VanZant, Suttles wins firefighter fishing tourney

There were 25 teams that took to the water Friday at South Cove on Lake Mead to participate in the annual United Professional Firefighters of Kingman, Local 4191 Fishing Tournament. And once again there were many interesting story lines that came out during the overnight tournament.

You might recall that last year in this tournament, 16-year-old Natalie Casson brought a giant striper to the scales that weighed 23.5 pounds. Casson and her uncle Bob had 40 stripers that weighed 97.55 pounds to easily win the tournament and the big fish money prize.

This year, the largest striper brought in weighed 3.20 pounds and was caught by Jake Coffman.

The heaviest 40-fish stringer of stripers this year weighed 74.7 pounds. Those were brought in by the team of Mike and Karen VanZant and Charlie Suttles.

Second place went to one of the hottest fishing teams in Meadview - Tim Flatt and Jack Ginkins also known as the ZZ Top Brothers and their partner Reyes Merrero. Their 40-fish stringer pushed the scales to 71.3 pounds. By comparison, last year's second-place team checked in 66.1 pounds.

Third place this year went to the team of Merlynn Coffman, Dave Coffman and Jake Coffman. Their stringer weighed 67.4 pounds. In 2011, the third-place team weighed in 65.2 pounds.

In the bass division, the top team was Fred, Mark and 3-year-old Collby Proudfoot. This team checked in 15 bass that weighed 20.35 pounds. Their bag included the tournament's largest fish, a smallmouth that weighed 3.55 pounds.

Second place went to Ed Walker and Ethan Esquibel, who had a 15-fish bag that weighed 19.35 pounds.

Third place in the bass division went to the team of Jim and Wes Short and Chad Benson. Their 15 bass weighed 19.05 pounds.

In the catfish division, the only team to check in whisker fish was Brandon Barkhurst, John Morris and Danny Reed Jr. Their two catfish that weighed 2.1 pounds earned them a nice check.

One of the real fish stories of the tournament concerned the father and son team of Rick and Nick Olivas.

Seemed the duo had a good afternoon on the water Friday and checked in six bass that weighed just over 9 pounds at the 7:45 p.m. courtesy check-in.

Later on Friday night, they caught 47 stripers, one of which weighed over three pounds. They also caught three catfish, including one that Rick said "was just under three pounds."

On Saturday, the team had what Rick said, "The best day of bass fishing we've ever had on Lake Mead!"

They had nine bass that all weighed over two pounds each in the live well.

Problem was the two didn't know what time the tournament was over.

Knowing that the Olivas duo had at least 19 pounds of bass on Saturday, plus the three catfish, one can assume they would have easily won the bass division and the catfish division.

"But that's the way it goes," Olivas said. He noted that it "was a very quiet ride home Saturday evening."