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Kinley climbs into first place on Lake Havasu

Kinley climbs into first place on Lake Havasu
Pro Chris Kinley of Durango, Colo., grabbed the top spot after landing a 17-pound, 12-ounce catch on the opening day of EverStart competition on Lake Havasu.

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. - After making an excruciatingly long drive from his hometown of Durango, Colo., Chris Kinley hoped his results at the EverStart Series Lake Havasu event would be worth the effort. As it turned out, Kinley need not have worried. Despite a tough bite and some strong winds gusting in the 15- to 25-mph range, Kinley managed to eke out a 1-ounce lead with a total catch of 17 pounds, 12 ounces to grab the top spot in the Pro Division.

Not surprisingly, Kinley said he couldn't have been more psyched with the way events unfolded in today's opening round of tournament action.

"I'm very, very pleased," said Kinley. "This is only my third tournament with FLW so I'm happy with the way things turned out. I'm from Colorado and fishing at home is pretty tough. It's a lot different from here. But I really love this lake. There are just so many ways you can catch fish here. I'm really having a good time. But honestly, I'm still kind of surprised by how much weight I had today. But you know what, the lake is fishing really good right now."

Kinley said the foundation for the day's success began in practice.

"I was able to figure out some patterns in practice and that helped," he said. "Today, it was pretty tough out there. The fishing was pretty slow but I think the wind kind of helped me. My spots really produced today - more so than I even thought they would. So it's a huge weight off my shoulders."

Unlike many pros, Kinley said that he's not targeting bedding bass at all.

"I'm fishing a style that's a combination of power fishing and finesse fishing," said Kinley. "And my bite has been relatively consistent all day. The fish are in a major transition period and I think that works to my strengths. I have numerous patterns that are working right now, but I'm also not bed fishing at all. I'm not going to play that game here. This lake has burned me more than once (employing that strategy)."

However, despite his first-place finish, Kinley knows it's unwise to take anything for granted - especially on Lake Havasu.

"I think if everything goes well that I can duplicate what I had today," said Kinley. "I have a couple of good areas and I really didn't beat my fish up today. But as far as the tournament is concerned, the cards haven't even hit the table yet. Anybody can come back with a 20-pound bag here. And if the wind dies down and sight-fishing comes into play, anything can happen. I want to sleep well tonight. But I probably won't."

Gutierrez snags second place

By the slimmest of margins, Greg Gutierrez of Red Bluff, Calif., finished in second place overall on the opening day of EverStart tourney action on Lake Havasu.By the slimmest of margins, Greg Gutierrez of Red Bluff, Calif., finished the day in second place overall. However, after recording a total catch of 17 pounds, 11 ounces, it's clear that Gutierrez is now a serious contender for the title. Not only did he bring back the type of weight necessary to win an event like this, but he boasts plenty of other areas where he believes he can continue to haul out quality limits. As such, it appears that Gutierrez is in it for the long haul.

"I've been to this lake a bunch of times but pretty much right away in practice I got onto a couple of good patterns," he said. "So right from the get-go I was feeling confident. And by the second day of practice I couldn't stop smiling."

After today's event, Gutierrez was still smiling.

"Today everything just laid out perfectly for me. I'm fishing very comfortably right now," he said. "And that's the biggest thing. You fish a lot better when you fish relaxed."

As far as his prime areas are concerned, Gutierrez said he's targeting little piscatorial highways where bass come through when they're getting ready to spawn.

"Basically I'm going out there looking for little breaks where the fish are coming into spawn. I also have some other pretty good spots that I haven't had to use yet. I'm waiting on those for later - if I even need them. So overall I feel pretty good right now."

But can he match today's effort in Friday's contest?

"I'm pretty confident I can come back with 15 or 16 pounds fairly easily," he said. "But getting those 17-pound bags takes a lot of work. They're a lot harder to come by."

Uribe nets third place

Joe Uribe Jr., of Lake Forrest, Calif., turned in a top-three performance in today's EverStart competition on Lake Havasu with a total catch of 17 pounds, 9 ounces.Joe Uribe Jr., of Lake Forrest, Calif., turned in a top-three performance in today's competition with a total catch of 17 pounds, 9 ounces.

Meanwhile, Michael Wright of Grass Valley, Calif., landed the day in fourth place with a total catch of 17 pounds, 8 ounces.

