UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Lake Lanier

Curtiss bags massive limit to lead Stren Series on Clear Lake

Curtiss bags massive limit to lead Stren Series on Clear Lake
Lincoln, Calif. pro Wade Curtiss enlists tournament director Chris Jones to help hold his 34-pound, 11-ounce stringer.

KELSEYVILLE, CALIF. - They caught `em coming, going and doing. Indeed, with funky weather confusing the Clear Lake reproductive schedule, anglers fishing day one of the Stren Series Western Division event in Kelseyville, Calif., encountered fish in prespawn, postspawn and spawning modes.

Essentially, the combination of a late winter, a recent warming trend plus the sharp cold front that chilled area waters on Monday really fiddled with Clear Lake's usual spawning period. Many anglers reported that the lake was fishing differently than what they're accustomed to, and admissions of head scratching were common.

However, a cool morning quickly gave way to a full day of clear skies and lots of egg-warming Brian Nollar fished drop shot rigs over rock piles to find a limit worth second place on the pro side.sunshine. Several anglers reported finding the big female bass moving into shallow spawning areas that were practically barren during practice. Elsewhere, anglers like pro leader Wade Curtiss of Prunedale, Calif., fared well with transitional fish.

Actually, Curtiss fared exceptionally well, bagging an astounding limit of 34 pounds, 11 ounces - the eighth-heaviest stringer weighed in an FLW tournament. Understandably tight-lipped with every detail, except the one about his fish being wet, Curtis did share that his was a day of diversity.

"I worked (a variety) of structure - I started out north and worked my way south," he said. "All our fish were suspending fish, and I tried to slow everything down."

Curtiss said he used mostly jigs and soft plastics for reaction strikes. Although he completed his limit around 2 p.m., his day started with an estimated 8-pounder in the first hour of fishing.

Looking for prespawn fish in staging areas, pro Jeff Billings worked the north and south ends of Clear Lake to finish third. "We caught bigger fish than I expected," said Curtiss, who will carry a leading margin of 8 pounds, 9 ounces into day two. "I was hoping to catch 20 pounds, but I had 29 by about noon."

Nollar second

In second place, Brian Nollar of Homer, Alaska, sacked a limit weighing 26-2. Nollar fished drop-shot rigs over rock piles in 12 to 24 feet of water behind Rattlesnake Island and caught fish throughout the day.

"I caught probably five limits of 3-pound fish," he said.

Nollar said that after finding plenty of smaller fish in practice, he was confident that he could catch 15 pounds. However, catching a 7-pounder around 7:30 a.m. gave him hope for bigger potential.

"All week, there were so many little males in there that I figured there had to be some females coming up. When I caught that (big fish) early, I knew that more would be coming up. It was just a matter of finding more spots and working them really slow."

Billings brings in third

After a lackluster practice, Jeff Billings, or Clearlake, Calif., was delighted to take third place with 25-13. Fishing both ends of the lake, he targeted prespawn areas, mostly around creek mouths, and threw off-white-colored swimbaits all day.

"I was just looking for areas where I thought the big bass would be staging," Billings said. "We got lucky Fourth place pro Jim Davis also won the Snickers Big Bass award with his 10-pound, 10-ounce whopper.and found some good spots today and got some good fish."

Big bass anchors fourth

A 10-pound, 10-ounce toad earned the Snickers Big Bass award for Jim Davis of Plumas Lake, Calif. Fishing watermelon Senkos over rocks in about 10 feet, Davis finished fourth with 23-6.

Australian finds fifth place

Fifth -place pro Stephen Morgan of Queensland, Australia, said the barramundi he catches in his homeland could eat most of the bass in his bag - except for the personal best 10-pounder that anchored his 22-12 limit. He fished white and gray Senkos in Rodman Slough.

Rest of the best

Hailing from Queensland, Australia, Stephen Morgan caught a personal best 10-pounder to secure a fifth-place finish.Rounding out the top 10 pro leaders at the Stren Series Clear Lake event:

6th: Ron Colby of Page, Ariz., 22-7
7th: Jared Stone of Lakeport, Calif., 22-2
8th: Tony Franceschi of San Ramon, Calif., 21-7
9th: Richard Dobyns of Yuba City, Calif., 21-6
10th: Michael C. Tuck of Antelope, Calif., 21-2

Co-angler Tracy tracks down heavy limit

Working tules around creek mouths at the north end of Clear Lake, Dan Tracy of Prunedale, Calif., topped the Co-angler Division with a limit weighing 23 pounds, 7 ounces. Prune-colored finesse worms were his top bait, and measured presentations proved essential.

Fishing slowly and meticulously proved effective for Dan Tracy who topped the co-angler division."I was just trying to slow down my presentation," he said. "The water's cold, so everything is slow right now, and the fish are really lethargic. The bites are so subtle that you have to go really slow and feel everything. You can't lose your concentration."

Rest of the best

In second place, Kyle Baker of Lancaster, Calif., anchored his 23-pound, 1-ounce limit with a 9-13 that took Big Bass honors for day one. Third-place co-angler Scott Sweet of Chatsworth, Calif., also had a 9-pounder in his 22-pound sack. Tommy Cardoza of Lakeport, Calif., finished fourth with 20-9, and San Diego's Fred Olson was fifth with 20-0.

Rounding out the top 10 co-angler leaders at the Stren Series Clear Lake event:

6th: Rich Reeser of Dixon, Calif., 19-1
7th: Jerry Garcia Jr. of San Diego, 17-15
8th: JR Wright of Truckee, Calif., 17-11
9th: Thomas Wang of Saratoga, Calif., 17-9
10th: Thomas Vance of Mineral, Wash., 17-8

Day two of Stren Series action on Clear Lake continues at Thursday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 6:30 a.m. PDT at Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa in Kelseyville, Calif.

Tags: david-a-brown  headline-story  2008-04-16-clear-lake 

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