UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Ericksen tops heavyweights at Clear Lake

San Jose, Calif., pro Steve Ericksen leads day one of the Stren Western on Clear Lake with five bass weighing 27 pounds, 7 ounces.

KELSEYVILLE, Calif. - Two California bass pros rooming together during the Stren Series Western opener on Clear Lake got upgraded to the penthouse suite Thursday. Steve Ericksen and Adam McAndrews are enjoying the view from the top of the leaderboard, having turned in the heaviest weights of the opening day at 27 pounds, 7 ounces and 26-11, respectively.

The area has been soaked with wet weather in recent weeks and just started to crawl out of a cold front today, so weight expectations for this Clear Lake tournament had been relatively low. With the sun breaking through the clouds midday, the bite heated up and weights came in strong Thursday, with 15 pros and two co-anglers passingt the 20-pound mark.

A San Jose, Calif., native, Ericksen said he struggled while prefishing before things turned around for him today. He reported catching a lot of bass during practice, but they were coming deep and weren't the right size. Capitalizing on six of only seven bites today, he exchanged quantity for quality to come up with his massive five-bass limit in only his second FLW Outdoors event as a pro.

"I had a really rough practice," he said. "I'm not a deep(-water) fisherman."

Ericksen did manage to catch a couple in relatively deep water, 15 to 20 feet, while fishing the southern part of Clear Lake with heavy jigs. But it was the midlake area of the northern side where he really found his stride, fishing "a really slow, methodical presentation" in 8 to 12 feet of water.

"Angles are very key to my bite," he said, "as well as the speed of my retrieve - too slow and they won't bite, too fast they won't either."

Ericksen said he cast all kinds of big plastic creature and imitation baits, in natural and dark colors, to his Pro Adam McAndrews of Santa Clara, Calif., is in second place at Clear Lake with 26-11.north-lake targets. He would make passes up and down the docks, whether new or in disrepair, and tules until he found just the right presentation to entice a bite.

"Hopefully they'll hold up," he said of his fish-producing spots. "I didn't hit `em too hard in practice, so I've got that going for me."

McAndrews right behind

There's never room for two at the top of a fishing tourney, so McAndrews will be gunning for his travel partner's spot when competition resumes Friday. And he may just hope Ericksen talks in his sleep - about his honeyholes on the north side.

"We ran around the south end all day," McAndrews said, adding that he never strayed too far from Kinocti Harbor (the takeoff site). "We were just fishing down south and fishing slow."

The Santa Clara, Calif., pro was understandably tight-lipped about the methods he used to acquire a 26-pound, 11-ounce limit, but allowed that he fished "mostly soft plastics in 12 to 15 feet." Ironically, his failure to execute on a few fish Thursday has actually bolstered his confidence heading into day two.

"We're going to get `em tomorrow," McAndrews said. "I missed three or four good ones today, so I've got those to go back to."

And if McAndrews, fishing in only his second FLW Outdoors event this week, needs any more incentive to outfish his friend, making up for 2008 could be added to the list. Last year they both fished the Clear Lake event in the Pro Division with this final score: Ericksen, 56th and $825 in earnings - McAndrews, 177th and $0.

Pro Rob Riehl is in third after day one at Clear Lake.Riehl's in third

The Stren Western rookies will have to work hard to fend off veteran Rob Riehl, however. The Tracy, Calif., pro is not only a Stren Series standout - three top-10 finishes on the California Delta - he's making waves at the tour level. Riehl fished the Walmart FLW Series National Guard Western circuit in 2007 and 2008, finishing the seasons ranked 28th and 16th, respectively, with the latter earning him a trip to the prestigious Forrest Wood Cup.

"I'm swinging for the fences tomorrow," Riehl said. "I'm due for a win; I've been fishing really consistently for four years now."

The five-bass limit Riehl caught today weighed 26 pounds, 2 ounces, leaving him only a pound and some change out of the lead and giving him confidence. But it didn't come easy; he said he lost seven fish, including a string of six in the span of 20 minutes.

"I didn't think I was around fish," he said of his practice, "but that changed today."

Riehl fished the north end of the lake in the Lakeport area, flipping Zoom Brush Hogs and a black-and-blue jig to 1 to 2 feet of water.

