James Croco Wins Wild West Bass Kayak Series at Lake Pardee

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James Croco Wins Wild West Bass Kayak Series at Lake Pardee

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The weather was another cold rainy day that brought winds up to 25 miles per hour. Air temperatures ranged from high 30’s to high 40’s, water temperatures ranged from 46 to 48 degrees. Let us just say, winter is still here, and spring is not around the corner. After battling crazy weather, James Croco won the Wild West Bass Trail Kayak Series at Lake Pardee on March 3rd with a respectful 90.75”, which weighed around 17 pounds. Croco located a long tapering point that was around 100 yards long. After an insanely rough hour long run to that point, he found his first fish in the 25-foot range. He stated, “I saw a giant mark way off the end of the point with his Garmin Panopitx, about 80 feet from me.” Croco tossed his ¾ ounce Tour level finesse Dirty Jig in the green pumpkin color with a X Zone Muscle Back finesse craw trailer to the fish. Slowly, he dragged the jig with long pauses to entice a 19.50” largemouth bass that weighed around 5 pounds, not a bad way to start his morning. (photo above) Croco fished a few other points in the area, catching two more fish. He then decided to return to his starting location. He drifted over to the end of the point going with the wind, catching several more fish. His better fish were deep in the 30-to-60-foot range, this was his key to finding better size fish. James noted that he caught a total of 9 fish during the tournament and two of his fish came on a X Zone guppy head paired with a 2.8” Keitch. Croco said, “The wind changed directions, then it started to hell, I had no cell service, so I headed back to the ramp three hours early.” After an hour and a half without a bite, he was starting to regret his decision to leave so early. He stopped at a spot that he fished in the past, third cast to the point, he culled 1.25”. James declared, “This was the fish that secured the victory for me.” His decision to leave early was the right one. James appreciates all the support from his sponsors Headwaters Adventure, Bioenno Power Batteries, HOOK’D Specialized exhaust and automotive, Gregory water systems, PLine TKO tungsten, Nichols Lures, Dirty Jigs, The Rod Glove, and X Zone.

Donald Bailey finished in a close second with 90.25”. Bailey used a Bass Union camo bladed A-rig paired with 2.8 bass candy Keitech with a down sized 3/32 of an ounce ball heads. He was fishing grass that was in 20 feet of water that reached 9 to 10 feet tall. Baitfish were present as well as trout. Bailey saw bass on top and around the grass with his Garmin Panoptix. He would then toss his A-rig over the top of the grass with short casts and a fast retrieve. Bailey stated, “All my better fish came when I burned the Bass Union A-rig over the top of the grass, I would see the bass come out of the grass and attack my lure with the Garmin Panopitx. It was every cast at one point.” Bailey thanked his sponsors Bass Union, Hansen Bros. Enterprises, Kayak City, Johnson’s Bait and Tackle and Blue-Collar Anglers.

Thomas Willingmyre finished in third with 89.00” Willingmyre dragged an A-rig over the top of off-shore humps in about 35 to 40 feet deep. He paired his bladed A-rig with 2.8 teasers with 3.3 Keitech in the Pro Blue red pearl. Willingmyre found that the A-rig was the key during practice. He would make repetitive cast to the same rock pile on the edge of the hump. Willingmyre wanted to fish in a location that was occupied with another competitor, once that angler left, he caught two key fish a 17.50” and an 18.50” on that spot within a few minutes. These two fish at the end of the day helped cull several inches that propel him into third place. Thomas thanked his better half, his wife, for all her support.

Top Ten:

1. James Croco 90.75”

2. Donald Bailey 90.25”

3.Thomas Willingmyre 89.00”

4.Damian Thao 75.25”

5.Nathaniel Ferrand 74.25”

6. John Myers 73.25”

7. Julio De La Rosa 70.25”

8. Joseph Silva 59.00”

9.Richard George 55.50”

10. Ryan Eisfeld 47.50”

Big Fish:

Calvin Vang 20.25”
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