Youngster on verge of history at Lake Havasu - Major League Fishing

Youngster on verge of history at Lake Havasu

Veteran pros have other plans
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Sixteen-year-old John Billheimer Jr. fishes near London Bridge on Lake Havasu Saturday morning. Photo by Jeff Schroeder. Angler: John Billheimer Jr.
February 4, 2006 • Jeff Schroeder • Archives

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. – He’s barely old enough to drive a car, but John Billheimer Jr. is poised to become the youngest winner in Stren Series history. At 16 years old, the California rookie is fishing for a top prize of roughly $65,000 in Saturday’s final round of the Western Division season opener at Lake Havasu.

However, several tournament veterans, particularly Jimmy Reese and Aaron Coleman, are determined not to let that happen.

Billheimer leads with a weight of 11 pounds, 7 ounces, and Reese and Coleman are just behind him with 9-13 and 9-7, respectively. Also in the hunt is Patrick Clement, who has a weight of 8-5 heading into today.

A birdIt appears that it’s going to be another tough fishing day at Havasu since the weather hasn’t changed at all. Conditions are still sunny and Arizona gorgeous, but the bass have yet to warm up to the idea of spring. Every fish caught counts today with all the money on the line.

Billheimer returned to his largemouth, crankbait pattern in the canal at Lake Havasu City Saturday morning. Presumably, Reese also went back to his main area, a sandbar up the river where that he’s been mining for smallies all week. Also, it’s a pretty good bet that Coleman will try to work his way back into the secluded backwater that has coughed up largemouth limits for him the first three days.

Both the pro and co-angler winners will be determined Saturday by two-day combined weight. On the line for the pros is a top prize approaching $64,500 and for the co-anglers $35,000 with contingencies.

Pro Randy McAbee and co-angler Jim Wickham motor out onto Lke Havasu for the final takeoff.Saturday’s final weigh-in will be held at Lake Havasu State Park located at 699 London Bridge Road in Lake Havasu City beginning at 3 p.m. Mountain time.

Saturday’s conditions:

Sunrise: 7:33 a.m.

Temperature at takeoff: 51 degrees

Expected high temperature: 81 degrees

Water temperature: 50-57 degrees

Wind: S at 9 mph

Maximum humidity: 18 percent

Day’s outlook: partly cloudy