News From Won Bass
The WON BASS Pro Circuit gets back into gear Sept. 10-11 with the Nitro/Mercury Lake Mead Invitational sure to offer up some sizzling late summer action on the big desert lake.
The Lake Mead Invitational is the first in a series of WON BASS events that will culminate on Nov. 5-6 back at Mead for the Western Classic, which will give away a Nitro Z-7 with a Mercury Pro XS 175 to the winner besides cash prizes to both Pros and AAAs that have been accumulated in the Pro Option account.
First there’s a whole lot of figuring out to do, as the points race for the top 30 Western Classic Qualifying spots is tightly contested in both the North and South divisions of the WON BASS Pro Circuit.
Most years Pros and AAAs would be scrambling to get into the final dozen or so spots, but quirks of weather and scheduling mean both the Lake Mead Invitational and the Gran Finale on the Delta Oct. 22-23 offer a chance for as many as 20 anglers in each division and category.
One reason is that all but a few of the current Top Ten in the overall Pro Angler of the Year race — Paul Bailey, Mike Folkestad, David Gliebe, Dick Watson, Ken Phillips, Bradley Yang, Oscar Delgadillo, Neil Campbell, Sean Stafford and Duane Dunstone —have fished all the tournaments in both the North and South and all have fish at least one in both divisions. On the AAA side, there has been a core group of co-anglers that has also fished every tournament.
Why is this important? Anglers can only qualify from one division. If they qualify from both, they only go from the division they listed as “home” at the start of the year and another spot opens in the division they vacated.
For sure the Pros and AAAs in the race for Angler of the Year will all be at the final two Pro Circuit events, as the top Pro at the end of the year will win a Nitro Z-7 with Mercury Pro XS 175 outboard.
That’s right, besides determining the Top 30 Western Classic qualifiers from the Northern Division, the Gran Finale on the Delta will determine the winner(s) of two (2) Nitro/Mercury combos. Whoever wins the Gran Finale gets a boat and motor, regardless of points going into the event. On the other hand, with only 32 points separating the top four Pros after four events, there would be no better way to lock down an Angler of the Year title than by winning the last event of the season. In that case a single Pro would win two boats at one tourney.
The fishing on the Delta in late October should be off the hook and with Nitro/Mercury combo going to the winner, the turnout should be great and if we hit 100 boats second place will win $7000. Because both the February Pro Circuit event on the Delta and the Shasta event in April were beset by heavy weather, they drew mostly local anglers. That means anyone who fished either event has a great shot at making the Western Classic with a good finish at the Gran Finale.
And you can expect many of the more than 200 anglers who fished Lake Havasu — and then skipped notoriously tough Lake Mohave — to head up to Mead in September and try to earn a free shot at winning a boat and cash prize at the Western Classic by getting into the final Top 30 in the South. Daytime temperatures will still be hot, but days will be shorter and nights cooler with the onset of fall and fishing should be very good for the two-day event.
The next event on the schedule will be the $50,000 Tri-States Team Championship on Lake New Melones Oct. 15-16 pitting the top WON BASS teams from Nevada, Arizona and California on one of the best spotted bass fisheries in the country to determine a true champion team. Melones also has produced largemouth to 16 pounds this year and the fall is prime time for the swimbait/follow up plastic pattern that produces huge weights.
It’s going to be a busy fall on the WON BASS tournament trail. For more information and/or to sign up for the Lake Mead Invitational Sept. 10-11 or the Delta Gran Finale Oct. 22-23, call Ashley at (949) 366-0030 ext. 38. You can also find complete schedules and results at www.wonbass.com.
by RICH HOLLAND, EDITOR, WON BASS