AP NEWS

Havasu’s Hawk, Rojas finish in top 11 at Bassmaster Classic

March 19, 2019

Lake Havasu is already a hot spot for fishing.

Two local pros showed Sunday that it may be the best place in the world for anglers, too.

Havasu’s Dean Rojas and Roy Hawk both finished in the top 11 at the 2019 Bassmaster Classic on the Tennessee River in Knoxville, Tennessee, topping some of the best anglers in the world at the ‘Super Bowl of Bass Fishing.’

Rojas caught a limit of five bass in the final round weighing 12 pounds, 1 ounce to vault nine spots and finish ninth overall with a weight of 35-6. Hawk, competing in his first Classic, caught three fish in the final round weighing 6-10, lifting his total weight to 34-4 for an 11th place finish.

“This is the biggest tournament in the United States. There are hundred of thousands of fishermen and you’ve got two guys from Lake Havasu that qualified for this and finished in the top 11,” Rojas said.

“That just shows you how Havasu is such a great training ground for fishing. You can learn so many things there that will help you move on in different bodies of water throughout the United States. It says a lot.”

Rojas said the fisheries on the Tennessee River reminded him a lot of his home base, which helped him as the tournament moved on.

“I figured it out, pretty much, on the first day of practice and kind of ran from there to find as many as I could. The bigger ones just didn’t bite the first day. Day 2 and Day 3 they did,” Rojas said.

“It fished a lot like Havasu. You have a main river and you have these oxbows that go off to the side just like Havasu does.”

For his first time at the spectacle of the Classic, Hawk said he enjoyed his time at the tournament.

“I’m stoked,” Hawk said. “I’m totally excited to get out of here with a good finish in your first Classic. It’s a crazy deal.

“You always want to do better unless you win. I’m happy with it.

“I had one good day and the other two days were pretty tough. I just didn’t adapt well enough to keep it rolling. Still, everything was good. I love fishing here. I look forward to coming back one day.

“(It was an) unbelievable fun time. They treat us like kings here. It’s crazy the amount of hoopla that goes on. It’s been a blast. My whole family has been here, they’ve been having a ball. At least I caught ’em really good one day to make it exciting for them. It’s cool.”

Hometown fisherman Ott DeFoe pulled away in the final round to win the world title, catching a limit at 18-14, the biggest round of the day, to increase his total weight to 49-3, nearly four pounds better than any other angler. Fellow Tennessee angler Jacob Wheeler finished second with a total of 45-5 and Alabama’s Jesse Wiggins was third.

Former Laughlin resident Chris Zaldain finished in 12th with a total of 34-0 and Payson’s Clifford Pirch finished 18th at 31-8.

Alabama angler Mark Daniels Jr., and Oklahoma’s Edwin Evers split the big bass prize, each catching a 6 pound, 3 ounce bass. The tournament paid a total of $1 million to the 52 professional anglers competing with DeFoe taking home more than $300,000 as champion.