Ultimate Bass

Russell Wins Columbia River

FLW Outdoor NewsNeil Russell of Nampa, Idaho, caught a five-bass limit weighing 10 pounds, 9 ounces Saturday to win the Walmart FLW Series® National Guard Western Division tournament on the Columbia River with a four-day catch of 20 bass weighing 47-10.

FLW Outdoor NewsNeil Russell of Nampa, Idaho, caught a five-bass limit weighing 10 pounds, 9 ounces Saturday to win the Walmart FLW Series® National Guard Western Division tournament on the Columbia River with a four-day catch of 20 bass weighing 47-10.

The catch gave him the win by a slim 5-ounce margin over Cody King of Island City, Ore., who caught a total of 20 bass weighing 47-5.

“I was over here about four or five years ago one time in the spring,” said Russell, who has notched two third-place finishes in previous National Guard Western Division tournaments on the Columbia River. “I don’t like to run big water, so I figured I’d stay close and figure out what’s going on.

“I found an old road bed down here that has a big flat going into it, and it’s not on the map,” Russell added. “So guys are going by and thinking there’s just 400 yards of shore and it’s two feet deep and it’s mud. They don’t know it’s there. So I got left alone. I caught every bass I caught today out there. And it seemed like there were new bass showing up every day. I executed really well.”

Russell said he caught his fish throughout the week on a combination of baits. In the early morning hours, Russell said he threw a 2 1/2-inch hollow-belly swimbait to imitate salmon smolt in attempt to “match the hatch.” Later in the day, Russell said he switched to a Dry Creek Custom Baits tube in a color called Old Ugly.

“I was listening to the guys weigh in and I knew it was going to be close,” Russell said. “I hoped I had enough … I just didn’t know. This is fantastic.

“Financially this win is huge,” Russell added. “It lifts a big burden. I don’t have any paying sponsors. So this is tremendous. It keeps me fishing.”

Russell opened the tournament in 10th place Wednesday with five bass weighing 12-4. On Thursday he added another five bass weighing 10-0 and advanced to seventh place. He then caught five bass weighing 14-13 Friday to make the crucial top-10 cut in first place.

Russell won $105,576 for his efforts, and King took home $40,288. Rounding out the top five pros are Ron Mace of Kennewick, Wash. (20 bass, 46-7, $32,230); Marc Lippincott of Spokane, Wash. (20 bass, 45-7, $24,173) and Joseph Caporuscio of Coto De Caza, Calif. (20 bass, 45-6, $16,115).

King caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Pro Division Friday – a 5-pound, 9-ounce bass – that earned him the day’s Big Bass award of $283.

Overall there were 48 bass weighing 93 pounds, 6 ounces caught by 10 pros Saturday. The catch included eight five-bass limits.

Gary Haraguchi of Brentwood, Calif., won the Co-angler Division and $14,025 Friday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 29 pounds even followed by Patrick Touey of Nipomo, Calif., in second place with 15 bass weighing 25-7 worth $7,013.

“It was pretty darn tough out there today,” said Haraguchi, who finished fourth in the 2008 FLW Series National Guard Western Division Columbia River event in Richland, Wash. “I had been catching a lot on reaction baits and mixing it up with a little finesse. I couldn’t catch them on a reaction bait at the end, so I switched it over to a finesse bait. Three casts before we came in I caught a 3-pounder on a tube.”

Haraguchi said he caught seven keepers Friday and that he didn’t get as many bites as he had on previous days. He estimated he caught 70 percent of his bass on reaction baits and 30 percent on finesse baits. He also said his fish came from different structure types throughout the tournament.

“We were fishing a lot of rocks and stuff like that,” Haraguchi said. “Each day was different. One day it was weeds, one day it was (something else). Today was primarily targeting rocks.”

Haraguchi opened the tournament in 1st place Wednesday with five bass weighing 11-15 while fishing with pro Cody Meyer. On Thursday retained his lead on the strength of a five-bass catch weighing 8-6 while fishing with pro Ken Wick. He wrapped up the win Friday with a five-bass catch weighing 8-11 while fishing with pro Ishama Monroe.

“I’ve got to thank God,” Haraguchi said. “I’ve had three blessed days of fishing.”

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Toby Farkas of Woodland, Calif. (15 bass, 24-13, $5,259); Sunny Hawk of Salt Lake City, Utah (13 bass, 24-0, $3,506) and Chad Leblanc of Sutter, Calif. (14 bass, 23-13, $2,805).

Coverage of the Columbia River tournament, hosted by the City of Umatilla, will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS, the network which brings anglers the best fishing programming on television featuring the most-trusted authorities on the water. The Emmy-nominated “FLW Outdoors,” will air Sept. 13 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET. “FLW Outdoors,” hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to approximately 500 million households worldwide, including internationally through agreements with WFN (World Fishing Network) and Matchroom Sport to such countries as Canada, Germany, China, South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Russia, Hungary and the United Kingdom, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoor-sports television show in the world.

The next FLW Series National Guard Western Division tournament, hosted by the City of Oakley, will be held Sept. 23-26 on the California Delta in Oakley, Calif. Boats will launch from Russo’s Marina in Bethel Island, Calif., and the final weigh-in will be held at the Walmart located at 4893 Lone Tree Way in Antioch, Calif.

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 Player’s 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 Player’s Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com.

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