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Johnson Wins 2016 US Open on Lake Mead

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Johnny Johnson, of Lakeside, Ariz. proved to be the angler who most effectively navigated the rough seas and difficult fishing conditions to earn the title of 2016 WON Bass U.S. Open Champion and claim the top prizes.

As tough as the high winds on first two days of competition at the 2016 WON Bass Nitro Boats / Mercury U.S. Open were on the angler’s and their equipment, the final day may have been the toughest on their spirits.

While the first two days featured big winds and even bigger waves, the bluebird skies, slick calm water and mild conditions may very well have been the toughest fishing conditions of the week. While navigating big seas creates an issue for boaters, wind is your friend when it comes to catching.

Those bluebird days after a front offer the same effect to the fishing as the proverbial banana in the boat; a monkey on an angler’s back.

But, in tournament fishing, somebody always figures something out, and on day three at the U.S. Open, that means a big payday and the keys to a Nitro Z20 powered by a Mercury Optimax Pro XS outboard and getting to hold the coveted U.S. Open Cup overhead.

Johnson took the top prize by bringing an 11-pound limit to the Callville Bay scales to leapfrog the three anglers above him and take his first U.S. Open victory since he started fishing the event in 1994. His day-three performance on the toughest fishing day of the event brought his total weight to 27.65 pounds.

“I relied on two lures primarily to catch my fish, a 1/2-ounce white Persuader spinnerbait and a 4-inch Roboworm in Oxblood Light and Aaron’s Magic,” he said. “I bucked 3-foot rollers on points to catch the spinnerbait fish in the wind and slowed down to catch them when it slicked off.”

A veteran of 22 U.S. Opens on Lake Mead, Johnson was overwhelmed by the accomplishment. “I absolutely can’t believe that I won this event,” said the host of Fishing with Johnny Johnson television show in Arizona. “This is one of those things I set a goal to accomplish many years ago, and now that it has happened, I am completely thrilled and humbled.”

Day two leader Clayton Meyer of Henderson, Nev. finished with 25.62 pounds to finish in the runner up position for the second consecutive year in the U.S. Open. He proved to be the most consistent angler in the field, and was only beat by the herculean effort by Johnson.

“I really did all I could do with the one area of the lake I had,” he said. “I ran to Temple Bar and caught my fish on a jig, but just couldn’t get the one or two big bites I needed to close it out; it’s a little disappointing, but truthfully, to finish second two years in a row is not all bad; I’m happy with it.”

Andy Manahl of Mesa, Ariz. finished third with a three day total of 24.31 pounds. Like Meyer, he ran to Temple Bar all three days.

“I maximized what I had, and caught all of my fish on a variety of baits including a creature bait, a Roboworm and few on a Lobina Lures Rico,” he said. “I’m thrilled with how the week went, and even more happy for my friend Johnny [Johnson] for his win.”

Tai Au of Glendale, Ariz. finished fourth with 23.23 pounds, and Wade Strelic of El Cajon, Calif. leaded from 23rd to fifth place, finishing with 23.08 pounds.

On the AAA side Randall Bruce of Las Vegas, Nev. held onto the day two lead that he had established and finished the event with 28.02 pounds to take home the AAA trophy. He was followed in second place by Redding, Calif. angler Teddy Snyder in second place with 26.82 pounds. Gabriel Romero of Henderson, Nev. finished in third position with 25.18 pounds, followed in fourth by Ryan Chambers of Chandler Ariz. with 23.45 pounds and Darin Guglielmo of Santa Barbara, Calif. with 22.69 pounds.

