Sixteen-year-old leads Stren Series event on Lake Havasu - Major League Fishing

Sixteen-year-old leads Stren Series event on Lake Havasu

February 3, 2006 • MLF • Archives

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. – John Billheimer Jr. of Discovery Bay, Calif., a 16-year-old pro fishing his first Stren Series event, caught four bass Friday weighing 11 pounds, 7 ounces to take the lead going into the final day of the Western Division event on Lake Havasu presented by Evinrude. Only the top 10 pros and top 10 co-anglers advance to fish Saturday where the winning pro will earn as much as $64,500 in cash and prizes.

“This is the first time I’ve ever fished Havasu, and the fishing is getting tougher every day,” Billheimer said. “I’m getting fewer bites each day, but the bites have been better quality fish. I’m throwing a crankbait in 10 feet of water on the main-lake channel. I’m targeting prespawn largemouth,s and I’m getting three or four bites in 5 minutes, then the bite shuts off for a while.

“I’ve fished the same area all three days. I’m getting most of my bites in the afternoon when the wind kicks up. The wind helps a lot because the fish aren’t as finicky with the chop on the water.”

Rounding out the top five pros are Jimmy Reese of Witter Springs, Calif. (four bass, 9 pounds, 13 ounces); Aaron Coleman of Oakland, Calif. (five bass, 9 pounds, 7 ounces); Patrick Clement of Anderson, Calif. (five bass, 8 pounds, 5 ounces); and Randy McAbee of Bakersfield, Calif. (three bass, 7 pounds, 2 ounces).

Terrence Rath of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., leads the Co-angler Division with two bass weighing 5 pounds, 13 ounces.

“It’s brutally tough out there,” said Rath, who fished with Billheimer Friday and is paired with him again Saturday. “I really thought one fish would be enough to make the top 10, and I was lucky enough to get one more keeper. These fish want to start moving up, but they just won’t turn. Something isn’t right.

“I also threw a crankbait today. I used a lavender-shad color and John threw a perch color, but I don’t think color was that important. John is on a good pattern.”

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are John Rickicke of Phoenix, Ariz. (two bass, 4 pounds, 3 ounces); Jody Rice of Bethel Island, Calif. (two bass, 4 pounds, 1 ounce); Lewis Southard of Chandler, Ariz. (two bass, 4 pounds, 2 ounces); and Jim Wickham of Morristown, Ariz. (one bass, 3 pounds, 14 ounces).

Anglers caught a total of 57 bass Friday weighing 123 pounds, 12 ounces. All bass were weighed alive.

Saturday’s weigh-in will be held at 3 p.m. Mountain time at Lake Havasu State Park and is free to the public.

Stren Series tournaments are four-day events consisting of three rounds. The entire field competes Wednesday and Thursday, and the top 20 pros and co-anglers – based on two-day accumulated weights – advance to day three. Anglers start at zero Thursday and compete for 10 spots in each division in the final round. Winners are determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from days three and four.

Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series, Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series and Stratos Owners Tournament Trail. These circuits offer combined purses of $36.9 million through 241 events in 2006.

For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournament programs, visit or call (270) 252-1000.

Wal-Mart and many of America’s largest and most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as an FLW Outdoors sponsor in 1997 and today is the world’s leading supporter of tournament fishing. For more information about Wal-Mart, visit