Hawk swoops in for victory on Lake Mead - Major League Fishing

Hawk swoops in for victory on Lake Mead

Utah native upsets day-three leader, snatches Wal-Mart FLW Series National Guard Western Division tournament title
Image for Hawk swoops in for victory on Lake Mead
Roy Hawk of Salt Lake City, Utah, shows off his first-place stringer after winning the FLW Series event on Lake Mead. Photo by Gary Mortenson. Angler: Roy Hawk.
May 10, 2008 • Gary Mortenson • Archives

HENDERSON, Nev. – For three straight days, Roy Hawk of Salt Lake City, Utah, flew under the radar. And that was just fine with him. While Sean Minderman was busy grabbing most of the headlines for netting first-place finishes during each of the first three days of competition, Hawk was quietly plotting his strategy for the finals.

In the end, Hawk accomplished something on the last day of competition that no angler had been able to do all week – dislodge Minderman from the top spot on the leaderboard. Using a four-day catch of 41 pounds, 3 ounces, including an impressive 11-pound, 11-ounce stringer in the finals, Hawk brushed aside the rest of the competition to claim the most important title of his career – an FLW Series victory.

“It’s an awesome, awesome feeling,” said Hawk. “This moment will never be forgotten. I want to dedicate this win to friends and to my mom – happy Mother’s Day.”

Hawk said that his gamble to target larger bites proved to be the difference in the tournament.

Roy Hawk of Salt Lake City, Utah, proudly displays his first-place trophy after winning the FLW Series event on Lake Mead.“Really, just targeting bigger fish was the key,” said Hawk. “I’ve been doing that for many years on Mead and it has bit me a few times. But today I got my five fish. And in the end, it worked out. I’m just stoked right now.”

Hawk said that he used a combination of crankbaits and worms, targeting bass on gravel and boulders in approximately 5 to 25 feet of water.

“I used a Lucky Craft chartreuse shad crankbait during first light and windy conditions and switched to a Robo Worm in an ox-blood color when it was slick out and in sunny conditions,” he said. “I fished the same general area all week. But I had my best success during windy conditions.”

For his efforts, Hawk netted a first-place prize of $100,000. If that wasn’t special enough, he also managed to weigh-in during the finals in front of friends and family.

“This is my home lake so it’s pretty special,” he said. “I don’t even know what to say. It’s just amazing. Having my friends and family here rooting me on – I’m definitely stoked. I can’t wait for the next (tournament). I’ll race you to the Delta!”

Hickey finishes in runner-up position

Jason Hickey of Weiser, Idaho, finished the FLW Series Lake Mead event in second place.Despite a fantastic outing in the finals, Jason Hickey of Weiser, Idaho, just couldn’t overcome Hawk’s performance. In the end, Hickey finished in second place with a total weight of 39 pounds, 12 ounces.

“You know what, that’s fishing,” said Hickey, who took home nearly $31,000 in winnings. “(Hawk) snuck up on me today. I was so focused on (Minderman) that I wasn’t really paying attention to what Hawk was doing. My goal was to catch 12 pounds today and I came up shy. But I’ll tell you what; I couldn’t have lost to a better guy.”

Hickey said that the day started off almost perfectly.

“Last night I talked to my wife and she said she was going to pray for me to catch `big fish.’ I said, `If you’re going to pray for big fish, make sure it comes early,'” said Hickey. “Then, on about my fourth cast, I caught that 4-pounder.”

Things got even better from there. Hickey found his favorite bank and, unlike the first three days, he had no other competition around him.

“I didn’t see another boat and that made a big difference today,” said Hickey. “I was able to pick apart my bank thoroughly. It was about a ¼-mile stretch and I just went up and down it all day. I probably did that 12 times today.”

In the end though, today’s 10-pound, 4-ounce stringer wasn’t enough to catch Hawk.

“I fished well and I didn’t dump any fish today,” said Hickey. “What else can you do?”

Minderman falls to third

After leading the FLW Series Lake Mead event for three straight days, Sean Minderman of Spokane, Wash., had to settle for third place in the finals.After leading the tournament for three straight days, Sean Minderman of Spokane, Wash., finally succumbed to the pressure of maintaining a wire-to-wire finish. As it turns out, Minderman’s day-three catch of 6 pounds, 11 ounces and final-day catch of 6 pounds, 8 ounces were what ultimately cost him the title.

“It’s definitely hard to be leading three days in a row and now fall. But I just wasn’t able to get those big bites today,” said Minderman. “Since (day two), I’ve kind of been just hanging on. I really felt fortunate to have caught what I caught today. But (Hawk) is a great guy. My hat’s off to him. I’m happy for Roy.”

All in all, Minderman said he had no regrets.

“It’s been a great week and I had a great tournament.” said Minderman, who ended the tournament with a total catch of 38 pounds, 8 ounces. “I’m definitely not disappointed.”

For his efforts, Minderman walked away with over $24,000 in winnings.

Ehrler leapfrogs from 10th to fourth

Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif., finished the FLW Series Lake Mead event in fourth place.Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif., admitted that he was happy just to make the finals. After all, Ehrler finished the second day of competition in 24th place and then qualified for the last spot in the finals on day three by a mere 2 ounces. However, even though Ehrler was thankful to make the final cut, he definitely didn’t fish that way. Using a final-day catch of 9-pouinds, 4 ounces, Ehrler streaked up the leaderboard, eventually finishing in fourth place overall with a total catch of 37 pounds.

“It’s been about a year and a half since I’ve been here and at this point I’m just ecstatic,” said Ehrler, who netted over $18,000 in winnings.

Best of the rest

Rusty Salewske of Alpine, Calif., captured fifth place overall with a total catch of 36 pounds, 15 ounces.Rusty Salewske of Alpine, Calif., captured fifth place overall with a total catch of 36 pounds, 15 ounces.

“I was just covering a lot of water and trying to fish new stuff every day,” said Salewske. “I found a grass bed and my mistake was that I probably stayed there too long today.”

In the end, Salewske took home over $12,000 in winnings.

Rounding out the top-10 pro finalists at the Lake Mead event:

6th: David Gliebe of Stockton, Calif., 36-13

7th: Tim Klinger of Boulder City, Nev., 35-11

8th: Ken Wick of Star, Idaho, 34-8

9th: Jimmy Reese of Witter Springs, Calif., 31-0

10th: David Kromm of Kennewick, Wash., 29-4

Wal-Mart FLW Series Western Division action continues Sept. 17-20 on the Columbia River in Tri-Cities, Wash.