Hot, calm conditions presented a challenge to the field during day one of the Rayovac FLW Series Western Division event on Lake Havasu presented by Mercury. Yet, each of the top 10 pros was able to haul in more than 16 pounds of bass, led by Josh Bertrand, who sacked up 20 pounds, 4 ounces.
Quality over quantity was the story for Bertrand on Thursday. In fact, the five bass he brought to the scale were the results of the only five bites he got all day. Mental toughness proved a valuable trait.
“After pre-fishing I didn’t know if I would even be able to catch a limit in the tournament,” says Bertrand. “But the quality of fish out here is so good that if you can get five bites they are more than likely going to be good ones.”
The Gilbert, Ariz., pro will start Friday’s competition with a slim 8-ounce lead over noted Havasu stick Joe Uribe Jr.
When Joe Uribe Jr. left the dock Thursday he knew that the only way to win this tournament would be to target prespawn largemouth in the midst of moving shallow. He executed perfectly and nearly reached the 20-pound mark to set himself up for a shot at the title.
“The shade and a little bit of a breeze on the lake really helped me out,” says Uribe, who posted a top-10 finish on Havasu in 2012. “The stripers had moved into an area and started to feed, and it fired up the largemouth. I had to weed through a lot of stripers to get to the largemouth, but when I did it was on.”
Top 10 Pros
1st – Josh Bertrand – 20 pounds, 4 ounces
2nd – Joe Uribe Jr. – 19 pounds, 12 ounces
3rd – Matt Shura – 18 pounds, 10 ounce
4th – Charlie Weyer – 18 pounds, 2 ounces
5th – Mark Williams – 17 pounds, 14 ounces
6th – Gary Pinholster – 17 pounds
7th – JJ Gibbs – 16 pounds, 11 ounces
8th – Hunter Schlander – 16 pounds, 10 ounces
9th – Shaun Bailey – 16 pounds, 9 ounces
10th – Scott Hellesen – 16 pounds, 8 ounces