(Jan 31, 2017 - LAKE HAVASU CITY, Az.)
As many as 300 pros and co-anglers are set to compete in the Costa FLW Series Western Division opener on Lake Havasu, Feb. 9-11. The tournament, which is presented by Ranger Boats, is the first of three regular-season events scheduled in the Western Division. Pros will be competing for a top award of up to $40,000 in cash and a new Ranger Z518C boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard.
“Competitors in this event are going to be relying on the prespawn bite,” said reigning Western Division Angler of the Year Roy Hawk of Lake Havasu City. “We’ve had air temperatures in the 70s, which should push main-lake temperatures into the upper 50s, and maybe even the 60s in certain backwaters. With that kind of warming trend, bass will definitely be on the move.
“Fish are going to be caught in anywhere from 5 to 25 feet of water, which means anglers will have a lot of options,” continued Hawk. “The river system flowing into the lake has a lot of shallow backwaters lined with reeds and brush to work with. Out deep on the lake, the river has created a lot of good structure. I think main-lake and secondary points will be a strong choice as well.”
Hawk said lure selection will depend on how deep anglers choose to fish. For those out on the main lake, deep-diving crankbaits, Carolina rigs, a drop-shot rigged with soft-plastics, and football-head jigs will be the deal. For the shallow bite on the river, Hawk said spinnerbaits, vibrating jigs and creature baits for flipping are ideal choices.
“On the lake, targeting smallmouth with a jerkbait could also be productive,” said Hawk. “I think the winner could catch a 20-pound limit of either largemouth or smallmouth bass. This lake has a ton of each species in the 3- to 4-pound range.”
Hawk said he expects the winner to need a three-day cumulative weight of 55 pounds.
“We’ll see a lot of 20-pound limits come in, but the winner will likely need two of them plus a 15-pound limit on the final day to wrap it up,” said Hawk.
Anglers will take off from Windsor Beach at Lake Havasu State Park, located at 699 London Bridge Road in Lake Havasu City at 7:30 a.m. MST each day. Weigh-ins will be held at the park beginning at 3 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public. The event is hosted by Lake Havasu City Convention & Visitors Bureau.
In Costa FLW Series regular-season competition, payouts are based on the number of participants competing in the event. At Lake Havasu, pros will fish for as much as $40,000 and a Ranger Z518C boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard if Ranger Cup qualified. Co-anglers will cast for a Ranger Z175 boat with a 90-horsepower Evinrude outboard, and an additional $5,000 if Ranger Cup qualified.
The Costa FLW Series consists of five U.S. divisions – Central, Northern, Southeastern, Southwestern and Western. Each division consists of three tournaments with competitors vying for valuable points that could earn them the opportunity to fish in the Costa FLW Series Championship. The 2017 Costa FLW Series Championship is being held Nov. 2-4 on Kentucky Lake in Paris, Tennessee.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2017 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 274 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros.