UPCOMING EVENT: FLW Tour - 2019 - Lake Champlain

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

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 

Bowling Top Dog on Broken Bow

Bowling Top Dog on Broken Bow

John Bowling of Broken Bow won Saturday’s T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Okie Division tournament on Broken Bow Lake after catching five bass weighing 19 pounds, 8 ounces. For his win, Bowling earned $6,440. READ MORE »

Wilson Works Slow at Barren River

Wilson Works Slow at Barren River

Jeffrey Wilson of Lancaster, Kentucky, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Mountain Division tournament on the Barren River Saturday after catching five bass weighing 16 pounds, 6 ounces. For his day on the water, Wilson pocketed $3,753. READ MORE »

Johns Flips on Eufaula

Johns Flips on Eufaula

Clabion Johns of Social Circle, Georgia, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Bulldog Division tournament on Lake Eufaula Saturday after catching five bass weighing 19 pounds, 9 ounces. Johns netted $6,237 for his win. READ MORE »

Rosario, Greene Tie at St. Clair

Rosario, Greene Tie at St. Clair

Kyle Greene of Ortonville, Michigan, and Angel Rosario of Kalamazoo, Michigan, each caught five bass weighing 23 pounds, 7 ounces, to tie for the win at Saturday’s T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Michigan Division opener on Lake St. Clair. For their efforts, Greene took home $3,376 while Rosario pocketed $5,176 after contingency awards. READ MORE »

Villa Junk Fishes to Title

Villa Junk Fishes to Title

Martin Villa of Charlottesville, Virginia, won Saturday’s T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Piedmont Division tournament on High Rock Lake after catching a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 10 ounces. For his win, Villa pocketed $3,932. READ MORE »

Cicero and Snyder Win World Finals

Cicero and Snyder Win World Finals

Anthony Cicero IV and Dakota Snyder went right to their spot, locked up a big limit early and about six and a half hours later, brought what would be the winning sack of 16 pounds, 6 ounces to McFarland Park where the Elizabethtown High School duo won the 10th Annual High School Fishing World Finals. READ MORE »

World Finals Midday Update - Day 4

World Finals Midday Update - Day 4

Pickwick is big lake, but even this 53-mile long TVA reservoir gets weary and the first half of the day told a tale of occasional opportunity, but a lot of waiting and hoping as 31 teams competed in the final day of the 10th annual High School Fishing World Finals. READ MORE »

Northlake Christian Wins By An Ounce

Northlake Christian Wins By An Ounce

Northlake Christian High School’s Christopher Capdeboscq and Sam Acosta weighed 9 pounds, 7 ounces (three fish) on the final day to win the High School Fishing National Championship on Pickwick Lake. With a three-day total weight of 35-12, Capdeboscq and Acosta had just a 1-ounce margin over the second-place team of Colin McCullough and Justin Hamlin who tallied 35-11 for Cedar Bluff High School. READ MORE »

High School Midday Update - Day 3

High School Midday Update - Day 3

Timing is typically the key to success on most TVA reservoirs and Pickwick Lake seems to be dishing out the lessons during day three of the High School Fishing National Championship, held in conjunction with the 10th Annual High School Fishing World Finals.  READ MORE »

High School Midday Update – Day 2

High School Midday Update – Day 2

Pickwick showed off its impressive diversity during day two of the High School Fishing National Championship, which is held in conjunction with the High School Fishing World Finals. End-to-end, this Tennessee River reservoir stretches about 53 miles, and, while the offshore ledge game gets most of the attention, anglers were also leveraging the lake's many other fishable features. READ MORE »

Northlake Christian Takes the Lead

Northlake Christian Takes the Lead

Weights are stacked tight atop the standings of the 2019 High School Fishing National Championship on Pickwick Lake. Moving into the lead position is the Northlake Christian team of Christopher Capdeboscq and Sam Acosta, who added 12 pounds, 14 ounces today for a two-day total of 26-5. Will Daniels and Kade Suratt added an impressive three-bass limit worth 15-12 today to move up one spot and into the lead in the High School Fishing World Finals. READ MORE »

Bedford, Brown Lead at Pickwick

Bedford, Brown Lead at Pickwick

Weighing in a three-fish limit of bass that averaged more than 4 1/2 pounds apiece has JD Bedford and Walker Brown of Lawrence County High School in the driver’s seat at the 2019 High School Fishing National Championship on Pickwick Lake. Keegan Fort and Clayton Page lead the High School Fishing World Finals with a three-fish limit worth 14 pounds, 5 ounces. READ MORE »

High School Midday Update – Day 1

High School Midday Update – Day 1

Some things on Pickwick Lake were as expected, but some were less so during day one of the dual High School Fishing National Championship and High School Fishing World Finals. Predictably, offshore patterns seem to be dominating the day, particularly traditional ledge scenarios below the Natchez Trace Bridge. Crankbaits, jigs, swimbaits and big worms were the common presentations. READ MORE »

Samo Wins at Wolf River Chain

Samo Wins at Wolf River Chain

Curtis Samo of Rochelle, Illinois, won Saturday’s T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division tournament on the Wolf River Chain of Lakes with five bass weighing 15 pounds even. For his win, Samo took home $5,794. READ MORE »

Weekend Sweep for Robertson

Weekend Sweep for Robertson

Matt Robertson of Kuttawa, Kentucky, swept the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) LBL Division this weekend after winning back-to-back tournaments on Kentucky and Barkley lakes presented by Navionics, the first on Saturday and then again on Sunday. For his wins, Robertson earned a total of $7,842. READ MORE »

Sentore Downsizes for Chesapeake W

Sentore Downsizes for Chesapeake W

Michael Sentore of Gloucester City, New Jersey, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Northeast Division tournament presented by Gajo Baits on the Chesapeake Bay Saturday with a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds even. For his finish, Sentore netted $3,362. READ MORE »

Sullivan Frogs on Ross Barnett

Sullivan Frogs on Ross Barnett

Corey Sullivan of Brandon, Mississippi, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Mississippi Division tournament on Ross Barnett Reservoir Saturday after catching five bass weighing 17 pounds, 5 ounces. For his win, Sullivan pocketed $3,377. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 3

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 3

Kris Wilson did everything he could this morning to put away this tournament before anyone had a chance to make a run at him. The Montgomery, Texas, pro returned to the spot where he started the first two days and boxed up a pair of 5-pounders. The leader has camped on his spot basically all morning, and now we estimate he's culled up to about 18 pounds. Wilson came into today with a lead of more than 4 1/2 pounds over second-place pro Josh Bensema, and a much greater margin over everyone else, so that limit is huge and likely has him on course for a wire-to-wire victory in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. READ MORE »

Wilson Wins Big on Rayburn

Wilson Wins Big on Rayburn

Kris Wilson pounded out another big limit – 24 pounds, 1 ounce – to win the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury at Sam Rayburn Reservoir by a margin of 13 pounds, 15 ounces. His three-day total was 72-8.  READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 2

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 2

In terms of fish caught, tournament leader Kris Wilson had a tougher morning today than on day one. But a behemoth bass that will probably push the 8-pound mark has him in prime position to maintain his lead in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. READ MORE »