UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Cumberland

Skinner runs away with tourney title on Lake Havasu

Skinner runs away with tourney title on Lake Havasu
Pro Billy Skinner of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., proudly displays his first-place trophy after taking home the Rayovac FLW Series tournament title at Lake Havasu.

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. - In the end, the pro contest on Lake Havasu turned out to be really no contest at all. Despite brutally windy conditions for the third day in a row, local pro Billy Skinner of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., managed to keep the rest of the field at bay, recording a final-day catch of 17 pounds, 15 ounces to bring his grand total to 59 pounds, 5 ounces. The result was pretty much a foregone conclusion as Skinner demolished the competition, winning by an astonishing 12-pound margin over his next closest competitor.

For Skinner - who walked away with a brand new, fully rigged Ranger Z518C as well as $40,000 in cash - the tournament represented nothing short of the high-water mark of his young career.

"This is crazy. It's a dream come true. I don't think this is going to set in for awhile," said Skinner. "I've won some boats before and won some team tournaments, but this is the peak of my career right now. It's just amazing."

However, although Skinner looked like he didn't break a sweat all week during his magically run to the title, he acknowledged that fishing Lake Havasu was anything but easy. With stiff winds coming out of the south on day one, even stronger winds emanating from the north on Friday and absolutely brutal westerly winds clocking in at more than 30 mph during the finals, Skinner earned every cent of his payday.

Pro Billy Skinner of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., shows off part of his dominating, three-day, 59-pound, 5-ounce catch. Skinner ultimately won the Rayovac FLW Series even on Lake Havasu by a whopping 12-pound margin."Dude, it was brutal out there," he said. "There were wind gusts anywhere from 30 to 35 mph today so it was tough. It was insanely slow fishing for me today until about 1:30 p.m. Then I got on a pot of fish and caught them the rest of the afternoon. That afternoon bite salvaged my day. I really can't believe I had five fish today - it was that bad out there. I also missed six fish this morning and I really thought that was going to be the nail in the coffin."

Targeting fish with a ChatterBait all week long, Skinner made his way to his prime fishing area early in the morning. It was a "main spawning bay with baitfish" and it was the place that had rewarded him all week. But today, with the westerly winds, his bite shut down.

"The fish were basically coming to me every day but I only caught two small fish there so my area really failed me today," he said. "So at 1:30 p.m., I left and started fishing manmade structure and weed beds."

In the end, Skinner's perseverance paid off as he netted the largest stringer of the day in either division.

"It was an exhausting week but it was a lot of fun," he said.

Borofka claims runner-up finish

On the strength of a 47-pound, 5-ounce catch, pro Jason Borofka of Salinas, Calif., took home second place overall on Lake Havasu.Although Jason Borofka of Salinas, Calif., hadn't fished Lake Havasu in seven years, you never would have known it by the performance he turned in this week. While Skinner understandably stole most of the headlines, Borofka quietly had one heck of a tournament, finishing in second place overall with a total, three-day catch of 47 pounds, 5 ounces.

"I'm really happy with the way I fished; it's just been an unbelievable event," he said. "When I came here, I really didn't know what kind of fish I was on. I fished a little conservatively on the first day but pretty much everything worked out for me this week. I had a great time and made all of the right decisions."

Like the majority of the final-day field, Borofka said the fishing conditions were as difficult as they come.

"Oh man, I think I'm going to have to lay down because my back is pretty messed up. I'm so cold right now," he said. "I prayed for wind today but not a hurricane. It was definitely brutal out there."

Borofka said that he spent most of his time fishing flats with "big breaks." He said he used a homemade Alabama rig with a two-bait attachment - what he and his friends nicknamed the "G-rig" - to land approximately 80 percent of his catch. In addition, Borofka augmented his arsenal with a Johnny C's California Reservoir Lures flipping jig.

Although he couldn't pull out the title in the end, Borofka said he had an amazing week of fishing.

"Like I said, it's been 7 years since I've been here so I'm really happy with the way I fished," he said. "Overall, I feel great about my week. It's the first tournament of the year for me so it's a great start."

