UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Lake Okeechobee

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

10-pounder anchors Hughes’ Clear Lake lead

This whopping 10-pounder bouyed the leading bag for Howard G Hughes on day one at Clear Lake.

CLEARLAKE, Calif. - In competitive circles, the term "fish factory" isn't handed out lightly, but for EverStart Northern Division anglers plying their craft on the Golden State gold mine known as Clear Lake, the term fits.

After a practice week that produced reports of anglers stacking up big numbers on a variety of tactics, many were left to wonder if the show would live up to its previews. Well, we can wax poetic on how the pride of Northern California lived up to the hype, or we can just look at the numbers. Since the latter never lie, that'll be our course.

On the pro side, 80 anglers caught their 5-bass limit, with 25 sacks breaking the 20-pound mark. Run all the way down to 65th place and we still see 15 pounds. Big fish on the pro side - that was the 10-pounder caught by division leader Howard Hughes, whom we'll get to shortly.

Co-anglers put on quite a show as well, with 40 more limits coming from the back of the boats. Four co's broke the 20-pound mark and it took 19-1 to make the top-10.

Now, if it sounds like an all-out whack fest, it should be noted that such was certainly the case for some, while others reported a lot of looking and casting to manage only a handful of keeper bites. Often, the low productivity was a function of big-fish tactics. Some anglers spent a lot of time walking topwaters or slinging swimbaits. Both tactics hold homerun potential on Clear Lake, but there's often aHoward G Hughes used finesse tactics to tempt his leading catch. lot of time between bites.

Hughes, who hails from Redding, Calif., took a different and obviously effective course. A self-proclaimed finesse specialist, he stuck with small presentations and sacked up a limit that went 25-10. Fishing six-inch worms on an undisclosed rig, Hughes used 8-pound line and that made for an interesting moment when the big fish decided to bite.

"It was quite a lot of fun - it scared us to death," he said. "It was my first fish of the morning, on my third cast."

Mostly targeting rocky ledges in 10-15 feet, Hughes sat on one spot until about 1 p.m. and diligently worked his finesse technique. His strategy was to give the fish a more subtle look than much of what they had seen throughout an intense practice week.

"There's been a lot of pressure on the lake, so I thought I'd stay with that and see what happens," he said. "So far, it's working out."

Today saw minimal breezes with temperatures in the low 90's. The hot, still conditions were atypical for late summer on Clear Lake and Hughes said the bass seem to be push ahead with their seasonal transition. Big schools of shad, hitch and silversides are moving progressively shallower and the bass are in hot pursuit. Therefore, Hughes said that positioning himself in the transitional zone was key.

California pro Ken Mah caught the day"They want very much for it to be fall, so they're staging on the bait coming (into) the shallows," he said. "I stayed right near 25 feet all day."

Mah flips into second

Trailing the lead by just 10 ounces, Ken Mah of Elk Grove, Calif., set the bar high in the first few minutes of the weigh-in by bringing 25 even to the scales. He started his day by throwing an old-school double prop bait and occasionally switching to a swimbait. Ultimately, Mah did most of his damage by flipping an orange craw.

"It's kind of ugly, but I think it's different," he said. "I like throwing different baits. Everybody's throwing the same bait - I get away from it and throw something else."

Mah said his decision on when to switch from topwater to flipping was based less on conventional wisdom of going subsurface as the sun ascends and more on habitat. "I have a little something figured out on where they want to be. I can look at a spot and pull up on it and catch fish. It's location."

Although clearly pleased with his day's ultimate result, Mah said it began in lackluster fashion.

"I caught 11 all day, so the bite's not on fire for me," he said. "The first two hours were kind of dead for me. I was throwing a big topwater bait, looking for a couple of big bites."A mix of reaction baits and finesse tactics led Michael C. Tuck to third place.

Tuck takes third

Michael Tuck of Granite Bay, Calif. turned in a third-place bag weighing 23-13. Tuck said he began his day shallow with reaction baits but when his first two spots failed to produce, he moved out deeper and started catching fish on a mix of dropshots, wacky rigs and Carolina rigged brush hogs.

"The fish are moving up and down, so you have to pay attention to the bait and water color," he said. "You have to keep checking shallow and keep checking deep. They just show up on spots at different times of the day and if you catch one, it fires up the school and you can catch 15 in a row.

"That's how it was for me. I'd go through a dry spell and then I'd catch 10. I'd go through another dry spell and then I'd catch 10 in a row and maybe one would be a good one. They were shallow certain times of the day and deep certain times of the day. I don't know what (caused) that, but figuring it out Wacky rigging Megabass worms put Kazuki Kodama in fourth place.is the key."

Kodama goes wacky for fourth

Sitting less than a pound behind Tuck, Kazuki Kodama bagged 23 pounds by wacky rigging Megabass soft plastics.

"Early, I fished grass and tules and in the afternoon, I fished rock piles - the (windward) side," he said.

Kodama noted that with many anglers fishing close to the structure, he found that his better bites came when he stayed farther away. He caught most of his rock pile fish in 13-14 feet of water.

