Stewart’s standout delivers EverStart lead on Roosevelt - Major League Fishing

Stewart’s standout delivers EverStart lead on Roosevelt

Coffey capitalizes on opportunity for co-angler top spot
Image for Stewart’s standout delivers EverStart lead on Roosevelt
Pro leader Kevin Stewart began his day with an 8-pound, 12-ounce fish that won the day's Big Bass award. Photo by David A. Brown. Angler: Kevin Stewart.
February 17, 2011 • David A. Brown • Toyota Series

PAYSON, Ariz. – One of his fish amassed more than half of his limit’s total weight, but Elk Grove, Calif., pro Kevin Stewart isn’t complaining – he’s leading the EverStart Series Western Division tournament on Lake Roosevelt with 15 pounds, 6 ounces.

Stewart said he has been fishing Roosevelt for the past eight days, and he has caught fish in depth range of 5 to 50 feet. Today, he started on a flat where he had located some good smallmouths, but that spot failed to produce. He then shifted gears and decided to fish points. On his first spot, his first fish of the day was an 8-pound, 12-ounce beauty that earned Stewart the Big Bass award.

“I caught that fish about 7:30,” Stewart said. “That was a good start.”

Oddly enough, a day that started with a bang ended rather anticlimactically. “I ran around, fishing similarKevin Stewart caught his biggest fish on a jig. spots, and I only managed to catch five fish today – but they were the right five. All of my fish came between 7:30 and noon. I never got a bite after 12 noon today.”

Stewart said he struggled with why he could not get bit after midday, especially with today’s favorable weather. A warm spell that started earlier in the week continued today with partly sunny and warm conditions. The forecasted 20-mph winds never arrived, and the lake was about as promising as one could expect for February.

“I’m scratching my head on that because the afternoons have been better,” Stewart said, acknowledging a possible tactical error. “I went back to the big-fish spot and camped on it for two hours, hoping for another big one, when I probably should have been elsewhere.

Stewart caught four of his fish on a ¾-ounce football-head jig and one on a wacky-rigged, green-pumpkin Senko. The key to his success is an atypical way of fishing points.

Flipping deep in the flooded brush was the key for second place pro Ken Howden.“I’m fishing across points – I’m not really casting toward the bank,” he said. “I know there are deep fish, and I know there are shallow fish. I don’t think they’re (fully) in prespawn mode. They’re just moving up and eating. They’re definitely easier to catch when they’re moving up.”

Howden tucks in tight for second

Mesa, Ariz., pro Ken Howden took the craft of flipping heavy cover to the extreme today and found himself as much in a wrestling match as a fishing tournament. Fishing superthick brush in one of the river arms, Howden flipped tubes and did his best to separate fish from fortress. Fortunately, he succeeded on five fish that weighed 14-4, including a 6-10.

“It was really thick cover,” he said. “It was (potential) heartbreak to get that (big) fish in because I had nowhere to go with the boat stuck (in the cover). The cover I fished, you’re pretty much push-poling your way in. You have no trolling motor, so when you’re flipping, you’re having to push-pole to the fish or surf it across the water.”

Howden said his action started late. “I didn’t reach my good spot until 12 o’clock. The stuff I had going on the main lake just wasn’t working, so I went to my stuff that I wanted to hit tomorrow and they were on it.”

Early bite surprises third-place Bertrand

Fishing the lake’s east end, third-place pro Josh Bertrand threw jigs and spinnerbaits in flooded timberThird place pro Josh Bertrand expected a slow morning, but ended up catching most of his weight before noon. and sacked up a limit weighing 13-15. Based on his practice results, the Mesa, Ariz., pro said he was prepared for a slow start, but that’s not what happened.

“I was expecting it to be really tough between 9 a.m. and noon, but I caught them early through the middle of the day, so that was a surprise,” he said.

Bertrand surmised that the day’s warm weather fired up the fish earlier than he had been catching them this week. Also, targeting thick cover was essential for him.

Kremer cranks up fourth place

Deep cranking was the key for fourth place pro Chris Kremer. Fourth-place pro Chris Kremer of Gilbert, Ariz., stuck with deep-diving crankbaits all day and caught a limit that went 13-13. He split his time between Strike King 5XD and 6XD crankbaits in “Chartreuse Shad” and “Sexy Ghost Minnow” colors.

“I just hit a little pocket that had some fish in it. I found the place in practice and stuck with it,” Kremer said. “I was able to get down 18 to 20 feet inside a pocket you could barely cast into. The only reason the fish are there is they have bigger shad there and they were feeding.”

Kremer said his bites started early, and he had a limit by 8:30 a.m. After that, his day was cut short by battery problems and livewell issues.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top 10 pro leaders at the EverStart Series Lake Roosevelt event:

5th: Keith Espe of New River, Ariz., 13-11

6th: Andy Manahl of Mesa, Ariz., 13-2

7th: John Wick of San Diego, 13-1

8th: Dean Kreuzer of Mesa, Ariz., 12-14

9th: Benjamin Byrd of Moab, Utah, 12-4

10th: John Murray of Phoenix, 12-3

Big smallmouth pushes Coffey to co-angler lead

Co-angler Richard Coffey of Pasco, Wash., fished with Kremer and also enjoyed a good crankbait bite along withA nice smallmouth anchored the first place stringer of co-angler Richard Coffey. some spinnerbait action. He sacked up a limit that weighed 12-14 for his divisional lead.

Anchoring Coffey’s catch was a plump smallmouth that made its presence known and succumbed to its own gluttony.

“We were both going in one direction and looked behind us to see this fish chasing a bunch of shad up into the shallows and busting the top,” Coffey said. “I grabbed a crankbait and threw it behind him and dragged it past him, and he hit it.”

Top co-anglers

Following in second place was Mike Powell of Heber City, Utah, with 11-5. Carl Limbrick Jr. of San Diego took third with 11-2; Pat Wilson of Petaluma, Calif., placed fourth with 10-12; and Gary Haraguchi of San Jose, Calif., was fifth with 10-5.

Best of the rest

Ninth place pro Benjamin Byrd caught a short, fat bass that looked like it had swallowed a football.Rounding out the top 10 co-angler leaders at the EverStart Series Lake Roosevelt event:

6th: Steve Latino of Hemet, Calif., 10-4

7th: Bryant Smith of Castro Valley, Calif., 10-1

8th: Michael “Chip” Gilbert of San Marcos, Calif., 10-0

9th: Justin Arellano of Isleton, Calif., 9-10

9th: Roy Desmangles Jr. of Lincoln, Calif., 9-10

9th: Keith Hunsinger of Payson, Ariz., 9-10

Day two of EverStart Series Western Division action on Lake Roosevelt continues at Friday’s takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7 a.m. Mountain at the Cholla Recreation Site, located five miles northwest of the Roosevelt Dam on Highway 188 in Roosevelt, Ariz.