For his efforts, Borofka took home a check for $15,500.

Fuqua nets third place, gets his mojo back

Pro John Fuqua of Oxnard, Calif., proudly displays his catch en route to a third-place finish on Lake Havasu.John Fuqua of Oxnard, Calif., could have easily been excused had he turned in a terrible performance this week. Back in October, Fuqua suffered a tragic loss when his house caught on fire. The loss was devastating. As a result, he didn't really have any real opportunities to go fishing given the fact that he had to deal with the personal matter of literally getting his house back in order.

However, somehow Fuqua managed to put all of his bad luck aside this week and turn in one of the more noble performances of his career. Using a total catch of 46 pounds, 8 ounces, Fuqua grabbed third place overall and took home a check for $12,000. While that amount won't cover his house fire and the losses - both property and personal - it was at least a start.

"I had that house fire back in October and I wasn't even going to come and fish this tournament," he said. "But my wife signed me up and I'm glad she did."

Things, however, did not go smoothly at the very start. Fuqua acknowledged that he had a brutal practice and wasn't sure things were going to get much brighter once the actual event commenced.

"Considering I caught two fish in all of practice, I'm really happy with the way things turned out," he said. "I wound up fishing all new water at the start of the tournament. Basically I just came here and went fishing."

While most of the competitors struggled in the blustery conditions today, Fuqua made a strategic decision to fish the back of an island that was at least somewhat sheltered. As it turned out, it was a wise choice.

"I fished back around the island and targeted rock with a break on the bank line. Most of my fish were shoreline fish today," he said. "I used a Basstrix hollow belly swimbait to catch most of my fish. But the wind was key for me. The banks I fished had to have some wind on it."

Unlike many final-day competitors, Fuqua said today was his best day of fishing.

"I had more bites today than I had all week," he said. "All week I hadn't caught one fish before 9:30 a.m. and today I had a limit by 9:15 a.m. What a day."

Fuqua now boasts one win (on Lake Roosevelt in 2013) and a third-place finish (today) in back-to-back Rayovac FLW Series events.

Bailey nabs fourth place

Pro Shaun Bailey of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., finished the Lake Havasu event in fourth place.On the strength of a total catch of 46 pounds, 5 ounces, Shaun Bailey of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., netted fourth place overall - despite the fact that the wind completed decimated his gameplan coming into the finals.

"It was just an average day on Lake Havasu," joked Bailey with regard to the brutally windy conditions today. "Today I had to abandon my gameplan and just go pre-fishing. I ran all new water and did the best I could."

Bailey said that he targeted bass with a combination of Evergreen baits.

"I caught most of my fish this week on an Evergreen vibration bait by ripping it off the bottom pretty hard," he said. "But it was definitely tough out there today. You really had to take it slow and easy. I only had four fish today and I had a smallmouth on the line that really would have helped. But it jumped like 3 or 4 feet in the air and came off."

Overall though, Bailey said he had few complaints.

"I had a great week," he said. "It was a tough week. But I'm happy."

For his efforts, Bailey took home a nice $10,000 payday.

Arledge rounds out top-five finishers

Pro Ed Arledge of Valley Center, Calif., used a total, two-day catch of 42 pounds, 15 ounces to finish the Lake Havasu event in fifth place overall. Like many pros during the finals, the wind completely sabotaged Ed Arledge's prime fishing area. After spending the entire week fishing deep water in the middle of the lake, today's dangerous wind gusts made his main fishing spot virtually unfishable. So, the resident of Valley Center, Calif., was forced to adapt on the fly.

"Today I totally got blown off of my spot. There was just no way I could fish in the middle of the lake with 35 mph wind gusts out there," he said. "I wound up having to change things up. I still fished deep - about 29 feet - but that was about the only thing I could do."

Ed Arledge said he targeted bass today with a combination of spoons en route to a total, three-day catch of 42 pounds, 15 ounces.

