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Saturday, January 08, 2011
Lake Shasta 2011 WON BASS ProAm Coverage

WON BASS Pro Event - Lake Roosevelt, Arizona
It’s official...John Murray takes home a victory at WON BASS Roosevelt Pro/Am

JOHN MURRAY of Phoenix, Ariz., center, happily accepts his first-place checks and awards from WON BASS Director Billy Egan, left, and weighmaster John Cassidy.

Well, as we said no more than an hour or so ago, the winner of the Lake Roosevelt Pro/Am was going to come down to the wire… and indeed it did.

When the final results were tabulated, Pro John Murray of Phoenix, Ariz., managed to edge out Dean Kreuzer of Mesa, Ariz., by a mere .48 pounds. Murray’s final weight of 27.80 pounds proved to be enough to earn the angler a first-place finish good for $7,396, plus $1,000 in Top 5 option money, in addition to a $400 Reactor watch.

Kreuzer’s 27.32 pounds garnered a $4,706 paycheck and $700 in Top 5 option money. Murray and Kreuzer both also took home Big Fish option money.

Taking third in the Pro Division was Rick Mason of Glendale, Ariz., with 23.36 pounds. In fourth was Dewayne Jackson of Bloomfield, New Mexico, for his two-day combined weight of 22.64 pounds. Jackson also took home a check for $1,320 for his 5.74-pound overall big fish of the event. Rounding out the top five spots was Shawn Hilton of Phoenix, Ariz., and his 20.65-pound two-day limit.

On the AAA side, John Bitting of Westminster took first with 26.51 pounds and returned home with an extra $1,777.11 in his pocket and a $400 Reactor watch on his wrist. Gary Robbins of Burbank placed second with 24.61 pounds and earned a total of $1,421.69. He also landed the biggest fish in the AAA Division, good for an additional $990. With a two-day combined weight of 23.28 pounds, Leonard Johnson of Phoenix, Ariz. landed in third, while Ron Wells of Mesa, Ariz., secured his fourth-place slot with 22.56 pounds. In fifth was Keith Hunsinger and his 21.14 pounds.

Everyone was in high spirits at the awards ceremony and those in attendance had nothing but positive thoughts and words to share about their Roosevelt experience.

The complete results should be posted shortly on

Saturday 5 PM UPDATE

This one’s going down to the wire!  WON BASSers bring solid bags to the scale on day two at Roosevelt and it’s anyone’s guess as to who will come out on top.

It’s a little after 5 p.m. Arizona time, and the weigh-in for the final day of our WON BASS Roosevelt Pro/Am just wrapped. The final results have yet to be tabulated, but according to preliminary calculations, it’s going to indeed be a photo finish.

Day-one leader Dean Kreuzer of Mesa, Ariz., solidified his position with an 11.03-pound bag, but Pro John Murray of Phoenix, Ariz., also brought an impressive 11.77 pounds to the scale. In other words, the battle for first place looks to be one that’s going to be decided by ounces.

IT LOOKS LIKE IT’S GOING TO BE A CLOSE ONE, as day-one fist-place finisher Dean Kreuzer brought an 11.03-pound bag to the scale this afternoon.

But then our day-one second-place Pro, John Murray, managed a 5-fish limit weighing 11.77 pounds.

The heaviest bag weighed this afternoon belonged to DeWayne Jackson of Bloomfield, New Mexico, who, along with his AAA Gary Freeman, boated a 5-fish limit weighing 13.42 pounds. Included in that bag was a day-two, and overall event big fish of 5.74 pounds, also caught by Jackson. Unfortunately, Jackson resided in 26th place on day one, but today’s bag will certainly bump him up in the standings.
The bags were a bit heavier today, and quality fish seemed more prevalent. The awards ceremony kicks off in about a half hour, so look for the final results and photos to be posted around 7 p.m.

Sunday 7AM Update
The second, and final, day of bassin’ action on Lake Roosevelt dawned a beautiful morning; as once again, WON BASSers were treated to chilly temps, but flat-calm conditions.
An air of optimism hovered over the 61-boat field, as anglers could be overhead discussing their game plans and strategies for the day. While fishing was a bit tough yesterday, most everyone brought fish to the scale, and while it may have taken some longer than others to nail down a productive pattern, today will likely tell a different story.

PRO JOHN MURRAY, right, and AAA Gary Robbins resided in second place after day one, with a hefty 5-fish bag weighing 16.03 pounds. Robbins had a AAA big fish of 4.08 pounds, and Murray’s best fish tipped the scale at 3.71.

PRO DICK WATSON figures to be in the hunt again this year on the WON BASS circuit. Dick holds a solid 2.59-pound Rosie largemouth.

The sun is out and there’s only a hint of wind on the water, so let’s see how this one plays out. The first flight to weigh in is due off the water at 3…

AAA CHRIS RICCI of Bend, Ore., landed the second biggest AAA fish of day one — this 3.6-pound largemouth.