-report by Dan O’Sullivan

2016 U.S. Open Day Three Pro Standings

Place Name Hometown Weight Penalty Big Fish Total 1 Johnny Johnson Lakeside AZ 27.65 3.11 27.65 2 Clayton Meyer Henderson NV 25.62 0.2 3.16 25.42 3 Andy Manahl Mesa AZ 24.31 0.2 24.11 4 Tai Au Glendale AZ 23.23 3.16 23.23 5 Wade Strelic El Cajon CA 23.08 2.11 23.08 6 Mike Walsh El Cajon CA 22.42 7.76 22.42 7 Ray Arbesu Henderson NV 21.98 0.2 3.34 21.78 8 Jon Griffith Mesa AZ 21.73 21.73 9 Rusty Salewske Alpine CA 21.68 3.16 21.68 10 Cody Compton Palisade CO 21.98 0.4 21.58 11 Richard Garcia Beaumont CA 21.54 21.54 12 Shaun Bailey Lake Havasu City AZ 21.4 21.4 13 Pete Marino Moreno Valley CA 21.55 0.2 3.02 21.35 14 Klayton Belden El Cajon CA 21.21 3.78 21.21 15 Neil Campbell Fallbrook CA 20.59 2.57 20.59 16 Jim Hawkes Apache Junction AZ 21.33 1 20.33 17 Cliff King Herald CA 20.32 2.35 20.32 18 Cristian Melton Menifee CA 20.19 2.13 20.19 19 Russ Barger Meridian ID 20.12 2.45 20.12 20 Joe Uribe, Jr. Surprise AZ 20.05 20.05 21 Kyle Grover Trabuco Canyon CA 20.1 0.2 3.19 19.9 22 Kevin Wiggins Las Vegas NV 19.87 19.87 23 Bill O’Shinn Bakersfield CA 19.52 19.52 24 Travis Moran Carmell CA 19.57 0.2 19.37 25 Matt Shura Gilbert AZ 19.56 0.2 2.35 19.36 26 Justin Patti Phoenix AZ 19.42 0.2 4.75 19.22 27 Todd Herman Gilbert AZ 19.04 19.04 28 Justin Kerr Simi Valley CA 18.95 18.95 29 Shane Moline Kingman AZ 18.44 3.18 18.44 30 Gary Pinholster Lake Havasu City AZ 18.15 18.15 31 Raymond Archer Greeley CO 17.94 2.13 17.94 32 Todd Woods San Dimas CA 18.11 0.2 2.98 17.91 33 Dylan Maxon Phoenix AZ 17.7 3.24 17.7 34 Tim Klinger Boulder City NV 17.67 2.8 17.67 35 Laythe Moore Banning CA 17.55 17.55 36 Dick Watson Alta Loma CA 17.49 2.16 17.49 37 Mike Brillhart Waddell AZ 17.25 17.25 38 Tom Leedom Escondido CA 17.24 2.09 17.24 39 Jason Milligan Anderson CA 17.09 0.2 16.89 40 Joe Raftery Las Vegas NV 16.85 2.05 16.85 41 Vern Ridgway Chandler AZ 17 0.2 2.44 16.8 42 Kevin Stewart Elk Grove CA 16.76 16.76 43 Philip Roesener Logandale NV 16.92 0.2 16.72 44 Scott Davis Preston ID 16.81 0.2 16.61 45 Devin McDonald Rio Ranch NM 16.49 2.99 16.49 46 Michael Phua Chino CA 16.36 3.55 16.36 47 Joey Letsinger Wilton CA 16.33 16.33 48 Brent James St George UT 16.82 0.6 16.22 49 Jamie Shaw Coolidge AZ 16.21 1.89 16.21 50 Justin Hanold Poway CA 16.2 16.2 51 Jimmy Reese Ukiah CA 16.15 2.94 16.15 52 Bobby Lanham Cave Creek AZ 16.14 16.14 53 Jeff Martineau Phoenix AZ 15.78 2.24 15.78 54 Guy Savidan NORCO CA 15.76 15.76 55 Kona Borja Henderson NV 15.94 0.2 2.36 15.74 56 John Morrow Brea CA 15.62 15.62 57 Aaron Britt Yuba City CA 15.28 15.28 58 Adam Vesely Las Vegas NV 15.21 15.21 59 Chris Studinger San Marcos CA 15.39 0.2 2.1 15.19 60 Tom Lowery Lakeside CA 15.03 15.03 61 Douglas Jones North Las vegas NV 14.69 14.69 62 Keegan Graves Meridian ID 14.27 2.66 14.27 63 Chris Kinley Lake Havasu City AZ 14.23 14.23 64 