"I'm cold and tired right now," said Arledge, who will celebrate his 71st birthday next Friday. "But I had a fantastic week overall. Anytime you can make the top-10, it's a good week."

In the end, Arledge walked away with $9,000 in winnings for his efforts.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 pro finalists:

Pro Kevin Hugo of Chino, Calif., grabbed sixth place overall on Lake Havasu with a total, three-day catch of 38 pounds, 9 ounces. 6th: Kevin Hugo of Chino, Calif., 38-9.
7th: Gary Pinholster of Lake Havasu, Ariz., 38-4
8th: Jimmy Reese of Witter Springs, Calif., 37-10.
9th: David Kromm of Kennewick, Wash., 30-11
10th: Chad Martin of Nicolaus, Calif., 30-7.

Bass-fishing fans take note

A good crowd was on hand to witness final weigh-in at Lake Havasu.Rayovac FLW Series Western Division action resumes May 15-17 on the California Delta in Bethel Island, Calif.

Tags: gary-mortenson  headline-story  2014-01-30-lake-havasu 

Culbertson Wins Wild Card

Culbertson Wins Wild Card

Boater Austin Culbertson of Columbia, Missouri, brought a two-day total of eight bass to the scale weighing 25 pounds, 9 ounces to win the no-entry fee Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Wild Card Championship on Lake of the Ozarks presented by Fish-Intel.com. For his victory, Culbertson earned one of the final berths into the 2021 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American Championship. READ MORE »

Kimmel Ices Co-Angler Victory

Kimmel Ices Co-Angler Victory

Justin Kimmel has had built up a sterling record from the back of the boat on Lake Hartwell, and today he padded his stats with a win in the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP. Kimmel, now with three multi-day wins on Hartwell, totaled 26 pounds, 9 ounces and banked $50,000 for the win. READ MORE »

Macy Wins the All-American

Macy Wins the All-American

Weighing 13 pounds, 1 ounce on the final day, Chris Macy totaled 34-10 to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP. Hailing from Diamond, Mo., Macy rose from fifth to first on the final day to claim the $100,000 top prize in his first time in the All-American. READ MORE »

Lake Hartwell Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Lake Hartwell Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Though there are some possibilities for interesting shallow things to happen on the final day, so far offshore spotted bass have been the name of the game in the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP. With most of the action going down in the lower end of Lake Hartwell, the top 10 are packed tight, and one kicker bite could go an awful long way at the final weigh-in. READ MORE »

Goade Ahead on Hartwell

Goade Ahead on Hartwell

Though Todd Goade calls the Volunteer State home, he’s got plenty of experience on Hartwell and it's showing in the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP. Catching 11 pounds, 7 ounces yesterday, Goade improved his catch today with 13-2 to slid him to the top of the leaderboard with 24-9 overall. READ MORE »

Lake Hartwell Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Lake Hartwell Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

As projected, Hartwell isn’t giving up big limits for the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP. Still, there are plenty of fish being caught, and if you want to chase offshore spotted bass around, it’s a pretty good place to be right now. READ MORE »

Lippe Leads on Hartwell

Lippe Leads on Hartwell

Day one of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP saw a bit of everything in terms of weather with rain, fog and some brief sun, and the fishing on Lake Hartwell was maybe just as confusing. Catching fish wasn’t an issue, but the quality that calls Hartwell home eluded the majority of the field. Hauling in 12 pounds even today, Dustin Lippe took the early lead after day one, but the weights are stacked tight, with under 1 1/2 pounds separating first and 10th. READ MORE »

Live Leaderboard - Lake Hartwell

Live Leaderboard - Lake Hartwell

FLW media staff and anglers provide unofficial weight estimates for the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP READ MORE »

All-American Starts on Hartwell

All-American Starts on Hartwell

Day one of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP is going to be a wet one. Overnight, a wad of rain and storms moved into the region around Lake Hartwell, and it’s projected to stay wet all the way into Thursday morning, with almost 2-inches of rain in the forecast for today. That rain isn’t what some would like for the fishing, but it’s not going to dampen the competition for the title of All-American and the top prize of $100,000. READ MORE »

