“I wasn’t even thinking of winning today; I was just hoping for second place,” said Garcia, who was trailing pro Wade Curtiss by 9 pounds, 9 ounces. “I was basically just relaxed, had fun and went fishing, and I think that’s what paid off for me; I wasn’t stressed or in a hurry.”
After fishing in a tournament on Clear Lake last weekend, Garcia found places, but couldn’t catch any fish. He felt he had good places Wednesday, but not a great weight. By Thursday, Garcia found that his places were good, but he was just showing up at the wrong time. Everything eventually fell into place when Garcia “finally figured it out” and kept catching fish.
“The two places I went fishing today, I did not fish once the whole tournament; I fished them previously, but I thought my other places were better,” Garcia said. “I was forced to fish them today, because they were the only places I knew that were out of the wind that had fish, so I just went back and forth.”
Garcia caught his limit this morning in 15 or 20 minutes on a swimbait, then alternated between jigs and Senkos the remainder of the day. He fished mostly offshore in deep water to catch his bass.
Garcia opened the tournament in 27th place Wednesday with five bass weighing 17-07. On Thursday he added another five bass weighing 23-10 to capture his lead. He then caught five bass weighing 15-06 Friday to make the crucial top 10 cut in second place.
Rounding out the top five pros are Wade Curtiss of Lincoln, Calif. (19 bass, 72-13, $10,000); Scott Copple of Lehi, Utah (20 bass, 71-05, $9,000); Jared Stone of Lakeport, Calif. (20 bass, 70-03, $8,000); and Sean Stafford of Fairfield, Calif. (20 bass, 68-02, $7,000).
Jim Davis of Plumas Lake, Calif., caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Pro Division Wednesday – a 10-pound, 10-ounce bass – that earned him the day’s Snickers Big Bass award of $300.
Jared Stone of Lakeport, Calif., earned Ranger Cup and Powered by Yamaha bonuses of $1,500 as the highest finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program.
Overall there were 49 bass weighing 130 pounds, 6 ounces caught by 10 pros Saturday. The catch included 9 five-bass limits.
Scott Sweet of Chatsworth, Calif., won the Co-angler Division and $5,000, including a 198VX Ranger boat and trailer, with a four-day total of 20 bass weighing 62-07.
Sweet caught five bass weighing 22-00 Wednesday while fishing with pro Wade Curtiss of Lincoln, Calif., to open the tournament in third place. He then caught five bass weighing 15-01 Thursday while fishing with pro Jason Milligan of Anderson, Calif., to capture his lead. On Friday he added five more bass weighing 15-08 to make the top 10 cut in second place while fishing with pro Curtis Bietz of Scottsdale, Ariz. Finally, on Saturday, he sealed the win with a five-bass catch weighing 9-14 while fishing with pro Philip Garcia of Yuba City, Calif.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Jerry Garcia Jr. of San Diego, Calif. (20 bass, 61-14, $4,000); Kyle Baker of Lancaster, Calif. (18 bass, 60-00, $3,250); Tommy Cardoza of Lakeport, Calif. (20 bass, 58-13, $2,500); and Thomas Wang of Saratoga, Calif. (20 bass, 58-00, $2,000).
Kyle Baker of Lancaster, Calif., caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Co-angler Division Wednesday – a 9-pound, 13-ounce bass – that earned him the day’s Snickers Big Bass award of $150. Overall there were 43 bass weighing 102 pounds, 2 ounces caught by 10 co-anglers Saturday. The catch included 6 five-bass limits.
The next Stren Series Western Division event, hosted by the City of Oakley, will be held May 14-17 on the California Delta in Oakley, Calif. Boats will launch from Russo’s marina in Bethel Island and the final weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart located at 4893 Lone Tree Way in Antioch.
After four qualifying events are complete in each of the Stren Series’ five divisions, the top 40 pros from each division will advance to the $1 million Stren Series Championship in Branson, Mo., Nov. 5-8 for a shot at $140,000. The highest-finishing pro from each division at the championship will also earn a spot in the $2 million 2009 Forrest Wood Cup, where they will compete against top pros from the Wal-Mart FLW Tour®, Wal-Mart FLW Series®, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League® and TBF (The Bass Federation) for bass fishing’s biggest prize – $1 million.
Tournament pros aren’t the only ones winning big this season. With the introduction of FLW Fantasy Fishing™, FLW Outdoors® offers anyone the opportunity to enter for their chance to land the catch of a lifetime with the opportunity to win $7.3 million in cash and prizes. Players can become a virtual pro angler by signing up for Player’s Advantage, providing them with exclusive insider information that could guide them to a $100,000 victory at every Wal-Mart FLW Tour® stop and the Forrest Wood Cup. Player’s Advantage will give them an edge over the competition and increase their shot for a $1 million cash grand prize that will be awarded to the FLW Fantasy Fishing cumulative points winner.
Those who visit FantasyFishing.com today can sign up for Player’s Advantage and FLW Outdoors will include a $15 Wal-Mart gift card.
The top 40 co-anglers from each Stren Series division will also advance to the championship, where they will fish for as much as $70,000. The highest-finishing co-angler from each division at the championship will then advance to the 2008 Forrest Wood Cup.
FLW Outdoors historically maintains a 98 percent live release rate in all of its bass tournaments.
FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. In 2008 alone the organization is offering more than 90,000 anglers the chance to win over $40 million through 230 tournaments in 10 circuits targeting bass, walleye, redfish, kingfish and striped bass. FLW Outdoors is also taking fishing mainstream with the largest cash awards in the history of fantasy sports, $7.3 million.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player’s Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com.