By Jody Only
LaGrange, Calif. – With a tournament total of 24.25, Garrett Maddex and Scott Burke bested the 75-boat field of the Wild West Bass Trail (WWBT) Northern California Teams Championship on Lake Don Pedro presented by BassCat Boats and Mercury Marine.
Both California anglers, Maddex, of Escalon and Burke, of Oakdale ended Day One in 4th place, with a weight of 11.77. They brought 12.48 to the scales on Day Two to climb into the top-spot and claim their win. Their ascent to victory earned the team a BassCat Boat Bob Cat equipped with a Mercury 150hp Outboard.
Burke described a combination of years of experience on Pedro and a lot of good fortune as the foundation for the accomplishment.
“We have been fishing here for fun and tournaments for 10 or 20 years – 10 or 12 years as partners; but that being said, I’ve heard when it’s your turn, it’s your turn and that is sure what it felt like,” he explained. “We went into practice knowing it was fishing tough, knowing it was fishing different; but then we learned how different it was. We did find a few areas and knew we would really have to count on those areas to produce.”
They concentrated mainly on three creek arms for their fish – two were unnamed.
“We spent the bulk of our time in those two random creeks,” revealed Burke. “They weren’t major creeks, but they had the things we were looking for – bait and fish that were eating and birds.
“The last day about 2:00 or 2:30 p.m., we went into Rogers Creek. It had the same things, so we gave it a try. We went in there with 10- or 11-pounds and culled to 12 ½. That’s the weight we ended up weighing in. We didn’t cull all of our fish there and spent the last hour trying to cull one more. We never did and just weren’t sure if we had enough to get there; but we did!”
The team used a two-prong approach to tempt their bites, starting with finesse presentations.
“Mother Lode anglers are famous for finesse – spinning rods, light line, dart heads, shakey heads and drop shots,” Burke explained. “That’s what we did to get the fish fired up and when we would see them on the electronics, we would drop a spoon.”
There was no standout finesse presentation, soft plastic, or spoon for Burke.
“We used Keeper Customs and Roboworms in standard shad patterns and craw patterns and we have pile of 6-inch worms in every color in the bottom of the boat,” he said. “It didn’t really matter that much. We were just covering water with the trolling motor down, looking for activity. We would see little fish busting, but topwater wouldn’t do it. When we fished the bottom, we got the better fish. The fish really made us feel like they were on the move, and we just had to keep finding them.”
Burke said the win was a “longtime coming” for the teammates and expressed his appreciation for his team’s camaraderie.
“Fishing together really brings that out,” he added. “It is a key to success. Also, I am grateful for our wives and their support of our habit to fish.”
While Burke has no immediate plans for the winnings, Maddex is already on his way to Disneyland.
Trailing the leaders by approximately ½-pound, is the team of Randy Pierson and Bruce Harris, both of Oakdale, Calif. Pierson and Harris moved up one spot from Day One, adding 11.74 to their first day’s limit of 12.02 for a two-day total of 23.76.
Pierson attributed their success to longtime history on the lake and his plan to locate less obvious spots.
“I really wanted to avoid fishing pressure, so in three days of practice, I put 11 hours on my big motor just to find areas,” he revealed. “The biggest thing that I found was that the fish were moving, and they were moving like I’ve never seen them move. We ended up with about three areas that had about 10 spots each – mostly main lake and Upper Bay.”
The team’s fish came from a depth range of 38- to 55-feet and fell to three main presentations – a spoon, Ned rig and drop shot.
“We used Kastmaster and Hopkins spoons in ¾, 5/8 and ½-ounce,” said Pierson. “They were chrome, chrome and blue and chrome and chartreuse. We fished the ¾-ounce on 15-pound Seaguar INVIZX and the other two on 12-pound.”
Their Ned rig setup included a Z-Man worm in peanut butter and jelly. Their drop shot held an 082 Keeper Customs worm or a Zoom Trick Worm in watermelon purple, a #2 Spearpoint GP Hook and a ¼-ounce Tungsten weight on a 10- to 12-inch leader.
“The Spearpoint hook was what really made the difference,” added Pierson. “I used 10-pound Sufix 832 in Coastal Camo to 8-pound Seaguar INVIZX. A key to it all was fishing extremely slow.”
This is the first full season as partners for Pierson and Harris; however, four years prior, they came together for a single event, resulting in a win at nighttime derby on the same body of water.
Slipping one spot from their first day’s seat on the leaderboard, Tony Franceschi, of Granite Bay and Nick Welton of Galt, rounded out the top-three with 22.51, putting together 12.30 on Day One and 10.21 on Day Two.
