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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Lake Havasu 2013 ProAm Has Record Breaking Fishing

Wow! What a weekend at Havasu, as massive bags topple records!


LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. — To say the WON BASS Lake Havasu Pro/Am this past weekend was unbelievable would be a grave understatement. “Epic” may come a bit closer to doing it justice, but “unprecedented” probably fits best.

    To put the two-day tournament into some sort of perspective, the very last-place angler out of 47 teams brought almost 30 pounds to the scale. That’s almost a 3-pound average; which is beyond impressive on any fishery. The Pro/Am champion, however, Justin Hanold, weighed in a benchmark two-day, 10-fish total of 46.97 pounds; toppling not only the single-day weight record on the fishery held by three-time U.S. Open champion and hall of fame angler, Mike Folkestad, but also the combined two-day total. There simply aren’t enough words to describe what went on March 16 and 17.

Havasu Winner Justin Hanold
JUSTIN HANOLD took down the championship this past weekend at the WON BASS Lake Havasu Pro/Am. Not only did he earn a hefty payday totaling $10,360, in addition to day-one Big Stringer money, third-place Big Fish money and a 2013 U.S. Open entry, but he also established two new weight records for the lake. His day-one 26.83 pounds broke Mike Folkestad’s single-day weight record, and his combined weight of 46.97 pounds was the heaviest-ever two-day total tournament weight. In a word, the tournament was “epic.”

    In the words of WON BASS Director of Operations, “These are like Delta weights! This is crazy!” It was arguably one of, if not the best-ever tournament held on the desert lake, as the field of 47 teams duked it out in the shallows, sight-fishing their way to record-setting limits.

    Day one set the tone of the event, as it took an incredible 20-plus pounds to even break into the top 10! Hanold also established his record-setting pace with a biggest-ever single-day limit of 26.83 pounds, along with the help of his AAA, Phil Risnes, who ultimately ended up in fourth place overall on the co side. Included in their bag was Hanold’s day-one big fish of 7.06 pounds and a 6-plus pounder.

Big Fish Havasu 2013
BIG FISH of the tournament was this 9.01-pound largemouth caught by Pro Clay Lippincott. The fish earned the angler first-place Big Fish money, the Costa Big Fish trophy and a new pair of Costa sunglasses. Not to mention it certainly helped anchor his second-place finish.

    Even the remaining top five weights were beyond impressive, as local Havasu Pro Billy Skinner and his AAA, Tim Wells, Sr., had 5 fish for 24.87 pounds. No stranger to the winner’s circle, Pro Roy Hawk and his co, Tim Demecs, managed a 5-fish bag weighing 22.94 pounds, which was good for third. Taking fourth on day one was Pro Klayton Belden and AAA David Sellers with 22.48 pounds; and rounding out the top five spots was another Havasu local, Shaun Bailey, and his AAA, “Crazy Rick” Melead with 21.78 pounds. Melead also had day-one big fish on the co side (which would also ultimately be the biggest AAA fish of the tournament), a 5.17-pound largemouth.

    While day two also produced epic fishing, the weights were slightly lower than day one; and while one angler fell from the top five slots, a pair of anglers lingering just on the outskirts of the group made the charge.

Havasu WON BASS First Place AAA
FIRST PLACE ON THE AAA SIDE was Tim Wells, Sr., with 43.65 pounds. 

    To say an angler weighed “only” 15.99 pounds of fish (especially at Havasu, not Clear Lake or the Delta) is utterly ridiculous, but that’s how this tournament was, and that’s exactly what day-one fourth-place angler Klayton Belden did on day two. The resulting final weight of 38.47 pounds left him in 11th place.

    Sitting in 10th after the first day with a solid 20.6 pounds, Clay Lippincott made a huge surge on day two thanks to his massive kicker 9.01-pound largemouth — which also took down Big Fish money, the Costa Big Fish trophy and a new pair of Costa sunglasses — and had the heaviest bag of the day at 23.76 pounds. His 44.36-pound combined two-day weight had him sitting in first place about halfway thru weigh-in, but everyone wondered if it would be enough to take down the championship.

    Day-one second-place finisher, Billy Skinner, added 19 pounds to his first day’s limit, but the 43.87 wasn’t enough to catch Lippincott. Sitting in sixth after day one was Pro Shane Moline with 21.53 pounds. Adding another 21.1 pounds on the second day appeared to be enough, but alas, Moline was left with “just” 42.63 pounds. There was only one remaining angler who threatened Lippincott’s lead, and that was, of course, Justin Hanold.

    Arriving at the scale it looked as if Hanold had yet another sizeable bag of fish, but he seemed slightly less confident than the previous afternoon. “Twenty-one, 22?” Billy Egan asked he prepared to place the fish on the scale. “I don’t know,” Hanold said. “I don’t think so.”

    When the scale settled at 20.14 pounds, it was official. The WON BASS Lake Havasu Pro/Am had its champion, and a new record-setter at that.

    The final top five Pros were as follows: first place, Justin Hanold, 46.97 pounds; second place, Clay Lippincott, 44.36 pounds; third place, Billy Skinner, 43.97 pounds; fourth place, Shane Moline, 42.63 pounds; and fifth place, Roy Hawk, 41.44 pounds.

    Hanold scored a hefty payday totaling $10,360, in addition to day-one Big Stringer money, third-place Big Fish money and a 2013 U.S. Open entry.

    On the AAA side, the top five anglers were Tim Wells, Sr., in first with 43.65 pounds; Liz Jones, second place, 42.91 pounds; John Blake, third place, 42 pounds; Phil Risnes, fourth place, 40.99 pounds; and in fifth was Tim Demecs with 40.78 pounds.

