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Team Oliver and Morris win final 2009 Motherlode Semi-Pro anglers event
The team of Jeff Oliver, left, and Jimmy Morris, right, show off a few of their first-place winning catch during the Anglers Choice Motherlode Semi-Pro Team trail held at Don Pedro on the night of June 13. - photo by Photo Contributed
Sixteen teams weighed in five fish limits with most of those teams reporting catching less than eight keepers during the last event of the 2009 Anglers Choice Motherlode Semi-Pro Team season held on June 13 in a night tournament at Don Pedro.
Not only did the night tournament test the skills, confidence, patience and stamina of all the teams competing, three or four teams actually fished a tournament at Melones during the day for about nine hours and then at Don Pedro for another eight hours.  
The team that won the tournament, Jeff Oliver (Hilmar), who also fished a tournament that day, and Jimmy Morris (Keyes), brought in 13.31 pounds anchored with a 6.60 pound bucket mouth which was big fish of the tournament. They caught their fish on brush hogs, shaky heads, and senkos, less than a half mile from the blast-off site. By awards time Morris was pretty tired, but the thought of winning two first place plaques, a beautiful big fish plaque, and $1,480 in prize money made his drive home much easier.
Second place went to a team that has been in the top 10, six out of seven events. Paul Huntemann (Modesto) and Charles Welch (Denair) caught a 4.48 pound large mouth, bumping their total to 12.61 pounds — good for two nice plaques and $705.
The top winning team at Don Pedro was Steve Riggs (Turlock) and Russ Kidder (Hilmar) who finished out the season with a third place finish with 11.18 pounds, netting them two nice plaques and $440.
Bait Barn sponsored fourth place team from Hickman — Jimmy Clawson and Gerald Clawson had four of six events in the top five. With the 5.11 pound kicker they had a total of 10.65 pounds, allowing them to scoop up $210.
The Bait Barn sponsored fifth place team is also the strongest finishing team of the season. Ryan Cook and his uncle Tim Cook (both of Atwater) brought a five fish limit to the scales weighing 10.50 pounds giving them a nice payday of $160. They caught their fish on swim baits before dark and said keepers were hard to come by. At the end of the day this strong finish gave this team Anglers Of The Year for the Motherlode Semi-Pro Team Trail.
To say the least, 2009 was the most unpredictable year of bass fishing tournaments ever. With very unusual weather, falling water levels, and then rising water levels, the fishing has been extremely tough. This seems to be happening throughout the state with smaller then average fish size and limits.  
A complete listing of the results of this trail can be found at
Coming up next is the Tournament of Champions at Lake Oroville on Oct. 3 and 4.