BETHEL ISLAND, Calif. – Pro Jimmy Reese of Witter Springs, Calif., caught a five-bass limit weighing 22 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the $275,225 Stren Series Western Division tournament presented by Yamaha on the California Delta with a four-day total of 20 bass weighing 92-15. For his victory, Reese earned $25,000 cash and a $40,000 519VX Ranger boat. He also earned $3,500 in Ranger Cup and Powered by Yamaha bonuses for a total of $68,500 in winnings.
“It was a fun day,” said Reese, who also clinched the 2007 Stren Series Western Division points champion title at the conclusion of Saturday’s weigh-in. “The fishing seemed to be a little tougher today. I just happened to get a few good bites. Today, I just bounced around fishing a number of areas looking for that big bite. We actually went to a spot that my co-angler had found during practice and I stuck two good 5-pounders in there.
“I think one thing that helped me in this event was my ability to stay versatile. I fished new water everyday and made adjustments depending on that days conditions. I never had a really big bite all week. I just caught solid fish and stayed consistent.”
Reese opened the tournament in eighth place Wednesday with five bass weighing 25-8 that he caught on a combination of lipless crankbaits, jigs and Senkos while fishing weed lines in the Franks Tract area. On Thursday he added another five bass weighing 22-00 using the same pattern to finish in second place. He then caught five more bass weighing 23-2 on Friday to make the crucial top 10 cut in first place.
Rounding out the top five pros are Justin Kerr of Simi Valley, Calif. (20 bass, 83-3, $8,917); Zack Thompson of Orinda, Calif. (20 bass, 81-5, $8,026); Rob Riehl of Tracy, Calif. (20 bass, 81-2, $7,134); and Ken Mah of Elk Grove, Calif. (20 bass, 80-13, $6,242).
Dr. Jeffery Archer of Reno, Nev., caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Pro Division Wednesday – a 12-pound, 3-ounce giant – that earned him the day’s Snickers Big Bass award of $268.
Mike Iloski of Escondido, Calif., won the Co-angler Division and $35,000, including a 519VX Ranger boat, with a four-day total of 20 bass weighing 64-14.
“This is unbelievable,” said Iloski, who claimed his very first Stren Series victory. “I was very fortunate this week. I have had some of the best partners a co-angler could ask for. They put me around good fish everyday. I just had to do my part and catch them. Fishing behind Jimmy Reese was great. He definitely knows what he is doing.
“This win is very redeeming. I have been close so many times. At the FLW Series stop here, I led the first two days and after that, the wheels just fell off. This feels great to kind of get back on my feet. Everything just worked.”
Iloski caught five bass weighing 15-12 Wednesday using a combination of jigs and a topwater rat while fishing with pro Tony Pratt of Paso Robles, Calif., to open the tournament in 19th place. He then caught five bass weighing 17-14 Thursday using the same lures and pattern while fishing with pro Ron Colby of Page, Ariz., to jump into second place. On Friday he added five more bass weighing 15-8 to make the top 10 cut in first place while fishing with pro David Erwin of San Jose, Calif. Finally, on Saturday, he sealed the win with a five-bass catch weighing 15-12 while fishing with pro Jimmy Reese.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are J.R. Wright of Truckee, Calif. (20 bass, 60-12, $3,659); Adrian Pagan of Gilroy, Calif. (20 bass, 57-7, $2,973); Gary Haraguchi of Brentwood, Calif. (20 bass, 56-4, $2,287); and Young Yang of Los Angeles, Calif. (20 bass, 53-7, $1,830).
Curt Dowhower of Ripon, Calif., caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Co-angler Division Wednesday – an 8-pound, 13-ounce largemouth – that earned him the day’s Snickers Big Bass award of $138.
After four qualifying events are complete in each of the Stren Series’ five divisions, the top 40 pros from each division will advance to the $1 million Stren Series Championship in Mobile, Ala., Nov. 8-11 for a shot at $140,000. The highest-finishing pro from each division at the championship will also earn a spot in the $2 million 2008 Forrest Wood Cup, where they will compete against top pros from the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series and TBF (The Bass Federation) for bass fishing’s biggest prize – $1 million.
The top 40 co-anglers from each Stren Series division will also advance to the championship, where they will fish for as much as $70,000. The highest-finishing co-angler from each division at the championship will then advance to the 2008 Forrest Wood Cup.
FLW Outdoors historically maintains a 98 percent live release rate in all of its bass tournaments.
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 presented by Abu Garcia, Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series, 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 Wal-Mart FLW Striper Series. These circuits offer combined purses of nearly $43 million through 241 events in 2007.
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 Walmart.com.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.