Uribe Again on Havasu - Major League Fishing

Uribe Again on Havasu

"Little Joe" takes home his third Costa FLW Series win
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February 11, 2017 • David A. Brown • Archives

Some say lightning never strikes the same place twice, but any such notion about Joe Uribe Jr. just vaporized, as the Arizona pro weighed the biggest bag of the tournament to the win in the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Ranger on Lake Havasu. The win was the second in as many trips to Havasu and his third FLW Series win in the last three years.

Earning $36,038 plus a Ranger Z518 with a 200-hp Evinrude outboard, Uribe marched his way to the winner’s circle with a path of steady progression. He began his campaign on day one by placing seventh with a limit that weighed 15-1 and then improved to fourth on day two with 14-11. In the final round, Uribe surged across the finish line by sacking up the event’s heaviest catch — 22-1.

Complete results 

Practice on Havasu with Uribe

Winning co-angler pattern

Joe Uribe Jr.

Notably, Uribe’s upward course paralleled the movement of bass this week. Smallmouth spawn first on Havasu and Uribe said it was his attention to the seasonal prespawn movement that put him in position to capitalize.

Weather prompted the change, as the early part of the week saw the onset of a warming trend that pushed water temperatures into the mid to upper 50’s. Day one was sunny and calm, day two brought moderate winds and partly cloudy skies, while day three saw cloudy skies, light rain and mostly flat conditions. Despite the daily fluctuations, the warmth and the advance of calendar kept the big fishing moving shallow.

Joe Uribe Jr.

“It just set up right for me today; the conditions, the water temperature,” he says. “The fish were moving up and I was watching them. That was the key — staying on top of them. I only caught seven fish, I caught eight the second day and today I probably caught 10, so a lot better day today.

“It set up for me the same way in 2015. The fish had posted up earlier that year, but today was the day they made the move up.”

Uribe says his own observations on the water combined with the second day’s overall weigh-in results help crystalize his mental picture. Day two not only saw more fish caught, but also more quality fish.

“Yesterday is what really gave me the confidence to go out there and work today,” Uribe says. “Yesterday, I didn't’ catch any big fish; but after watching the co-anglers and some of the pros — the size of fish they were catching, I knew what I had to do today.

“I fished up here a couple of times in pre-practice, but I knew this tournament was going to change, I knew the fish were going to move up. I started fishing out deep like most anglers were and I followed those fish up.”

Joe Uribe Jr.

Uribe says caught most of his fish by working tule edges with a 7-inch soft body swimbait with a 1/2-ounce head and a skirt. On day two, he also caught some key fish on a rock shoal rising out of 15-20 feet of water. There, he used a Ned rig with a 3/16-ounce mushroom head jig and a 4-inch Yamamoto Senko cut down to 3 inches.

Notably, that swimbait was the same setup Uribe used during his 2015 victory. Returning two years later, he had a good read on how to approach Havasu, but he took nothing for granted.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Uribe says. “Coming into this tournament, I felt confident, but very humbled. I just went out there and executed and that was the key to winning these events.

“I didn’t have any hiccups at all. I fished very clean and I didn’t miss any fish.”


Top 10 pros

1. Joe Uribe Jr. – Surprise, Ariz. – 51-13 (15) – $80,838

2. Mike Nichelini – Napa, Calif. – 46-0 (13) – $13,810

3. Jason Hickey – Weiser, Idaho – 45-14 (15) – $10,692

4. Roy Hawk – Lake Havasu City, Ariz. – 45-9 (14) – $9,010

5. Marty Lawrence – Mesa, Ariz. – 45-2 (14) – $8,019

6. Gary Collins – Upper Lake, Calif. – 42-7 (14) – $7,128

7. Justin Kerr – Simi Valley, Calif. – 42-5 (15) – $6,237

8. Robert Lee – Angels Camp, Calif. – 42-3 (15) – $5,346

9. Mark Williams – Blythe, Calif. – 41-5 (12) – $4,455

10. Johnny Johnson – Lakeside, Ariz. – 37-13 (13) – $3,564

Complete results