    This particular WON BASS Pro/Am was a right-place, right-time-type of scenario. The smallmouth were already on their beds and the largemouth had just come up a few days prior.

    “There’s one tournament every year that will hit this prime time where the first week of fish are coming up,” said past WON BASS Tournament Director and owner of Lake Havasu’s Bass Tackle Master, John Galbraith. “Our biggest two-day limit that I can recall is about 43 pounds, and I’d say that was about five or six years ago. I’m pretty sure that was also a WON BASS Pro/Am. No one’s busted above 45, though. I’m sure of that.”

    Leave it to WON BASS to set the bar for any and all future tournaments on a fishery that is rapidly becoming one of the best bass lakes on the entire west coast, if not the whole United States.

    For a full rundown of the event, including additional photos and how the top Pros emerged victorious, be sure to check out next month’s WON BASS supplement.

Sunday Start -----------

The second day of the WON BASS Lake Havasu Pro/Am got underway this morning, with Mother Nature providing yet another outstanding setting for the final day of the tournament.

Havasu WON BASS Tournaemnt day 2 start
IT WAS ANOTHER GORGEOUS MORNING for the second and final day of the WON BASS Lake Havasu Pro/Am.

    There was virtually no wind and minimal cloud cover present, so those anglers targeting bedding large and smallmouth should have a solid few hours of sight fishing before any sort of breeze manifests.
    Once again, the weigh-in begins at 3 p.m. and a Havasu champion will be crowned shortly thereafter. Stay tuned…

Day 1 Results

You couldn’t have asked for a better start to this weekend’s WON BASS Lake Havasu Pro/Am, as heavy bags dominated the weigh-in and a new single day record was set.

Full day one results are up at

    That new record, which was once held by Mike Folkestad, was established by Pro Justin Hanold and his AAA, Phil Risnes. Their 5-fish limit tipped the scale at an amazing 26.83 pounds and put them atop the leaderboard. The single-day record was confirmed by WON BASS Director of Operations, Billy Egan. Not surprisingly, Hanold also laid claim to the day-one big fish; a massive 7.06-pound largemouth.

Havasu tournament day one leader
Good Day.  Fist day lead and a new tournament record.

    In second after the first day of the two-day tournament was local Havasu Pro Billy Skinner and his AAA, Tim Wells, Sr. Together they had 5 fish for 24.87 pounds. No stranger to the winner’s circle, Pro Roy Hawk and his co, Tim Demecs, managed a 5-fish bag weighing 22.94 pounds and good for third. Taking fourth was Pro Klayton Belden and AAA David Sellers with 22.48 pounds, and rounding out the top five spots was another Havasu local, Shaun Bailey, and his AAA, “Crazy Rick” Melead with 21.78 pounds. Melead also had big fish on the co side; a 5.17-pound largemouth.

Havasu 2nd place on day 1
In second place and wanting more...

    It was an unprecedented day on the water and at the scales, as nearly every fish weighed, whether they were large or smallmouth, topped the 3 ½-pound mark. In fact, it took 20-plus pounds just to break into the top 10. That’s a 4-plus-pound average. It goes without saying the management of the lake as a fishery is second to none, and it’s shaping up to be a true world-class fishing destination.

Havasu Tournament 2013 3rd palce day 1
IN THIRD after day one was the team of Roy Hawk, left, and his co, Tim Demecs. Their 5 fish weighed in at 22.94 pounds.

    It also goes without saying that tomorrow’s results could break even more records, as anglers attempt to surpass today’s catches. Don’t be surprised if the two-day Havasu weight record also falls. But alas, only time will tell…

Crazr Rick Big Fish day 1
DAY-ONE AAA BIG FISH was this 5.17-pound largemouth caught by “Crazy Rick” Melead.  


You truly couldn’t ask for better conditions for the kickoff/launch of this weekend’s March 16 and 17 WON BASS Lake Havasu Pro/Am. Light winds, enough cloud cover to keep temps. much, much lower than the record highs hit the past couple of days (high-90s to low-100s), and bass on beds pretty much everywhere you look, should undoubtedly make for a number of truly massive bags come today’s weigh-in at 3 o’clock.

Lake Havasu 2013 WON BASS Tournament Start Boat

A SLIGHT BREEZE greeted anglers this morning for the presentation of the colors and the playing of the National Anthem.

Most of the 47-boat field has spent the past few days scouring the shorelines with a good pair of Costa sunglasses, searching out bedding fish. And believe me, there are plenty of ‘em. WON BASS Director of Operations, Billy Egan, and I fished for roughly a half-hour after today’s launch, and just in that small window, we came upon 10, maybe even a dozen bass on beds. And they’re not just smallmouth, either. I’d say the mix right now is about 60/40, largemouth to smallies. And from what we saw, they’re all quality fish. In fact, we encountered at least a couple of bronzebacks in the 5-plus-pound range, and a few largemouth of about the same size.

Lake Havasu Tournament ProAm 2013 Sunrise
IT WAS AN IDYLLIC START to the March 16 and 17 WON BASS Lake Havasu Pro/Am, and there should be at least a few truly impressive bags and fish brought to the scale come 3 o’clock this afternoon.

In short, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if this turns out to be a record-setting tournament. I know our anglers who’ve put in their time and spent the last week or so pre-fishing and marking bedding fish will be bringing heavy 5-fish limits to the scales. And don’t be shocked if we have at least a few fish topping the 7-pound mark (including smallmouth) and perhaps even a double-digit or two.

Havasu ProAm WON BASS 2013 blast off

BOATS BLASTED OFF in all directions right around 6:15. Everyone, however, seemed to be targeting bed fish no matter where they opted to kick off their day.

The first flight of boats is due back at the dock at 3 p.m. today. Official day-one results and photos will be posted shortly thereafter. Stay tuned… 



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