LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. (Jan. 26, 2005) - Ranger pro Mike Folkestad of Yorba Linda, Calif., a legendary angler in the western United States, caught a five-bass limit weighing 17 pounds, 4 ounces to lead day one of the EverStart Series Western Division event on Lake Havasu near Lake Havasu City. A field of 165 pros is competing for $9,600 plus a Ranger 519 VX powered by a Yamaha or Evinrude outboard, Minn Kota trolling motor, Garmin electronics and Everstart Batteries. Ranger also awards an additional $10,000 to the winner if he is a qualified Ranger owner.

The Lake Havasu area has been experiencing unusually cool, rainy conditions over the past few days. Bass are in early prespawn mode and anglers are casting every type of lure in the boat. The tournament is vastly different than last year's Western Division stop on Lake Havasu in March, which was a sight-fishing tournament. Despite the early date of the event and the unusual weather, catches were good for Lake Havasu standards.

"I was only getting three to five bites per day during practice," Folkestad said, "and I practiced for five days. It was tough. Today I just went with the pattern I had established and caught fish in all the places I got bit in practice. And I only fished six out of 15-20 spots I found. Hopefully my spots hold up for me.

"I was using 6-pound Berkley Vanish on spinning tackle with a Berkley Gulp Sinking Minnow and a worm. All the fish were on structure in about 15-20 feet of water, which is deep for this lake. I had a mixed bag of smallmouths and largemouths and they were all in the 3- to 4-pound range."

Rounding out the top-five pros are Clayton Meyer of San Diego, Calif. (five bass, 16 pounds, 4 ounces); Larry Marquez of Lake Havasu City (five bass, 15 pounds, 4 ounces); Justin Kerr of Simi Valley, Calif. (five bass, 14 pounds, 11 ounces); and Tim Klinger of Boulder City, Nev. (five bass, 14 pounds, 8 ounces).

Marc Knudsen of Boulder City, Nev., and Marquez both caught a 5-pound, 9-ounce bass to earn the day's Snickers Big Bass award for the Pro Division and earn $287 each.

Craig Griffin of Lehi, Utah, and Greg Pishkur of Flagstaff both caught 12 pounds, 3 ounces - Griffin on five bass and Tishkur on four bass - to lead the Co-angler Division.

Rounding out the top-five co-anglers are Matt Russ of Peoria (three bass, 10 pounds, 7 ounces); Tyler Vanderhorst of Washington, Utah (five bass, 10 pounds, 5 ounces); and Gary Key of Glendale (four bass, 9 pounds, 9 ounces).

Russ earned $215 for catching the Snickers Big Bass in the Co-angler Division - a 5-pound, 2-ounce lunker.

EverStart Series tournaments are four-day events consisting of two rounds. The entire field competes Wednesday and Thursday, and the top 10 pros and co-anglers - based on two-day accumulated weights - advance to the final round. Anglers start at zero Friday, and pro and co-angler winners are determined Saturday based on two-day accumulated weights.