Saturday Wrap Up
WON BASSers persevere and bring quality bags to the scale at Roosevelt

The general consensus amongst anglers regarding day-one action on Lake Roosevelt was that the lake’s large and smallmouth seemed to be a bit more cooperative while pre-fishing. That wasn’t to say there weren’t ample numbers of fish brought to the scale; WON BASSers just had to work a bit harder for their limits.

Eight- and 9-plus-pound bags seemed commonplace, but that all changed when Pro John Murray and his AAA Gary Robbins arrived at the weigh station. With a 5-fish bag — including a Pro big fish of 3.71 pounds, and a AAA big fish of 4.08 — the scale settled at 16.03 pounds and day one now had its first official leader.

Rick Mason and Ron Wells are in 3rd place with 5 fish weighing 14.04-lbs. and the Pro big fish of the day at 4.92lbs.

Not long thereafter did Pro Shawn Hilton and AAA Leonard Johnson bring a 13.78-pound limit to the scale, easily taking the second-place slot thus far.

When John Bitting and Dean Kreuzer brought their bag to the scale, however, the day-one first-place spot looked to be in jeopardy. They had a solid brace of smallies, hitting the 16.29-pound mark and landing them in first place for day one. Murray and Robbins were now in second.

Later, Pro Rick Mason and his AAA Ron Wells would knock Hilton and Johnson down to fourth place with a 5-fish bag weighing 14.04 pounds. A 4.92-pound day-one big bass anchored their limit.

Pro Sean Coffey and AAA Chris Ricci rounded out the top five slots with an 11.57-pound total weight.

But there’s still an entire full day of competition ahead of us, and in bass fishing anything can (and oftentimes will) happen. The weather seems to be holding nicely, so perhaps the fish will be a bit more acclimated and ready to chew even better tomorrow.


RICK MASON, right, displays his 4.92-pound day-one big bass. His AAA angler, Ron WIf you want to check all the weights for both the pro's and the AAA anglers you can go to the Pro Schedule and Results area this evening. If all goes well they should be up fairly early tonight. The direct link to Pro AM event section of the website is:

It's a little before 2:00Pm and the first flight starting to a merge towards the launch area and scales.

Here is a picture of the weigh in area. There is no lack of support help and cooperation from the local volunteers.

WON BASSers take to Roosevelt under idyllic weather conditions

Although morning temps. were hovering in the high-20s to low-30s for the day-one launch and presentation of the colors at Lake Roosevelt, within a few hours of the official start of the tournament, temperatures warmed up nicely and anglers were shedding layers. In short, conditions were ideal for the start of what is shaping up to be an outstanding first Pro/Am of the WON BASS Southern Region.
A total of 61 boats headed out in three separate flights; the field about evenly split between those heading east and west in search of fish.
The wind kicked up a bit around 10 a.m., which, accompanied by the warm, sunny weather, may have put the fish on a reaction-type bite. Who knows? The first flight is due in at 3, so stay tuned for day-one results.

The 61-boat field waits patiently for the presentation of the colors before heading off in search of Roosevelt's bountiful bass.

Pro basser John Foqua with a 14.4 beast caught on Feb 8, 2011. The trophy bass was caught on a jig during pre-fishing for this weekends Won Bass Lake Roosevelt Pro/Am.

This photo shows both the quality of fish found at Lake Roosevelt and the sometimes perfect weather that is also possible this time of the year. The temperature at the lake all week has been warming and is expected to be 68-70 degrees both days of the WON BASS tournament. The WON BASS anglers caught a nice window as the following week rain, and perhaps even light snow is in the weater forecast.

The final count is 61 boats for the WON BASS Lake Roosevelt Pro AM. We lost a few boats and picked up a few to finish pretty much where we began the day. The WON BASS staff is getting some food then will head off to get some sleep as tomorrow starts early and it will be a long day. We should have the pairing up in the morning, so this will most likely be the last post until mid morning tomorrow. The pairings and our usual photos and updates will continue throughout the weekend. Best luck to all the fishermen tomorrow.

UPDATE 2-11-2011 12:00 PM
There were 60 boats signed up for the event as of this morning, and there are others that are expected to sign up later today. Any anglers in the immediate area can sign up by showing up at the check in today at the Matatzal Hotel and Casino between 2PM to 5PM today. If you are late, or if it appears you will not make the deadline, contact Tournament Director Billy Egan at the Matatzal hotel, or on his cell phone 949-290-0582.

BPS crew Mike Shura, Mike Brillhart, Gary Senft and Mary Brillhart at the BPS sponsor table. All three are signed up and ready for competition.

Mazatzal Hotel and Casino staff hanging banners in preparation for today's sign up and registration meeting from 2:00 PM till 5:00 Pm. Weather is great, with warmer temperatures in the low 70's. Check out the 2 Nitro / Mercury boats perched up on top by the hotel in the top picture. The Mesa BPS crew and the Mazatzal Hotel staff has gone all out to market themselves to the WON BASS and FLW bass anglers now in and around the immeduate area

Early Registration at the Tackle Box in Tonto Basin went well thanks to the help of owner John Sneed and his crew. The BPS support team brought out 3 Nitro boats from the Bass Pro Shop store in Mesa Arizona to display outside of the Mazatzal Casino and Hotel, including the custom wrapped one used by bass pro angler Matt Shura shown below.

