UPCOMING EVENT: TACKLE WAREHOUSE PRO CIRCUIT - 2020 - Lake Erie

Quick Bites: FLW Series Western, Clear Lake, Day 3

Quick Bites: FLW Series Western, Clear Lake, Day 3
Fred Contaoi holds up the Snickers Big Bass from the Pro Division Friday. This fish weighed 11 pounds, 1 ounce.

Wal-Mart FLW Series National Guard Western Division
Clear Lake, Kelseyville, Calif.
Opening round, Friday

Worst-kept secret? ... For the last several months, there has been a rumor floating around bass-fishing circles that the FLW Series East-West Fish-Off, which is scheduled to take place Feb. 7-9, 2008, will be held on Lake Amistad in Del Rio, Texas. Since FLW Outdoors hasn't officially stated anything, this is purely speculation. But that hasn't stopped several anglers from talking about Amistad onstage. "I'm looking forward to Lake Amistad," said 2006 Forrest Wood Cup champion Brent Ehrler Wednesday. FLW Outdoors CEO Charlie Evans then replied, "What's on Lake Amistad?" Tomorrow the waiting game ends, as the official location will be announced with the conclusion of the final qualifying event. The top 30 pros and top 30 co-anglers from each 2007 FLW Series division will be invited to the fishoff, where the pros will compete head-to-head for three days to determine who will advance to the 2008 Forrest Wood Cup for a shot at winning the sport's biggest award - $1 million. The No. 1 BP Eastern Division pro will face the No. 30 National Guard Western Division pro, and the No. 1 Western Division pro will face the No. 30 Eastern Division pro, etc.

National Guard pro Tim Klinger never gave up and finished the opening round in sixth place.Klinger climbs the mountain ... Friday was a big day for the National Guard fishing team, and not just because the National Guard is the title sponsor of this event. Not only did co-angler Justin Lucas win back-to-back events, but National Guard pro Tim Klinger climbed a steep mountain and made the top-10 cutoff. Klinger started the tournament with a dismal showing of only four bass weighing 11 pounds. That put him in 164th place. On day two, he rebounded with a five-bass limit that weighed 19 pounds - finishing the day in 67th place. Today he caught the second-heaviest limit of the tournament and amazingly qualified for the top-10 cut in sixth place. Klinger's day-three stringer weighed 27 pounds, 4 ounces and included an 8-pound, 14-ounce brute. "It was a pretty awesome day," said the 2004 Wal-Mart Open champion. "They were there all week; they were just looking at my bait. I lost one yesterday that weighed about 9 pounds." Come to think of it, that might have been the same fish that anchored his big catch today.

Using the whole tackle box ... Clear Lake has built a reputation as one of the best bass-fishing lakes in the entire country, especially for big fish. But another cool attribute is its versatility. Simply put, you can catch bass pretty much any way you want. Some popular presentations this week have included jigs, swimbaits, crankbaits, Carolina rigs, drop-shots and frogs. Basically, what you need to do is open your tackle box, randomly select a lure, tie it on and hold on.

A look at what happens later when a bass swallows a plastic stickbait.Digesting plastic ... Co-angler Ken Schmitt had an awesome tournament, finishing in third place and earning nearly $9,000. He also experienced a strange, unpleasant moment Friday. Shortly after being weighed in, Schmitt's kicker fish was trying to ... uh hmm ... get rid of a stickbait. Or as one of the fans in attendance said so eloquently, "It's pooping a Senko."

Winds of change ... A little cloud cover and a change in wind allowed anglers to use reactions baits for the first time all week. But that same wind that helped some killed others. Just ask Gary Dobyns, who was in the thick of the Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year race until the wind blew. Dobyns was on a solid topwater bite on the north end of the lake. The key word in that sentence is "was." "The wind just killed my frog bite," he said. "There were 4-footers in some areas up there. I didn't adjust well today." Dobyns still caught 13-5 and 47-13 overall, easily good enough for one of the $10,000 checks.

McAbee Jr. unofficially claims AOY ... At the conclusion of the opening round, we have finally determined a Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year in the Western Division. Heading into the final qualifying event, Clayton Meyer held the lead with 571 points over three events. Trailing Meyer was Randy McAbee with 567 points, Ehrler with 564 points, Dobyns with 548 points and Andre Randy McAbee Jr. reacts after learning he won the Angler of the Year award on the Western Division of the FLW Series. Moore with 543 points. Meyer finished 121st with 37-10, McAbee is seventh with 57-3, Ehrler finished 21st with 51-1, Dobyns finished 38th with 47-13, and Moore is second with 61-6. Unofficially, McAbee has claimed the title, while Ehrler finished second and Moore third. Meyer slipped considerably, and Dobyns retained fourth. Unofficially, McAbee has 761 points, Ehrler has 744, Moore has 742, Dobyns has 711, and Meyer has 651. With one day on the water remaining, McAbee and Moore could have their overall points total change, but it is mathematically impossible for them to change places within the standings.

Quick numbers:

46-5: Three-day total weight, in pounds and ounces, needed to earn one of the coveted $10,000 checks.

7-10: Weight, in pounds and ounces, of Chris Zaldain's lead over Moore.

Co-angler Justin Lucas shows off the winning fish he caught Friday on Clear Lake.2: Number of victories for 19-year-old Lucas.

4: Number of top-10 finishes for Lucas, who has competed in only 13 events.

11-1: Weight, in pounds and ounces, of the Snickers Big Bass in the Pro Division, caught by Fred Contaoi.

Sound bites:

"I need to start learning how to tie knots." - pro Mitch Southern, who broke off a few fish Friday.

"Unfortunately, that swimbait fishing isn't real high percentage stuff." - National Guard pro Clifford Pirch.

"I'm just not doing what everybody else is doing." - Moore, explaining the reason for his success.

"The Japanese love me." - weighmaster Robbie Floyd, after asking an angler how long the drive was from Tokyo.

"You're consistent though." - Evans, offering condolences to co-angler Mike Bartolomucci, who caught a 1-pound, 9-ounce bass each of the final two days.

"I went back to Havasu to catch these." - Arizona pro Mike Goodwin, who apparently made a lengthy run on day three and broke tournament rules.

Saturday's takeoff is scheduled to take place at 7:30 a.m. Pacific time at Redbud Park, located at 14655 Lakeshore Drive in Clearlake, Calif.

Tags: brett-carlson  quick-bites  2007-10-24-clear-lake 

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