(February 26, 2022 – LAKE HAVASU CITY, Arizona)
Frankie Mueller couldn’t have written a better script for his win at the 2022 TNT Fireworks BASS Nation Western Regional.
The 26-year-old resident of nearby Kingman, Arizona grew up fishing on this 19,200-acre Colorado River reservoir. After a strong start on Wednesday, he took the lead with the tournament’s heaviest sack on Day 2 and then held off fierce contenders on Friday.
Mueller finished with a total of 14 basses over three days weighing 47 pounds and 4 ounces. He collected a $5,000 cash prize with his first regional win in four tries, and he also earned a spot in the TNT BASS Nation Championship later that year.
ry In BASS Nation Western Regional On Lake Havasu
-To top it off, Mueller’s mom, girlfriend and a group of fishing buddies were in the crowd at Lake Havasu State Park to watch him collect the championship trophy.
Winning on house water often offers such rewards.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “It’s all my dreams coming true.”
It was that kind of week for Mueller, who works as a heavy equipment operator when he’s not fishing Lake Havasu, which he does two or three times a week.
“When I was at the Arizona Open a few weeks ago, before (the lake was) banned, I saw fish sailing shallow,” he said. “So on day 1 I ran to the places I’ve caught them before and ended up with 12 pounds. I went back to those places yesterday and the bass was big. It was just a special day .
Mueller’s 22-3 limit on Thursday was easily the most of the tournament, and it propelled him from 12th place to pole position. He hammered the spot again on Friday, catching four bass for 12-13, which was enough to win by over 2 pounds.
“I went back to the same areas, all within about a mile of Windsor Beach (at the state park),” he said. “I hit the same tules (cattails) with homemade swim jigs. It’s a Colorado River secret, basically a shad pattern with a 3/8 Keitech on it. You just throw it in and roll it up through the tules.When the sun came up and the wind arose, that biting ceased, and I was taking a green pumpkin bait and pulling them out of there.
“It was reaction bites pretty much all the time,” Mueller said. “It’s like that here at this time of year, but I’ve never seen anything like it (Day 2). It was just a magical day. Today was good enough to do it.
Idaho’s Keegan Graves and JJ Gibbs IV, who lives in Lake Havasu City but qualified as a member of Team Nevada, both weighed in at 44-15 during the three-day tournament, the breakout tie going to Graves. He won $3,000 for finishing second and Gibbs took home $2,000 for third place.
Grant Aumiller won the co-angler division with a three-day total of seven bass that weighed in at 22-6. The Montana-based angler won a $2,500 cash prize and a spot in the TNT Fireworks BASS Nation Championship. California’s Tim Meeks was just an ounce behind Aumiller with six bass weighing 22-5. Eric Hammer of Arizona was a distant third among co-anglers with seven bass for 16-6.
A total of 48 anglers made the cut through Friday and fished for prize money totaling $27,500. A total of 180 anglers (90 in the yachtsman and co-fisherman categories) participated in the regional.
The top boater and co-fisherman from each of the nine states represented this week has earned entry into the BASS Nation Championship. Boaters include Mueller, Graves, Gibbs, Kenneth Cleveland of California, Joel Leiser of Montana, Frank Scarla of Oregon, Ramsey Romanin of Utah, Justin Campbell of Washington and Brent Shores of Wyoming.
Fellow anglers advancing with Aumiller, Meeks and Hammer are David Bertsch of Idaho, Darren Wilson of Nevada, Dustin Sortor of Oregon, Terry Peterson of Utah, James Hollingshead of Washington and Nigel Dalton of Wyoming.
Mike Dominick of Montana won the Big Bass Award and $500 for the 8-13 bigmouth he caught on Day 2. Nigel Dalton of Team Wyoming won $250 for having the heaviest bass (5 -5) among co-fishermen.
In addition to his runner-up prize, Graves took home $500 for being the highest ranked angler using Garmin electronics.
The Arizona anglers won the tag team championship and $5,625 cash prize from Nitro/Mercury on Thursday after catching 76 bass in two days for 225-11. Utah finished second in the team standings (74 lows, 178-15, $3,375) and Nevada (57, 144-12, $2,250) placed third.
Rounding out the team standings were, fourth, California (51, 137-6); fifth, Oregon (57, 134-4); sixth, Montana (49, 122-15); seventh, Idaho (52, 122-11); eighth, Wyoming (40, 98-4); and ninth, Washington (40, 94-15).
Go Lake Havasu hosted the TNT Fireworks BASS Nation Western Regional.
2022 BASS Nation Title Sponsor: TNT Fireworks
2022 BASS Nation Platinum Sponsor: Toyota 2022 BASS Nation Presenting Sponsors: Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Ranger Boats, Rapala, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Nation Supporting Sponsors BASS 2022: AFTCO, Daiwa, Garmin, Huk Performance Fishing, Marathon, Strike King, Triton Boats, VMC
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