Day one of the first stop in the 2011 WON Bass Pro/AAA circuit closed with a notable fact; last year’s contenders in the Angler of the Year race that met for their final battle on the California Delta have begun the first day of the first tournament setting the stage for a rematch.
Legendary fisherman Mike Folkestad and Big Bait Posse star Paul Bailey came to the scales in the premiere tournament of the Northern Division of the WON circuit at Shasta both in the top-10.
Half-way through the two day tournament, a little more than a pound separates the two anglers with Bailey in 2nd holding 11.87 and Folkestad in 10th with 10.35.
The proximity of the young gun, FLW pro Bailey and his 2010 competition for AOY, Folkestad a 3-time US Open champ, 32-time Western Classic Qualifier, Bassmaster Classic and Forrest Wood cup Qualifier is reminiscent of their chase up and down the west’s waters in last year’s competition.
When asking the two competitors if they foresee the 2010 rivalry about to launch again for this year they both laughed and welcomed the challenge.
Forty years, Folkestad’s junior, Bailey gave respect to his opponents experience, stating, “I assumed he would catch ‘em fairly well, he always does, but he is too close for anyone’s comfort.” Remarking he was excited to continue their clash for the title and how fun it was going to be he continued to say, “Mike’s the one you don’t want right behind you, to the end.”
Chuckling at the prospect of the repeat of last year’s race to the final stop, Folkestad said he wasn’t really thinking about it but if God’s willing, he is in. When told what Bailey had to say about him, he replied, “Bailey isn’t the guy I want in right ahead of me, either.”
Bailey plans to continue on day two of the Shasta tournament with his strategy of a jig in really deep water. He claims he is targeting areas with a 60-foot ledge. While it wasn’t producing a lot of bites, he said they were definitely the right bites.
Folkestad humbly stated, “I just got lucky and made some good choices today.” His success on day one started with three” better than average” fish he picked up in less than 15 minutes of the tournament start. He boated four in that first quarter of an hour and moved on to his second spot where his first cast landed him his limit. He hopes to duplicate the day but remarked, “If I can’t get good fish right away in the morning, I will just come in with a 7 lb. limit like most of the others”.
The 2011 Folkestad Bailey battle will certainly be interesting and without a doubt one to watch.
The 2010 AOY race between the two resulted in the title and new bass boat going to Bailey. A video of the final day of the 2010 chase is to the left.
Click here to follow the Bailey Folkestad race through Shasta.
More details on day one at Shasta are available here.
For more information on the WON Pro/AAA Circuit, visit their website.
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