Hart & Siemantel Set New WON BASS Record at Lake Casitas

VENTURA – Just as they have done on countless occasions in the past, Mike Hart of Winnetka and Bill Siemantel of Castaic blew away the competition at the WON BASS Southern California Region’s final tournament of its 2005-2006 season at Lake Casitas on June 3rd. Crushing a field of 43 teams, Hart and Siemantel brought in an incredible five-fish limit that tipped the scales at 34.94 pounds to eclipse the previous all-time WON BASS Southern California Region five-fish record winning weight by a mere .38 of a pound. The previous record of 34.56 pounds was set by Matt Newman of Agoura Hills and Brett Davies of Sacramento in March of 2005, also at Lake Casitas. Hart and Siemantel’s record setting limit topped their nearest competitors by exactly twelve pounds and included two fish over nine pounds, one weighing 9.67 pounds and good for second big fish of the day.

“We fished hard today and had a quick limit on Flukes,” Hart told the awards ceremony crowd. “We spent the rest of the day flipping and it’s a miracle that we even landed our biggest fish. The fish wrapped itself around a log and got hung up, but luckily we got it in the boat,” he added. For their dominating record setting victory, Hart and Siemantel earned a total of $3,255 in winnings. Although this was only the third WON BASS Southern California Region team tournament that Hart and Siemantel have fished this season, they finished in the Top-3 in two of them.

Runners-up at Lake Casitas for the second consecutive tournament were Jason Christmann of Moorpark and Gil Valadez of Anaheim with an outstanding limit weighing 22.94 pounds. Included in their bag was a beautiful 11.77 pounder, the largest bass of the contest (also for the second consecutive tournament). “We had our limit sight fishing by 9 o’clock and then we spotted the big bass on a bed,” Valadez told listeners. “We worked her for a half hour and she finally ate a worm on a dropshot. It was pretty exciting because I was using spinning gear and light line. We were done by 9:30 and never culled a fish after that,” Valadez added. For their efforts, Christmann and Valadez collected a total of $1,395 in winnings. Valadez also received a brand new Huddleston Deluxe ROF-12 swimbait for catching the largest bass of the tournament. Ironically, Christmann and Valadez finished the season with two second place finishes and one third place finish, yet they finished the season in fourth place in the final standings; a true example of the degree of competition within the WON BASS Southern California Region.

Finishing in third place at Lake Casitas was the veteran team of Frank King of La Habra and Jim Olivarez of Anaheim with a great limit weighing 21.50 pounds, capped off with a healthy 8.05 pound kicker. “We caught an early limit on Flukes,” said King to the audience. “After that, we caught bed fish on Senkos and culled all day long,” he added. Although King and Olivarez walked away with a total of $1,165 for their excellent third place finish, more importantly, they also walked away with the 2006 WON BASS Southern California Region “Anglers of the Year” title. It is the second such title for the long-time WON BASS Southern California Region veterans and they now join the very elite group of Carol and Aaron Martens, Jay Poore and John Ed Wilder, and Greg Stump and Matt Clancy as the only other WON BASS Southern California Region multi-time champions.

Fourth place went to Ross Mariano of Long Beach and Terry Snyder of Fontana with a limit weighing 20.42 pounds earning them $755, and fifth place went to brothers Billy and Bobby Nelson of West Hills with a limit weighing 18.22 pounds good for $380.

Winning the very popular “Ten Pound Option” with the closest total weight to 10.00 pounds without going over were Bill Mulvihill of Reseda and Roger Beiner of Thousand Oaks with four fish weighing 9.45 pounds. Mulvihill and Beiner actually had a five-fish limit weighing about 13 pounds, but they decided to gamble on winning the option and released a three pounder. Although their gamble paid off financially and earned the pair $700, they missed qualifying for the prestigious 2006 WON BASS South Team Championship by .57 of a pound. Was that gamble really worth it? That is a question that only Bill Mulvihill and Roger Beiner can answer. One thing is for certain however, they will have a very long off-season to think about it.

As anticipated, the fishing at the June 3rd Lake Casitas contest was outstanding, with all but four teams weighing in fish. There were 173 fish weighed in for a total weight of 482.47 pounds; an impressive 2.79 pounds per fish average weight. All but five of the fish weighed in were released alive, a 97.1% survival rate. There were 29 five-fish limits posted in the tournament.

In addition to determining the 2006 WON BASS Southern California Region’s Anglers of the Year, the Lake Casitas season finale also determined who the lucky 2006 WON BASS South Team Championship qualifiers would be. The region’s 18 “Automatic Qualifiers” are:
1. Frank King-Jim Olivarez – 663 points
2. Billy Nelson-Bobby Nelson – 648 points
3. Bob Roady-Dennis Taylor – 638 points
4. Jason Christmann-Gil Valadez – 626 points
5. Dave Poolman-Mike Reese – 621 points
6. Bruce Delgado-Marc JueDeVive – 604 points
7. Louis Arnone-John Omartian – 591 points
8. DeLynn Davies-Steve Davies – 586 points
9. Hugh Mitchell-Doug Norvell – 575 points
10. Jay Poore-John Ed Wilder – 558 points
11. Fred Vecht-Reed Wheeler – 554 points
12. Mile Hamilton-Tom Hamilton – 542 points
13. Ken Vanderburg-Stan Vanderburg – 530 points
14. Marvin Barellano-Jesse V. Hernandez – 526 points
15. Doug Frasco-Ron Smith – 518 points
16. Dennis Rodriguez-Derrick Yoshinaga – 515 points
17. Noah Cook-Jess Settem – 514 points
18. Ross Mariano-Terry Snyder – 505 points

The region’s 8 “Bonus Qualifiers” are:
1. Brian Linehan-Matt Newman
2. Shaun Bailey-Doug Riha
3. Mike Frame-John Haver
4. Guy Gutierrez-Keith Rini
5. Gary Lumas-Angel Perez
6. Donnie Boyd-John Shull
7. Cy Chan-Brandon Ober
8. Davis Beckham-Kevin Duncan

Congratulations to Frank King and Jim Olivarez and all of the 2006 South Team Championship qualifiers from the WON BASS Southern California Region.

On behalf of the entire WON BASS Southern Region staff, I wish to extend a big thank you to our great regional supporters who have generously donated their fine products and services to our anglers throughout the 2005-2006 season. They are: Bonzai Lures, Bill’s Custom Baits, Taylor Tackle, Huddleston Deluxe, The Trolling Motor Doctor, and Tru-Tungsten. Thanks also to my great staff for their hard work and dedication to the Southern California Region. They are: Scott Harvey, Jim Basham, Rick Nelson, Dennis Rodriguez, Derrick Yoshinaga, Tom Elliott, Tim Messmer, and Steve Wetstein. And an extra special thanks to long-time WON BASS Southern California Region weighmaster Dave Keys for his many years of loyal service to our region. Although Dave was forced to retire for health reasons, his legacy as being “The best weighmaster in the business” will go on forever. Dave has set the bar for what a true weighmaster is. God Bless you my friend.