Wickham wins Co-angler Division at Clear Lake - Major League Fishing

Wickham wins Co-angler Division at Clear Lake

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Co-angler Jim Wickham of Morristown, Ariz., cruised to his first EverStart Series win with a margin of more than 3 pounds, earning $3,500 cash and a new Ranger 519VS Comanche because he is the original owner of a Ranger Boat. Photo by Jeff Schroeder. Angler: Jim Wickham.
April 26, 2003 • Jeff Schroeder • Archives

CLEARLAKE, Calif. – When you catch a 4-pound bass on your first cast of the day, you know you’re destined for greatness – at least for that day. Thirty-three-year-old Jim Wickham of Morristown, Ariz., did just that Saturday and won the Co-angler Division of the EverStart Series Western Division tournament at California’s Clear Lake.

“I’m jacked. Completely jacked,” the winner said. “I had no intentions to come here and win; I was just hoping to place well.”

In addition to his lucky first 4-pounder, Wickham, who fished from the back of pro Thanh Le’s boat Saturday, eventually filled out his five-bass stringer with other bass in that weight range and a kicker fish that weighed around 6 or 7 pounds. His winning sack weighed 19 pounds, 10 ounces and earned him a $3,900 check.

“We basically jumped from spot to spot all day,” he said. “But I caught a 3- to 5-pounder at every stop we made. This lake is unbelievable.”

Wickham, who also caught the biggest bass of the entire tournament Wednesday when he landed a monster 10-pound, 5-ounce largemouth, caught his fish by drop-shotting a 4-inch Margarita Mutilator Roboworm throughout the week.

“Actually, the 10-5 I caught on that worm, too,” he said. “I didn’t change anything all four days.”

One change, however, literally played right into his hands Saturday: the temperature warmed up slightly.

“The weather played a huge part,” he said. “Friday, it was hard to feel the bite when your hands were numb.”

Cold hands or no, Wickham was understandably elated with his win, especially considering that he initially wasn’t even going to fish the EverStart Western Division this season. A friend talked him into going to the first tournament at Lake Pleasant, and Wickham ended up finished third there.

“Since I did so well there, I figured I would fish them all,” he said, grinning. “I’m glad I did.”

Indeed, the Clear Lake winner is also now tied for the Western Division co-angler standings lead with 575 points.

Following Wickham in second place for the co-anglers was Jed Christensen of Ogden, Utah, who collected $2,600 for five bass weighing 16 pounds, 6 ounces.

The leader on Wednesday and Friday, Bernie Gaunt of West Sacramento, Calif., finished in third place and collected $2,050 for four bass weighing 13 pounds, 14 ounces.

Rounding out the top 10 co-angler finishers were John Alimpic of Angwin, Calif., (fourth, $1,740) with five bass weighing 11 pounds, 12 ounces; Ron Chambers of Phoenix (fifth, $1,580) with four bass weighing 10-0; Dennis Miller of Las Vegas (sixth, $1,360) with four bass weighing 9-1; Gary Collins of Moorpark, Calif., (seventh, $1,260) with three bass weighing 7-10; Dale Merry of Phoenix (eighth, $1,160) with one bass weighing 3-6; Ted Nguyen of Irvine, Calif., (ninth, $1,060) with two bass weighing 2-14; and opening-round leader Reese Randall of Payson, Ariz., (10th, $960) with one bass weighing 1-10.

Coming up

The next EverStart Series tournament is an Central Division contest at Kentucky Lake in Gilbertsville, Ky., April 30-May 3. The fourth and final Western Division tournament of 2003 will be held at the California Delta in Oakley, Calif., May 28-31.

Day-four links:

Final results
Press release
Clausen clobbers ’em at Clear Lake