“I didn’t have a bite all day,” said Michels, who claimed his first ever Stren Series victory. “The last two hours of this event had to be the longest two hours of my life. I was really disappointed and was a hundred percent sure I had lost. By that time, I was just hoping for a decent finish. I still had no idea I had won until right at the end, I was nervous and very relieved when I won.”
“I hope I can carry over some of this momentum into the Delta and Clear Lake. A lot of fish are going to be caught and I have confidence in my ability at those fisheries. I hope I can do well.”
Michels opened the tournament in second place Wednesday with five bass weighing 12-3 that he caught on a drop-shot rig. On Thursday he added another four bass weighing 9-8 using the same drop-shot rig fished in the same water to capture his lead. He then caught five bass weighing 10 pounds on Friday to make the crucial top 10 cut in first place.
Rounding out the top five pros are Sean Stafford of Fairfield, Calif. (12 bass, 28-7, $7,005); John Mikkelson of Temecula, Calif. (11 bass, 26-14, $6,305); National Guard pro Tim Klinger of Boulder City, Nev. (nine bass, 26-13, $5,604); and Charley Almassey of Oakley, Calif. (11 bass, 25-1, $4,904).
Jamie Cyphers of Las Vegas, Nev., caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Pro Division Thursday – a 6-pound, 4-ounce bass – that earned him the day’s Snickers Big Bass award of $211.
Stacy Gee of Sacramento, Calif., won the Co-angler Division and $35,000, including a 519VX Ranger boat, with a four-day total of 10 bass weighing 16-13.
“This feels great, I’m on top of the world,” said Gee, who has only fished in two Stren Series events and has a top-10 finish and a win under his belt. “It was a tough week but I just scratched it out. I only got two bites today but they were the right ones. Hopefully, I can keep this winning streak up.”
Gee blanked Wednesday while fishing with pro Will Jefferies of Bountiful, Utah, to open the tournament. He then caught five bass weighing 6-3 Thursday using Carolina-rigged Zoom lizard while fishing with pro Jiggs Benn of Myrtle Creek, Ore., to finish in 14th place. On Friday he added three more bass weighing 5-8 to make the top 10 cut in third place while fishing the same Carolina-rigged lizard with pro Aaron Mansfield of Lake Havasu City, Ariz. Finally, on Saturday, he sealed the win with a two-bass catch weighing 5-2 while fishing with pro John Mikkelson of Temecula, Calif.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Young Yang of Los Angeles, Calif. (eight bass, 16-12, $3,021); Scott Christenson of Hollister, Calif. (five bass, 13-7, $2,454); Gayle Janes of Bermuda Dunes, Calif. (six bass, 11-12, $1,888); and Ron Frye of Dixon, Calif. (five bass, 11-4, $1,510).
Whitney Uyeda of Buellton, Calif., caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Co-angler Division Wednesday – a 6-pound bass – that earned him the day’s Snickers Big Bass award of $113.
The next Stren Series Western Division event, hosted by the Konocti Harbor Resort and Spa, will be held April 25-28 on Clear Lake in Kelseyville, Calif. Boats will launch from Konocti Harbor Resort and Spa in Kelseyville and the final weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart located at 15960 Dam Road in Clearlake, Calif.
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 Mobile, Ala., Nov. 8-11 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 2008 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, Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series and TBF (The Bass Federation) for bass fishing’s biggest prize – $1 million.
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.
Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail presented by Abu Garcia, Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series, Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Striper Series. These circuits offer combined purses of nearly $43 million through 238 events in 2007. Wal-Mart and many of America’s largest and most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as an FLW Outdoors sponsor in 1997 and today is the world’s leading supporter of tournament fishing. For more information about Wal-Mart, visit Wal-Mart.com.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.