Local angler Shaun Bailey weighed weighed a 15-06 stringer on Saturday to win the FLW Series Western Division opener at Lake Havasu. Bailey’s three-day total of 49-05 was enough to earn him top honors and $40,200.
“It feels great to finally win one of these. It’s been a long time coming,” said Bailey, who earned his first career win after three prior top-10 finishes in FLW competition. “It was definitely a strange tournament for me, though. Today I caught all of my fish in the morning, which was the complete opposite of what happened the first two days.”
Bailey primarily targeted prespawn largemouth in brush piles on the north end of the lake. He said his areas were 18 to 22 feet deep and were near the mouths of coves.
“On day 1 (Thursday) I caught a fish on my very first cast and never got another bite until almost noon,” said Bailey. “There’s that old saying, ‘If you catch one on your first cast, its bad luck’. Well, it was true for me. Luckily, I pulled up on a spot and caught a couple fish to fill out my limit, so I was happy with that.”
Bailey said he used a few different baits this week, including Roboworm Straight Tail and Curly Tail Worms on a Carolina rig. He said he also caught key fish on olive crawdad- and fire craw-colored Evergreen medium- and deep-diving crankbaits.
“On Friday I actually lost my first five fish,” said Bailey. “Finally, I pulled up to an area and my co-angler and I each caught one. After that, we went to another spot and both caught 17 pounds in about 3 hours.”
Bailey said his sweet spot had a lot of natural trees and scattered brush piles, and that the trees were large enough to hold a lot of fish.
“Today (Saturday) I used a deep-diving crankbait in the morning instead of a worm and caught a few that I ended up weighing in,” said Bailey. “I switched to the worm and caught two more before returning to my key spot from day 2, but I never got another bite. I’m thankful I made the decision to start with the crankbait this morning.”
Here are the totals for the top 10 finishers:
1. Shaun Bailey: 49-05
2. David Valdivia: 48-04
3. Justin Kerr: 48-00
4. Chris Kinley: 46-00
5. Michael Caruso: 45-01
6. Tom Leedom: 44-02
7. Sean Minderman: 43-13
8. Joe Uribe Jr.: 42-04
9. Jason Milligan: 40-15
10. Jay Wright: 34-07