IONE Ca. – After two days of fantastic fishing on New Melones reservoir, only 15 teams out of an original 100 qualifying teams, moved on to take part in a dramatic third day of Classic championship competition on Lake Pardee - a lake that is considered by many to be one of the most prolific fisheries in the west for monster smallmouth bass.
And although those 15 Coors Light FPT Classic finalists came out swinging, Lake Pardee’s fabled smallmouth hardly gave any of these competitors much to swing at.
Small limits were the order of the day; with the biggest five-fish limit tipping the scales at just shy of 13 pounds, with very few “smallies” in the mix. “I believe the “blue-bird” skies following Friday and Saturday’s front, is what shut things down”, theorized Todd Ondracek, who with partner Frank Ono, fished extremely deep to bring in a small limit and placing 7th in the competition.
But northern region anglers, Matt Vella and Jacob Johnson, found a winning jig pattern, producing a solid 12 pound limit, to amass a 3-day total weight of 47.01 pounds, and capture their first-ever Coors Light Future Pro Tour Classic title.
“It was a very tough bite, so we made the decision to go back to the “basics, knowing that when conditions get tough, working jigs slowly will always produce a solid limit”. For their win they received the keys to a brand new Nitro Z18/Mercury package valued at $38,000 - expertly rigged by Gone Fishin’ Marine of Dixon, and two custom crafted crystal trophies to help commemorate the accomplishment of being the best amateur team in the west.
Mike Caddick and Tyson Rappleye, northern region anglers of the year, took second place honors, and $3,700 dollars in winnings, capping off what was truly a banner year for their team.
Central region’s highest finishers win boat package
Mel Biggs, and Josh Gomes, central region anglers who finished 6th overall, were the highest finishing team in their region, and for that accomplishment, they received a Bass Pro Shops 40th Anniversary Heritage Edition boat package, valued at $10,000. “We are grateful to receive this prize, as it awards and recognizes us for being the top team - amongst the same guys we fished against all year long”, they commented.
Zach Featherston wins Youth Angler League championship and boat package
During the 2017 season, nearly 50 youth under 18 years old competed in the newly created Youth Angler League presented by Gone Fishin’ Marine, and only 11 youth were invited to fish the final day of the FPT Classic to compete for cash, prizes, and a new Sea Eagle PF7 Deluxe boat package. And although fishing was a bit tough, Zach Featherston, came out on top to claim the division’s grand prize with a 4-fish sack that weighed 8.01 pounds.
Congratulations Zach on victory well-deserved and being our first Youth Angler League champion!
A new season for the FPT northern region begins March 31st a Lake Berryessa, and marks the beginning of an exciting journey for amateur-level anglers, looking for the opportunity to build their bass fishing skills in a fun – yet competitive environment.
Signups for this 15-year anniversary opening season event are being taken now, and in those 15 years, we have never had a field less than 100 teams strong, so go to the Future Pro Tour website today and help us make this the biggest season opener ever!
See you there!
FPT Classic - Final Results
|Place||Team||Big Fish||Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Total||Award|
|1||Vella/Johnson (Northern)||14.43||20.36||12.22||47.01||Boat/Motor/Trailer Package|
|6||Biggs/Gomes (Central)||14.35||15.86||12.92||43.13||Boat/Motor/Trailer Package|
|Place||Youth League Teams||Weight||Award|