Huff All the Way on Table Rock

Huff All the Way on Table Rock

Cody Huff didn’t even plan on fishing the final Toyota Series Plains Division event on Table Rock, but being it’s only on 45 minutes from his house and he already filled a deer tag he figured why not. That decision turned out to be the right one as he’d take the lead on day one with 16 pounds, 15 ounces and never look back. READ MORE »

Poche Wins on Seminole

Poche Wins on Seminole

The final day of the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Lake Seminole was tough on the folks heading down the lake and fishing around the grass. It was not tough on Keith Poche, who turned his small aluminum boat up the Flint River each day of the event to target shoal bass and largemouths north of Bainbridge. READ MORE »

Huff Cruising on Table Rock

Huff Cruising on Table Rock

After two days on Table Rock Lake for the final Toyota Series Plains Division event of the season, Cody Huff is in command, backing up his Thursday weight of 16 pounds, 15 ounces with a solid 13-15 for a 30-14 total overall. READ MORE »

Dillon McMillan Smashes 24 Pounds on Seminole

Dillon McMillan Smashes 24 Pounds on Seminole

Walloping 24 pounds, 4 ounces on day two, Dillon McMillan surged into the lead of the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Lake Seminole. With a 37-4 total, Dillon is ahead of Jared McMillan, his older brother, by a hair more than 4 pounds going into the final day. READ MORE »

Lake Seminole Midday Update – Day 2

Lake Seminole Midday Update – Day 2

A head-scratcher. That’s the best way to describe the day two morning at the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Lake Seminole. If you wonder why so many pros talk about how sensitive Lake Seminole is to fishing pressure, look at the second day of just about any event held there. For some reason, Seminole fish are just smart like that. They might bite well the first day, but they clam up the second day. READ MORE »

Huff Ahead on Table Rock

Huff Ahead on Table Rock

Jumping out to a lead over a tightly packed top 10, Cody Huff weighed 16 pounds, 15 ounces on day one of the Toyota Series Plains Division event on Table Rock Lake. Huff, who is a Bethel University student, has already won one Toyota Series event this year, and he’s now starting off another on exactly the right foot. Behind him, Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit superstar Spencer Shuffield is tied with Corey Cook for second place with 14-5 and Dale Andrews is in third with 14-1. READ MORE »

J-Mac Sticks 21+ on Seminole

J-Mac Sticks 21+ on Seminole

Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro Jared McMillan dropped 21 pounds, 10 ounces on the scale to kick off the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Lake Seminole. The only pro to cross the 20-pound barrier, McMillan is ahead of Jason Smith, who weighed 19-3, and MLF Bass Pro Tour pro Keith Poche and Mikey Keyso, who both brought in 17 pounds or better. READ MORE »

Lake Seminole Midday Update – Day 1

Lake Seminole Midday Update – Day 1

There was plenty of fish catching happening on day one of the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Lake Seminole; the problem was they were not the size fish Lake Seminole is known for. Instead of 5- and 6-pounders, there was an unusual number of line-burners being deposited in livewells READ MORE »

Wagner Wins on Dale Hollow

Wagner Wins on Dale Hollow

Adam Wagner is approaching legend status in central Tennessee. Storming to the win from fifth place on the final day, Wagner put a limit for 16 pounds, 1 ounce on the scale for a 34-6 total and the win in the Toyota Series Central Division event on Dale Hollow. READ MORE »

Dale Hollow Midday Update – Day 3

Dale Hollow Midday Update – Day 3

You’re not going to find a better day to be out on the lake in the fall. Unfortunately, the warming trend paired with bluebird skies, plenty of sun and very little wind hasn’t produced very good conditions for catching fish. READ MORE »

Dale Hollow Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Dale Hollow Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Dale Hollow is fishing tough. That’s about the only constant across the field in the Toyota Series Central Division finale. Everyone in the top 10 has made it to this point by finding a way to battle the difficult conditions and tricky timing, and many have done that extremely well. READ MORE »