UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Ericksen extends Clear Lake lead

Ericksen extends Clear Lake lead
Pro Steve Ericksen will take a 7-pound lead into the final day of Stren Western competition at Clear Lake.

KELSEYVILLE, Calif. - An 11th-hour decision Thursday led to nearly a 7-pound lead Friday for Steve Ericksen, which he will carry into the final day of the Stren Series Western Division event on Clear Lake.

After a middling practice, held mostly on the southern end of the lake and yielding 15- to 16-pound bags, the San Jose, Calif., pro said he gambled on day one by expanding his search: "I decided I had to change up. I said, `I'm either going to come in the top 10 or bottom 10.'"

The gamble paid off big time: 51 pounds over two days. Today he added a five-bass limit weighing 23 pounds, 9 ounces to his 27-7 sack from yesterday to firmly place him in the driver's seat of the Stren Western season opener.

Ericksen plucked a couple to the south yesterday in deeper water, but found his comfort zone in several areas in the northern arms of the lake. Today he said he quickly moved around his best areas, targeting tules, docks and other standing structure in "a combination of shallow and deep water, fishing fairly fast."

Like Thursday, Ericksen cast creature and imitation baits today, as well as some jigs and swimbaits in natural and dark colors - all of them "big." But he abandoned his methodical presentations today and sped up.

"If I'm not getting bit fast, I move on," he said.

His travel partner and fellow pro Adam McAndrews likely wishes he would have moved on too. McAndrews stuck to their practice pattern, fishing in deeper water to the south to give Ericksen a run for his money with 26-11 on day one. But with the recent warmup, bass have been moving in shallower, and McAndrews zeroed today.

Pro Randy McAbee Jr. is in second at Clear Lake."We were doing opposite things yesterday," Ericksen said with a mischievous grin (his new game plan came as a surprise to McAndrews). "Hopefully, this holds up."

Former AOY vaults 10 places into second

Randy McAbee Jr. is the 2007 Walmart FLW Series Angler of the Year in the Western Division; he was ranked 11th last season in that circuit; he ended the 2006 Stren Western Division season ranked 12th (his only season in that circuit until this year); and he has four top-10 finishes to his credit.

About the only thing he hasn't done out West is win an FLW Outdoors tournament, and if there's anyone who can catch Ericksen tomorrow, McAbee is probably a good bet.

"This lake fishes the way I like to fish," he said (fifth place on Clear Lake in the FLW Series in 2007).

But McAbee said tomorrow's forecast for even sunnier skies, warmer temperatures and calmer conditions may thwart his attempt at a first win: "If that sun shines through tomorrow though, it could be all over for me. I'm not even getting any big bites until the sun goes behind the clouds like this afternoon."

That's when they started biting for the Bakersfield, Calif., pro, his biggest coming on a 7-inch Osprey swimbait in "dark hitch" color. He said he's fishing his swimbait arsenal "deep and slow," but also burning crankbaits.

McAbee worked hard for his 23-pound, 2-ounce limit today, which he added to his 20-15 from day one for a total of 44-1. He fished all over the lake - from the midlake area of the north side to the Rattlesnake arm to Redbud (tomorrow's launch site in Clearlake).

Pro Jeff Billings is in third going into the finals at Clear Lake."I've been running and gunning," he said. "I'm making an 80-mile run on a 15-mile lake."

Billings climbs six places

Local pro Jeff Billings of Clearlake leveraged a 7-9 kicker fish to climb half a dozen places into third Friday. Adding his 21-15 limit from today to his 21-11 from Thursday, he is 7 pounds, 6 ounces off the lead.

"I'm not catching a lot of fish, just getting quality bites," he said.

Billings caught eight largemouth bass Thursday and six today, so he said he hopes that doesn't mean an under-limit four tomorrow. His bass are coming later in the day on a green-pumpkin Senko with red flakes - "just throwing it out there and letting it sit" - in anywhere from 5 to 20 feet of water. He is fishing to the south of Kinocti Harbor, but relatively close.

Pro Mathew Saavedra will head out in boat No. 4 on the final day of Stren Western action on Clear Lake."There have been a lot of guys around me, so less pressure tomorrow might help."

Saavedra climbs a slot

Redding, Calif., pro Mathew Saavedra said Thursday he hoped for more sun on day two. He got his wish and was able to add an 18-pound limit to his 24-10 sack from day one for a two-day total of 42-10 and fourth place.

Saavedra fished both ends of the lake on days one and two, but tapped a couple of newly productive honeyholes near Lakeport today.