Roosevelt is an amazing fishery. As this photo shows, the lake has a lot of areas that provide cover for both the small fry and for larger bass.

The :ale Roosevelt bass factory is up and working at full capacity.

Pro bass angler Klayton Belden got some much needed help with his boat from the Mercury factory support team and Mark Niceelette.Matt Shura's BPS wrapped rig in the back ground.

Won Staff members John Cassidy and Gary Ceiplis with Won Pro angler Klayton Belden and Mercury tournament rep Mark Nicelette at the Cholla ramp lot.

UPDATED 2-10-2011 at 12:00PM
Here is a picture of Pro Local Andy Manahal with a quality 4 lb. fish caught during pre-fish during clear weather conditions currently at Lake Roosevelt.

Conditions are good, and improving throught the weekend, as warmer temperatures are expected. The lows in the AM and PM are in the 30's, with warmer temperatures around 60 during the day. We are expecting highs in the mid 70's over the weekend, and with the moon phase, it is expected that the bigger fish will be moving up in a pre-spawn mode. The "No Slot" tourney last weekend had 36 boats, with a 6 lb big fish, and a total limit of 14 lb winning it.

Feb 10, 2011 9AM Update

All eyes are on Lake Roosevelt this week with the WON BASS ProAM starting this Saturday followed by an FLW ProAm starting next Wednesday. Most of the west's bass best fishing pro's are in the area or heading this way, and the anticipation can be felt by everyone involved.

Lake Roosevelt is the largest of SRP's six lakes and covers more than 17,000 acres when full.

WON BASS regular Chris Ricci sent in a couple photos we thought you would enjoy. Those nice calm waters and blue sky's are a reminder of why there is nothing quite like fishing a major ProAm on one of the west's premiere bass lakes.

2010 WESTERN CLASSIC champion John Mackey and partner in crime Aaron Leon go over the last news at Tonto Basin this morning prior to hitting the lake to prefish.

Team CANYON LURES feels the Gitzit's will get em at Lake Roosevelt. Pictures (l-r) are the "Plastic Navy" team members Andy Manahl, Jay Pennington, Jeff Klicka and Chris Ricci.

Tami Curtis sent in this picture of Chris Ricci shown on Wednesday enjoying the sun and calm waters on Lake Roosevelt. There's "no btter place to bump wood with a blade than Roosevelt", according to Chris.

February 8, 2011

It's Time for a Roadtrip

The Mazatzal Hotel and Casino in Payson Arizona will be the hub of western bass fishing as a WON BASS Pro event at famed Lake Roosevelt will be immediately followed by a national FLW ProAm the following week. Both the weather and the fishing are expected to be fantastic, and the the volunteer community of Payson is pulling out all the stops to help make these events a success.

The 2011 WON BASS season is shaping up nicely, and after enduring chilly temps. (but a solid bass bite) in the first event of the year at Lake Shasta, WON BASSers are setting their sites on warmer climes (and what could very well prove to be a banner tournament) at Lake Roosevelt near Payson. Ariz., on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 12-13. The WON BASS event will immediately preceed the FLW tournament that will be held on Lake Roosevelt the following week. As a result the town of Payson Arizona and the surrounding areas will be "bass central" for for the next week and a half.

This WON BASS event marks the first Pro/Am of the 2011 season for the southern region, and with bass already heading for the shallows (or at least staging for the upcoming spawn) the bite could be nothing short of phenomenal. The weather outlook is looking spectacular, and there is no place quite like the Arizona this time of the year. If you are tired of fishing in the cold and rain, give yourself a well deserved vacation and come out to fish the WON BASS tour at Lake Roosevelt.

The phones at the WON BASS offices in San Clemente have been busy with Pros and AAAs looking to get in on the action, and given the time of year and sheer numbers of eager anglers, we hope for a good showing. There is nothing that matches the thrill of fishing a WON BASS Pro Am bass tournament, and in competing with and against the best anglers in the west. We invite you to come out and joing us at this event, or at any of our upcoming events this year.

If you’d like to sign up for the Roosevelt tourney, our just want to talk about getting involved as either a Pro or AAA, give Tournament Coordinator Ashley Hartman a call at (949) 366-0030, ext. 38, or Tournament Director Bill Egan at (949) 366-0030, ext. 40.

We’ll see you on the water this weekend!

Reader Comments
We have never been to a WON bass tournament but sponsor allot of the anglers that do go. It is really nice to see the blogs posted and up to date info on what is going on. We would love to get more involved as this looks to be a well run tournament and allot of fun as well.

Andrew Napoleon

THANKS for the great coverage!
Jim Ower
THANKS again for the detailed coverage of the Lake Roosevelt tournament. It's really great to know whats going on day to day, start to finish. Mike Folkestad's videos are really appreciated too. It's pretty tough to travel, pre-fish, get through the tournament and still find the energey to do interviews. Please pass on our thanks to Mike and his video team. THANKS WON bass!
Jim Ower
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