West. And when you compete against these guys, you have to be at your best."

Keller grabs fourth place

Co-angler Charles Keller of Redding, Calif., parlayed a total catch of 23 pounds, 5 ounces into a fourth-place finish and a check for $3,000 at the EverStart Lake Shasta event.Charles Keller of Redding, Calif., parlayed a total catch of 23 pounds, 5 ounces into a fourth-place finish and a check for $3,000.

"It's been a good week," he said. "I had great partners. And I had a good day of fishing. It's great being in the top 10."

Keller said he targeted bass fishing a Darter Head jig in approximately 30 feet of water.

Best of the rest

Fifth place belonged to Jerry Lee of Redding, Calif., who landed a total catch of 22 pounds, 9 ounces.

Rounding out the top-10 co-angler finalists:

6th: Gayle Janes of Bermuda Dunes, Calif., 25-5
7th: Toby Farkas of Woodland, Calif., 21-14
8th: Brian Ferris of Galt, Calif., 20-4
9th: Daniel Leue of Colusa, Calif., 19-1
10th: Russ Greenlee of Sacramento, Calif., 18-8

EverStart Series Western Division action resumes Feb. 23-25 at Lake Havasu in Lake Havasu City, Ariz.

Tags: gary-mortenson  co-angler-headline  2012-01-26-lake-shasta 

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