James Choi wins ABA TOC at Lake Perris

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James Choi wins ABA TOC at Lake Perris

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james choi.jpeg
Lake Perris is known to be a very windy lake to fish from a kayak. The wind blew but was not bad enough to make fishing sketchy. The water temperature ranged from the mid 60’s to the upper 60’s. The lake was not giving up many fish with only three 5 fish limits brought to the scales from a total of 23 anglers. Only 44 fish were submitted for the entire 10-hour day of fishing.

Once all the fish were submitted, James Choi wins the ABA Tournament of Champion TOC at Lake Perris with 79.50”. Choi practiced up to the event and had found that the fish would bite in short windows.

“My practice was tough, but the fish would bite in windows.” said Choi, “My game plan was to go to the island to start my day.”

After fishing the island, Choi found that area nonproductive, so he moved to the dam area where he saw an old waypoint on his graph. This area had a rock reef with sunken tires around the waypoint.

“I tossed my drop shot towards the waypoint and got bit.” said Choi, “I was able to get a limit in a short window in that area.”

“I picked up a jig and scored an 18.25” in that same area.” said Choi. “I had those fish at 11:30 AM.”

The waypoint was 10-to-15 feet deep where he used a 4” Robo worm to entice the bass. His Jig was a Dirty Jig paired with a Reaction Innovation sweet beaver in green pumpkin. Choi returned to his starting area near the island where he found a lay down log in the water. His smallest fish was a 13” at this time. He tossed his jig under that log and culled up enough to win the TOC.

“I came up to a log and flipped my jig under it.” said Choi, “I caught a 17” bass that culled me up to take the win.” “Besides the one fish on the log, all the rest of the fish were on rock piles.”

“It was a really tough bite.” said Choi, “When you got bit you had to capitalize at that moment.”

Choi thanked his wife and kids for all their support throughout this year. “Without my wife and kids, I would not be able to do this, they are my best supporters.”

“This win goes to my son, Calvin.” said Choi, “This event was very special to both of us, and it was nice to end the year winning the TOC for my son.”

Brandon Cabrates finished in second with a total of 78.00”. Cabrates found the bite brutal at best. He caught his first fish at 11 AM and his last keeper fish just minutes left of the day.

“All morning long, I jumped from spot to spot in search of a bite.” said Cabrates, “I couldn’t figure them out until 11 AM.”

“I got my first bite on submersed brush at 11 AM.” said Cabrates, “This first bite gave me the key to my success for the day.”

“The fish hammered the drop-shot and brought me deep into the brush, but came unbuttoned.” said Cabrates, “I stayed with this pattern all day long.”

Cabrates moved around the lake in search of a bite but came up empty.

“I fished the tires, along the dam, on the East side and then the West side.” said Cabrates, “Then at 1:30 PM I caught my first fish.” “It was a nice 17” fish.”

Ten minutes later, Cabrates caught his second fish which was an 18” fish.

“I pitched the drop-shot bait around every tree and piece of wood I could find.” said Cabrates, “It came down to the last five minutes of the day to catch my fifth fish.”

“My very last cast, I caught my fifth fish, it was 17.75” fish.” said Cabrates, “It was a side arm cast, saw my line twitch and set the hook.” “I had 4 minutes left of the event.”

“It felt great to catch a limit.”

All day long Cabrates used a drop-shot targeting underwater brush. He used the Margarita color Robo worm to catch all his fish. Cabrates thanked his wife, kids and his parents for all their support with his fishing.

Anthony Garcia finished in third place with a total of 77.00”. Garcia practiced on Friday the day before and knew it was going to be tough fishing.

“It took me two hours before I got my first bite.” said Garcia, “I used the Damiki rig to catch my first two fish.”

Garcia fished for two more hours without a bite and then caught his second fish on a brush pile in 20-feet of water on the Damiki rig. After his second fish Garcia changed up to a Texas rig to catch three more fish.

“I switch up to a Texas rig and flipped every piece of wood I could find.” said Garcia, “I was lucky to get my limit and it took me all day long just to catch five fish.”

“It was a real tough day at Perris.” said Garcia, “I used a sculpin bait to catch all my flip fish.”

Garcia’s flip fish were all in 4-feet of water where his Damiki rig fish were in 20-feet of water. Garica thanked his girlfriend Amanda and his family for all their support. He also thanked his sponsors IRod, Oldtown Kayaks, Dakota Lithium, Simms, Big Bass Dreams, Defiant fishing, Tackle Shack USA, Boonedoz USA and Bass Slayer Baits.

Top Ten:
1. James Choi 79.50”
2. Brandon Cabrates 78.00”
3. Anthony Garcia 77.00”
4. Shane LemMon 57.25”
5. Gilbert Garcia 50.75”
6. Brad Blokzyl 39.25”
7. Ron Kim 34.00”
8. John Toscano 33.50”
9. Raymond Tak 28.00””
10. Geoff Peterson 27.00”

Big Fish:
John Toscano 18.75”
ABA john big fish.png
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