Pro Robert Lee of Angels Camp, Calif., is in fourth after day one at Clear Lake.Lee in fourth

Angels Camp, Calif., pro Robert Lee brought a 25 1/2-pound limit to the scale today, also giving him confidence heading into day two despite losing "a couple big ones."

"I'm ready," he said. "I've got the bites, I've got the pattern; we'll see what happens."

Part of his self-assurance likely comes from his experience. Lee is the reigning Angler of the Year in the Stren Western Division, where he has notched five top-10s. And like Riehl, Lee has fished the last two years in the FLW Series Western, where he has scored a top-10 and been ranked as high as 21st.

Perhaps in an effort to keep others from finding the ones that got away, Lee didn't want to divulge any specifics about his locations or techniques at this point in the tournament. He said simply that he "fished the whole lake ... circled it" and added that he was using reaction baits and jigs.

Pro Mathew Saavedra of Redding, Calif., used this 9-11 lunker to land in fifth place after day one at Clear Lake.Variety works for Saavedra

According to Redding, Calif., pro Mathew Saavedra, he virtually threw everything but his depth finder at Clear Lake's bass population to sack a limit Thursday weighing 24-10.

"Swimbaits, jigs, worms ... we caught `em on a little bit of everything," he said.

Saavedra fished both ends of the lake, with his morning bite the strongest when he was on the north side. He fished in anywhere from 5 to 15 feet of water throughout the day, but landed his 9-11 kicker (just an ounce away from Big Bass) in 6 feet of water on a brown Pepper Custom Baits jig.

Sunny skies finally broke through the wet, cloudy weather Thursday afternoon, and a few anglers crossing the weigh-in stage said they hoped things would go back to dreary for day two. But more said the warmth was just what was needed to kick-start the Clear Lake bite, and Saavedra concurred.

"I think it's going to bring those fish up shallow," he said of tomorrow's forecast for better weather. "It should help me for sure."

Big Bass

Edging out Saavedra for Big Bass honors in the 11th hour was pro Chad Martin of Plumas Lake, Calif., whose 9-12 lunker earned him $333 and helped propel him into sixth place.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros after day one in the Stren Western at Clear Lake:

6th: Martin, five bass, 23-4
7th: Troy Lindner of Los Angeles, five bass, 22-7
8th: David Valdivia of Norwalk, Calif., five bass, 22-0
9th: Jeff Billings of Clearlake, Calif., five bass, 21-11
Tommie Goldston of Gardnerville, Nev., leads the Co-angler Division in Stren Western competition at Clear Lake after day one with a 22-12 limit.10th: Wayne Breazeale of Kelseyville, Calif., five bass, 21-9

Goldston has Midas touch in Co-angler Division

Tommie Goldston of Gardnerville, Nev., better get used to the spotlight. He first competed in the Western Division last year as a co-angler, but managed to rack up a top-10 finish plus a berth into the Stren Series Championship - all that fishing three qualifiers, one shy of a full slate.

He proved it was no fluke Thursday by leading the Co-angler Division with a five-bass limit weighing 22 pounds, 12 ounces to give himself nearly a 2-pound lead heading into day two. He fished the south end of Clear Lake in two different spots "about the size of a football field."

"I'm doing the same thing that everybody else is doing," Goldston said. "I caught my fish shakin' soft plastics in 9 to 20 feet of water."

Goldston didn't want to reveal too much about his method, other than to say he caught fish on baits in seven different color schemes.

He had more to say about pro partner Dave Nollar, however: "I got to fish with one of the ambassadors of the sport ... and just one of the best human beings on Earth."

Kyle Baker of Lancaster, Calif., is second in the Co-angler Division after day one at Clear Lake.Baker breaks 20

Another co-angler making waves is Kyle Baker of Lancaster, Calf., who is in second with a five-bass limit weighing 20-15. Baker is just kicking off his second year of Stren Series competition after a stellar 2008 debut in which he ranked No. 9 in the Western Division, notched two top-10 finishes and qualified for the Stren Championship.

Baker was runner-up at last year's event on the Cal Delta, and he came in third at Clear Lake. With today's performance, he's poised to repeat or improve upon the latter finish.

"It felt good," he said of his day fishing with pro Wayne Breazeale. "I tried to capitalize on the bites I had."

Those bites came throughout the day on the north end of the lake, fishing a Zoom finesse worm on a shaky head in 10 to 20 feet of water.

