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Hawk finally gets another home-lake victory

Hawk finally gets another home-lake victory

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. – Roy Hawk of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., sparked his professional bass-fishing career with a win on Lake Havasu in 2007. He used the winnings to launch a tournament journey that took him across the country as he competed at the highest levels of the sport, including five years on the Bass Pro Tour. In the 17 years since, the he's won three more times, but never again on his home lake.

Until Saturday.

Hawk sacked 18 pounds even on the third and final day of the Toyota Series event on his home lake. That brought his three-day total to 56-10, enough to edge Cristian Melton by 1-3 and top the 55-angler field in the second stop for the Western Division.

For the win, Hawk earned $55,859, including a $35,000 Phoenix Bonus. Just as gratifying to him was the reception he got from the sizable contingent of family and friends in attendance at the weigh-in.

“Amazing feeling to be here in front of my friends and family,” Hawk said. “These wins, they don’t come easy, and I’m very thankful.”

Hawk, who chose to take a step back from national competition this year in part because he wanted to be able to fish more events on his home waters, leaned on his voluminous bank of Havasu knowledge to earn the win. With the Toyota Series veering from the historic February/March timing of its Havasu visit, his knowledge of traditional postspawn haunts proved particularly valuable.

“I’ve got a million waypoints marked on this lake, all the pieces of structure,” Hawk said. “Going down a bank, I can see on my graph, on my Lowrance units, I can see exactly where the next cast is going to be. Whether it be a brushpile, (artificial) habitat, I have tons of these things marked, and I spent years marking that stuff.”

Hawk spent all three days in the bowl-shaped portion of the Colorado River reservoir. He flitted between a mixture of deep and shallow offshore spots, focusing on inside grass lines when fishing shallow and brushpiles or artificial habitat when deep.

“I'd fish inside grass and then outside fish habitat, structure out there — a little bit of both, kind of going in and out,” he explained. “Every once in a while, you’d get bit out, then I’d run a bunch of out stuff, get no more bites, go back in, get a bite in, then no more bites. So, I was in and out a lot.”

While Hawk knew where to look for prime bass cover thanks to his encyclopedia of waypoints, he used Lowrance ActiveTarget to make precise presentations — particularly when plying the grass.

“I wasn’t looking at fish, I was looking at structure so I could see where my next cast would be,” he said. “And grass — I was looking at where billows of grass were, and where there were clean spots. So, the ActiveTarget helped out a lot with that.”

Regardless of the area, Hawk triggered most of his bites with a variety of crankbaits. He rotated between six or seven plugs of varying action and depth, throwing them on his Taipan Roy Hawk Signature Series crankbait rods, which he paired with Daiwa reels spooled with Daiwa fluorocarbon. He also mixed in a Yamamoto Speed Senko.

The fact that he earned the win cranking — his favorite technique — made it even more memorable for Hawk … and helped calm his nerves. With the wind picking up and the fish starting to feel the effects of pressure, the bite got a bit tougher on Day 3, and Hawk had to grind to fill his limit. He only caught six keepers all day.

Fortunately for Hawk, they were six of the right ones, enabling him to withstand Melton’s final-day charge and celebrate another victory on the shores of his home lake, 17 years after his first.

“It’s hard not to be nervous, but I just had a good feeling about it,” Hawk said. “I love throwing crankbaits, so to be in that position and knowing that the fish are biting it, I felt really good about it. I really wanted to get it done, for sure. But I leave that up to the Lord. My job is just to go out there and cast and focus and do whatever comes next, and he’ll handle the result.”

Here's how the Top 10 finished:

1st: Roy Hawk, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., 15 bass, 56-10, $55,859
2nd: Cristian Melton, Menifee, Calif., 15 bass, 55-7, $8,217
3rd: Mark Lassagne, Dixon, Calif., 15 bass, 51-1, $6,168
4th: Kyle Grover, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., 15 bass, 50-10, $5,140
5th: Michael Caruso, Peoria, Ariz., 15 bass, 49-0, $4,626
6th: Greg Miser, Santee, Calif., 15 bass, 48-5, $4,112
7th: Zach Verbrugge, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., 15 bass, 47-1, $3,598
8th: Shane Edgar, Glendale, Ariz., 15 bass, 46-9, $3,084
9th: Justin Kerr, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., 13 bass, 46-9, $3,070
10th: Austin Bonjour, Templeton, Calif., 15 bass, 46-3, $2,056

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