Future Pro Tour Anglers Ride Out Tough Folsom Lake Bite

Scanlon & Hicks, Collier & Wells Win Divisions

It didn’t take 16 pounds to win the 4th event of the 2003 People’s Folsom Lake/Stockon Future Pro Tour last Saturday as was predicted by many of the people in the know about the fishing conditions on the large gold country impoundment. In fact, the only prediction that came to pass was the forecasted heat wave that had gripped the Sacramento area all week, and continued to do so during this event.

For the 200 anglers participating in this event it made the bite and the conditions very tough. “We had two good fish and several “blow-ups” before the sun came up and the heat became un-bearable,” said team partners Dennis Smith and Joanne Martinez. “We got two nice fish…and then the sun came up, and it (the bite) went dead”, they further added.

Almost all anglers in this event were hoping to score well and boost up their overall point totals in an effort to earn a berth in this November’s Future Pro Tour Classic. The winners of this year-end championship will receive a new vehicle from People’s Folsom Lake/Stockton – Chrysler-Jeep-Nissan-Isuzu-Hyundai dealership for their victory!

The Future Pro Tour is an all-amateur team bass fishing tournament circuit that gives beginning to intermediate level anglers the opportunity to develop their bass fishing skills in a fun yet competitive environment. Participants pay a nominal entry fee, and compete against other teams for cash, and prizes.

The evening prior to the event, Future Pro angler’s enjoyed a free seminar at the People’s Folsom Lake/Nissan dealership in the Folsom Lake Automall featuring two of northern California’s top bass pro’s, Tony Franceschi and Ralph Harkins. In addition to the information given regarding the “bite” on Folsom Lake, the over 90 anglers in attendance enjoyed free food, cold drinks, and a free prize drawing for a CUL-EM-RITE culling system. In addition to this, they were also treated to a first-hand look at Nissan’s newest full-size pickup truck for 2004 - the all-new Nissan Titan!

One of only eight prototypes in the world, this truck was shipped in from the recent international auto shows in Detroit and New York to be available for all to view at this mid-year event! A true full-size truck, with it’s 300 hp engine, 375 ft lbs of torque and a 9,400 lb towing capacity, it was obvious that it made an impression on many of these bass-rig pulling attendees!

Even in the early morning hours Granite Bay launch site was jumpin’ as the summer traffic piled up and hordes of recreational watercraft began to fill a parking lot already half-full of bass rigs. Fortunately, the BBAC (Black Bass Action Committee) was on hand with their live release boat to help ease the parking lot congestion that was predicted for such a large event at such a busy time of year.

Sacramento’s newest Ranger dealership, C&C Marine (Auburn Blvd) joined in on the event, as new owner/operator Mike Van Waggoner along with Ranger pro staffers John Maes, and Kent Brown brought some of the 2003 models of boats including Infineon Raceway’s NASCAR Ranger (a smokin’ 521dvx) out to the event for display and future demo rides.

The Future Pro Tour was also proud to have in attendance, one of the west’s best-known bass fishing ambassadors and Ranger Boat icons - Don Lee, who came out to lend his support and encouragement to these amateur anglers. Don has spent over 40 years in the bass fishing industry (30 of which have been with Ranger Boats), and he will be retiring this month. Congratulations Don on such a long and successful career, and we thank you for the many contributions you have made to the sport we all love so much. Also on display from People’s Folsom Lake dealership along with the 2004 Nissan Titan truck, was the nation’s the top selling sports car - the all-new 2003 Nissan 350Z (yeah that’s right…bass fisherman have the “need for speed” off the water too!).

As the heat of the day grew more intense and the first boats began to arrive to the weigh-in site, it was apparent that most had a tough day of it on the water. Some had small limits but many more had only two or three fish. But, as always…somebody is always going to find out how to get the fish when every on else is struggling.

In Division II (big boat division), Kyle Scanlon and Ken Hicks, both Sacramento area residents figured it out, and fishing mostly island tops on the main body, came away with the top honors taking home the 1st place plaques and a check for $1,625! The said they started out using top water but when that didn’t produce they used worms and jigs to catch their 13.34 lb limit of bass. Division I winners were Troy Collier and Dan Wells, who also being local fishermen, used their knowledge of the lake to score a bag of bass weighing 9.53 lb and take home top honors in the small boat division. For their win they received a check for $460 and two nice plaques. “The bite was extremely tough”, said Dan and Troy, visibly relieved to be off the water and out of the heat. “The fish came few and far between, which in a ½ day event….can be nerve racking”!

Obviously this first half of the season has really tested the mantle of these Future Pro Tour anglers. First beautiful weather…then stormy conditions…then a great bite…then a tough bite with extreme heat!…what more could there possibly be to challenge this tough group of amateur competitors? Oh…that’s an easy one…the next event on the California Delta! You got it! The Future Pro Tour’s next stop will be the on the California Delta Saturday, Aug 16th! With over 1100 miles of shoreline, and a complex maze of tulle walls, rip-rap banks, grass-mats, and tidal changes, these Future Pro Tour anglers will have their work cut out for them! Stay tuned for more information on this event and visit the Future Pro Tour website (www.futureprotour.net) for sign-up/seminar details and updates regarding this event.

Have dem’ Snagproof frogs ready to go for this one as I’m sure the topwater action will be off the hook! Ribbit….

See you all there!

Vince Harris – Director, Future Pro Tour Tournament Trails