Ricky Shabazz Rialto CA 14.26 0.2 14.06 65 Shawn Lee Arroyo Grande CA 13.96 2.28 13.96 66 Steve Molinari Waddell AZ 13.93 2.83 13.93 67 Mark Lassagne San Ramon CA 13.88 2.1 13.88 68 Jiggs Benn Myrtle Creek OR 13.75 1.82 13.75 69 Steve Lund Glendale AZ 13.59 13.59 70 Moses Mokuahi West Richland WA 13.55 13.55 71 Derek Francom Pheonix AZ 13.4 13.4 72 James Fenney Jr Murrieta CA 13.38 2.05 13.38 73 Peter Manfrina Lompoc CA 13.35 13.35 74 Fred Proudfoot Kingman AZ 13.27 13.27 75 Vu Au Tucson AZ 13.14 13.14 76 Jeff Van Nimwegen Menifee CA 13.31 0.2 1.94 13.11 77 Rich Tauber Camarillo CA 13.08 13.08 78 Chase Colby Heber City UT 12.99 1.97 12.99 79 Charlie Weyer West Hills CA 12.95 2.33 12.95 80 Chad Randles Elkhorn NE 12.94 12.94 81 Cody Murray Nampa ID 13.1 0.2 12.9 82 Logan Erautt Yucaipa CA 12.83 2.55 12.83 83 Patrick Whitaker Gilbert AZ 12.62 2.15 12.62 84 Bill Brown Grand Junction CO 12.6 12.6 85 Young “Bradley” Yang Korea 12.57 2.4 12.57 86 McCoy Borja Johnson City TN 12.49 1.93 12.49 87 Jim Moynagh Carver MN 12.47 3.36 12.47 88 Kevin Finley Phoenix AZ 12.44 2.16 12.44 89 Marty Lawrence Mesa AZ 12.33 12.33 90 Rusty Brown Canyon Lake CA 12.3 1.82 12.3 91 Randy Estrada, M.D. Corona CA 12.28 2.33 12.28 92 Jeffrey Scott Allen Flagstaff AZ 12.23 12.23 93 John Demonet, Sr. Downey CA 12.22 12.22 94 Mike Caruso Peoria AZ 11.85 11.85 95 Tony Lain Menifee CA 11.72 11.72 96 Kevin Caruso Glendale AZ 11.61 11.61 97 Inder Lopez Spring Valley CA 11.48 11.48 98 Neil Flores Menifee CA 11.32 2.53 11.32 99 Jay Guterding Redding CA 11.18 11.18 100 Matt Frazier Denair CA 11.04 2.28 11.04 101 Tommy Jonovich Phoenix AZ 11 1.98 11 102 Jason Hickey Weiser ID 10.93 10.93 103 Shane Spinning Canyon Lake CA 10.88 10.88 104 Aaron Leon Henderson NV 10.85 2.95 10.85 104 Jim Hallauer El Cajon CA 10.85 2.23 10.85 106 Marco Valdez Gilbert AZ 10.83 10.83 107 Jim Elliott Redding CA 10.96 0.2 10.76 108 Melvin Williams Chula Vista CA 10.7 3.41 10.7 109 Sam Rosefsky Morris IL 11.07 0.4 2.57 10.67 110 Noy Vilaysane San Diego CA 10.67 0.2 1.9 10.47 111 Kevin Johnson Surprise AZ 10.13 10.13 112 Shawn Hilton Phoenix AZ 10.12 10.12 113 Mark Rauenzahn San Diego CA 9.91 2.44 9.91 114 Tyler Rempe Sierra Vista AZ 9.88 3.21 9.88 115 Gary Dobyns Live Oak CA 9.83 9.83 116 John Zeolla Oak Park CA 9.32 9.32 117 Kevin Norling San Diego CA 9.41 0.2 9.21 118 Travis Richards Henderson NV 9.13 1.91 9.13 119 Marvin Barellano Monterey Park CA 9.09 3.01 9.09 120 David Davis Big Piney WY 9.02 9.02 121 Donnie Scroggins Kingman AZ 9.01 9.01 122 Chris Bozarth Henderson NV 8.97 8.97 123 Brett Leber Dixon CA 8.96 8.96 124 Travis Jewell Sandy UT 8.89 2.83 8.89 125 Cody Spetz Menifee CA 8.85 8.85 126 Steve E Adams Rancho Cordova CA 8.37 8.37 127 Todd Kline San Clemente CA 8.26 8.26 128 Rich Vincent Wildomar CA 8.25 8.25 129 Kevin Hugo Chino CA 8.2 8.2 130 <td rowspan=”1″ colspan=”1″ style=”font-size: 13p