By Jody Only

PAYSON, Ariz. – Riding the momentum of their recent crowning as the Wild West Bass Trail (WWBT) 2021 Arizona Teams Anglers of the Year, Creston Carroll, of Payson and Laron Porter, of Heber put together a wire-to-wire win on Lake Roosevelt at the Town of Payson Open. The team’s tournament total of 65.93 separated their winning weight by more than nine-pounds over the runner’s up.

Their Day One five-fish limit of 30.62, held the event’s Big Fish at 9.65 and kicked off Carroll and Porter’s lead by over six pounds to start the three-day bass battle. 

Although their Day Two weight of 16.94 was nearly half of their first day’s limit, the team advanced their lead over their nearest competitor to nearly eight-pounds.

Their final day’s weigh fish went 18.37 and locked in their win, marking a back-to-back victory for the partners, after claiming the championship title of the Payson Open in 2020. 

“It is pretty amazing to do it two years in a row,” stated Porter. “And, especially exciting after just getting AOY.”

Landing the biggest stringer of the event on Day One was a pivotal point in the competition for the team. 

“We pulled up on one spot and the big ones were just schooled up,” explained Porter. “We got three giants in 15 minutes – two nine-pounders and a seven. It was one of the most amazing moments that I’ve ever had fishing.”

He reported their giant’s area as a fairly shallow flat and revealed two baits that their three bigs fell to – an 8-inch, chrome flutter spoon and a Strike King 10XD in gizzard shad. 

“That moment set off the tournament and showed us how they were feeding,” Porter added.

Over the course of the three days, the team focused on the same type of areas to continue their lead.

“We targeted water that was 5- to 15-feet, without brush,” Porter said. “We fished a lot of spots – maybe 25.” 

Hoping to go for a three-peat next year at the next Payson Open, Porter expressed the team’s appreciation for the Town of Payson and their effort in hosting the annual event. 

“It is really nice to have a live weigh-in with a crowd and a lot of work to make this all happen for the anglers,” he said.

In addition to Carroll and Porter’s nine-pound big bass, three other teams claimed a Big Fish payback for seven-pounders, which included Coffey/Morton with a 7.05, Plante/Pageler with a 7.51 and Gibson/Kerr with a 7.09.

The Payson Open on Roosevelt concludes the WWBT Open events for the 2021 season. Pro/Am, Arizona, NorCal, SoCal, and Pacific Northwest Teams, Kayak Series, and other events for the 2022 season are scheduled and are open for #LockItIn status now.