Joe Uribe Jr., of Surprise, Arizona, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the Rayovac FLW Series Western Division event on Clear Lake presented by Evinrude with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 66 pounds, 10 ounces. For his victory, Uribe earned $28,851 and a new Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard motor.
The win also clinched the FLW Series Western Division Strike King Angler of the Year (AOY) title for the Arizona pro, who led the closely-contested race coming in to this third and final event. After winning the first tournament of the year on Lake Havasu in February, Uribe backed it up with a sixth-place finish on the California Delta in May. With his win today, Uribe clinched the title and the $2,000 AOY prize package. In just three tournaments, the man known by many competitors as “Little Joe” racked up more than $160,000 in earnings, including two new boats.
“I am on cloud nine right now,” said Uribe. “Jody (Jordan) had a huge day today and I truly thought that he was going to win. To get the win by just one ounce, wow. I am absolutely blessed – God is good.”
Uribe said that all of his fish throughout the week came shallow – from 2- to 6-feet of water – and that he ran new water each day. He found a productive bank on the first day that produced more than 20 pounds, but only managed to catch one bass off of that spot on day two. Forced to scramble, Uribe said that he fished slower and much more methodically than he normally does.
“I usually like to fish shallow, burning the bank and covering a lot of water,” Uribe said. “This tournament I had to fish much slower, often making the exact same cast multiple times, very precisely.”
Uribe said that his primary baits throughout the week were Lucky Craft RC 1.5 crankbait and a Lucky Craft LV 500 lipless crankbait, but that he was forced to slow down today with a Texas-rigged Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver to upgrade a small limit and catch enough weight to earn the win.
“I had a small limit shallow cranking, but I really slowed down this afternoon and was able to upgrade my limit with the Sweet Beaver,” Uribe said. “The bass were really keying in on the color orange, so the Big Texan-colored beaver was very important. In the last 45 minutes of the tournament I caught a 7-pounder.”
Uribe will now begin preparations for the Rayovac FLW Series Championship, held in just two weeks on the Ohio River in Paducah, Kentucky. Although he has never fished there before, Uribe said he does have some experience fishing river systems and that he is looking forward to competing against some of the best anglers in the sport.
“I’ve got a lot of work to do to get ready for the championship,” Uribe went on to say. “I’ve got to get my boat cleaned and ready to go, and then a friend is going to drive it to Kentucky for me. I’ll fly out there next week and try to get some practice time in. I’m really excited for this tournament and you can bet I’ll be ready.”
The top 10 pros on Clear Lake were:
1st: Joe Uribe Jr., Surprise, Ariz., 15 bass, 66-10, $28,851 + Ranger Z518C with 200-horsepower outboard
2nd: Jody Jordan, Vacaville, Calif., 15 bass, 66-9, $11,180
3rd: Mark Crutcher, Lakeport, Calif., 15 bass, 62-9, $8,655
4th: Jim Hawkes, Apache Junction, Ariz., 15 bass, 59-15, $7,213
5th: Bryant Smith, Castro Valley, Calif., 15 bass, 58-15, $6,492
6th: Jimmy Reese, Witter Springs, Calif., 15 bass, 55-4, $5,770
7th: Kerry Harris, San Jose, Calif., 15 bass, 55-3, $5,049
8th: Marco Valdez, Gilbert, Ariz., 14 bass, 52-8, $4,328
9th: Chris Franks, Petaluma, Calif., 15 bass, 52-6, $3,606
10th: Carl Keller, Hidden Valley Lake, Calif., 13 bass, 49-8, $2,885
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Ricky Shabazz of Rialto, California, caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the pro division Thursday – a fish weighing 8 pounds, 14 ounces – that earned him the day’s Big Bass award of $174.
Rick Grover of Trabuco Canyon, California, won the co-angler division and a Ranger Z117C with an Evinrude or Mercury outboard motor, with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 55 pounds, 5 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers on Clear Lake were:
1st: Rick Grover, Trabuco Canyon, Calif., 15 bass, 55-5, Ranger Z117C with 90-horsepower outboard
2nd: Glenn Wolfgang, Solvang, Calif., 13 bass, 48-14, $3,666
3rd: Daniel Leue, Colusa, Calif., 15 bass, 47-15, $2,933
4th: Tim Nokes, Riverton, Utah, 15 bass, 43-15, $2,566
5th: Chris Rains, Soledad, Calif., 14 bass, 43-7, $2,199
6th: John Toscano, Lancaster, Calif., 14 bass, 40-9, $1,833
7th: Kevin Gross, Claremont, Calif., 14 bass, 39-11, $1,466
8th: Casey Dunn, North Highlands, Calif., 14 bass, 37-14, $1,283
9th: Paul Buccola, Elk Grove, Calif., 15 bass, 35-0, $1,100
10th: Gayle Janes, Bermuda Dunes, Calif., 14 bass, 34-10, $916