Scholz storms to co-angler title on Clear Lake - Major League Fishing

Scholz storms to co-angler title on Clear Lake

Reno, Nev., co-angler nets $5,000 first-place prize
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Co-angler Andy Scholz of Reno, Nev., proudly displays part of his winning catch during the finals at Clear Lake. Photo by Gary Mortenson. Angler: Andy Scholz.
March 4, 2006 • Gary Mortenson • Archives

LAKEPORT, Calif. – Not only did Andy Scholz of Reno, Nev., get to enjoy the biggest bass-fishing tournament win of his career, but he got to do so with his entire family cheering him on. To be sure, Saturday’s victory will go down as one very special moment in young Scholz’s career.

Andy Scholz of Reno, Nev., embraces his wife, Jeannette, upon winning the co-angler title on Clear Lake.“This is the biggest win of my life,” said Scholz, who turned in an impressive two-day catch of 37 pounds, 11 ounces to blow away the rest of the competition by nearly 6 full pounds. “We had a great time out there, and I owe it all to my wife. My whole family drove down here from Reno through the snow just to be here. Today was my dream, and it finally came true.”

Scholz also credited his pro partner, Jimmy Reese – who won the tournament title in the Pro Division – with helping to make his dream come true.

“Jim deserves a lot of the credit,” Scholz said. “He put me on fish and really helped me out today.”

Scholz, who fished a green-pumpkin Wacky worm on 6-pound-test line to land the majority of his catch, admitted that he didn’t think he had a big enough stringer to win the event as he headed back to weigh-in.

“I was really nervous coming in,” he said. “I really thought I needed one more decent fish. But I executed well and just let it happen. Honestly, this is the best thing that’s ever happened to me since my marriage.”

Billmaier snares second place

Co-angler Jason Billmaier of Las Vegas used a 19-pound, 3-ounce stringer in the finals to finish in the runner-up position at Clear Lake.Jason Billmaier of Las Vegas used a healthy 19-pound, 3-ounce stringer to vault from eighth place to the runner-up position during final weigh-in. And although he didn’t win the title, he said he was more than happy with his performance.

“It was a great day,” said Billmaier, who walked away with $4,000 in winnings after netting a two-day total of 31 pounds, 14 ounces. “I only broke off one fish today, and you can’t really ask for anything more.”

Billmaier, who came within a few pounds of being the first co-angler in the Western Division to win two Stren Series titles, said he landed most of his catch fishing a 7-inch worm on an 8-ounce Spot Remover.

Crawford’s consistency the key

Co-angler Charlie Crawford of Peoria, Ariz., netted third place in the finals on Clear Lake.Charlie Crawford of Peoria, Ariz., was one of the most consistent co-anglers in the entire tournament – netting four limits weighing between 12 and 15 pounds each of the four days – and it definitely paid off in the end. When all was said and done, Crawford’s two-day final weight of 30 pounds was good enough for a third-place finish and $3,500 in prize money.

“Making the top 10 is a tough thing to do, so I’m happy” he said. “I was consistent all week, and I really had a good time. You can’t ask for anything more than that.”

Grant laments lack of big bites

Jeff Grant of La Mirada, Calif., used a total catch of 26 pounds, 15 ounces to finish the tournament in fourth place.

“It was kind of tough today,” he said. “I really was never able to get the big bites. But this lake is great. I still can’t believe the quality of the fish here.”

For his efforts, Grant walked away with a check for $2,500.

Morris goes from cellar dweller to contender

Co-angler Gary Morris of Tracy, Calif., finished the finals at Clear Lake in fifth place.On the strength of a 14-pound catch in the finals, Gary Morris of Tracy, Calif., managed to climb from 10th place in the semifinals to fifth place when it counted most. Morris, who ultimately turned in a two-day catch of 26 pounds, netted $2,000 in winnings.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top 10 co-angler finalists at the Stren Series Clear Lake event:

6th: Douglas Davis of New Castle, Colo., 25-13

7th: Philip Garcia of Yuba City, Calif., 24-9

8th: Christopher Ricci of Bend, Ore., 24-4

9th: Mike Nichelini of Napa, Calif., 20-8

10th: Brandon Craner of Buhl, Idaho, 19-10

Coming up

The next Stren Series event is a Southeast Division contest at Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Ala., March 15-18.

The next Western Division tournament, the third event of the 2006 season, will be held at Lake Shasta near Redding, Calif., March 29-April 1.