Clausen clobbers ‘em at Clear Lake

Washington pro beats Californians with biggest sack of the tournament

CLEARLAKE, Calif. - All week long at Clear Lake they were doing it. Anglers were lying in the weeds, saving their big fish so they could pop them in the final round when it really counted. That's what pro Luke Clausen did Saturday when he won the third EverStart Series Western Division tournament of the year with a five-bass limit that weighed 25 pounds, 5 ounces.

Well, sort of. Clausen wasn't so much lying in the weeds as he was stranded in them. The 24-year-old native of Veradale, Wash., quietly made the cut out of the opening round with two solid but otherwise unremarkable Clear Lake stringers. Then in Friday's semifinals, his boat broke down and he barely made the final cut in 10th place.

But with a borrowed boat and a new strategy, Clausen went out Saturday and won the Pro Division by over 5 pounds. His 25-pound, 5-ounce weight was the biggest stringer caught by anybody throughout week in one of the heaviest EverStart tournaments all season.

"I used Brett Hite's boat (the Phoenix pro who won at EverStart Lake Pleasant and also made the Clear Lake semifinals)," Clausen said. "He really saved me today, otherwise I would have been fishing off the dock."

It's been a fortuitous few weeks at Clear Lake for the Washington native, who beat eight California pros for the title in their home state (plus an Oregonian). In addition to the $7,500 winner's check and Ranger boat he earned at this week's EverStart event, he placed third in a BASS tournament here two weeks ago.

Not bad for an angler whose first visit to big, bad Clear Lake was just last year. Not only that, this was Clausen's first EverStart tournament, which he says he entered merely because "I was in town and really didn't have anything better to do."

"I don't know what it is. This lake's always been good to me," he said. "I grew up in Washington, and this is lot like the natural lakes I fish there. I'm excited and glad to finally win here because I've been so close so many times before."

Like many anglers who battled the cold, windy, wet weather all week, Clausen said he struggled much of the tournament. He started the week by trying to sight-fish, but that strategy ultimately petered out with the weather. It wasn't until Saturday - when it counts - that something clicked for him.

"I finally figured it out today," he said. "I found out what to look for, and that was just deeper water adjacent to spawning areas. I fished near deeper retaining walls at about 6 to 8 feet, and I was drop-shotting really slow. After that, I got the confidence to run around to other places just like it. I went to an area that really didn't get fished that much earlier in the week."

While he changed worm colors everyday on his drop-shot rig, Clausen caught the bulk of his fish in the finals with an Aaron's Magic Roboworm on 8-pound fluorocarbon line. He said he burned nearly 40 gallons of gas a day running to his locations.

"Everyday I almost did a lap around the whole lake," he said.

Local favorite, points leader also top-five

Second place in the Pro Division and $7,200 went to Wayne Breazeale of Kelseyville, Calif., a town just up the road from the tournament outpost at Redbud Park. The weigh-in crowd cheered wildly for the local favorite as he weighed in his five bass for 19 pounds even.

"It's just been a really good week," Breazeale said. "I found a lot of good water and a lot of fish."

Brent Ehrler found himself in familiar territory when finished in third place and collected $6,400 with a five-bass limit weighing 16 pounds, 14 ounces. The pro from Redlands, Calif., has finished all three Western Division tournaments to this point of the 2003 season in third place. That accomplishment has put him solely into first place in the division standings with 594 points.

"It's my first year fishing these tournaments," said Ehrler, who mainly used an Osprey swim bait. "It's awesome. I can't believe how good it feels. I just wanted to make the top 20 so I could get points. I don't know the (California) Delta very well, so I was hoping to do that here."

Rounding out the top five pro finishers were Thanh Le of El Cajon, Calif., who placed fourth (worth $5,600) with five bass weighing 16 pounds, 4 ounces and Rusty Salewske of Alpine, Calif., who finished fifth ($5,100) with five bass weighing 13-14.

"I just used small finesse worms all week," Salewske said. "I fished around rocks, tules, everywhere."

And the rest

The rest of the Pro Division top 10 finished as follows: Larry Hopper of Tustin, Calif., took sixth place with a five-bass weight of 10 pounds, 10 ounces (worth $4,600); opening-round leader Gary Dobyns of Yuba City, Calif., took seventh place with a five-bass weight of 10-8 ($4,100); Bill Case of Orange, Calif., took eighth place with a four-bass weight of 8-15 ($3,600); semifinal-round leader Dennis Kolender took ninth place with a two-bass weight of 7-4 ($3,200); Dub Lashot of Walterville, Ore., took 10th place with a three-bass weight of 4-13 ($2,800).

Coming up

The next EverStart Series tournament is an Central Division contest at Kentucky Lake in Gilbertsville, Ky., April 30-May 3. The fourth and final Western Division tournament of 2003 will be held at the California Delta in Oakley, Calif., May 28-31.

Day-four links:

Photos
Final results
Press release
Wickham wins Co-angler Division at Clear Lake

Tags: headline-story  jeff-schroeder 

/news/2015-03-29-lefebre-lands-on-top

Lefebre Lands on Top

He left the dock this morning in 7th place, eight and a half pounds off the lead. And when he returned this afternoon, Dave Lefebre shocked the weigh-in crowd with a come-from-behind Walmart FLW Tour win that left his competitors shell-shocked. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-29-lewis-smith-lake-day-4-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 4 Coverage

