The weekend prior to the WON BASS Southern California Region’s May 22nd Lake Cachuma team tournament, the Castaic Bass Club held a two-day club tournament at Lake Cachuma. At that event, club member Jeff Jue of Santa Paula was in first place after the first day of competition but fell off slightly on the second day. Even though Jue did not win his club tournament, he did win a major victory of sorts. He gained the confidence that he could do well in the following weekend’s WON BASS team event. During the week, Jue sent an e-mail to WON BASS Southern California Region tournament director Ron Cervenka inquiring about the entry fee and side options, adding that he felt confident that he could do well in the upcoming WON BASS team tournament. Call it a premonition or whatever, when Jeff Jue and fellow Castaic Bass Club member Dave Nichols of Simi Valley arrived early Saturday morning to sign up for the Cachuma tournament, they both had an air of confidence about them. They were not boasting about how well they had done the preceding weekend or about how well they were going to do in the day’s contest. They simply had that quiet confidence that champions always seem to possess. And how right they were.
Topping a field of 50 teams, Jeff Jue and Dave Nichols brought in a five-fish limit that weighed an impressive 19.95 pounds to win the May 22nd WON BASS Lake Cachuma team tournament by over a two pound margin. Included in their limit was a healthy 6.28 pounder, the largest bass of the tournament. “This is the first team tournament win for either of us,” said an excited Nichols to the awards ceremony audience. “We caught a couple of small keepers early on topwater baits and finished out our limit on Roboworms by 8:40 a.m. Then we did what we have always been told to do; we started fishing for bigger fish. Jeff threw a “Huddleston Deluxe” swimbait for the rest of the day and we culled out all of our fish. Jeff was a machine out there today,” added Nichols. For their efforts, Jue and Nichols collected a total of $4,245 in winnings. Jue also received a new Phenix fishing rod for catching the tournament’s biggest fish.
And talk about confidence, finishing in second place at Lake Cachuma was the team of Matt Newman of Malibu and Brett Davies of Bakersfield with a fine limit weighing 17.79 pounds. In only their third WON BASS team tournament, Newman and Davies now have a first, a fifth, and a second place finish respectively. “We started out throwing Huddleston swimbaits and lost the first four or five fish that ate it,” Newman told the crowd. “We didn’t get our first keeper in the boat until 9 a.m. It was our biggest fish (a 5.96 pounder). We then started fishing with Roboworms and finished out our limit. We finally caught two more swimbait fish in the last twenty minutes of the tournament, but we still had a pound and a half smallmouth that we just couldn’t get rid of. I knew that that smallie would probably cost us the win,” Newman added. Nonetheless, he and Davies earned a total of $1,705 for their runners-up finish at Lake Cachuma and have now won a total of $7,695 in just three tournaments.
Finishing in third place at Lake Cachuma were Meade Hedricks and Marc Townes of nearby Lompoc with a limit weighing 17.71 pounds. The pair told listeners that they caught all of their fish on 6-inch oxblood light with red flake colored Roboworms fished Texas rigged in 20 feet of water. Hedricks and Townes walked away with a total of $1,155 in winnings for their excellent finish, to add to the $675 that they won for their 7th place finish at last month’s Lake Cachuma tournament.
Fourth place went to brothers Ken and Stan Vanderburg of Chatsworth and Simi Valley respectively with a limit weighing 17.24 pounds good for $545, and fifth place went to WON BASS pro circuit regulars Jared Lintner of Oceano and Tim Sharpe of Arroyo Grande with a limit weighing 17.11 pounds earning them $425. Finishing “just out of the money” but winning the new “We should have used Zipper Worms” prize package were Rusty Brown of Tustin and Gil Valadez Anaheim with a limit weighing 15.02 pounds. The pair received an assortment of products, courtesy of Zipper Worm Company.
Of the 50 teams entered in the May 22nd Lake Cachuma tournament, 47 teams weighed in a total of 196 fish. The total weight of the fish was 530.64 pounds, which is an excellent per fish average weight of 2.71 pounds. There were 39 smallmouth bass weighed in, which represents 19.89% of the total catch. All but one of the 196 fish weighed in were released alive, a 99.48% survival rate. There were 32 five-fish limits posted in the contest.
The Lake Cachuma tournament also caused a bit of a shake-up in Anglers of the Year point standings, more so because a couple of the top teams did not to show up for the tournament. Still in the lead with one tournament remaining are Mike Brakebill of Newbury Park and Chris Rodino of Simi Valley with 587 points. Ironically, Martin Wall of Huntington Beach and Dave “Tiny” Pierson of Garden Grove were trailing Brakebill and Rodino by only 16 points, but they did not show up for the Cachuma tournament and dropped all the way down to ninth place, thus giving up any chance of winning the prestigious Anglers of the Year title. Moving into the number two spot a distant 27 points behind the leaders are Marc JeuDeVine of West Lake Village and Keith Rini of Newbury Park with 560 points. Taking over the number three position are former three-time and defending Anglers of the Year Greg Stump of Newbury Park and Matt Clancy of Thousand Oaks with 544 points. Although anything can happen in bass fishing, Brakebill and Rodino would have to finish 28 places behind JeuDeVine and Rini or 44 placed behind Stump and Clancy at next month’s season finale to lose the title. Considering that Brakebill and Rodino have five Top-10 finishes and six Top-20 finishes (out of six tournaments) this season, it would appear that they have the title all but locked up.
The WON BASS Southern California Region staff wishes to extend a big thanks to its great regional supporters for again donating their fine products and services to its anglers. They are: Phenix Rods, Roboworm, Bill’s Custom Lures, Hart Lures, Osprey Lures, Taylor Tackle, Bonzai Lures, and DC Baits. Thanks also to Senior Ranger Brian Billings and the rest of the great staff at Lake Cachuma for their assistance with our event.
The 2003-2004 WON BASS Southern California Region season finale will be on Saturday, June 12th at Lake Casitas. In addition to determining the region’s Anglers of the Year team, the Lake Casitas tournament will also determine the qualifying teams for the prestigious 2004 WON BASS Southern Team Championship (formerly called the Tri-States Team Championship), which will be held at Lake Mohave on October 15th and 16th. On-site registration for the June 12th WON BASS Southern California Region season finale will begin on Friday evening, June 11th from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Lake Casitas snack bar, and will continue on Saturday morning from 3:30 to 5 a.m. Anglers are reminded that they must check in prior to the 5 a.m. deadline to avoid going out last and due in with the first flight. For further information, check out the WON BASS web site at www.wonbass.com.