Team National Guard pro Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif., caught a five-bass limit weighing 14 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win $114,361…
LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. (March 28, 2009) Team National Guard pro Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif., caught a five-bass limit weighing 14 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win $114,361 in the Walmart FLW Series® National Guard Western Division tournament on Lake Havasu with a four-day catch of 20 bass weighing 57-11. With this win Ehrler reached over $1 million in career earnings with FLW Outdoors.
The catch gave him the win by a slim 2-ounce margin over Zack Thompson of Orinda, Calif., who caught a total of 20 bass weighing 57-9 and earned $44,680.
I cant believe this, Ehrler said. I want to dedicate this to my friends who passed away last week. It was a tough week.
During practice last Sunday Ehrler received a phone call from his father saying that several of his friends were killed in a plane crash. According to the Federal Aviation Administration a total of 14 people, including seven children, were killed early Sunday when a small plane crashed near an airport in Butte, Mont. The plane was attempting to land at the airport when it crashed.
It was hard to go out there and fish this week with so much on my mind, he said. I wanted to win this tournament in honor of my friends.
Ehrler opened the tournament in 10th place Wednesday with five bass weighing 15-10. On Thursday he added another five bass weighing 13-3. He then caught five bass weighing 14-1Friday to make the crucial top 10 cut in fourth place.
Coming into this tournament I knew the fish would be up on beds because the spawn started a few weeks ago, he said. I really concentrated on sight-fishing this week.
Everyday, I had to go out and look for new fish. I started on fish that I found in practice and after that every bass I weighed-in I found during the tournament.
The key for Ehrler this week was finding new water each day. As soon as I would get my limits each day I would go looking for new water that I could fish the next day, he said. Some of the fish I caught today, I found today. My last fish of the day took me 40 minutes to catch and after I caught that one I knew I had a chance at winning.
Ehrler caught most of his fish this week on a Berkley Chigger Craw and a Texas rig.
Rounding out the top five pros are Cody Meyer of Redding, Calif. (20 bass, 56-9, $35,744); Mike Folkestad of Orange, Calif. (20 bass, 56-7, $26,808) and Justin Kerr of Simi Valley, Calif. (20 bass, 55-14, $17,872).
Dewayne Bonham of Brentwood, Calif., caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Pro Division Friday an 6-pound, 4-ounce bass that earned him the days Big Bass award of $370.
Overall there were 49 bass weighing 130 pounds, 1 ounce caught by 10 pros Saturday. The catch included nine five-bass limits.
Hideki Maeda of Sakai-City, Osaka-Japan, won the Co-angler Division and $16,593 Friday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 36 pounds, 5 ounces followed by Lester Albury of San Marcos, Calif., in second place with 13 bass weighing 29-8 worth $8,297.
Maeda opened the tournament in fourth place Wednesday with five bass weighing 11-8 while fishing with pro Ricky Shabazz of Rialto, Calif. On Thursday he jumped to second place on the strength of a five-bass catch weighing 11-8 while fishing with pro Art Roland of Brentwood, Calif. He wrapped up the win Friday with a five-bass catch weighing 13-5 while fishing with pro Mike Goodwin of Lake Havasu City, Ariz.
Everything was perfect. I am very lucky, said Maeda, who won his first FLW Outdoors tournament. I had a good draw all three days.
Maeda caught most of his fish this week using a finesse style of fishing. He said that he caught a big fish this morning so that made him more relaxed the rest of the day.
When I was leading in a tournament before I was very nervous but going into today I was in second place so there wasnt much pressure, he said.
Maeda called home to Japan last night and told his wife that if he won he would give her all the money. My wife will be really happy that I won the tournament, he added. She will get a lot of money.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Taylor Parsons of Sutter Creek, Calif. (13 bass, 28-11, $6,223); Bruce McCune of Anderson, Calif. (12 bass, 27-6, $4,148) and Mike Iloski of Escondido, Calif. (13 bass, 25-14, $3,319).
Iloski earned $246 for the Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 3-pound, 15-ounce bass he caught while fishing with pro Jon Strelic of El Cajon, Calif.
Overall there were 186 bass weighing 398 pounds, 9 ounces caught by 90 co-anglers Friday. The catch included eight five-bass limits.
Coverage of the Lake Havasu FLW Series tournament will be broadcast as part of the FLW Outdoors television program. FLW Outdoors is also broadcast in Canada on WFN (World Fishing Network) and to more than 429 million households in the United Kingdom, Europe, Russia, Australia, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East through a distribution agreement with Matchroom Sport, making it the most widely distributed fishing program in the world. Check local listings for broadcast times in your area.
The next FLW Series National Guard Western Division tournament, hosted by City of Umatilla, will be held June 24-27 on the Columbia River in Umatilla, Ore. Boats will launch from Umatilla Marina and R.V. Park in Umatilla and the final weigh-in will be held at the Walmart located at 1350 N. First Street in Hermiston, Ore.
FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. FLW Outdoors also is taking fishing mainstream with FLW Fantasy Fishing, offering the largest awards possible in the history of fantasy sports, $10 million in cash and prizes. Sign up for Players Advantage for only $10 to get your edge and win.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Players Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com.