UPCOMING EVENT: FLW SERIES - 2020 - Toledo Bend Lake

Swim meet

Swim meet
Anglers and camera crews head out for the final day of FLW Series Western Division action on Clear Lake.

KELSEYVILLE, Calif. - Randy Mcabee Jr. was resolute on his intentions for the final day of FLW Series National Guard Western Division action on Clear Lake - go big or go home.

The pro leader since day one, Mcabee has been throwing a 7-inch Osprey Tournament Talon swimbait all week and he sees no reason to make any changes today, other than alternating between light hitch and dark hitch colors.

"I'll have two swimbaits tied on and those are the only rods on my deck," Mcabee said.

Yesterday, Mcabee reported losing a pair of 5-pounders and a double-digit toad that would have given him even more of an advantage than the 4-pound, 5-ounce lead he currently holds with is total of 66-8. Keeping his fish buttoned up will be an ongoing concern, but so will the weather. With Clear Lake recovering from recent cold fronts, three days of sunny weather have helped the fish regain theirA little more wind on day four will bode well for the swimbait bite. composure, but that's not what a swimbait slinger wants to hear.

"It's warming up and the fish are kind of stabilizing and moving up shallower," Mcabee said. "I liked it when it was a little cooler and the fish were more lethargic and down deep where I wanted them to be."

One element working in Mcabee's favor is the wind. Days one through three saw calm mornings with peppy breezes kicking up by early afternoon. This morning, the American flag on the checkout boat flapped steadily as anglers prepared for their final launch.

"I did better yesterday when the wind blew," Mcabee said. "It looks like the wind is going to blow all day today, so it might be to my advantage."

For time management, Mcabee will limit himself to about 10 spots. Throughout the week, he has found his best action in the mornings up until 9:30 and then again after 1:30. Today's 2:45 check-in will leave little of the afternoon action.

Top pro Randy Mcabee Jr will commit his entire day to the big swimbait that got him to the show."I'll get that morning bite and the first part of the afternoon and then I'll have to go," he said.

Following Mcabee in second since day two, Jared Lintner has caught limits of 20-plus pounds each day and enters the final round with 62-3.

"I have three areas where I've been catching them but it's been different every day," he said. "The fish aren't going to leave those areas - I just don't know what they're going to bite. They might go back to biting the swimbait, or they might bite a Rat-L-Trap. I even have a spinnerbait, just in case. I've been fortunate for the past three days to make the right adjustments. Every day has been different."

Given the general go-for-broke mood of a final day, Lintner said he might have to stir the pot and see what floats to the surface. "In practice, I caught fewer fish doing different things, but they were bigger than the ones I've been catching. If I have to, I'm just going to run every little isolated spot that I know onSitting in second place, Jared Lintner knows he has a lot of ground to make up. He this lake and try to catch big ones. By one o'clock, I might just abandon everything I've been fishing for the past three days and just go fish."

Mcabee's lead puts pressure on the rest of the pack and Lintner said he'll need his best day to overtake the top spot. "Randy's a very good fisherman up here and he's going to catch 20-25 again today. So for me to even think about having a shot at (winning), I'll need at least 25 pounds."

Dreams of victory probably thin out further down in the standings. Then again, this is Clear Lake and its reputation as the top western bass lake is well deserved. Phoenix pro Brett Hite sits in ninth place with 57-7. He said that a couple of key bites can dramatic shuffle the standings.

National Guard pro Clifford Pirch gives a dockside interview prior to takeoff."You're never really out of it on Clear Lake," Hite said. "You can pull up to any spot and (possibly) catch an 8-pounder. The problem is that there are a lot of 2 1/2- to 3-pounders. Getting those 5- to 8-pound bites is what's putting people over the 20-pound mark. Randy has a big lead over me, but even up to second or third is pretty reachable with a good day."

National Guard pro Clifford Pirch (third place, 60-0) would appreciate a shot at another big fish like the 9-3 that earned him the Folgers Big Bass award on day three. Yesterday, Pirch found that he needed a mix of reaction and finesse tactics, so he's geared up for both possibilities today.

In sixth place with 58-10, Jimmy Reese will throw a swimbait and flip a Zoom Brush Hog in hopes of finding something bigger than the many 3- to 4-pounders he has been wading through for the last three days. Sticking with the shallow game, he'll fish docks and vegetation in a foot to eight feet of water.

Logistics

Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at the Walmart store located at 15960 Dam Road in Clear Lake,Sixth place pro Jimmy Reese will target docks and shallow vegetation at the north end of the lake. beginning at 4 p.m.

Children will also be treated to a Family Fun Zone prior to Saturday's weigh-in at Walmart from noon to 4 p.m. Activities in the Family Fun Zone include a trout pond, a Ranger boat simulator and assorted fishing-themed games. The Fun Zone will also include fishing seminars from the National Guard pros, rod and reel giveaways and a drawing for a $300 Walmart gift card. All activities are free and open to the public.

The entire field competes for the first three days of FLW Series events. Co-angler winners are determined on day three based on the heaviest accumulated three-day weight. The top 10 professionals continue competition on day four, and the winner is determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days.

Saturday's conditions:

Sunrise: 7:31 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 50 degrees
Expected high temperature: 74 degrees
Water temperature: 63-65 degrees
Wind: WNW at 5-10 mph
Max. Humidity: 75 percent
Day's outlook: Mostly sunny

Tags: david-a-brown  morning-story  2009-10-21-clear-lake 

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