Big Bass

The Co-angler Division Big Bass award of $166 went to Ken Stevens of Redding, Calif., for his 7-pound, 13-ounce fish.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 11 co-anglers after day one in the Stren Western at Clear Lake:

3rd: David Keithahn of Patterson, Calif., five bass, 19-11
4th: Charles Peak of San Jose, Calif., five bass, 19-2
5th: Sean Kavanaugh of Chico, Calif., five bass, 18-13
6th: Craig Smith of Truckee, Calif., five bass, 17-14
7th: Arthur Narverud of Napa, Calif., five bass, 17-9
8th: Mark Haworth of Hollister, Calif., five bass, 17-7
9th: Tami Jennings of Saint George, Utah, five bass, 16-11
9th: Garrett Maddex of Oakdale, Calif., five bass, 16-11
9th: Thomas Wang of Saratoga, Calif., five bass, 16-11

Day-two competition starts Friday at 6:30 a.m. Pacific time at the marina at Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa located at 8727 Soda Bay Road in Kelseyville.

Tags: patrick-baker  headline-story  2009-03-05-clear-lake 

/news/2016-07-23-thompson-co-angler-champ-on-1000-islands

Thompson Co-angler Champ on 1000 Islands

The 1000 Islands is a great place to take a vacation, especially if you are from the south and want to escape the heat. That is exactly what co-angler Joe Thompson of Clayton, Ga., did and wound up capturing the top spot in the co-angler division bringing home a Ranger Z117 with a 90 hp motor. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-penn-state-university-wins-flw-college-fishing-northern-conference-event-on-chautauqua-lake

Penn State University wins FLW College Fishing Northern Conference Event on Chautauqua Lake

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. – The Penn State University duo of Clayton Frey of York, Pennsylvania, and Derek Horner, of State College, Pennsylvania, won the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference event at Chautauqua Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and qualified the team for the 2017 FLW College Fishing National... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-michigan-s-dobson-leads-wire-to-wire-wins-costa-flw-series-event-at-1000-islands-presented-by-mercury

Michigan’s Dobson leads wire-to-wire, wins Costa FLW Series Event at 1000 Islands presented by Mercury

CLAYTON, N.Y. – Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Michigan, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to win the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event at 1000 Islands presented by Mercury with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 68 pounds, 8 ounces. For his win, Dobson earned $82,669, including a new Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-dobson-dominates-1000-islands

Dobson Dominates 1000 Islands

Scott Dobson didn’t expect it to come so quickly, but 30 minutes is all it took for him to find the winning pattern during his first day of practice for the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands. That pattern would lead him to three consecutive limits of more than 20 pounds, including today’s final-round bag worth 21-12 – the day’s biggest limit, yet his smallest of the tournament. His three-day total weight of 68-8 earned him a check for more than $37,000 along with a Ranger Z518C with a 200-hp engine for being Ranger Cup qualified. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-1000-islands-top-5-patterns-day-2

1000 Islands Top 5 Patterns Day 2

Strong winds limited competition to only the St. Lawrence River on day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands, but that was no problem for the majority of the top 10. Even though most of them fished Lake Ontario on day one, they were able to adjust and stay on the fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-dobson-extends-lead-at-1000-islands

Dobson Extends Lead at 1000 Islands

A windy day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on the 1000 Islands didn’t stop day-one leader Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Mich., from sacking up the biggest bag of the day. Dobson threw down an impressive 22-pound, 3-ounce limit to extend his lead to 5 pounds over Cal Climpson – a noted Lake Ontario maestro. Dobson’s two-day total stands at 46-12, and with lighter winds tomorrow some big bags are expected. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-lake-ontario-out-for-day-2

Lake Ontario Out for Day 2

It is never good when you wake up the morning of a tournament and every flag you see is standing straight out at 3 a.m., but that was the case this morning for day two of the Costa FLW Series event on the 1000 Islands. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-1000-islands-top-5-patterns-day-1

1000 Islands Top 5 Patterns Day 1

Past experience on this fishery seems to be a big advantage for the top pros through one day of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands. Scott Dobson leads the way with 24 pounds, 9 ounces, yet there are some serious hammers right on his heels. Dobson fished both the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario for his limit, while others went straight to the lake and stayed there. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-dobson-drops-24-9

