Bailey Finally Wins on Havasu - Major League Fishing

Bailey Finally Wins on Havasu

Local pro rides brush and largemouths to his first win
Image for Bailey Finally Wins on Havasu
Shaun Bailey
February 10, 2018 • Jody White • Archives

Shaun Bailey has been due to win an FLW event on his home lake for a while and he finally got it done in the 2018 Costa FLW Series presented by Ranger on Lake Havasu. Weighing 16 pounds, 14 ounces on day one and 17-1 on day two, Bailey put himself in position for a win on the final day. Adding another 15-6 for a 49-5 total, Bailey had just enough weight to outlast Chris Kinley and enough cushion to withstand charges by David Valdivia and Justin Kerr.

Complete results

Top 10 patterns 

Top 10 baits

Bailey guides on Havasu and came into the tournament with a killer game plan – brush piles and largemouths. Though he lost a bunch of weight on days one and two, Bailey ended up executing to perfection and weighed 15 largemouths he plucked out of deep brush.

Since 1992, the Lake Havasu Fisheries Improvement Program has been dropping stuff in the lake to hold bass. Early on, it was primarily “habitats,” which are essentially big snaggy cages that sit on the bottom. More recently, it’s been brush piles.

“The last five years it’s been strictly brush piles,” says Bailey. “They’re a lot easier to get baits through than those big cages, and the fish seem to key on them a lot here. That’s 95 percent of what I fish here.”

Typically, Bailey targets brush that’s about 15-feet deep, but he tapped into some up to 22 feet this week, and a handful of deep piles he scouted in practice produced 17 pounds for him and co-angler Jason Akins in the afternoon of day two.

For baits, the Lake Havasu City resident relied on a finesse Carolina rig and a handful of crankbaits.

“That’s been my bread and butter here for years,” says Bailey of his c-rig (or split-shot rig). “Everyone likes to drop-shot here, and I never drop-shot. I throw a little mini-Carolina rig with a Roboworm on it and fish the same stuff as everybody else. I think I get a few more bites.”

Fishing between a 1/8- and ¼-ounce weight on his c-rig, Bailey varied between either an oxblood light red flake-colored 4.5-inch Roboworm Curly Tail Worm or a matching Roboworm Straight Tail Worm. For his crankbaits, Bailey says he used an Evergreen CR in the 8 and 16 sizes in fire craw and olive craw as well as and a shallower running Evergreen Spin Craft crankbait.

Fishing very thoroughly, Bailey burned just a few gallons of gas all week, and says he’d sit on a spot for over an hour if he thought it had a big one. In fact, he says he only fished about five places each day of the event.

“It feels amazing,” says Bailey of the win. “I’ve been close a few times in some big tournaments, I’ve got second twice in the U.S. Open, I got fourth here back-to-back years – it feels good to win a big one.”



Top 10 pros 

1. Shaun Bailey – Lake Havasu City, Ariz. – 49-5 (15) – $40,200

2. David Valdivia – Norwalk, Calif. – 48-4 (15) – $15,600

3. Justin Kerr – Simi Valley, Calf. – 48-0 (15) – $12,000

4. Chris Kinley – Lake Havasu City, Ariz. – 46-0 (15) – $10,000

5. Michael Caruso – Peoria, Ariz. – 45-1 (15) – $9,000

6. Tom Leedom – Escondido, Calif. – 44-2 (15) – $8,000

7. Sean Minderman – Greenacres, Wash. – 43-13 (15) – $7,300

8. Joe Uribe Jr. – Surprise, Ariz. – 42-4 (14) – $6,000

9. Jason Milligan – Cottonwood, Calif. – 40-15 (14) – $5,000

10. Jay Wright – Seal Beach, Calif. – 34-7 (11) – $4,000

Complete results