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U.S OPEN - WON BASS


The U.S. Open first took place in 1981 and is the oldest of the big money bass tournaments. Top prize this year may be up to  $50,000 cash, a Nitro Z8 bass boat with a Mercury Pro XS 225 outboard and MotorGuide trolling motor. For more information go to the WON BASS Web site
or call 949 366-0030 ext 38.





SHOWTIME AT MEAD!
BY DAN O’SULLIVAN

Special to Western Outdoor News


Arizona TV Host Johnny Johnson wins


2016 WON BASS Nitro Boats / Mercury U.S. Open;


Brings 11-pound limit to Lake Mead scales on final day


usopenjohnnyjohnson











JOHNNY JOHNSON CELEBRATES with the crowd and Director Billy Egan at Lake Mead. Photo by Dan O'Sullivan

 

LAS VEGAS, Nev. –  As tough as the high winds on first two days of competition at the 2016 WON BASS Nitro Boats / Mercury U.S. Open have been on the angler’s and their equipment, this final day may have been the toughest on their spirits.


While the first two days of three-day tournament featured big winds and even bigger waves, the bluebird skies, slick calm water and mild conditions may very well have been the toughest fishing conditions that the week had presented the field.  While navigating big seas creates an issue for boaters, wind – as the old fishing adage states – is your friend when it comes to catching.


Those bluebird days after a front offer the same effect to the fishing as the proverbial banana in the boat; a monkey on an angler’s back.


But, in tournament fishing, somebody always figures something out, and on day three at the U.S. Open, that means a big payday and the keys to a Nitro Z20 powered by a Mercury Optimax Pro XS outboard and getting to hold the coveted U.S. Open Cup overhead.


Johnny Johnson, of Lakeside, Ariz. proved to be the angler who most effectively navigated the rough seas and difficult fishing conditions to earn the title of 2016 WON BASS U.S. Open Champion and claim those prizes.




 “This is one of those things I set a goal to accomplish many years ago, and now that it has happened, I am completely thrilled and humbled.”

 



He did so by bringing an 11-pound limit to the Callville Bay scales to leapfrog the three anglers above him and take his first U.S. Open victory since he started fishing the event in 1994.  His day three performance on the toughest fishing day of the event brought his total weight to 27.65 pounds. 


“I relied on two lures primarily to catch my fish, a 1/2-ounce white Persuader spinnerbait and a 4-inch Roboworm in Oxblood Light and Aaron’s Magic,” he said.  “I bucked three foot rollers on points to catch the spinnerbait fish in the wind and slowed down to catch them when it slicked off.”


A veteran of 22 U.S. Opens on Lake Mead, Johnson was overwhelmed by the accomplishment.  “I absolutely can’t believe that I won this event,” said the host of Fishing with Johnny Johnson television show in Arizona.  “This is one of those things I set a goal to accomplish many years ago, and now that it has happened, I am completely thrilled and humbled.”


Day two leader Clayton Meyer of Henderson, Nev. finished with 25.62 pounds to finish in the runner up position for the second consecutive year in the U.S. Open. He proved to be the most consistent angler in the field, and was only beat by the herculean effort by Johnson.  “I really did all I could do with the one area of the lake I had,” he said.  “I ran to Temple Bar and caught my fish on a jig, but just couldn’t get the one or two big bites I needed to close it out; it’s a little disappointing, but truthfully, to finish second two years in a row is not all bad; I’m happy with it.”


Andy Manahl of Mesa, Ariz. finished third with a three day total of 24.31 pounds.  Like Meyer, he ran to Temple Bar all three days.  “I maximized what I had, and caught all of my fish on a variety of baits including a creature bait, a Roboworm and few on a Lobina Lures Rico,” he said.  “I’m thrilled with how the week went, and even more happy for my friend Johnny [Johnson] for his win.”


Tai Au of Glendale, Ariz. finished fourth with 23.23 pounds, and Wade Strelic of El Cajon, Calif. leaded from 23rd to fifth place, finishing with 23.08 pounds.


On the AAA side Randall Bruce of Las Vegas, Nev. held onto the day two lead that he had established and finished the event with 28.02 pounds to take home the AAA trophy. He was followed in second place by Redding, Calif. angler Teddy Snyder in second place with 26.82 pounds.  Gabriel Romero of Henderson, Nev. finished in third position with 25.18 pounds, followed in fourth by Ryan Chambers of Chandler Ariz. with 23.45 pounds and Darin Guglielmo of Santa Barbara, Calif. with 22.69 pounds.


That concludes the 2016 WON Bass Nitro Boats / Mercury Marine U.S. Open. Full Field Standings can be located below.


The Costa See What's Out There Live Coverage brought all of the action from Las Vegas and Lake Mead throughout the three day event. It was broadcast at WonBass.com via live streaming video produced by Z3 Media and BASSZONE.com


The WON Bass Nitro Boats / Mercury Marine U.S. Open Live Webcast is presented by Costa Sunglasses, the event was brought to you by Nitro Boats, Mercury Outboards, Costa Sunglasses, Bass Pro Shops, Bridgford Foods, Daiwa, Seaguar, Plano Molding, YoZuri, Pro Mar, Eagle Claw TroKar, Lowrance, St.Croix Rods, Frabill, Okuma, Big Hammer, Fishing for Adoption, Global Fish Mounts, A&M Graphics, Savage Gear, Storm, Calville Bay Marina, BG Insurance, Lead Enterprises, KUIU, Montebello Chevrolet, Phenix Rods, Rapid Fishing Solutions and Sure Life.

