There were 65 teams entered into the Wild West Bass Team Tournament at Lake Mohave on March 26, and teams from Kingman showed that they could hold their own against any professional anglers.
The one-day tournament was the second in a series of four tournaments that teams of anglers can fish this year as part of that circuit. At the end of the series anglers will participate in in a championship.
With a payout of over $5,000 for a first place finish, it is a tournament trail that has caught the attention of a lot of the home town fisherman.
The rules of the circuit don't allow teams to pre-fish the lake for five days before the official start of the tournament.
Nets are allowed to be used by the teams, but no live bait or trolling is allowed. Anglers can only use one rod and reel at a time.
Teams can bring in a total of 7 fish, and after they are weighed they are released back into the lake.
The tournament awards checks to the top 13 teams.
Teams were sent out in flights, with the first teams going out at 6:30 a.m. There were five flights of anglers in this tournament.
Anglers found that Lake Mohave was fairly calm in the morning when the tournament started, but before it would end anglers, those that were fishing in the south end of the lake, were getting pounded by high winds and big waves.
It was tough on the anglers who were trying to put together some strategy that would produce the big smallmouth and largemouth bass that Lake Mohave is known for.
After all of the boats had checked in, it was Kingman resident Luke Eggers and his partner JJ Gibbs who brought in the best bag of the day.
Eggers and Gibbs had seven bass that collectively weighed 24.93 pounds. That was good enough to win the tournament and pick up checks that, with incentives, totaled over $5,500.
Second place went to Justin Kerr and Gunnar Stanton. They weighed in seven fish that pushed the scales to 24.36 pounds, and earned them a check of $2,600.
In third place was Kingman resident Shane Moline and his partner, Las Vegas resident Brian Ravelo, who is owner of Fat Sack tackle.
Their seven fish limit, which were all smallmouth bass, weighed 22.02 pounds and earned them a check for $2,300.
Moline is a professional bass angler and is sponsored by Nitro Boats, Bass Pro, Mercury Marine, Fat Sack Tackle and Power Poles.
Moline and Ravelo were in the third flight of the tournament and they had a plan.
Moline said they decided to make a long run to the north end of Lake Mohave, a place where not many anglers were willing to go.
"We knew from Brian pre-fishing before the lake was off limits that the bass were spawning in the south end of the lake because of the warmer water," Moline said.
"We figured it was going to take about 25 pounds to win the tournament, so we gambled that the bigger fish in the north end of the lake would be spawning later than those in the south."
It was a gamble by the veteran professionals that would pay off.
After launching at Katherine's Landing they made the long trip up the lake to where they decided they would start fishing.
The fishing wasn't easy, but they got the bites they needed.
Fishing first with spinnerbaits over submerged grass beds, the team put some big smallmouth in the boat. Then around 9:30 a.m. they switched over to crankbaits and that proved to be the ticket to putting a big sack of fish in the boat.
"We figured that we would fish for smallmouth till noon, and then we would head down south to try and catch some of the better largemouth bass."
As it worked out, the team had their big smallmouth in the boat by 11:30 Had it not been for losing two big fish, one of which broke off and one that came off near the boat, Moline said they might have finished higher.
The wind was coming up and as they headed south and they knew it was going to be tough to cull any fish in the afternoon.
Moline used three-quarter-ounce football jigs and a fairly light line, but the up and down motion of the boat made it tough to stay connected with the bottom.
Moline said they did catch a few fish on the south end of the lake, but it was the big smallmouths that they had caught earlier that put them in the winner's circle.
Moline said their big fish weighed about 4-½ pounds.
The veteran angler said his team caught about 12 fish during the day.
The Wild West tournament trail will now move on to Lake Pleasant, near Phoenix on April 30.
Other teams that fished in the tournament included Donnie and Ray Scroggins, who came in 17th place.
Greg Parker and Danny Lloyd finished 21st, while Anthony Tatzel and Chris Morrison finished 31st overall. Matthew Rust and Tanner Kemp finished in 54th place.