Adams takes a close fifth

Steve Adams, of Discovery Bay, Calif. bagged 22-13 on day one and came in just 3 ounces behind Kodama. Adams said he fished a mix of topwater and subsurface bait.Fifth-place pro Steve Adams split his day between topwater and subsurface presentations.

"I was just chasing them," he said. "If I wasn't getting bit, I'd move out a little deeper and get one and then move back up.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 pro leaders at the EverStart Series Clear Lake event:

6th: Joe Uribe Jr., of Lake Forest, Calif., 22-11
7th: Mark Crutcher, of Lakeport, Calif., 22-5
8th: Kevin Stewart, of Elk Grove, Calif., 22-1
9th: Chris Franks, of Petaluma, Calif., 22-0
10th: Clayton Meyer, of Henderson, NV, 21-8

Reaction baits give Bartolomucci co-angler lead

Mike Bartolomucci, of Winters, Calif. caught a limit of bass that weighed 23-12 and topped the co-This 7-pounder earned Snickers Big Bass honors for Bryant Smith.angler division. Paired with California pro Charley Almassey (15th place, 20-12), the leader caught his fish in the lake's north end in less than 10 feet of water. The anglers were looking for isolated schools of fish that were occupying the channels within grass beds where baitfish were moving.

"My pro put me on good water and told me what to throw and it worked," Bartolomucci said. "It's been tough up here. I've been practicing in my own boat and I've been looking but I never found (big groups of fish) until today. That's all on Charley."

Bartolomucci caught his fish on reaction baits. He caught seven keepers, including one that went 7 pounds.

Bryant Smith, of Castro Valley, Calif., took second place with 21-14, while Josh Unruh, of Pocatello, Id. was third with 21-4. In fourth place, Pat Wilson, of Petaluma, Calif. had 20-15 and Scott Hamman, of Sacramento, Calif. was fifth, with 19-11.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 pro leaders at the EverStart Series Clear Lake event:Mike Bartolomucci topped the co-angler division with 23 pounds, 12 ounces.

6th: Travis Bounds, or Roseville, Calif., 19-9
7th: Lester Albury, of Temecula, Calif., 19-7
8th: Chad Leblanc, of Sutter, Calif., 19-6
9th: Marvin Hawkes, of Mesa, Ariz., 19-3
10th: Merl Nunes, Vacaville, Calif., 19-1

Bryant caught a 7-pounder that earned Snickers Big Bass honors.

Day three of EverStart Series Western Division action at Clear Lake continues at Saturday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7:00 a.m. (Western) at Redbud Park located at 14655 Lakeshore Drive in Clearlake, Calif.

Tags: david-a-brown  headline-story  2011-09-22-clear-lake 

/news/2019-01-14-bolton-hangs-on

Bolton Hangs On

With a 17-pound, 6-ounce bag on day four of the FLW Tour opener on Sam Rayburn, which was presented by Polaris, the 24-year Tour veteran did something he’s been within ounces of doing so many times before: He won. He won his first Tour event, and he did it despite a handful of tremendous anglers — including standout rookie Nick LeBrun and the best angler on the planet, Bryan Thrift — breathing down his neck in a furious effort to outpace the Benton, Ky., pro. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-14-sam-rayburn-day-4-coverage

Sam Rayburn Day 4 Coverage

Complete coverage of day four at the 2019 FLW Tour event presented by Polaris on Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Brookeland, Texas. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-12-bolton-bearing-down-on-first-tour-w

Bolton Bearing Down on First Tour W

Day three of the FLW Tour presented by Polaris on Sam Rayburn was tougher overall, but Terry Bolton still put 19 pounds, 10 ounces in the boat to boost his leading total to 73-13. Behind him, Nick LeBrun gained some ground, edging to within 5 pounds of the lead, weighing 20-13 for a 69-1 total. Going into the final day, Bolton, LeBrun and Bryan Thrift have all tallied more than 68 pounds, and they’ll be shooting it out in Texas for the win. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-12-sam-rayburn-day-3-coverage

Sam Rayburn Day 3 Coverage

Complete coverage of day three at the 2019 FLW Tour event presented by Polaris on Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Brookeland, Texas. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-11-bolton-busts-33-9-on-big-sam

Bolton Busts 33-9 on Big Sam

Terry “Blade” Bolton can catch ‘em, of that there’s no doubt, and recently he’s threatened for his first FLW Tour win, but he may have his best shot yet in the FLW Tour opener presented by Polaris on Sam Rayburn. After weighing a whopping 33 pounds, 9 ounces on day two, Bolton took the lead with a 54-3 total. In second, Nick LeBrun followed up his 29-pound day one with 19-2 for a 48-4 total – just shy of 6 pounds behind Bolton. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-11-sam-rayburn-day-2-coverage

Sam Rayburn Day 2 Coverage

Complete coverage of day two at the 2019 FLW Tour event presented by Polaris on Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Brookeland, Texas. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-10-lebrun-drops-29-on-rayburn

