By Jody Only
Oroville, Calif. – Team partners Brian Fesler and Ernie Haro, both of Gridley, Calif., claimed
the win at the 2021 Wild West Bass Trail (WWBT) Oroville Team Open presented by
Feather Falls Casino and Lodge.
After landing in 54 th place with 9.29 on Day One, the team rocketed up the leaderboard by
adding a five-fish limit of 19.69, with an 11.79 anchor on Day Two. Their tournament-total
came in at 28.98 and earned the duo $4,900.
With conditions fairly consistent on both fishing days, a slight pick up in the wind on the
final day was the only change noted by the team.
“We pretty much fished the same both days,” recalled Fesler. “After yesterday, we were on
the struggle bus and knew we had to do something special today. We were joking this
morning and I told Ernie that I needed a 10-pounder out of him. He asked about two fives
instead. Then we got into this big one.
“Ten-pounders are super-rare, but before this, I’ve caught three of them on Oroville, so I
know they are in there and when my partner got into this one, I knew it was bigger. I called
it a 12 right when I felt it.”
Fesler was tight-lipped about the team’s productive baits; however, he reported the
double-didget kicker fell to Haro’s go-to – a red worm on a dart head.
“We got it a little before noon,” Fesler added. “It was just inside a point, on a steep bank.
The water was a little stained and it was down about 20 or more feet.
“Once Ernie felt the tick, it probably took us six to eight minutes to get it in the boat; but it
felt like an eternity,” he shared. “I was doing a happy dance, high-fiving and pattin’ him on
the back and he told me we better get back to catchin’.”
Although the teammates had filled out their limit by 8:30 a.m., their kicker culled one in the
box that was in the one-pound class range. It was an event game-changer!
Fesler’s reported on the team’s weigh fish over both days were tempted primarily by
undisclosed reaction baits, a couple down baits and the dart head setup that Haro threw.
The tweener catch will be etched in the memory of the winners forever.
“Before this Ernie’s personal best was an eight-pounder,” Fesler said. “This one is going to
be hard to beat. Twelve pounds is kind of putting another personal best out of reach. It’s a
once in a lifetime fish and catching it in a tournament is the unicorn part of the whole
Fesler and Haro have been team fishing together since the 90’s. They plan to reinvest their
winnings into more fishing.
They expressed appreciation for their wives and their sponsors Dobyns Rods, Manny’s
Rod Shop, Tuff Stuff Jerky, Bass Union Fishing, Buck N’ Bass and Redding Yamaha Sea-Doo.
Rest of the Best
1 st 28.98 Fesler/Haro
2 nd 28.01 Martin/McClellan
3 rd 27.48 Ponting/Parra
4 th 26.72 Dobyns/Avalos
5 th 26.69 Evans/Sperbeck
The 2021 WWBT Team Opens will continue next month, blasting off March 6 -7 at Lake
Shasta . The deadline for registration is March 4.
The Wild West Bass Trail operates the premier suite of tournament circuits, including APEX
Pro Cup Series, Pro/Am events, team tournaments, a college series, an open, and kayak
tournaments. WWBT is dedicated to showcasing the best anglers on the country’s finest
fisheries. For more information, please visit: www.wildwestbasstrail.com
Where are the final results???
Great fish, especially for Oroville! It looks like a spot to me. At almost 12 lbs, how does that match up with the record out of Bullards Bar.