"I fished the same areas," he said, "but I did hit a couple of new areas that opened up a whole new light."

Today Saavedra mostly fished 1/2-ounce jigs and Senkos, fished weightless, in brown and purple Chad Martin landed the Pro Division Big Bass on day one at Clear Lake. It weighed 9-12.colors.

Martin fifth

Pro Chad Martin of Plumas Lake, Calif., added an 18-10 limit today to his 23-4 from day one, anchored by yesterday's Folgers Big Bass that weighed 9-12. His two-day total stands at 41 pounds, 14 ounces, good enough for fifth place.

Martin has been fishing to the north near Lakeport with Senkos and spinnerbaits in shallow water. He caught his Thursday kicker in about 3 feet of water on a Senko, green-pumpkin color, on 8-pound-test.

Big Bass

Matt Newman of Agoura Hills, Calif., earned today's Folgers Big Bass honors in the Pro Division with an 8-12 largemouth worth $333. He caught it south of the launch, fishing shallow with a green-pumpkin Picasso Fantasy Football Jig.
Matt Newman caught the biggest bass, this 8-12 beauty, and limit in the Pro Division on day two at Clear Lake to rocket from 69th place to seventh.
And if there was a heat-seeker award, he would have won that too: His 26-6 limit was the day's largest and the third largest of the tournament so far, launching him from 69th after day one into the top 10 at seventh.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros to make the cut after day two in the Stren Western at Clear Lake:

6th: Rob Riehl of Tracy, Calif., 10 bass, 41-13
7th: Newman, 10 bass, 41-10
8th: Roy Hawk of Salt Lake City, Utah, 10 bass 40-7
9th: Michael Tuck of Antelope, Calif., 10 bass, 40-4
10th: Sean Minderman of Spokane, Wash., 10 bass, 39-7

Goldston still man to beat in Co-angler Division

Things are a little tighter atop the co-angler leaderboard, but Tommie Goldston of Gardnerville, Nev., is Tommie Goldston leads the Co-angler Division after day two of the Stren Western at Clear Lake.still leading the pack. He brought in a five-bass limit from the back of the boat Friday weighing 14 pounds, 15 ounces to give him a two-day total of 37-11.

"I was shaking soft plastics again ... green ones, watermelon and pumpkin," he said, adding that he didn't want to be any more specific than that until after Friday's finale.

Goldston fished with pro Zach Thompson today in the midlake area in 15 to 25 feet of water.

When asked if he could remain consistent to close out the tourney, he said, "I'm going to do it again tomorrow."

Baker inches closer

Kyle Baker of Lancaster, Calf., is closing the gap on Goldston, finishing runner-up again Thursday after fishing with pro Noble Moore. Baker brought in a five-bass limit weighing 15-11 for a two-day total of 36-10, shaving 12 ounces off Goldston's lead.

Baker said Moore was a great partner, taking him "pretty much everywhere ... he made sure I got my five fish."

Baker is fishing a Zoom finesse worm on a shaky head to land his bass.

"Hopefully I just have to capitalize on my strikes," he said of his chances tomorrow.

Garmeson gets third

Jeff Garmeson of Rancho Cordova, Calif., fished in the midlake area behind Mark Casey today to sack a 19-pound limit for a two-day total of 35-1 and third place. Garmeson said he fished "really, really slow - Michael Hong caught the day-two Folgers Big Bass in the Co-angler Division at Clear Lake.almost dead-sticking it" with ¾-ounce brown and green-pumpkin jigs in 5 to 20 feet of water.

Big Bass

Michael Hong of San Francisco snared the Folgers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division worth $166. He caught it in 30 feet of water on the south end of the lake on a drop-shot rigged with a 6-inch Roboworm in "Margarita Mutilator" color.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers to make the cut after day two in the Stren Western at Clear Lake:

4th: Christopher Ricci of Bend, Ore., 10 bass, 34-13
5th: David Keithahn of Patterson, Calif., nine bass, 34-1
6th: J.R. Wright of Truckee, Calif., 10 bass, 33-14
7th: David Bush of Sonoma, Calif., 10 bass, 33-13
8th: Mark White of Tucson, Ariz., 10 bass, 33-10
9th: Thomas Wang of Saratoga, Calif., 10 bass, 33-1
10th: Craig Smith of Truckee, Calif., 10 bass, 33-0

The final takeoff will take place tomorrow at 6:30 a.m. at Redbud Park, located at 14655 Lakeshore Drive in Clear Lake, Calif. Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at the Walmart store located at 15960 Dam Road in Clearlake beginning at 4 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

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

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