Day 4 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-birge-buzzes-ahead

Birge Buzzes Ahead

Today started off with a slightly miserable 31-degree air temperature, but it didn’t take long for the top 20 pros to really heat up on Lewis Smith Lake at the second stop of the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour presented by Evinrude. Reports poured in throughout the day of big bass – especially big largemouths – being caught off beds. It looked at first as if one of the “largemouth lookers” might piece together a big enough bag to snatch the lead away from Oklahoma rookie Zack Birge, who struggled early to make his shallow topwater pattern work. Unfortunately for the rest of the field, the young gun Birge has the coolness and patience of a veteran, and he stuck with his game plan of throwing a buzzbait and soft jerkbait rig until the sun had time to warm the shallows and spur the fish to become more active. Birge tallied 17 pounds, 11 ounces today, raising his three-day total to 54-8 and giving him a lead of 3-11 over Texas veteran Clark Wendlandt in second place. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 3

After three days, it looks as if tournament leader Zack Birge has the quality largemouth bite in the bushes wired. But behind him on the leaderboard are nine pros doing everything from sight-fishing to catching schooling bass and everything in between. Even with all the patterns in play, few have fizzled. The sight-fishers have reported finding new bedders, the schoolers are still schooling and a couple of guys have even started tapping floating docks. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-millsaps-wins-on-lake-sinclair

Millsaps Wins on Lake Sinclair

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – David Millsaps of Ranger, Georgia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 20 pounds, 10 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Bulldog Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Sinclair. For his victory, Millsaps earned $6,009. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-walters-nets-third-victory-on-wylie

Walters Nets Third Victory on Wylie

LAKE WYLIE, N.C. – Todd Walters of Kernersville, North Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League North Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Wylie. For his victory, Walters earned $4,350. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-lewis-smith-lake-day-3-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 3 Coverage

Day 3 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-mosley-on-top-at-arkansas-river

Mosley on Top at Arkansas River

MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Brandon Mosley of Choctaw, Oklahoma, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Okie Division tournament of 2015 the Arkansas River. For his victory, Mosley earned $5,349. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-topwater-takes-birge-to-the-top

Topwater Takes Birge to the Top

On a day when chilly, windy post-front conditions challenged many Walmart FLW Tour anglers who were relying on sight-fishing for spawning bass, Zack Birge bucked the trend and pulled out a pair of topwaters to haul in 17 pounds, 14 ounces. Birge jumped from third place past day-one leader Drew Benton to take over the top spot on Lewis Smith Lake in the event, which is presented by Evinrude. Birge’s two-day total of 36-13 has him positioned 1 pound ahead of Benton. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 2

While air and water temperatures plummeted on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude, the big surprise came in the stability of the fishing patterns amidst such change. Zack Birge found plenty of production on his primary pattern to send him to the top of the leaderboard, and those under him held true to their patterns as well to secure a ticket to day three’s top 20. Among the biggest surprises was the number of pros who were still able to pluck fish off beds. Most pros that were sight-fishing say the bass are committed to beds and that the cold snap will not run them off at this point in time. Despite the cold, some even found new fish on beds that were not there yesterday. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-lewis-smith-lake-day-2-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 2 Coverage

Day 2 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-benton-blasts-20-12-on-lewis-smith

Benton Blasts 20-12 on Lewis Smith

Panama City, Fla., pro Drew Benton jumped into the early lead at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude with a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 12 ounces. Benton caught a mix of largemouths and spotted bass, and revealed that both black bass species are spawning. He leads a tight top 20 that includes 18 pros that caught more than 15 pounds each. The first day was an absolute fish-fest. Of the 154 pros fishing this tournament, 138 weighed limits. Brad Roberts of Faubush, Ky., has a 2-ounce lead in the co-angler division with a 13-pound, 4-ounce limit. Tomorrow he’ll try to defend his lead on the final day of co-angler competition. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 1

While Drew Benton was busy bugging bedding fish for his day-one tournament lead, several others behind him were scoring big with other fishing options on Lewis Smith Lake. Sight-fishing also played a role in the top limits produce by Tracy Adams, Scott Martin and Ish Monroe, but Clayton Batts and Zack Birge both brought in big bags with other patterns. Click here to read about Benton’s day-one performance at the second Walmart FLW Tour event of 2015, which is presented by Evinrude. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-lewis-smith-lake-day-1-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 1 Coverage

Day 1 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-22-arkansas-anglers-win-college-open

Arkansas Anglers Win College Open

Consistency was the key for the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville here in the FLW College Fishing Kentucky Lake Open as Zachary Pickle and Drew Porto won the event with a two-day total of 43 pounds, 12 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-kendrick-king-on-guntersville

Kendrick King On Guntersville

Kendrick, who is fishing the Rayovac FLW Series in hopes of qualifying for the FLW Tour, caught more than 25 pounds each day of the event and finihsid in fine fasion when it counted. Kendick was catching nearly all of his bass around big schools of bait with a Houdini pearl-colored Scottsboro Tackle swimbait from 15- to 25-feet of water. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-epting-s-30-pounds-tops-on-santee-cooper

Epting's 30 Pounds Tops on Santee Cooper

SUMMERTON, S.C. – Chris Epting of Chapin, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 30 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Santee Cooper. For his victory, Epting earned $3,679. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-wood-rock-key-for-middleton-s-victory

Wood, Rock Key for Middleton's Victory

HUDDLESTON, Va. – Dennis Middleton of Madison Heights, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division tournament of 2015 on Smith Mountain Lake. For his victory, Middleton earned $7,199. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-johnson-wins-on-dale-hollow

Johnson Wins on Dale Hollow

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. – Robby Johnson of Byrdstown, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mountain Division tournament of 2015 on Dale Hollow Lake. For his victory, Johnson earned $5,689. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-griffin-gets-win-on-ross-barnett

Griffin Gets Win on Ross Barnett

BRANDON, Miss. – Jason Griffin of Benton, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 23 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Ross Barnett Reservoir. For his victory, Griffin earned $5,349. READ MORE »