Bass Angler Magazine

Armel, Shura Pull Out a Close One on Lake Pleasant WWBT Surprise Ford Open

Lon Armel – Matt Shura

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Less than a half-pound made an $8,000 difference in the Surprise Ford Open of the Wild West Bass Trail, held April 13-14, 2019, on Lake Pleasant near Phoenix, Ariz.

Launching out of Pleasant Harbor Marina to fish the 10,000-acre lake, Lon Armel and Matt Shura discovered some good bass in the shallows during practice. They put in a solid team effort on the first day of the two-day event to bring 22.60 pounds to the weigh station. That catch included a 7.59-pound lunker that Shura caught to win the tournament big bass title.

“Our first fish in the tournament was the big one,” Shura recalled. “We followed that with a couple more nice fish. I was dragging a Texas-rigged watermelon-candy Zoom Brush Hog along the bottom. We caught our limit pretty early. Lon caught a six-pounder on the first day, so that helped.”

On the second day of the tournament, they added 6.35 pounds to seal the victory with a perfect 10-bass tournament limit weighing 28.95 pounds. For the win, they collected $10,000 with a $500 bonus for the big bass.

Tai Au – Vu Au

“On the first day, we were fishing flatter banks with hard bottoms and rock,” Shura elaborated. “The deepest we fished was about seven feet and casting into shallower water. Water visibility was poor, so I suspect we were catching bedding fish that we just couldn’t see. We were just randomly casting.”

Less than seven ounces out of the big money, Tai Au and Vu Au teamed up for second place. They finished with a 10-bass tournament limit weighing 28.55 pounds and took home $2,500 for the effort.

Taking third in the 131-boat event, Nathan Foreman and Mike Crothers landed a 10-bass two-day tournament limit going 26.48 pounds. They caught 15.40 pounds on the first day and 11.08 pounds on the second day. They anchored their bag with a 3.70-pound kicker. Foreman and Crothers won $1,300.

“We mostly threw white spinnerbaits with white blades or flipped watermelon Brush Hogs with 1/2- or 3/4-ounce weights because we had to get down through the brush,” Crothers revealed. “The fish were in the thick stuff. We also caught one fish on a frog. We stayed shallow, fishing one to three feet of water. The water was a little stained so we couldn’t see any bedding fish. On the first day, we caught a lot of fish. On the second day, we only culled three fish.”

Todd Graffa and Lyle Dalby finished fourth with 10 bass and 25.57 pounds to take home a check for $1,100. Rounding out the top five teams, Garrett Loudon and Jordan Creekmore placed fifth with a two-day catch of 10 bass going 23.20 pounds to collect $1,000.

Darren Schiller and Tracy Williams caught the second largest bass of the tournament, a 7.43-pounder. They earned $500 for the catch.

Complete Results

By John N. Felsher

The next open tournament, the WWBT Tri-Cities Pro Am, will be held June 21-23, 2019, on the Columbia River. The event will run out of Columbia Point Marina, located at 660 Columbia Point Drive, in Richland, Wash.

 2019 Wild West Bass Trail Events

 Columbia River Pro/Am June 21 – 23

Lake Havasu Anderson Toyota Open March 8 -10

Lake Pleasant Surprise Ford Open April 13-14


Lake Shasta, CA – January 25-27, 2019

New Melones, CA – March 29-31, 2019

California Delta – April 26-28, 2019


Clear Lake, CA – May 31- June 2, 2019


Lake Pleasant – January 19, 2019

Roosevelt Lake – February 23, 2019

Lake Havasu – March 16, 2019


Roosevelt Lake – May 9-11, 2019


Lake Shasta – January 12, 2019

Lake Don Pedro – February 23, 2019

Lake Berryessa – March 23, 2019

California Delta – April 13, 2019


Clear Lake – October 26-27, 2019


Lake Don Pedro – February 24, 2019

Lake Berryessa – March 24, 2019

California Delta – April 14, 2019

About Wild West

The Wild West Bass Trail holds multiple events in California, Arizona and other states. For more information on the Wild West Bass Trail see www.wildwestbasstrail.com or call 480-571-1919.

The Wild West Bass Trail (WWBT) is the first and only exclusive west coast Pro/Am tournament series to be televised in its entirety. WWBT delivers multiple opportunities to showcase the talents of western anglers on a professional platform, all while providing the highest payback in the industry.

As WWBT continues to provide and refine a platform of elite events for competitive anglers, it simultaneously creates a logical avenue for sponsors to have direct contact with customers. Wild West is dedicated to creating a complete package of advertising opportunities including on-site activation, internet/social media, and television series that reach a large number of viewers each day.

Tournament events include opens, college teams, pro teams, pro/ams, and the new Pro Cup format. Televised Pro/Ams can be viewed on the Pursuit Channel and YouTube.  Learn more about WWBT at Wild West Bass Trail.com Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Media / Advertising Contact Jeremy DeHart

Related posts

No LED lights for your bass boat


Fishing Museum Opens in Lew’s HQ


Kline Goes Electric