 

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JOHNSON BROUGHT 11 pounds to the scale the third day, enough to beat out Clayton Meyer of Henderson, NV for the U.S. Open title.  Meyer was runner-up last year, as well. PHOTO BY DAN O’SULLIVAN

 

 



 

The true fireworks of the second day were produced when El Cajon  pro Mike Walsh came to the scales.  Walsh brought a 7.76-pound largemouth bass to the scales that not only earned big bass for the day, but is likely the largest bass ever weighed in U.S. Open history.


Walsh reported catching the monster on a “discontinued crawfish imitator” he declined to specifically name due to the event continuing.  “I caught the fish in about 10 feet of water early this morning,” he said.  “It’s a technique I use when the bite gets tough; it jumped two or three times and freaked us both out, it was an epic fight and will be something I’ll remember forever.” The fish helped him move from 102nd place to 21st in the standings. He ended up in sixth place.


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MIKE WALSH OF El Cajon set a new single bass record for the event with this 7.76-pound bucketmouth that propelled him to sixth place. PHOTO BY DAN O’SULLIVAN





2016 U.S. Open Day Three Pro Standings

Place

Name

Hometown

Weight

Penalty

Big Fish

Total

1

Johnny Johnson

Lakeside AZ

27.65


3.11

27.65

2

Clayton Meyer

Henderson NV

25.62

0.2

3.16

25.42

3

Andy Manahl

Mesa AZ

24.31

0.2


24.11

4

Tai Au

Glendale AZ

23.23


3.16

23.23

5

Wade Strelic

El Cajon CA

23.08


2.11

23.08

6

Mike Walsh

El Cajon CA

22.42


7.76

22.42

7

Ray Arbesu

Henderson NV

21.98

0.2

3.34

21.78

8

Jon Griffith

Mesa AZ

21.73



21.73

9

Rusty Salewske

Alpine CA

21.68


3.16

21.68

10

Cody Compton

Palisade CO

21.98

0.4


21.58

11

Richard Garcia

Beaumont CA

21.54



21.54

12

Shaun Bailey

Lake Havasu City AZ

21.4



21.4

13

Pete Marino

Moreno Valley CA

21.55

0.2

3.02

21.35

14

Klayton Belden

El Cajon CA

21.21


3.78

21.21

15

Neil Campbell

Fallbrook CA

20.59


2.57

20.59

16

Jim Hawkes

Apache Junction AZ

21.33

1


20.33

17

Cliff King

Herald CA

20.32


2.35

20.32

18

Cristian Melton

Menifee CA

20.19


2.13

20.19

19

Russ Barger

Meridian ID

20.12


2.45

20.12

20

Joe Uribe, Jr.

Surprise AZ

20.05



20.05

21

Kyle Grover

Trabuco Canyon CA

20.1

0.2

3.19

19.9

22

Kevin Wiggins

Las Vegas NV

19.87



19.87

23

Bill O'Shinn

Bakersfield CA

19.52



19.52

24

Travis Moran

Carmell CA

19.57

0.2


19.37

25

Matt Shura

Gilbert AZ

19.56

0.2

2.35

19.36

26

Justin Patti

Phoenix AZ

19.42

0.2

4.75

19.22

27

Todd Herman

Gilbert AZ

19.04



19.04

28

Justin Kerr

Simi Valley CA

18.95



18.95

29

Shane Moline

Kingman AZ

18.44


3.18

18.44

30

Gary Pinholster

Lake Havasu City AZ

18.15



18.15

31

Raymond Archer

Greeley CO

17.94


2.13

17.94

32

Todd Woods

San Dimas CA

18.11

0.2

2.98

17.91

33

Dylan Maxon

Phoenix AZ

17.7


3.24

17.7

34

Tim Klinger

Boulder City NV

17.67


2.8

17.67

35

Laythe Moore

Banning CA

17.55



17.55

36

Dick Watson

Alta Loma CA

17.49


2.16

17.49

37

Mike Brillhart

Waddell AZ

17.25



17.25

38

Tom Leedom

Escondido CA

17.24


2.09

17.24

39

Jason Milligan

Anderson CA

17.09

0.2


16.89

40

Joe Raftery

Las Vegas NV

16.85


2.05

16.85

41

Vern Ridgway

Chandler AZ

17

0.2

2.44

16.8

42

Kevin Stewart

Elk Grove CA

16.76



16.76

43

Philip Roesener

Logandale NV

16.92

0.2


16.72

44

Scott Davis

Preston ID

16.81

0.2


16.61

45

Devin McDonald

Rio Ranch NM

16.49


2.99

16.49

46

Michael Phua

Chino CA

16.36