Fishing & Boating News
Catching bass wasn’t the issue for the 220 anglers fishing the event. All but eight of the 110 boaters brought five-bass limits to the scales, while 99 out of 110 co-anglers weighed in three-bass limits.
Putting quality bass in the boat, however, was another story. Known nationally for its numbers of trophy largemouth, Clear Lake surprisingly gave up only a single bass tipping the scales at 10 pounds.
“The fish were scattered,” said first-round leader Lane Coale of Grand Junction, Colo. “And because they haven’t grouped up yet, we had to cover a lot of water. But there were patterns to what we were doing that have held up and are actually getting better every day. I was trying to focus on the one that was catching bigger fish.”
Coale went on to explain that there was a cold wind that was coming from the opposite direction that it had been during practice, which he found repositioned both the baitfish and bass. The biggest key to his success was adjusting accordingly.
“The morning bite was slow, and I had plenty of bites, but the fish just weren’t eating the baits like they had been,” he added. “These fish are really pressured here and I think that made them act funky, which gave me some bad luck. I should have had a limit early.”
Although he wasn’t able to catch as many bass in the morning as he wanted to, Coale was able to cull a few fish throughout the day. The keepers certainly included the Day 1 big bass, a 10-7 monster and his new personal best.
Coale’s heavy limit helped vault the Colorado team into second place with 196-10, only 1-2 behind Montana who is leading the team boater division. Colorado and Montana were the only teams to weigh 80-bass limits. Rounding out the Top 5 were teams from California with 192-6, Arizona with 191-6 and Idaho with 179-11
Montana’s Shane Baertsch, who finished in a tie for second with Todd Herman of Gilbert, Ariz., anchored his team’s strong finish. Both anglers put solid 17-14 limits on the scales.
“For the majority of the day I targeted bedding bass,” said Baertsch who was fishing Clear Lake for the first time, “and I really only fished two half-mile stretches of bank. I caught my limit in the first area within 45 minutes, and was able to cull a little from there. But as the wind got stronger, and the water became muddier, the bite slowed way down.”
Baertsch hooked and landed his biggest largemouth at about midday at his second spot. The key for him was working his areas slowly and thoroughly. He admits that he doesn’t have many options and will be fishing the same two areas on Day 2.
Coale thinks he’ll be able to duplicate his efforts tomorrow, although he questions his ability to fool another 10-pound giant.
Leading the co-angler division, and adding to his team’s lead, is Noxon, Mont., Angler Quincy Grupenhoff, who weighed in three bass totaling 13-3.
Anglers will takeoff from Konocti Vista Resort Marina at 5:30 a.m. PDT and return to the same location for the weigh-in at 2 p.m.
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