When you hear about the biggest one-day tournament catch in Lake Havasu history (certainly modern history) at 26.62 pounds, there’s going to be a buzz.  When that turns into a thundering 43.28-pound, WON Bass winning weight, by none other than Mike Folkestad, a BASS national champion as well as 3-time U.S. Open winner, you knew this was not some flukey catch.

But when I caught up with Mike, he had a whole different take on the matter. After 35 years of competing on Havasu, this particular win was especially significant.

“I’m pleased, of course,” he said. “But, It’s been about five years since I’ve won. (In that time) I’ve had about five chances to to seal the deal but it didn’t happen. You start doubting yourself (wondering) if you can still do it.”

Even with a funky phone connection out in the desert, there was relief in his voice as he headed for Clear Lake. “You know how it is,” he told me (though I really don’t), “The best part is when I’m going home, I don’t have to think about all the mistakes I made. When you make the right choices, things just go smooth.”

That pretty much summed up his tournament. When I asked him how he got on the bigger fish, he explained, “Everyone’s going up and down the shore and the looking for the smallmouth beds. They’re like moon craters. You’d go around and you might find a 4-pound fish, but mainly they were 2 1/2- and 3-pounders. I had plenty of bed fish located, but the wind came in and it was kind of hard to see them. I started to fish secondary breaks and little things next to the spawning areas.”

Then, trying to soak in what he had just accomplished, he laid it out there:  ” I could do no wrong yesterday! Even without the 8-pounder (officially 8.64 pounds on a 6-inch Roboworm) I had four that weighed 18 pounds. I was getting rid of 3 ½-pounders!”

Of course, much of the credit goes to Lake Havasu, itself. Said Folkestad, “That’s an amazing lake. I can remember placing 4th or 5th by weighing just four fish for the tournament (in the 1970’s).”

Looking at his strategy after loading up on day one, Mike decided to play it conservatively. “I didn’t fish for the bigger fish today; I fished for 3-pound fish. I never even tried the little ledges today. It was too slick (windless) for those shallow ledges, I don’t think the fish would bite.” Instead, he explained, “I fished a little deeper–right below the light break around cages (artificial habs). ”

So, not having won in some time, how smooth did it go today? Said Mike, “I had a limit in the first hour and half.”

(BTW: You can follow Mike on his website: www.mikefolkestad.net.)


2 Responses to “Mike Folkestad: No second-guessing this time”

by Robert Schneider


The locals guys were saying that Mike broke a lake record for the biggest 5 fish limit…and by 3 pounds! Holy Cow! Good job Mike!