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Under the rainbow

Under the rainbow
A giant rainbow dominates the horizon during opening takeoff of the 2006 Stren Series event at Clear Lake.

LAKEPORT, Calif. - As Stren Series competitors departed Konocti Vista Casino Resort and Marina shortly after 7 a.m. Wednesday morning, they found themselves in the midst of a rare display of strange weather, courtesy of Mother Nature. As the 400 boaters and co-anglers made their way onto the open waters of Clear Lake, they were bombarded with a seemingly incongruous series of weather conditions that combined near-freezing temps, intermittent light rain and a slight breeze with a gorgeous sunrise, an impressive mosaic of fast-moving cloud cover and, the piece de resistance, a giant rainbow that catapulted from the heavens while casting a giant multi-colored arc across today's playing field.

For those new to these waters, today's weather conditions were like a giant sign that said, "Welcome to Clear Lake - you never know what you might find." However, for veteran anglers, Clear Lake represents one of the best bass-fishing lakes North America has to offer, plain and simple.

To underscore this point, one only has to go back to the 2005 season, where the record for the largest four-day catch in the history of FLW Outdoors bass-fishing events was broken by Sieg Taylor of Clearlake, Calif. Amazingly, Taylor broke the record with only 16 bass, following Clear Lake's strict 2005 limit of four bass per day. Those 16 bass, however, weighed in at an amazing 94 pounds, 11 ounces.

However, heading into the 2006 season, the California Department of Fish and Game relaxed the restrictions and now permits Stren Series anglers to keep five fish instead of four. So naturally, Stren records should fall fast and furious this time around, right? Not so fast says Stren pro Shawn McConville, of Renton, Wash.

Stren Series boaters prepart to head out onto the open waters of Clear Lake."The weather has changed a lot over the past couple of weeks," he said. "We had couple of weeks of warm weather but then this cold front came through and I think that's going to hurt the weights a lot. There's also a lot of runoff from the streams and the hills and that's causing the lake to muddy up quite significantly. Because of this, a lot of guys are running to the south end of the lake because it's clearer water. The fishing definitely won't be as good as last year. But if we had good weather, there's no doubt in my mind that we'd be breaking records."

That being said, Clear Lake is too strong of a fishery not to give up its fair share of whopping stringers in today's competition.

"Somebody who knows what they're doing will get on fish because this lake is just awesome," said McConville. "I traveled 14 hours just to fish here. This is one tournament I wasn't going to miss."

Tournament rules

The Stren Series event, which runs March 1-4, represents the second of four regular-season Western Division events. The total purse for the Clear Lake event is $262,000. The winning pro could earn as much as $64,500 in cash and prizes if various contingency awards are met, and the winning co-angler could earn as much as $35,000.

Action continues at today's weigh-in, scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. (Pacific Standard Time) at Konocti Vista Casino Resort and Marina, located at 2755 Mission Rancheria Road in Lakeport, Calif.

Wednesday's conditions:

Sunrise: 6:44 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 39 degrees
Expected high temperature: 54 degrees
Water temperature: 47-49 degrees
Wind: from the south, southeast at 13 mph
Humidity: 67 percent
Day's outlook: cloudy skies giving way to showers

Tags: gary-mortenson  morning-story  2006-03-01-clear-lake 

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