Future Pro Tour anglers look forward to delta's big fish

Oroville, California – A long an certainly frustrating week (or month if you include the Shasta event) of fishing came to a merciful end for the three-hundred and twenty two anglers fishing the 4th event of the 2005 Future Pro Tour season held last Saturday on the gold country's Oroville Lake. Many of the 161 teams that spent several days pre-fishing this 24,000 acre impoundment, found a bite that was no less than outstanding – but with very few fish in the 2-pound range to show for it.

“We must have caught over 80 keepers”, said Jonathan Green, eagerly displaying a thumb that resembled a carpenter's rasping tool. We just could not locate any fish over a pound and three quarters”, he added in disappointing tones. But according to Dave Rush, Galaxie Marine/Triton Boats pro-staffer, who fished an Angler's Choice team event the next day, Jonathan's assessment of his fishing day was typical for Oroville lake – when the water is at full capacity.

“Oroville Lake always fishes like this when it's at full pool”, said the well-respected Palermo, California pro. The smaller fish are everywhere, and you can catch them at will. For some reason the high water levels make the bigger fish a scarce commodity and very uncooperative to say the least”. Underscoring the truth in Dave's assessment of Oroville lake - at full capacity, was the fact that he and partner Brad Taggart weighed-in only a modest 8.08 pounds sack, finishing eighth (and in the money) in the pro-level event they fished - which only took 9.9 pounds to win.

Steve Reagor and Larry Miller both of Carmichael California, however, proved that “big sacks” are a relative thing, and on the strength of a 10.04 lb limit of spotted bass, charged to the winner's circle taking the 2005 Future Pro Tour – Oroville Lake title and a $2,250 dollar share of the overall purse.

“We used darterheads with Pro Worm's leech baits on them all day an really got into some qualify fish”, Steve noted, as he and partner Larry Miller held up their first place plaques much to the delight and approval of the large group of spectators and co-anglers participating in the award ceremonies. “This win feels great and was long overdue, as we have had more than our share of great pre-fishes and tournament day “just-outta-the-money finishes”, he added.

Second place, and a check for $1,525, was taken by Elk Grove's Jim Rice and Fairfield's John Leuthold with a stringer of bass weighing 9.81 pounds, and third place (9.53 pounds) was captured by Shane Robertson and Randall Hill, both Oroville locals who received $1,075 for their efforts.

Doug Clarke and Greg Nelson who captured 4th place on the strength of a 4.35 pound monster spotted bass, prove once again that attending the Future Pro Tour's pre-tournament seminar on Friday was a worthwhile effort as they caught their big fish using a Reaction Innovations – bone white, topwater bait (the “Vixen”) recommended by seminar speaker and Galaxie Marine/Triton boats pro staffer Ralph Harkins. “Ralph recommended that we use that model bait in - that color, and Ranger Boats pro staffer Richard Dobyns talked about throwing this type of topwater bait in open water to call up suspended fish. This information put us in the areas we needed to be in!” they said with excitement.

Many of the top finishers (29 places were paid back) used dropshot rigs on the advice given by seminar speaker and Galaxie Marine/BassCat pro-staffer Chad Martin, cashing nice checks for a hard days work.

In the small boat division (0-90hp), newcomers to the tour Jose Soto and Shawn Nathaniel of Santa Rosa, claimed $790 dollars and their first ever tournament victory. With jubilation, they both attested to the fact that the pro-tips they received at the pre-registration seminar helped tremendously in their ability to be more competitive and weigh-in the 8.61 pound limit that they did. “We learn so much from the seminars it's amazing”, Jose commented. The best part is that you can receive one-on-one instruction from the many pros – not just speakers, that are in attendance”, he added.

Second place (8.20 lbs) went to Jeff Hardin of Chico, and Paul Eusey of Sacramento, while third place honors went to Robbie Merwin and Daniel Scism both locals from Oroville.

AOY Race - Devin Heno and John Zinda's points lead remains steady as their quest for the coveted Future Pro Tour Angler of the Year title rages on within this field of competitive anglers. But like they say…”it aint over till it's over”, and teams like AdamPerry/John Ellis, Shane Robertson/Randal Hill and Norm Boden/Lucas Boden are far from conceding anything – and are sure to continue “nipping at their heels” every step of the way until an AOY champion is finally crowned.

The end of this event marks the halfway point in the 2005 Future Pro Tour season Presented by People's Nissan/Isuzu of Stockton, and we will have a brief yet much needed break during the vacation months of July. But please!…..don't put those rods away too far back in the closet…the Future Pro Tour's California Delta event on August 13th will kick-off the second half of the season and it will be the biggest FPT event ever! Get your entries for this one in early, as the field will be limited to a maximum of 200 big boats and 25 small boats.

Brannon Island will be the launch site for this great event and the pre-registration seminar to be held at the People's Nissan/Isuzu of Stockton dealership, will feature seminar speakers such as 4-Time B.A.S.S delta champion Robert “the General” Lee; top delta pro Tony Franceschi; Snagproof “Frogmaster” Bobby Barrack, Andy “Cooch” Cuccia, and many other top western pros.

Also featured will be the first ever “Pro/Celebrity challenge” presented by the Fisherman's Warehouse, in which delta pro and guide Alan Fong (Fisherman's Warehouse manager), will fish with a celebrity, earning money for the Boy's and Girls club of Sacramento for every team that beats their overall weight. This is everyone's chance to put a “whuppin” on Alan “big fish” Fong while contributing to a worthwhile cause - helping keep our youth's minds focused on positive activities.

There will be a BBQ feed, HUGE giveaways, and prizes for the kids in attendance, chances to win raffle prizes such as a Minnkota trolling motor, Hummingbird depthfinder, SIRRIUS satellite radio systems, guide trips, gas cards and much, much more! So hurry up and get your entry in today!

We would like to thank our many sponsors for making the Future Pro Tour the success it is, and helping to provide you with the best tournament experience possible. We ask that you please go to our website at www.futureprotour.net and visit their websites to show your support for what they do to support our organization and you the amateur bass fishing angler.

See you all at the Delta in August!

Vince Harris
Director, Future Pro Tour Tournament Trails
(916) 768-0938.