BY BEN HERVEY-MURRAY
BIG BEAR LAKE – As the saying goes, the cream rises to the top and Troutfest 2022 winner Scott Sawa proved just that by taking another major WON tournament trophy – this time for a 4.06-pound rainbow that took largest fish honors on Big Bear Lake. Sawa also scored in the summer’s WON Big Fish Challenge with a lingcod.
With the larger-grade fish mostly staying out of sight over the tournament weekend for the 390 competitors, the four total bag weight categories proved to be a highly competitive race with Sean Kinney taking the adult male category thanks to his ten-fish bag weighing in at 12.43 pounds.
The adult female contest saw Maria Henshall weigh in nine trout for 10.38 pounds to secure first place, whilst Joe Griffith scored top slot in the junior male bracket with eight fish for 7.47 pounds, and Cali Perreira registered ten trout for 7.87 pounds in the junior female contest.
With high daytime temperatures and a decent amount of wind to contend with, some competitors struggled to dial in the bite and the usual smattering of larger fish were conspicuous by their absence. But kayak anglers – such as Scott Sawa – targeting deeper water with trolled offerings consistently picked off the better specimens over the two-day contest.
In Sawa’s case, a Berkley Flicker Shad tempted his big one. PowerBait and nightcrawlers were also reliable performers for bank anglers with 5,000 pounds of recently-stocked Mt. Lassen fish keen to meet a stringer.
The afternoon of the final day of the weekend tournament saw competitors gather at Big Bear Marina for a prize-giving, blind bogey giveaway, raffle, Suzuki spin-the-wheel cash contest and hot dog BBQ.
Winners walked away with cash, trophies, tackle and accessories from Daiwa, Berkley, Costa, Fenwick, Frabil, Gamakatsu, Huk, Igloo, Panther Martin, Plueger, Plano, Techron and Thomas Fishing Lures.
Many thanks to all who entered and fished hard throughout the weekend – we really appreciate the enthusiasm and energy everyone bought to Big Bear, and a special thanks to our sponsors and supporters. See you all on the first weekend of October in 2023 for the 18th edition of Troutfest!