A good pre-event strategy made the difference for the teammates, according to Franceschi.
“My history on the lake is limited; but we utilized the practice time well,” he explained. “We found a successful bite both shallow and deep; but used our time to look for which was more consistently successful and that was the deep bite.”
The team’s targeted areas focused on main lake bays where they could locate large amounts of bait.
“It really was just one area,” Franceschi stated. “We were using (Garmin) forward facing sonar, looking for bait balls. The balls were more consistent. We were looking for fish moving through the balls and would stay on them until the fish dispersed.”
Weigh fish for Franceschi and Welton ate differently each day. The first day they fed more aggressively, and a prototype lure attracted their bass. The following day a drop shot got more action.
“The prototype is a new lure coming from 1st Gen Fishing by P-Line called the JawDropper,” said Franceschi. “It is a fish-shaped jig head with a squarebill made of lead and it ‘walks the dog’ when you twitch it.”
Their JawDropper held either a 4 ½-inch Missile Baits Quiver in Hillbilly Magic or a 4-inch Keitech Easy Shiner in Electric Shad. Their drop shot included the Easy Shiner or a 4-inch Roboworm. Both were fished in a variety of colors.
Of note, all of the aforementioned teams were fishing within sight of each other at varied times of the event. Each acknowledged and were complimentary of the respect that was offered from their competitors and for their competitors.
“Even with the proximity that we all shared water; we never had any conflicts” concluded Franceschi. “It all happened the way it should happen. It was exactly the way good sportsmanship should happen!”
The Northern California Team Championship at Don Pedro concludes the WWBT Team 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.
|PLACE||TEAMS||BIG FISH||WEIGHT DAY 1||WEIGHT DAY 2||WEIGHT TOTAL||BIGFISH PAY||P-LINE||YAMAMOTO||GARMIN||WINNINGS||TOTAL|
|1||Garrett Maddex - Scott Burke||11.77||12.48||24.25||Bass Cat Bob Cat with Mercury 150 HP($39,500)||Bass Cat Bob Cat with Mercury 150 HP($39,500)|
|2||Bruce Harris - Randy Pierson||12.02||11.74||23.76||$500||$5,000||$5,500.00|
|3||Tony Francheschi - Nick Welton||3.77||12.30||10.21||22.51||$375.00||$250||$3,000||$3,625.00|
|4||Anthony Prophet - Vern Westberg||11.56||10.06||21.62||$2,000||$2,000.00|
|5||Teddy Snyder - Jay Guterding||11.43||9.89||21.32||$1,500||$1,500.00|
|6||Miles Kaneko - Justin Hurney||11.21||9.77||20.98||$1,300||$1,300.00|
|7||George Carmichael - Ryan Wake||3.76||10.99||9.64||20.63||$375.00||$1,200||$1,575.00|
|8||Greg Gutierrez - Ryan Brewer||10.53||10.08||20.61||$1,100||$1,100.00|
|9||Earl Dalton lll - Michael Coleman||10.48||9.94||20.42||$1,000||$1,000.00|
|10||Kasey Rhyme - Troy Fleming||8.24||11.59||19.83||$1,000||$1,000.00|
|11||Dustin Maraviov - Luke Wilson||10.94||8.47||19.41||$800||$800.00|
|12||Rod Cree - Matt Silveira||9.15||10.21||19.36||$700||$700.00|
|13||Gerry Johnson - David Homan||10.63||8.20||18.83||$600||$600.00|
|14||Mark Lassagne - Jodie White||9.38||9.36||18.74||$600||$600.00|
|15||Nicholas Cloutier - Joey Skym||7.99||10.65||18.64||$600||$600.00|
|16||Cliff King - Colby King||9.13||8.74||17.87||$0.00|
|17||Greg Paminto - Tom Mize||9.26||8.42||17.68||$0.00|
|18||Terry DeVincenzi - John Green||8.55||8.36||16.91||$0.00|
