UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Eufaula

Who's the Best in the West?

Who's the Best in the West?
Uribe is looking at an opportunity to win his second in a row.

They say it’ll be a tough one, by Clear Lake standards anyway, which should make for a fantastic season-finale showdown. But that’s not all that’s at stake Thursday when the Rayovac FLW Series Western Division finale kicks off in California.

Someone is going to walk away with a Strike King Angler of the Year prize package, plus the top 40 pros and co-anglers in the season-long standings will earn a place in the 2015 Rayovac FLW Series Championship, which is being held on the Ohio River in Paducah, Ky., at month’s end. With the addition of the Western Division contingent, the Championship field will be complete at 200 pros and 200 co-anglers.

The Clear Lake event, which was originally scheduled for Sept. 24-26, was postponed due to wildfires in the Lakeport, Calif., area. Action in the three-day tournament begins at 7 a.m. PT tomorrow at Konocti Vista Casino Resort and Marina and concludes Saturday afternoon, Oct. 17.

Two pros at the top of the standings are dueling for the AOY prize, though several others are still within striking distance.

We weighed their odds.

 

Joe Uribe Jr.

1. Joe Uribe Jr. – 495 Points

Five days into the Western Division season it appeared that Joe Uribe Jr. was on his way to back-to-back tournament victories and the easy road to AOY. He cleaned house at the opener on Lake Havasu in February and had the two-day lead on the California Delta three months later.

Unfortunately for Uribe, the entire top 10 on the Delta was within 2 pounds of his lead, and final-day encounters with a string of fish suffering from bad aim – they were missing his topwater – prevented him from holding off Californian Wade Curtiss. Uribe fell to sixth place.

Still, the Arizona pro known by many as “Little Joe” padded his two-tournament point total to 495 (each tournament winner earns 250 points), which, barring a major bomb at the third tournament, would normally be a nearly insurmountable lead. That won’t be the case this week, however. David Valdivia is right on Uribe’s heels.

A well-rounded Western angler, Uribe knows how to rip ’em on big swimbaits, tiny finesse baits and everything in between. According to practice reports on his Facebook page, Uribe has been having some decent success in preparation for the finale. His “secret weapon,” sister Rachel Uribe, a co-angler who practices with him, has been helping him get dialed in.

Little Joe needs an 11th-place finish to put his lead out of reach. Don’t be surprised if he’s fishing on the last day and does just that. He has, after all, made the top 10 on Clear Lake three times in his Rayovac FLW Series career.

 

That would be a 10-pounder and Valdivia's 'smaller' kicker.

2. David Valdivia – 484 Points

California pro David Valdivia made a lot of noise on the second day of the California Delta event in May when he brought in 26 pounds, 3 ounces to rocket up the leaderboard from 48th place and into the runner-up spot behind Uribe (who leapt from 30th into the lead that day, by the way). Valdivia eventually passed Uribe and finished third. Now, he’s hoping to make the jump, but hold off the rest of the competitors in the process.

Valdivia’s 484 points – he finished 15th on Havasu – have him 11 points back of the leader. Uribe could falter at the finale, leaving the door open, but realistically Valdivia needs no worse than a top 20 – preferably a top 10 – if he wants a shot at the title. Then, too, several anglers down the list could catch him.

According to his angler profile at FLWFishing.com, Valdivia has fished two Rayovac events on Clear Lake and finished 14th and 98th. He needs to avoid the bomb for sure.

 

3. Matt Shura – 481 Points

Arizona firefighter Matt Shura, who’s in third place in the AOY standings, won’t be at Clear Lake to make a run at the title due to a prior commitment. That leaves the door open for the rest of the top 10 anglers.

 

The Rest of the Top 10

4. Kyle Grover – 463

5. Charley Almassey – 455

6. Brent Shores – 454

7. Chad Hulbert – 453

8. Jeff Michels – 449*

9. Jason Milligan – 448

10. Ed Arledge – 438

 

*Michels won back-to-back Western Division AOY titles in 2012 and 2013. Last time he fished Clear Lake, which was in 2013, he made the top 10.

 

Complete Standings

 

Todd Kline

Kline Angling for Third COY Title

Whatever Todd Kline is doing, he’d better not stop. The pro-surfer-turned-bass-nut started fishing with FLW as a Western Division co-angler in 2013. He won the Co-angler of the Year award that season, then followed it up with another COY last year.

That’s impressive enough, but now Kline is angling for three. He’s tied for the COY lead with Daniel Leue. Each has 494 points.

Just being in the hunt for the threepeat is a heck of an accomplishment, but since we’re currently riding the “Kline Train,” we might as well throw out some more of his ridiculous stats:

  • 7 top-10 finishes in 11 FLW events
  • 10th place at the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup
  • 3 wins since 2013, including a pair in 2014
  • back-to-back top-10 finishes in 2015 (6th at Havasu; 2nd at the Cal Delta)

Tags: joe-uribe-jr-  flw-series  western-division  curtis-niedermier  pre-tournament  2015-10-15-clear-lake-rescheduled 

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