December 5, 2009 was the first event of the new Berkley ACWRL Motherlode trail. Berkley is a major sponsor for Anglers Choice Western Rookie League and this will be the biggest circuit for the amateur angler.
It was cold but with light wind there was no problem for the 81 teams to get checked in for this event. After having free hot coffee, tea, and hot chocolate with doughnuts and some fishing talk all teams prepare to launch their boats. Blast-off from the marina dock at 7 a.m. went very well, the cold but windless weather held for 3 or 4 hours allowing everyone to get to their favorite spot. The bite had toughened up over the last several weeks and the teams were going to need all the techniques and baits they had to catch a five fish limit. There was over $12,000 cash and prizes up for grabs this event and everyone knew the five fish limit was the key to being in the race. A balance beam would be needed for this event as the weights were going to be separated by hundredths.
Total fish caught in this event was 362 with 61 five fish limits. Best method for catching fish was spinner bait, jigs, spoons, shaky heads, and drop shot. Best area was Cotton Wood and river channel. Most popular baits mentioned were Berserk jigs, spoons, worms, and Berserk spinner baits.
Number one team for this event was Dan Perkins Jr. (Altaville) and John Liechty (Arnold) fishing the narrows and river channel with brown jigs and brown pork 15 to 30 feet deep. Their fish looked like clones with a 1.74 big fish and total weight of 8.32 pounds. Their big effort rewarded them with $3,065 and two very nice plaques. This was Dan and John’s first number one finish and we are proud it happened in our trail. Good Job.
With a total of 8.28 pounds good for second place was Garret and Doug Voigt (both Modesto). They caught most of their fish on worms in Cotton Wood. Their strong finish netted them $1,730 and two nice plaques.
Two of the seven Gomez brothers put together a winning team for 3rd. Mark and Ruben (both Turlock) caught a 1.84 spotted bass to anchor their 7.81 pound 5 fish limit. All their fish came on Berserk jigs, spinner baits, and shaky heads. These two brothers have the bragging rights in the Gomez family with $885 and two nice 3rd place plaques to prove it.
Team Nascar Kenny Shepherd and partner James Burkhart (both Atwater) also had 7.81 pounds and took 4th place good for $885. Kenny said they caught 20 keepers on a spoon he designed and will be on the market soon. I would assume those spoons will be available at the Waterford Bait Barn & Valley Rod & Gun.
Last season WRL AOY team Jordan Harris (Kerman) and Jon Ramos (Fresno) caught 7.72 pounds anchored with second big fish of 2.18 pounds. For their effort they scooped up $865 and a good start in the points race for this season AOY.
The bay area team of Tim Chapman (San Jose) and Robert Nathan (Morgan Hill) caught 7.64 pounds and netted $350 for 6th place. Tim lost a good one on a swimbait, maybe next time.
The Delta team Ron Lee and Jody Rice (both Tracy) had 3rd big fish, 2.16 pounds, to bump up their weight to 7.63 pounds landing them a $485 payday for 7th place.
Eighth place is Rob Kocher and Mike Beever (both Newman) with 7.60 pounds netting them $190.
Ninth place is Gregory Paminto (Fresno) and Rudy Aceves (Kerman) had 4th big fish to anchor their 7.57 pound limit and hooking them $320 cash.
Rounding out the top ten is Shane and Michael Soriano from Merced. This team had big fish of the tournament a 2.82 Largemouth Bass bumping the five fish limit to 7.54 pounds. Shane said he caught the fish on a zarra spook at the end of the day. That big fish landed them a beautiful plaque and an extra $685 giving this team a total pay check of $840.
For the rest of the winning field; 11th Mike Jackson and Cody Jackson (both Hughson) $140; 12th John Gallardo (Clovis) and Adam Moore (Fresno) $135; 13th Danny and Dennis Wainwright both Merced) $340; 14th Kyle Gentry (Oakdale) & Zachary Azevedo (Atwater) $115; 15th Lonnie Owen (Galt) & Phil Bowers (Visalia) $110; 16th Steve Dickson (Turlock) and James Ford (Modesto) $95; 17th Brent Zieska and Sean Graf (both Tracy) $85.
Steve Zerr and Ben Zerr took first place in the Small Boat division and received 2 nice first place plaques.
Our next two events are January 16, 2010 at Millerton and January 24, 2010 at McClure.End of season Tournament of Champions first place is a fully rigged legend Bass Boat. Contact Danny Peluso 209-874-9525 firstname.lastname@example.org or Kevin Cheek 559-977-8420 email@example.com