"It feels good," said Wright. "Hopefully tomorrow I can got there and catch a 12- to 14-pound bag. I'd love to catch 17 pounds again, but 14 pounds is probably a little more realistic."

Wright said that he used a combination of drop-shots and tubes to land the majority of his catch in today's competition.

Pro Michael Wright of Grass Valley, Calif., landed the day in fourth place with a total catch of 17 pounds, 8 ounces."I was also fishing a lot of docks in water in the 15- to 20-foot range," he said. "There were a lot of people around my areas but I was able to find the deeper fish and that made a difference. I had a smaller limit by about 8:30 or 9 a.m. but had pretty much everything I wound up keeping at around 10:30 a.m."

Overall, Wright said he was happy with today's finish.

"I'm really pleased," he said. "Everything just really worked out for me today."

Rounding out the top-five pro competitors was Jimmy Savoini of Prescott, Ariz. Savoini ultimately recorded a total catch of 17 pounds, 3 ounces to grab fifth place overall.

Rick Francis of Cibola, Ariz., won the Snicker's Big Bass award in the Pro Division after netting a 5-pound bass.

For a complete list of results, click here.

Moran grabs co-angler lead

Travis Moran of Reno, Nev., landed in first place today in the Co-angler Division after netting a total catch weighing 15 pounds, 10 ounces.

Travis Moran of Reno, Nev., landed in first place today in the Co-angler Division after netting a total catch weighing 15 pounds, 10 ounces."It feels awesome," said Moran of today's finish. "I've been here all week and I knew the bite was going to be tough. So I made sure that before I went out on the water today that I had baits tied on for basically any situation I'd face with my pro. And it paid off.

"On my very first cast I caught a 4 1/2-pounder," Moran continued. "And right there I knew I was going to be in contention. The rest of the day was just icing on the cake. I had my limit by 11:30 a.m. and it's the first time I can remember when I was sitting out on the water not worried about catching that final fish before weigh-in. It was a good feeling."

Moran said that he had to be versatile in today's competition given the conditions.

"I used six different baits today," he said. "And I think only one of my baits caught more than one fish. It was really a mixed bag out there. It was pretty tough, but they key was taking advantage of the right bites."

Allen scores a second-place finish

Bolstered by a total catch of 15 pounds, 6 ounces, Vic Allen of Canyon Lake, Calif., finished the day in the runner-up position in the Co-angler Division on Lake Havasu.Bolstered by a total catch of 15 pounds, 6 ounces, Vic Allen of Canyon Lake, Calif., finished the day in the runner-up position. While second place is always a nice way to begin an event, Allen said it was especially important to him given his previous EverStart performances on Lake Shasta.

"It really feels great because at Shasta, I did terribly," he said. "After the final day on Shasta I was in second-to-last place. So this is a little bit of redemption for me."

Allen said that he paid careful attention to his pro partner, Zack Thompson, and attempted to capitalize on the water Thompson wasn't fishing.

"I was just watching Zack in the morning vacuuming up all of those fish while sight-fishing," he said. "Basically all I could do was drag a drop-shot with a 4-inch Robo worm behind the boat. Luckily it worked out well for me.

"As far as tomorrow goes," Allen continued. "I'll just have to adapt based on what my pro is doing. But I have to say, this is one of my favorite lakes. So, hopefully, everything will work out."

Allen also tied with Shannon Henry of Anthem, Ariz., for the day's Snicker's Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division after landing bass weighing 4 pounds, 1 ounces.

Best of the rest

Allen Todd of Gardnerville, Nev., took third place overall with a total catch of 13 pounds, 7 ounces.

Nick Nourot of Benicia, Calif., finished in fourth place with a catch of 13 pounds, 6 ounces.

And Whitney Uyeda of Buellton, Calif., rounded out the top-five co-anglers with a catch of 13 pounds, 2 ounces.

Bass-fishing fans take note

EverStart Series action continues during Friday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7 a.m. at Lake Havasu State Park, located at 699 London Bridge Road in Lake Havasu City, Ariz.

Fans who can't make tomorrow's weigh-in in person can also tune into FLW Live on FLWOutdoors.com shortly before 3:00 p.m. Pacific Time to watch live streaming video and audio of Friday's second-day weigh-in.

Tags: gary-mortenson  headline-story  2012-02-23-lake-havasu 

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