The 2003 tournament season began with an event on Twin Lakes on April 26th. Many felt
that this would be the event where the six-pound pool would be broken, however ideas on
the winning weight varied among anglers who had pre-fished. Water temps in the mid 40's
forced anglers to slow down and the drizzly rain throughout the day worsened the
To not disappoint, Bill Vella anchored his winning catch of 12 pounds 2 ounces with a
behemoth 6 pound 14 ounce largemouth. The huge fish fell for a brown Senko and was caught
in West Twin around 9:30am. Bill's fish shattered not only the six pound lunker pool but
also the club record for heaviest bass. Bill concentrated on west Twin after seeing
numerous large bass cruising the shallow while pre-fishing. Being an excellent shallow
water fisherman, Bill utilized numerous baits to catch his four keepers. Along with the
Senko, he also landed bass on a camo power worm, smoke Gitzit, and a rainbow trout pattern
jerkbait. Bill claimed there really was no pattern, he just fished hard and worked for
all four of his fish. The victory was Bill's first club win and has him out to a quick
jump in the Angler of the Year race.
The runner up in the event was perennial top finisher, Scott Mitchell. Scott
successfully located a cluster of bass while pre-fishing on Friday. Starting in that
location, he quickly managed his limit of bass early in the event by targeting deeper
weedlines with a blue-back Lucky craft pointer jerkbait. The trick for Scott was to fish
very slow with long pauses in between ripping the bait. He also fished the lure on 6
pound test to allow the bait to get deeper. Scott's limit weighed in at 10 pounds 5
Placing third was Kirk Stober with four nice bass totaling 10 pounds 1 ounce. Often
one to go against the grain, Kirk passed on ripping jerkbaits in favor of his trusty Luhr
Jensen crankbait. Kirk also located his fish while pre-fishing Thursday and concentrated
on rocky drop-off areas. Kirk said the bass where slamming the bait just as it came over
the drop-off. He caught 3 fish very early and managed one more by late morning but the
bite died after that preventing him from getting his limit.
Finishing fourth was Eric Lehmann with four bass, including one smallmouth, that
totaled 9 pounds 10 ounces. Eric also fished very slowly, using a new Rapala counter
balanced jerkbait. He twitched the bait around rocks and weeded over areas focusing on
water three to eight feet deep.
Rounding out the top five was the top non-boater in the event, Bob Murphy. Bob
fished on West Twin Lake for the majority of the day and amassed a limit of bass weighing
in at 8 pounds two ounces. Bob's great start on Twin has him out to a slight lead in the
race for the top non-boater.
Despite the cold water, many bassmasters keyed in to the successful pattern of slowly
ripping jerkbaits over the weeds in 6-8 feet of water. In total, the 35 club members
weighed in 72 bass for 144 pounds 10 ounces.
The top observer in the event was Ray Zalenty with his 2 pound 1 ounce largemouth.