At the very first WON BASS Southern California Region team tournament back in 1989 was a team that had enjoyed some pretty good success in the old Western Bass days, along with several other team tournament organizations. That team was Jay Poore of Glendale and John Ed Wilder of West Hills. Although a great team even way back then, no one would have ever thought that this team would still be dominating team tournament competition a quarter of a century later. Well, think again.
On an absolutely gorgeous day at Lake Cachuma in Santa Barbara County, Poore and Wilder topped a field of 50 teams to win the November 19 WON BASS Southern California Region’s 2005-2005 season opener with a five-fish limit weighing 12.55 pounds. Included in their bag was a healthy 4.29 pound largemouth bass and a beautiful four pound smallmouth bass.
“We were one of the last boats out this morning, so we ran over to Jack Rabbit Flats and just started fishing,” Poore told the awards ceremony crowd. “We started catching fish right away on hair jigs and dropshotting oxblood light Roboworms and we ended up staying there all day. We went through nine keepers during the day. John Ed caught our big largemouth and I caught the big smallmouth. It’s the biggest smallie that I have ever caught,” Added Poore. The veterans earned $4,050 in winnings for their victory and Wilder also received a brand new Phenix fishing rod for catching the largest bass of the tournament.
Although you will never hear Poore or Wilder boast or brag about their accomplishments of the past two decades, here are some incredible facts about the pair which are, quite frankly, unbelievable. They have now won thirteen WON BASS Southern California Region team tournaments in the eighteen year history of WON BASS (their nearest competition has won eight). They hold the all-time WON BASS seven-fish limit winning weight record of 51.05 pounds (April 1991 – Lake Casitas). But, perhaps their most incredible accomplishment, they are the only team in the history of WON BASS to have qualified for every WON BASS Tri-State Team Championship (all seventeen of them), a record that is impossible to beat. This latest victory has put them in a very good position to continue that incredible streak and gives them the early lead in the Anglers of the Year points race, a title that they have won twice before.
Runners-up at the November 19 Lake Cachuma season opener was yet another veteran team, that of Hugh Mitchell and Doug Norvell of Oxnard. The “Quiet Killers” as they are affectionately known (for their uncanny knack to always end up near the top without making much noise), brought in an excellent limit weighing 11.61 pounds. “We had a limit by 7:00 a.m. on blades, jigs, and worms in Santa Cruz Bay,” Mitchell told listeners. “The fish moved out deeper later in the day and we backed off and followed them out and continued catching them on jigs and worms. It was a great day of fishing for us,” he added. For their efforts, the pair walked away with $1,295 in winnings.
Third place went to recent new parents Tony and Carolyn Capparelli of Camarillo with a limit weighing 11.56 pounds, a great accomplishment considering that Tony fished the tournament solo, as Carolyn was home taking care of four month old “TJ” (Tony Junior). “I sure could have used Carolyn’s help with the net today,” Tony told the audience. “I had a three pound smallmouth jump two feet out of the water and throw my bait. That fish made all the difference today,” he added. Like Mitchell and Norvell, Capparelli spent most of his day fishing in Santa Cruz Bay, where he caught several fish on crankbaits. His better fish came later in the day while dropshotting Roboworms in small shade pockets. Tony collected a total of $815 in winnings for his excellent finish.
Fourth place went to Ron Smith of Castaic and Doug Frasco of Thousand Oaks with a limit weighing 10.77 pounds good for $700, and finishing in fifth place were Mike Frame of Castaic and John Haver of Granada Hills with a limit weighing 9.10 pounds. Because Frame and Haver had entered the Southern California Region’s all new “Ten Pound Option” (paid to the team with the total weight closest to 10.00 pounds without going over), they earned a total of $1,370.
Of the 50 teams entered in the Lake Cachuma contest, 44 brought fish to the scales. There were a total of 138 fish weighed in for a total weight of 243.39 pounds, a 1.76 pounds per fish average. Of the 138 fish, 30 were smallmouth bass, which represents 21.73% of the total catch. All but one bass was released alive, a 99.3% survival rate. There were twelve 5-fish limits posted in the tournament.
The entire WON BASS Southern California Region staff wishes to extend a big thank you to their great regional supporters. They are: Phenix Rods, Bonzai Worms, Bill’s Custom Lures, Roboworm, and Taylor Tackle. Thanks also to Mitch Madera and the rest of the great staff at Lake Cachuma for their assistance with our event.
The next WON BASS Southern California Region team tournament is on Saturday, December 10 at Castaic Lake. On-site registration will be from 3:30 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. at the West Ramp parking lot. Anglers are reminded that they must check in before the 5:00 a.m. deadline or they will go out last and be due in with the first flight. For more information on the WON BASS Southern California Region, check out the WON BASS website at www.wonbass.com.