Salisbury, Colorado take Western Divisional

BLOOMFIELD, N.M. — Colorado’s balance carried it to the team title today at the Western Divisional presented by Yamaha and Skeeter.

New Mexico’s Jay Salisbury, meanwhile, survived a charge by Montana’s Curtis Spindler to take the individual crown at this 11-state competition on Navajo Lake in the Four Corners area of New Mexico.

“I couldn’t catch any fish on my good water, so I just went on to the main channel and stood on my trolling motor,” said Salisbury, who brought in four keepers on Day Three for 31-8 and a 24-ounce margin of victory.

He had bolted to a 3-pound lead on Day One with a 15-9 bag, the heaviest of the tournament. Spindler’s 13-7 on Day Two carried him to within 17 ounces of the lead, but Salisbury used three different baits to catch just enough fish to win.

Colorado’s Ed McCaw also brought in four bass to gain top honors for his championship team. But he finished only ninth overall, clear evidence of the Rocky Mountain State’s balance.

“Our team shared a tremendous amount of information at meetings every night,” said Jay McMillan, president of the Colorado B.A.S.S. Federation Nation. “I’ve never seen a team share so much. It wasn’t just general information. It was ‘this cove, this spot, this bait.’ Everything was very specific.”

Along with teamwork, Colorado had plenty of experience at Navajo Lake to call upon. “Half of our team is from the local area,” McMillan said.

None of the 12 anglers caught a limit every day, “but everybody was pitching in,” the president continued. “As a team, we had seven or eight limits a day, and I think that we had just three zeroes in three days.”

Host New Mexico looked as if it would give Colorado a stiff challenge on Day One, when anglers competed in cold, wet and windy weather on this 15,000-acre impoundment. Salisbury and teammate Ken Hansel finished the day first and second in the individual standings, with their team just 17 ounces behind.

But as the weather moderated on Day Two, Colorado heated up, as did Montana, which pushed past New Mexico for second place.

Josh Polfer led Idaho to fourth place, while Jim Brinkerhoff’s 8-4 limit helped Oregon jump over Washington for fifth. Utah took seventh, California eighth, Arizona ninth, Wyoming 10th and Nevada 11th.

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