Running to the headwaters of the recently opened Agua Fria River (following the annual bald eagle nesting period), he found areas of flooded trees where he slow-rolled a homemade 1-ounce spinnerbait for his winning catch.
For his efforts, Nollar also took home an additional $3000 as the highest finishing Ranger Cup entrant.
Murph McBride of Pioche, Nev. finished second at Lake Pleasant with 28.39 pounds and in doing so, earned the 2006 southern division Angler of the Year title with a total of 531 points. McBride was presented with a certificate for a fully rigged Ranger bass boat with Mercury outboard for topping the points race by Ranger’s Keith Tripp.
McBride fished mostly bedding bass with Yamamoto grubs and Senkos, catching his first 6 1/2 pounder within half a mile of the launch site. On day two, his AAA partner Larry Hines of Hemet caught an 8.23-pound bass off a deep bed McBride has located during his weeklong practice.
“That’s the benefit of being retired,” said McBride as he described the value of the time he spent locating his fish.
Local angler Steve Czerniski of Mesa, Arizona, captured third place in the contest with 28.29 pounds. His fish came off a main lake island at the north end of the reservoir. He capped his second day catch with a 7.10-pound largemouth on a tube.
Rounding out the top five pro spots were in fourth, Mitch Southern of San Bernardino who tallied 26.82 pounds including a 6.75 pounder on a watermelon Senko. Tom Matsunaga of Gardena captured fifth place with 26.32 pounds after just one practice day. He fished bedding fish with a mix of lures.
In the AAA ranks, Jim Wood of Phoenix took top honors with 30.12 pounds, while 16-year-old Kyle Brinkman of Anthem, Ariz. was second with 27.10 pounds and Chadler Smith of Long Beach took third with 27.04 pounds.
Debbie Cunningham of Phoenix was fourth with 24.38 pounds and Mike Reyes of Anaheim took fifth with 24.24 pounds.
On the strength of his 8th place finish at Pleasant, Lester Albury of San Marcos was crowned the Mercury AAA Angler of the Year and took home a bonus of $5000 in cash.