“I’ve been tournament fishing for many years, and this is the 23rd boat I’ve won,” Sapp said. “But this is by far the highlight of my career. Everyone here recognizes the EverStart Series as the best tournament trail in the West.
“I think the only reason why I was able to pull off this win is because of 27 years of experience fishing this water. It was an extremely tough week. The bite changed on me every day, and I relied on everything I’ve learned. I think tough conditions really gave the local anglers an advantage.
“Today was certainly the toughest day of the week, but it started off really good. I got a limit in the boat right off the bat, but then it slowed down. Then at about 10 a.m. we started running around to different spots trying to get some big fish. We started targeting prespawn banks. My co-angler, James Rios, actually picked up on a bite with a certain color Brush Hog watermelon with black and red that the fish were hitting best. I eventually was able to catch a 7-pounder and 5-pounder.”
Rounding out the top-five pros were Ron Colby of Page, Ariz. (eight bass, 30 pounds, 15 ounces); Bobby Barrack of Oakley (eight bass, 28 pounds, 115 ounces); Thanh Le of El Cajon Sapp (eight bass, 27 pounds, 1 ounce); and Sean Stafford of Fairfield (eight bass, 26 pounds, 7 ounces).
Tom Schutz of Foster City caught a two-day total of eight bass weighing 21 pounds, 1 ounce to win the Co-angler Division and earn $4,700.
“This is my first EverStart Series tournament,” Schutz said. “I’ll certainly be back. It has been a fantastic week.
“I threw a Senko yesterday, but with the wind and clouds, I felt covering more water with a spinnerbait would work better today. The water in a lot of places was really stained. The wind really kicked up a lot of silt. It was a really tough day. I only culled once today, and my biggest fish was about 4 pounds.”
Rounding out the top-five co-anglers Lewis Milligan of Roseville (eight bass, 18 pounds, 9 ounces); Gary Haraguchi of Half Moon Bay (eight bass, 16 pounds, 10 ounces); James Rios of Brentwood (eight bass, 15 pounds, 15 ounces); and Leroy Bertolero of El Macero (eight bass, 15 pounds, 3 ounces).
Although a big-bass award is not given on days three and four, Le put a bass on the scale that weighed more than 9 pounds. Le also clinched the Western Division points title. Pro Jon Strelic of Alpine earned $1,500 as the Ranger Cup winner.
Anglers caught 80 bass Saturday (every angler caught a four-bass limit) weighing 250 pounds, 8 ounces.
EverStart Series tournaments are four-day events consisting of two rounds. The entire field competes Wednesday and Thursday, and the top 10 pros and co-anglers based on two-day accumulated weights advance to the final round. Anglers start at zero Friday, and pro and co-angler winners are determined Saturday based on two-day accumulated weights.