LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. – California pro Todd Kline’s weights are trending in the right direction on Lake Havasu, and so, apparently, are his instincts.
Adding to a 21-pound first day at the Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats Western Division opener (in which he led by just shy of 2 pounds), Kline brought 23 pounds of bass to the scales Friday to increase his lead to nearly 7 pounds heading into Saturday’s final. Kline, whose bag was anchored by a 7-2 largemouth, heads into the final day with a 6-12 cushion over Mike Williams (38-5) in second place.
Nearly half of Kline’s five-fish limit came on two casts during a quick “transition” stopover between his primary spots, where the former Florida native put down his casting gear, picked up a spinning rod spooled with 5-pound test and connected with a pair of largemouth that totaled over 11 pounds.
“We all know this doesn’t happen all the time, but you get an idea to make a complete change and try something totally different and it works out – it’s pretty darn awesome,” Kline said. “I’m on a main pattern where I’m throwing heavy line and a casting setup, but as I was moving from one spot to another, I knew of a little place in between that’s more set up for smallmouth, but does have some largemouth there this time of year.
“I picked up the spinning rod, lined up (on ActiveTarget) and fired it out there. The first fish I caught off that spot was a 4-pounder and some change. I took the time to retie after that fish, and my next cast with that 5-pound test was the 7.”
The 7-2 (the biggest fish of the day and one of Kline’s biggest ever on Havasu) gave him a limit and encouraged him to continue to similar spots where he knows both smallies and largemouth lurk – it paid off with a couple of stout upgrades that pushed him to the 23-pound mark.
“My main pattern and the nucleus of what I’m trying to make happen at this tournament was what I spent a good half of my day on,” said Kline, who is coy about the details of the pattern, which he cracked the code on just two days before the tournament. “This is the first time I’ve really tried it [at Havasu], but I’ve had success at other lakes. And that pattern might be transitioning. Hopefully tomorrow I can get a few on the big rod, but the good news is that I was using spinning gear all the days prior to this pattern. If I have to fall back on that, I won’t freak out.”
Kline will head out Saturday morning with an opportunity to repeat his win on Havasu as a Toyota Series co-angler in 2014, shortly after he moved west from Florida.
“When I first came out West in 2012, I didn’t even think you could fish for bass out here,” Kline jokes. “Clear Lake and Havasu are my favorite lakes hands down, but Havasu is just one of the most beautiful places to fish and I love that you can catch real nice smallmouth here. It’s just unreal, man. The polar opposite of Florida, where ‘deep’ is 8 feet.”
1. Todd Kline – 45-1 (10)
2. Mike Williams – 38-5 (10)
3. Kyle Grover – 36-13 (10)
4. Chris Kinley – 36-9 (10)
5. Dean Rojas – 35-0 (10)
6. Kurt Dove – 34-3 (10)
7. David Valdivia – 32-7 (10)
8. Mark Williams – 32-4 (9)
9. Jason Marquez – 31-15 (9)
10. Ricky Shabazz – 29-8 (10)
This event is hosted by Go Lake Havasu and presented by Psycho Tuna.
It seems like Todd Woods is perfectly comfortable fishing from the back of the boat.
Woods, who has fished nearly 90 MLF events as a pro but who agreed to fish as a Strike King co-angler to help fill out the Havasu field, overcame a two-fish day on Friday to hold on to the lead on Day 2 at Lake Havasu with 4-10. His two-day total of 18-8 sends him into the final day with a 4-pound lead over Blaine Christiansen (14-8) and Tom Nokes (14-6).
“I always consider myself an excellent back-seater,” said Woods, who competes in occasional team tournaments and is happy to fish from either end of the boat. “I say that because I really, really try hard to focus on my own deal and not really worry about what the pro is doing.”
According to Woods, his Day 2 drop-off came after some tough luck finding productive spots that weren’t already occupied by boats. He plans to stick with the same primary bait on the final day – a Basstrix swimbait – but will likely add a spinning rod and light line to accommodate fishing with the leader Kline.
“Todd can catch them on 5-pound test as well as 20-pound test, I figure I might as well be prepared,” Woods said.
1. Todd Woods – 18-8 (7)
2. Blaine Christiansen – 14-8 (4)
3. Tom Nokes – 14-6 (4)
4. Kirk Marshall – 13-12 (5)
5. Brett Robbins – 13-8 (4)
6. Bruce Harris – 12-11 (6)
7. Michael Peterson – 12-10 (4)
8. Mike Walsh – 12-8 (4)
9. Daniel Lutz – 12-6 (5)
10. Tyson Christman – 10-11 (5)