Dobson Drops 24-9

Despite the weights being dropped on the scale for the opening round of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on the 1000 Islands presented by Mercury, it has actually been a tough day of fishing. Strong winds made it hard for the anglers regardless of if they were fishing the lake or river. Smallmouth guru Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Mich., sacked up 24 pounds, 9 ounces on day one to take a 1-8 lead over Canadian stick Cal Climpson. Dobson utilized both the river and lake for his limit, which could play to his advantage if the wind blows like the weathermen are forecasting tomorrow. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-professional-bass-fishing-s-forrest-wood-cup-set-to-visit-wheeler-lake

Professional Bass Fishing’s Forrest Wood Cup set to visit Wheeler Lake

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of professional bass fishing, will visit Wheeler Lake and the Huntsville, Alabama, area August 4-7 to crown bass fishing’s top angler of 2016. Hosted by the Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the tournament will feature 50 of the world’s best bass-fishing... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-1000-islands-midday-update-day-1

1000 Islands Midday Update Day 1

Day one of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands hasn’t been about if the wind will blow, but when. Everyone knew the gales were coming eventually. Still, the majority of anglers hung a left out of the dock this morning and charged toward Lake Ontario into a steady breeze that turned into a howling wind by midmorning. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-2016-forrest-wood-cup-angler-intro-music

2016 Forrest Wood Cup Angler Intro Music

Each season, the anglers that make the Forrest Wood Cup get to choose the intro music that will play when they walk out on stage at weigh-ins. Naturally, the selections vary as widely as the anglers’ personalities and backgrounds – David Dudley once selected the Chicken Dance song, if that tells you anything. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-transition-time-at-1000-islands

Transition Time at 1000 Islands

The second tournament of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division kicked off on 1000 Islands in an event presented by Mercury this morning out of the Clayton Village Ramp. The 137 pros and co-anglers are challenged with the tough task of dissecting not only the massive St. Lawrence River but also Lake Ontario in search of jumbo-size smallmouths. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-20-solving-the-1000-islands-puzzle

Solving the 1000 Islands Puzzle

For its second stop, the 2016 Costa FLW Series Northern Division heads back to the 1000 Islands region of upstate New York for the first time since 2012. The 1000 Islands region includes the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario and produces some of the best smallmouth fishing on the planet with 4- and 5-pounders being the norm, not the exception. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-19-forrest-wood-cup-attractions-

Forrest Wood Cup Attractions

Fifty FLW anglers all taking a run at the most coveted title in bass fishing will without doubt take center stage over the course of the four-day Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart in Huntsville, Ala., Aug. 4-7, but fans won’t have to wait for the daily weigh-in times to soak up all the action. FLW and its sponsors and partners put together a full schedule of additional events to coincide with the 2016 Cup. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-19-2016-icast-wrap-up

2016 ICAST Wrap-up

Even at a distance, ICAST can be a blur of new fishing stuff. Below, we’ve gathered everything we published from the week at ICAST – if you missed something, you can find it here. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-18-sisk-by-ounces-on-ohio-river

Sisk by Ounces on Ohio River

Marty Sisk of Evansville, Indiana, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 13 ounces, Saturday to win the third FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Illini Division tournament of 2016 on the Ohio River. For his victory, Sisk took home $7,456. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-18-boggs-flipped-shallow-wood-for-title

Boggs Flipped Shallow Wood for Title

Drew Boggs of Lebanon, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 10 ounces, Saturday to win the fourth FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Music City Division tournament of 2016 on Old Hickory Lake. Boggs took home $3,028 for his victory. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-18-profile-jeremy-lawyer

Profile: Jeremy Lawyer

A year ago, Jeremy Lawyer endured a harsh reality as the door to a Forrest Wood Cup berth slammed shut on his runner-up finish at the BFL All-American on Kentucky/Barkley lakes. Flash-forward to June 11 and the boater from Sarcoxie, Mo., saw life come full circle with his All-American win on Barkley. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-18-poffenberger-found-the-right-four

Poffenberger Found the Right Four

Jake Poffenberger of Brookville, Ohio, weighed four bass totaling 9 pounds, 7 ounces, Saturday to win the fourth FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Buckeye Division tournament of 2016 on the Ohio River. For his victory, Poffenberger earned $4,684. READ MORE »