OROVILLE, Calif. – After finishing in second place at an EverStart Series event on the California Delta last year, Jack Farage of Discovery Bay, Calif., never stopped thinking about what it would be like to experience his first FLW victory. Well, after today, he won’t have to speculate anymore.
Using a three-day catch of 30 pounds, Farage sliced through the co-angler field to notch the very first EverStart victory of his young career. In the process, Farage not only gained valuable experience and a thrill of a lifetime but he also walked away with the coveted trophy as well as a brand new, fully rigged Rangler Z117 boat with 90 HP outboard engine.
“I’m still shaking,” said Farage, shortly after victory had been secured. “It feels awesome. I’ve very happy. This is my first FLW win and the best win of my career. Now, I can finally relax.”
Farage, who targeted bass with a combination of Robo worms, jigs, green-pumpkin tubes and a Bottom Walker swimbait, said he fished from shallow to deep, keying on fish in 25 to 40 feet of water.
“I pretty much stayed behind the boat, casting towards the bank and slowly bringing the bait into deeper water,” he said. “I threw mainly tubes and worms but when I saw my pro start catching trout, I’d switch to that swimbait.”
The California native said that he was most proud of the adjustments he made all week while fishing with three different pros who each employed three different styles.
“It really solidified my confidence in my fishing skills because I was able to make enough changes on the fly,” he said. “My pros had all different styles and I constantly had to adjust. And I really gained a lot of confidence this week in my abilities as a fisherman. So I’m really happy about that.”
Overall, Farage said the week couldn’t have gone much better.
“I never lost a fish, I got all the right bites and I was able to adjust when I needed to,” he said. “I was hoping for a decent bag today but I did a lot better than that. It’s just unbelievable. I feel really blessed.”
Bern makes his move
Heading into the finals, Scott Bern of San Rafael, Calif., was in fifth place and in need of a big bag to make a run at the title on the final day. And that’s exactly what he got. In the end, Bern’s 10-pound, final-day stringer bettered six pro weights as well as the entire top-10 co-angler field.
While it wasn’t enough to grab the title, he did manage a more-than-respectable second-place finish.
“Coming into this tournament I just wanted to have fun and just see how it goes,” said Bern, who parlayed a total catch of 28 pounds, 2 ounces into more than $4,300 in winnings. “I wound up fishing with three solid pros all three days. So it was just awesome.”
Bern said that he targeted bass using a combination of soft plastics and jigs throughout much of the week, fishing in anywhere from 35 to 50 feet of water.
“I stuck with the same thing all week, tubes, jigs and Senkos,” he said. “I just dragged them on flats and worked them as slowly as I could. And it worked out pretty good today.”
Bern, perhaps the most carefree angler left in the tournament, said he was more than happy with the eventual outcome.
“I wanted to have a good time and I did that,” he said. “Overall, I had a great week.”
Haraguchi nets third
After day one, Gary Haraguchi of Redding, Calif., found himself in 17th place. But over the course of the tournament, he continued to gain ground. And today was no exception. When all was said and done, the man with the million-dollar smile managed to lay claim to a third-place finish with a total weight of 27 pounds, 11 ounces.
“It was a grind out there every day but the Lord blessed me with three great days of fishing,” he said. “I caught some good fish and had a great time out there. So I’m pretty happy.”
Haraguchi said that he used a combination of tubes, Senkos and a drop-shot to land the majority of his catch.
“I was fishing the bank in about 40 to 50 feet of water today,” he said. “But the key was keeping that bait on the bottom and keeping your line wet as much as you could.”
For his efforts, Haraguchi took home nearly $3,500 in winnings.
“Overall it was a great tournament,” he said. “I had a lot of fun.”
Avina grabs fourth place
“Today was just tough for me,” he said. “I only got five bites and I had to take what I could get. I went shallow to deep and then did that over and over again. At the end of the day, I only caught five fish. I had my limit by 1:30 p.m. but I didn’t catch a fish the rest of the day after that. But I fished hard and I’m happy with how I did in the tournament.”
Avina, who was competing in his very first tournament after taking a five-year hiatus from the sport, said he used his uncle’s hand-poured worms on a drop-shot and on a Texas rig to land the majority of his catch.
“I actually ran out of those worms with about an hour to go so I’m not sure if that made a difference or not,” he said. “But I had a great time, had some great pros and that’s really all you can ask for.”
Avina ultimately netted a little over $3,000 in winnings.
Latino grabs top-five spot
“Today was just a phenomenal day,” he said. “I caught some good limits each day but today I must have caught 30 fish. It was probably one of the most fun days of fishing I’ve had in 20 years.”
Latino said that he was taught the virtues of a nail-weighted Senko on the fly and he said that the new technique greatly impacted the results of his final-day outing.
“When I started using that nail-weighted Senko, I really had a lot of success,” he said. “We went through a little dry spell earlier in the day. But then we started fishing this bank and the bite really turned on. It was just incredible. We caught so many fish.”
“I definitely had a great week,” said Latino. “It was a blast.”
For his efforts, Latino took home nearly $2,600.
Best of the rest
Rounding out the top-10 co-angler finalists:
7th: Jeff Hardin of Chico, Calif., 25-9
8th: Jason Bubier of Oroville, Calif., 24-7
9th: Chris Trumbull of Oakley, Calif., 23-15
10th: Todd Kline of San Clemente, Calif., 23-12
EverStart Series action returns Jan. 24-26 with the Texas Division contest at Lake Amistad in Del Rio, Texas.