|Steve Christensen is a devoted bass fisherman.|
Steve Christensen has a passion for bass fishing. He recently headed to Pickwick Lake near Florence, Ala. to compete for over $70,000 in cash and prizes in the 2005 Everstart Championship. Christensen said, "I started fishing for bass in 1980. I bought my first bass boat in 1986 and began fishing club and various grass root tournaments at Lake Powell, Flaming Gorge and Western Colorado Lakes. I fish with the Western Colorado Bass Anglers out of Grand Junction, Colo."
Christensen has fished the Western Division of the Everstart Series for the last three years where he has qualified for the championship each year. The Western division fishes Lake Havasu, Lake Mead, Clearlake, Calif, and the California Delta (near San Francisco Bay). The top 40 pros and co-anglers from each of five divisions across the US are invited to fish the Championship.
Steve fishes the co-angler side of the circuit. The co-angler is paired with a different pro each day and fishes from the back of the pro's boats. The pros choose the fishing location for the day and the co-angler concentrates on catching fish behind them. They each fish for a five fish limit per day. The fish are kept alive and well taken care of in a live well on the boat and after they are weighed at the weigh-in they are released back into the lake. At Pickwick the fishermen were fishing for largemouth and smallmouth as well as Kentucky spotted bass. The largemouth and smallmouth had to be a minimum of 15 inches and the spots 12 inch minimum. The fishermen fish for two days and the top ten pros and co-anglers advance to the final round.
After a mediocre first day Christensen had a good second day moving from 59th place to fifth place in the top 10 cut.
Day three was the final day for the co-anglers and Christensen was paired with pro Sam Newby from Oklahoma who eventually won the pro side netting a check for $140,000. Steve slipped to sixth place on the co-angler side but took home a check for $5,000.
Christensen said, "The pro that won the tournament won by one ounce, so the competition is real fierce. I enjoy the competition and fishing with and learning from the top pros across the country."
Day one Christensen fished with Joe Hall from Minnesota, day two Randy Ramsey from Michigan, and day three with Sam Newby from Oklahoma.
Christensen said, "I use five weeks of vacation each year fishing bass tournaments throughout the west. Some tournaments are held on weekends so I don't have to miss work. My wife Michelle and I stay in motels or rent condos or houses by the week at most tournaments.
The boats hold up to 50 gallons of gas and we may run 90 miles at up to 75 mph at times. The high performance boats are half the fun of bass fishing.
Last year the 2004 Everstart Championship were held at Lake Cumberland in Kentucky where I finished 21st place and took home a check. In 2003, the Everstart Championships were at Old Hickory in Tennessee. The experience from those two tournaments helped me do well in this 2005 Championship."
Steve says, "Fishing out side of Utah can be very different, for instance there is little vegetation in desert lakes like Lake Powell and Mead while in California the lakes are full of vegetation.
'The places I have fished back east have been river channels with current and a lot of tree lined shores and submerged wood. Figuring out how to catch fish on new waters is the challenge. Bass eat a wide variety of forage. We try to use baits that imitate their natural foods mainly crawdads and minnows. We also use a lot of plastic worms, frogs, buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, and jigs.
"The 2006 season will begin at the end of January at Lake Havasu, Ariz. Steve says, "I'll be down there fishing in short pants and T-shirts while it's cold up here. There will be four major tournaments with up to 200 boats in each and a fisherman will have to fish them all to get enough points to qualify for the Championship at the end of the year.
'The winning pro and the winning co-angler can win a Ranger bass boat at each of these tournaments. I'd like to win a new boat some day, that's one of my goals. I plan on fishing the pro side someday, but it's expensive. A lot of the pros out there have sponsors to help with expenses," said Christensen.
When Christensen isn't out fishing he works as a maintenance mechanic at the Hunter Plant. The highlights of Everstart Championships were televised Nov. 27 and Dec. 4 on Fox Sports Net. Steve was seen in the program fishing with Sam Newby. FSN cameramen followed them in an Outdoor life sponsored boat on day three sometimes getting in the way of fishing to get shots for the TV program.
Christensen said, "You have to practice etiquette fishing. Most of the pros are great guys and willing to give pointers to the co-anglers and vice versa. But as the co-anglers fish with the pros they are expected to remain hush about fishing techniques and strategies of the pros. They aren't to disclose any private information and being discreet is part of the bass fishing world."
Christensen said he is constantly learning new techniques that add to a successful fishing adventure, "You just have to use the best bait to catch the best fish, that's the bottom line.
"There is a group of fishermen from Utah that go to the tournaments, sometimes we travel together and help each other. You're not really fishing against each other, but it's youagainst the fish, you and your abilities, time and experience.
"If anyone is interested in getting involved with bass fishing and fishing tournaments they can contact me and I'll help them get started." said Christensen.
More info is available on www.FLWOutdoors.com click on Stren Series.