Dobbins – CA. A small field of exclusive qualifiers “embraced the grind” and three days of the coldest and wettest conditions imaginable, to compete in what was for sure the most challenging FPT Classic Championship event to date, giving each angler in the field, a small peek into just what those pros who fish the Bassmaster and FLW tours go through on a regular basis.
And even though the wind never stopped blowing, and the rain never subsided during this 3-day invitational event held on Lake Oroville and Bullard’s Bar reservoir, Coors Light FPT Classic qualifiers never faltered or retreated, bringing surprising good limits of bass to the scales on days one and two of the qualifying rounds held at Lake Oroville.
Days one and two saw good limits of spotted bass
Even heavier rains followed the final 15 qualifiers that moved onto Bullard’s Bar reservoir for the final day of competition, producing a very tough bite and no 5-fish limits for any one of the 15 final teams.
However, some of the fish that did come to the scales, came close to the double-digit mark, creating nail biting drama, but pushing Shane Peirson and Austin Wilson over the top to secure for them their first Coors Light Future Pro Tour Classic title, and the keys to a new Ranger/Evinrude boat package worth over $40,000.
A Ranger/Evinrude package worth $40,000 was the first place prize in this event
“We never spent a day pre-fishing Bullard’s Bar but concentrated all of our practice days on Oroville, as we knew we had to first get to the final day in order to have a chance at winning the title”, noted Shane, clearly excited about their hard fought victory.
Austin and I went way up to the running water pockets, far past where everyone else was stopping, and had to keep our Minn Kota trolling motor on high – all day, just to stay on point. We then used River2Sea, Lucky Craft and Persuader spinnerbaits to catch all of our fish”, he added.
On days one and two, running water pockets like this – using spinnerbaits, were the keys to catching good limits
On the final day at Bullard’s Bar, Shane and Austin ran to the first sloping point, and within the first 30 minutes caught an 8.56-pound spotted bass along with another 8.78-pound giant spotted bass, using a 7” Oxblood colored Robo Worm – on 5lb test Maxima mono line, and with only those two fish, captured the most coveted title in amateur bass fishing.
Austin Wilson with the two Mammoth spotted bass that helped them win – 8.56 and 8.78 respectively!
$25,000 world record bounty – close..but no cigar
Everyone at the weigh-in held their breath as the team of Alcantar and Castro rocked the scales with a fish that looked like it might give them claim to the $25,000 bounty that was placed on the world record spotted bass – if caught during the final day of competition.
Prior to the event, the scales were certified by the California Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures division, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife was invited to be on site, to verify the species, as well as the length/weight, in an effort to comply with the parameters required by IFGA for world records, and expedite the process of collecting the bounty cash for the winners.
Alcantar and Castro’s fish just missed the mark – and a HUGE payday by only 1.25 pounds, but they were very excited about catching their biggest fish ever.
Alcantar and Castro came 1.25 pound short of collecting the $25,000 dollar bounty as this spotted bass weighed 9.35 pounds
It is without question that the 2015/16 Coors Light Future Pro Tour Classic Championship – presented by John L. Sullivan Yuba City Dodge/Ram, was the most challenging to date and one that won’t soon be forgotten.
We would like to congratulate every qualifier that participated in this event – whether they made it to the final day or not, as the axiom that states: “steel sharpens steel” was represented in the way that many fought past – and beyond, their known limitations, and did much to strengthen their development as competitive anglers.
We would also like to thank one of the event’s special “presenting” sponsors, John L Sullivan – Yuba City Dodge/RAM, for helping to make this Classic special for all of the qualifying anglers.