The angling team of Ken Howden and Gary Understiller, both of Mesa, continue to cling to first place in the Western Outdoor News Arizona Circuit tournament standings.
The pair’s huge point lead of 583 to 465 for the runner-up team of Keith Hunsinger and Robert O’Donnell of Payson is mainly because the leaders are the only team who has entered all five WON tournament since they began Oct. 22, 2011 at Roosevelt Lake.
Hunsinger and O’Donnell have fished four tournaments, as has the third-place team of John Sneed and Jerry Kirkpatrick.
In WON’s most recent tournament, March 17 at Roosevelt (not Bartlett as planned as it was too low), the team of Will Sasek of Vail and Kenny Davis of Sahuarita were fishing their first Arizona circuit event but managed to finish first, weighing in a five-fish limit of 13.63 pounds.
For their win, the two pocketed $801 in prize money and moved up to a tie for ninth place in the yearlong standings.
The duo also hooked the tournament’s big bass — a 3.85-pound largemouth.
The winning pair fished Alabama Rigs in 15 feet of water.
Howden and Understiller were ninth at the March Roosevelt tournament with four fish that tipped the scales at 7.21 pounds.
Hunsinger and O’Donnell were not among the top 10.
Also at Roosevelt on March 17, Brandon Hartman of Scottsdale fished alone, but managed to weigh in a limit of 12.54 pounds that earned him second-place laurels and $510.
His biggest bass, which weighed 12.54 pounds, was the second largest caught in the tournament.
“What a job,” exclaimed WON Arizona circuit Region Director Tracy Purtee.
WON anglers will have the opportunity to move up in the season standings and pocket even more prize money at two remaining 2011-12 tournaments — April 14 at Roosevelt Lake (as with Bartlett, Lake Pleasant, where the event was originally scheduled, is too low) and May 19 at Apache Lake.
Arizona circuit first-place finishers will earn the right to participate in the Tournament of Champions when it is held Sept. 22 and 23 at Lake Mead.
Although the Arizona circuit is in its first year of existence, Purtee says the inaugural season is going well and attracting more interest with each successive tournament.
The circuit is also growing in popularity around the Rim Country with several local angling teams competing.
For more information on the Arizona circuit, call Purtee at (928) 978-3659.