By Jody Only

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. – Brothers, Mark and Matt Williams won the 2021 Wild West Bass Trail (WWBT) Lake Havasu Arizona / So-Cal Team Championship presented by Bass Cat Boats and Mercury Marine with a tournament total of 36.72.

The Williams team ended Day One with 13.08 for 20th place, adding big stringer of the event on Day Two with another 23.64 and a big bass at 7.66 to claim the grand prize Bass Cat Bobcat / Mercury 150 HP Motor package, as well as $390 for Big Bass Cash and contingency dollars that included $250 from Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits and $500 in Garmin Tournament Rewards.

Mark, from Lake Havasu City, Ariz. credited lake knowledge for the team’s success. 

Matt, from Yuma, Ariz. also cited their time on the water as a difference maker.  “I felt like we took a shot in the dark from a place we fished before and it paid off,” he explained. “On the first day, we ran everything we had, and I felt a little defeated. The next day we were passing a spot that I fished before and I asked Mark if he’d fished there lately.”

They stopped and the spot immediately spit out the team’s 7½ and followed it up with a three-pounder on the next cast.

“We started fishing that area a little more and I got another one a worm,” added Matt.

Overall, Mark reported running three main lake areas. “They were just rocky points in about 12- to 20-feet,” he explained.

Their two-prong approach included a crankbait and dropshot.

“I threw the crankbait and Matt a worm,” Mark stated. 

Tight-lipped on the details, Mark would only describe the crank as a deep-diver. He shared the craw-colored worm was rigged on a 14-inch dropshot with a ¼-ounce cylinder weight. 

“I used my Garmin Panoptix today as I do all the time,” said Mark. “It helps me find exactly what I’m looking for!”

Matt Shura fishing with teammate and sponsor Brian Boyer of AirTime Cooling and Heating rocketed up the leaderboard from 15th on Day One to runner-up on Day Two.

The partners, both from Gilbert, Ariz. put together 13.55 and 22.05 for their final weight of 35.60, earning $5,000, including contingency dollars of $250 from P-Line for their effort.

With their specific lures on the downlow, Shura did reveal their targets were deep and their presentations many.

“We were fishing habitats and trees in 15- to 28-feet,” he said. “I am running Garmin Panoptix and it is really helping me to find that deep structure – that one isolated tree in 40-feet. The stuff that I never knew was down there. The forward-facing sonar is a great tool.

“We hit ‘em with everything from jerkbaits, A-rigs, crankbaits and more. It was just really tough. Some of the toughest fishing I’ve seen at Havasu, and I don’t really know why.”

The year-end championships mark the crowning of the Anglers of the Year (AOY) in each respective division.

Trevor Reis and Kyle Georgi, both of Alpine, Calif. claimed the 2021 So-Cal Teams AOY honor.

“It is a cool thing to earn this with Wild West,” said Reis. It is such a well-run series, and a super organization with organized staff.”

As the season played out, the partners were most excited to launch on to El Cap and felt challenged by Diamond Valley. “There were two on DVL and we just haven’t spent a lot of time their due to proximity.

“In the end, we just fished our strengths – baits and techniques we were comfortable with and applied it to all the lakes we went to. We just fished the way we wanted to, and it worked out.”

Hoisting AOY trophies for the 2021 Arizona Teams was Creston Carroll, of Payson and Laron Porter, of Heber. 

The Arizona team has fished together for over 20 years and parlayed their home water experience on Lake Roosevelt into a win to seal the title.

“Roosevelt is one that we look forward to,” said Porter. “Havasu is more of a challenge because it is so far from us; but we’ve learned to fish it and we had a good weight there. Over the year, we didn’t fish clean though. We lost some good fish at Pleasant and Bartlett. We were fortunate enough to get the win at Roosevelt to set us in place.”

Porter noted their season was a year of junk fishing.

“A lot of people think it’s always jigs; but we usually have 20 rods on the deck and fish everything from finesse to power,” he shared.

Porter was pleased with the accomplishment and credited Carroll.

“AOY is one of the hardest achievements,” he said. “It doesn’t always get a lot of recognition but in my opinion, it is better than winning a tournament or a championship, because it shows consistency.

“I can’t speak highly enough of Creston. He is truly a student of the sport. It’s so important to have a good partner that you trust, and Creston is that. He is just a great fisherman.

Porter looks forward to attempting their first back-to-back AOY runs next year with WWBT.

The WWBT Nor-Cal Teams Championship will launch on to Don Pedro the first week of October. Stay tuned.

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