LeBrun Drops 29 on Rayburn

Winner of the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American in 2018, Nick LeBrun started his FLW Tour career in style, smashing a personal-best bag of 29 pounds, 2 ounces for the lead. Overall, the fishing on day one of the FLW Tour presented by Polaris on Sam Rayburn was excellent, with plenty of limits and 10 bags over 20 pounds. Close behind LeBrun is Sam George, another rookie, who put a whopping 28-5 in the boat to start things off. Behind them, Chad Warren and Jordan Osborne both topped 25 pounds. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-07-top-10-patterns-from-lake-amistad

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Amistad

Wintertime patterns with just a touch of prespawn action dominated the Costa FLW Series opener presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Amistad. Crankbaits, jerkbaits, umbrella rigs, swimbaits and drop-shots were the go-to baits used by the top finishers. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-06-top-10-baits-from-lake-amistad

Top 10 Baits from Lake Amistad

Wintertime bass fishing tactics dominated at Lake Amistad in January, as the top finishers relied on jerkbaits, crankbaits, drop-shots, swimbaits and umbrella rigs to get the job done. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-05-childs-holds-on-for-co-angler-win

Childs Holds on for Co-angler Win

Jay Childs caught two giant largemouths on day one, along with a smaller keeper, to take the early lead at Lake Amistad. Then he survived today for the win with a pair of keepers that included one smallmouth. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-05-hanselmania-wins-again-at-amistad

Hanselmania Wins Again at Amistad

Ray “Hanselmania” Hanselman won the 2019 Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Amistad today with a two-day total of 38 pounds. The tournament was shortened to two days after day one was cancelled due to severe weather. Hanselman opened the tournament Friday with a 25-pound, 15-ounce catch that put him 9-7 ahead of second place. He could’ve stayed home today and still won the tournament, but the local angler added 12-1 to finish the blowout win. Second-place finisher Tyson Patrick’s two-day total only equaled what Hanselman caught on day one. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-05-amistad-midday-update-day-3

Amistad Midday Update - Day 3

Lake Amistad was in a stingy mood for the final day of Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division action, as evidenced by a lot of long-faced anglers with lots of vacancy in their livewells. A slightly warmer day began with flat, calm conditions, but a light breeze was gaining some consistency by early afternoon. It’s possible that the growing ripples may break up the surface enough to stimulate a few fish into chasing reaction baits. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-04-amistad-midday-update-day-2

Amistad Midday Update – Day 2

Prespawn staging is probably just around the corner, but for now the big and small fish in Amistad are still in their winter patterns — holding on main lake points and structure, lounging in the low grass lining the mouths of creeks and pockets and filling their bellies. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-04-top-5-patterns-from-lake-amistad-day-2

Top 5 Patterns From Lake Amistad – Day 2

Wintertime bass fishing tactics are in play at Lake Amistad for the Costa FLW Series opener. The tactics used today offer a good how-to lesson in dealing with early season conditions. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-04-hanselman-way-in-front-at-amistad

Hanselman Way in Front at Amistad

Ray "Hanselmania" Hanselman caught a massive 25-pound, 15-ounce limit of largemouth bass at Lake Amistad in south Texas to take the lead at the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division opener. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-04-sunset-at-amistad

Sunset at Amistad

With the canceled day one of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event on Lake Amistad almost over, FLW Editor-in-Chief Curtis Niedermier spent the waning hours down by the lake with his camera. Everyone will be back at it on Friday and Saturday, but the canceled day kept folks safe and gave us the side benefit of a few moments of peace in south Texas.  READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-03-day-1-canceled-at-amistad

Day 1 Canceled at Amistad

Unsafe weather conditions forced Costa FLW Series tournament officials to cancel day one of the Lake Amistad tournament in Del Rio, Texas READ MORE »

/news/2018-12-17-harmony-drops-20-on-big-o

Harmony drops 20 on Big O

The Harmony High School duo of Grady Johnson and Dawson Turner, both of St. Cloud, Florida, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 20 pounds, 1 ounce to win the 2018 Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Lake Okeechobee Open. READ MORE »

/news/2018-11-03-lake-guntersville-day-3-coverage

Lake Guntersville Day 3 Coverage

It’s championship Sunday at the Costa FLW Series on Lake Guntersville. Due to day one being cancelled, all of the anglers are back on the water and have a shot at taking it all. Hopes should still be high for many of those competing today. Since the event has been shortened to two days, there are many within striking distance of winning this thing. All it takes is a couple giant Lake Guntersville bass and someone could make a big jump up the leaderboard. READ MORE »

/news/2018-11-03-top-5-patterns-from-guntersville-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Guntersville – Day 2

The highlight of Friday’s first day of competition (though technically day two) at the Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Guntersville was Carl Jocumsen’s 20-plus-pound bag that he caught on a glide bait. It’s pretty rare that someone uses the big glide to hammer them on an Eastern fishery in a major 200-boat tournament in the fall. But Jocumsen saw an open window of opportunity and leapt through it. Behind him (but not too far back) in the standings is a squad of guys relying on various Guntersville staples such as frogging, flipping and fishing offshore structure. They’re all hoping that a forecast change in conditions, from overcast to sunny, might stall Jocumsen’s mojo and open the door for a come-from-behind win on Saturday. READ MORE »