|19||Joe Mariani - Luke Lipanovich||8.62||8.17||16.79||$0.00|
|20||Jeff Michels - Tony Zanotelli||6.43||10.35||16.78||$0.00|
|21||Mike Menne - Wayne Breazeale||8.51||8.13||16.64||$0.00|
|22||Mark Mello - Pat Leiser||8.14||8.33||16.47||$0.00|
|23||Jordan Padilla - George Padilla||3.78||7.91||8.40||16.31||$375.00||$375.00|
|23||Clinton Isbell - Ryan friend||8.09||8.22||16.31||$0.00|
|25||Mark Gomez - Juan Acosta||7.01||9.25||16.26||$0.00|
|26||Tim Arthur - Josh Shapland||7.54||8.69||16.23||$0.00|
|27||Larry Vignolo - Mike Saso||10.14||5.99||16.13||$0.00|
|28||William Ponting - Eric Parra||7.46||8.59||16.05||$0.00|
|29||Ron Sanches - Nick Sanches||8.21||7.44||15.65||$0.00|
|30||Phil Eoff - Brian Barner||7.69||7.90||15.59||$0.00|
|31||Bret Gouvea - Colby Gouvea||6.03||9.51||15.54||$0.00|
|32||Miguel Vega - Travis Williams||9.24||6.28||15.52||$0.00|
|33||Chris Ochs - Jeb Bunker||5.93||9.23||15.16||$0.00|
|34||Jack Geist - Vance Hayes||6.27||8.82||15.09||$0.00|
|35||Mark Borges - AJ Borges||5.26||9.35||14.61||$0.00|
|36||Jim Vretzos - Ryan McGinnis||6.96||7.43||14.39||$0.00|
|37||Derik Dalton - Daniel Abella||6.65||7.38||14.03||$0.00|
|38||Brian Cogburn - Justin Crain||4.69||12.99||0.97||13.96||$375.00||$375.00|
|39||Andrew Maack - Eddie Rachel||7.62||6.34||13.96||$0.00|
|40||Mike Frederick - Chad Dibble||3.77||10.14||13.91||$0.00|
|41||Ryan Mcintosh - Cory Caporale||6.90||6.92||13.82||$0.00|
|42||Clara Ricabal - Chris Childers||3.8||8.34||5.37||13.71||$375.00||$375.00|
|43||Sean Kimble - Charles Immekus||11.61||1.47||13.08||$0.00|
|44||Joseph Price - Tanner Spohn||6.16||6.85||13.01||$0.00|
|45||Ryan Monaghan - Timothy Rhyme||8.71||4.03||12.74||$0.00|
|46||Shaun Walker - Ryder Walker||6.46||5.99||12.45||$0.00|
|47||Jamison Heaney - Shawn Heaney||5.37||6.42||11.79||$0.00|
|48||Richard Benzler - Tom Pelascini||3.21||8.43||11.64||$0.00|
|49||Dave Della - Dante Ray||9.46||1.95||11.41||$0.00|
|50||John Morla - Casey Cabral||7.29||2.82||10.11||$0.00|
|51||Matthew Abella - Daniel Abella||8.31||0.00||8.31||$0.00|
|52||Jason Austin - Ken Mah||7.84||0.00||7.84||$0.00|
|53||Joe Hinkle - Glen Lockhart||7.79||0.00||7.79||$0.00|
|54||Josh Young - Joe Stout||7.58||0.00||7.58||$0.00|
|55||Mike Friend - Shelly Carr||6.71||0.00||6.71||$0.00|
|56||Brent Cline - Paul Foor||6.68||0.00||6.68||$0.00|
|57||Brian Fesler - Ernie Haro||6.65||0.00||6.65||$0.00|
|58||Matthew Frazier - Ish Monroe||6.23||0.00||6.23||$0.00|
|59||Thomas Dodd - Steve Fredrick||5.94||0.00||5.94||$0.00|
|60||Alvin Borba - Jaime Caratachera||5.77||0.00||5.77||$0.00|
|61||Stefan Egan - Craig Egan||5.70||0.00||5.70||$0.00|
|62||Mathew Clark - Matthew Plymouth||3.05||1.81||4.86||$0.00|
|63||Jerimiah Valador - Scott Chappell||4.66||0.00||4.66||$0.00|
|64||Ernest Lujan Jr||3.77||0.00||3.77||$0.00|
|65||Robert Couts - Scott Helwig||3.50||0.00||3.50||$0.00|
|66||Dominic Rea - Lance Collard||2.15||0.00||2.15||$0.00|
|67||Gregory Troughton - Carter Troughton||2.09||0.00||2.09||$0.00|
|68||Troy Gray - Steve Cooper||1.23||0.00||1.23||$0.00|
|69||Ron Howe - Tim Meeks||0.00||0.00||0.00||$0.00|
|69||Timothy Venkus - Rodney Brown||0.00||0.00||0.00||$0.00|
|69||Robert Balderaz - Kevin Brown||0.00||0.00||0.00||$0.00|
|69||Manuel Nevarez - Manny Nevarez II||0.00||0.00||0.00||$0.00|
|69||Kevin Bridges - Mike Evans||0.00||0.00||0.00||$0.00|
|69||Jared Boom - Charlie Kessler||0.00||0.00||0.00||$0.00|
|69||Outlaw Barone - Jake Martinez||0.00||0.00||0.00||$0.00|