By Jody Only
HEMET, Calif. – The team of John Mikkelsen and Randy Lewis joined forces for the win at the season-opener of the 2021 Wild West Bass Trail (WWBT) Southern California Team series at Diamond Valley Lake (DVL). Their tournament total topped the leaderboard at 28.04, anchored by a 7.30 big bass, and earned the team a prize payout of $4.250.
Friends for over 35 years, Mikkelsen, of Temecula, Calif., and Lewis, of Ramona, Calif. made their gameday plan of attack and immediately switched to Plan B, when their starting spots were loaded with competitors.
“We basically, just decided to go to places where nobody else was,” said Lewis. “We were avoiding community holes and looking for as clean of water as we could find.”
In addition to clearer water, the team sought staging areas.
“They’re not up yet; but they are in areas where they’re close to spawning,” said Lewis. “Places adjacent to a big flat or connected to a creek channel, like highway areas.”
Their Plan B paid off and the pressure was gone when the team filled out their limit by 9 a.m.
“We probably had 25 pounds by then,” recalled Lewis. “And we culled up a couple times throughout the day.”
Both anglers threw homemade jigs and were tight-lipped on size, type, and color.
“Everything we used was built in my garage,” said Lewis.
They plan to reinvest their winnings into a “fishing account”.
“We are on kind of a roll right now,” Lewis said. “But it can come to an end as quick as it starts. You’ve just got to be happy for the ones you do good on and keep your head up on the ones you don’t.”
Less than a half-pound back was the runner-up team of Todd Woods, from Long Beach, Calif, and Rod Wynn, of Inglewood, Calif. They finished the day with 27.76, bolstered by a kicker that went 7.12.
With only a handful of team events under their belt together Woods and Wynn are excited to partner with the goal of the WWBT year-end championship at Havasu.
Woods credited a super-slow method as the primary factor in their finish as both anglers committed to the same deep water, down-bait presentation to sack up their weigh-fish.
“We fished a weightless, Texas-rigged Yamamoto Senko,” said Woods. “It was a five-inch, regular Senko in 042J – fading watermelon, no flake.”
Their most productive areas were in the north-end, held clear water and dipped from 15- to 30 -feet.
“We were fishing different spots,” said Woods. “We would stay about 15 minutes or so and if we didn’t get bit, we’d move.”
Rounding out the top trio with 23.87 was the team of John Toscano and Jon Demonet, both from Downey, Calif. With more than a decade of fishing together, the team has a history of previous accomplishments together.
They concentrated on one area in the morning and sacked up a small limit, targeting deep trees in depths to 30-feet with a five-inch, green pumpkin Yamamoto Senko, on a weightless, wacky-rig.
As the day went on, they started chasing windblown banks and upgraded.
“Our three biggest fish were caught mid-day, when the fish moved up and the wind started,” revealed Demonet. “Those three came off the top of shallow flats with a lot of brush in stained water.”
He reported those three biggest fell to a Johnny Rat wake bait in a “bluegill-type” color.
“We just kind of waked it through the brush,” he added. “And they came from about five-feet.”
The team expressed appreciation for the WWBT venture into SoCal and looks forward to the season ahead.