Ryan Friend of Oroville, Calif., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds even Saturday to win the EverStart Series Western Division event on Lake Oroville with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 37 pounds, 5 ounces. For his victory, Friend earned $32,841 and a Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard motor.

“I’m pretty stoked right now,” said Friend. “This is only the second tournament I’ve ever fished as a boater with FLW. I was telling my wife that reality hasn’t really set in yet.”

“Basically, I had a really good practice,” Friend continued. “I started getting on the fish pretty good the first part of January. Once I found those good areas, I left them alone and focused on finding more areas. I fished up the west branch, which required almost 50 minutes of idling if you wanted to fish up there. I knew that would lock a lot of guys out from fishing there.”

“Today I had a small limit by nine o’clock and just upgraded from there,” added Friend. “I think a lot of that pressure really got to those fish. There were fish shallow and fish deep. There wasn’t a lot in between. You had to choose one or the other. I opted to go shallow for the whole event.”

When Friend said shallow, he didn’t mean a few feet or less. Shallow for Lake Oroville and many of the other western reservoirs known for spotted bass often means around 15 feet or less. Friend claimed to have fished jigs almost exclusively during the event. A lot of the jigs were homemade and slung on finesse tackle, such as light-action spinning rods and 6-pound-test line.

“A lot of it is timing on Oroville, too,” Friend said. “The spot where I caught the big fish today, I had fished five times throughout the event. I just caught it at the right time today when the fish were moving up. The bigger bites were few and far between. I had to really fish slow throughout the day. The plan was to catch four keeper fish and then get a kicker in the boat, and somehow it worked today.”

The top 10 pros on Lake Oroville were:

1st:   Ryan Friend, Oroville, Calif., 15 bass, 37-5, $32,841 + Ranger Z518 w/200 hp outboard

2nd:   Jeff Michels, Lakehead, Calif., 15 bass, 33-6, $12,315

3rd:   Brett Leber, Dixon, Calif., 15 bass, 33-0, $8,210

4th:   Wayne Breazeale, Kelseyville, Calif., 15 bass, 32-5, $7,389

5th:   Richard Dobyns, Yuba City, Calif., 15 bass, 32-3, $6,568

6th:   John Maes, Roseville, Calif., 15 bass, 31-12, $5,747

7th:   Cody Meyer, Auburn, Calif., 15 bass, 30-3, $4,926

8th:   Alax Parker, Oroville, Calif., 15 bass, 30-3, $4,105

9th:   Jason Borofka, Salinas, Calif., 15 bass, 30-1, $3,284

10th: Glen Lockhart, Biggs, Calif., 15 bass, 28-5, $2,463

Complete results can be found at FLWOutdoors.com.

Glen McIntosh caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the pro division Friday – a 4-pound, 15-ounce bass – that earned him the day’s EverStart Series Big Bass award of $230.

Jack Farage of Discovery Bay, Calif., won the Co-angler Division and a Ranger Z117 with an Evinrude or Mercury outboard motor with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 30 pounds even.

The top 10 co-anglers on Lake Oroville were:

1st:   Jack Farage, Discovery Bay, Calif., 15 bass, 30-0, Ranger Z117 w/90 hp outboard

2nd:   Scott Bern, San Rafael, Calif., 15 bass, 28-2, $4,309

3rd:   Gary Haraguchi, Redding, Calif., 15 bass, 27-11, $3,447

4th:   David Avina, Sun City, Calif., 15 bass, 27-6, $3,016

5th:   Steven Latino, Hemet, Calif., 15 bass, 26-14, $2,585

6th:   Aaron Seay, El Cajon, Calif., 15 bass, 26-9, $2,154

7th:   Jeff Hardin, Chico, Calif., 15 bass, 25-9, $1,723

8th:   Jason Bubier, Oroville, Calif., 15 bass, 24-7, $1,293

9th:   Chris Trumbull, Oakley, Calif., 15 bass, 23-15, $862

10th: Todd Kline, San Clemente, Calif., 15 bass, 23-12, $689

Debbie Carnahan caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division Friday – a 3-pound, 6-ounce bass – that earned her the day’s EverStart Series Big Bass award of $153.

The EverStart Series consists of five divisions – Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of four tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division that could earn them the Strike King Angler of the Year title, which allows them to fish the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup.

The next EverStart Series Western Division tournament will be Feb. 21-23 at Lake Roosevelt in Roosevelt, Ariz., and is hosted by the Town of Payson.

Image courtesy FLW Outdoors

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