Clearlake (August 13 & 14)

How to best preface this tournament,P..UUU! In more ways than one, But mostly Clearlake smells horrible in August.


In August Clearlake has a tendency to get very nasty. The lake goes through a change large amounts of algae start to bloom and form massive clouds, wait clouds give you a fluffy, floaty image this stuff is sludge. It literally gets so thick  to get a bait through it it needs to weigh about three ounces. I fished this lake last year during these conditions and almost burned my motor out from lack of water pressure. I was not going to risk my boat for a day of pre-fishing. This tournament was a very unusual event. Day one started at 1:30 pm and ended at 7:30 pm, day two was safe light till 11 am. On Saturday I took advantage of the late start, drove my truck up north and visually inspected the situation. North was clearer and and had less algae bloom, that was our destination later this day.  


 There had been a decent senko bite, I figured the heat and the amount of floating cover would allow for a top water bite. We just had to let those patterns manifest  into a limit of fish. We head north, starting our day around the Rancheria. Less of an algae bloom coupled with steady wind from the west all night gave us clearer more oxygenated water hopefully making the fish more active.

 I started the day throwing a brown Snag Proof frog on  the tulle edge adjacent to deep water. My partner was flipping a senko on drop offs and around isolated grass clumps. With these patterns not producing keeper fish it was time to put on the thinking cap. Around 3:30 pm I noticed some shad being chased so I reached down pulled out my Chatter-bait tipped with a smallie beaver in white and began swimming it along weed lines. Ten or fifteen casts later in comes our first fish a 2.25 pound large mouth, three casts later a 2.27 pound bass joins the team. This pointed out that schooling fish were in the area, problem was we never had another bite on that bait. Couple hours later off to my left I hear an exploding fish near a mat of weeds. Maybe there getting active again? I picked the Snag Proof back up and went to work.  Immediatley I get a blow up, hook the fish the fight begins. Couple jumps later she wins the battle. We know its getting late and our chances are fading to fill a limit so we decide to stick with the frogs hopeing for a couple big fish. A few casts later my partner gets a big bite half way back to the boat off again. DAMN! Three casts later I get a big blow up but never get a hook in her, Then from behind me I hear “get the net”. Finally he gets a good hook in a big one,  in it comes a 5.2 pound fish. We continue to fish the mats for another twenty minutes before we have to head in to weigh-in getting a few more blow ups but no more fish. We ended the first day with 9.73 pounds putting us in 71st place, not good. We had a lot of work to do.


 We felt as though we had a good jumping off point. If the frog bite in our area was there in the morning we could have a twenty pound plus sack. We headed to our spot began fishing, an hour later it was time to look for new water. This was going to be a long day for a short day. Around 9:30 my partner lands a two pound bass on a senko, “ok lets get’em”. After fishing this area  thoroughly never getting another bite we moved back to the mats. A cove just around the bend had deep water and a large algae bloom covering a grass mat. We pick up the frogs and start working the cover. I noticed a little stick protruding from the mat I hop the snag proof  just passed, “Slurp” I get a fish to eat. A 3.5 pound large mouth. At this point were fishing for pride or what would be left of it. On the next cast that would be surrendered to a Clearlake bass. I make a second cast to the stick get the bite she comes off. Time for weigh-in! We finished the day with 5.52 pounds had 15.25 for the tournament and ended in 80th place. That’s not the right direction.

Ouch! I made all kinds of mistakes out there missed fish, fish coming unhooked, lingering in areas the list just keeps going. I felt like a complete jackass. For the first time I’m truly worried about not making the classic, with the delta next. If I fall even a little more I’m out. The delta has not been my friend over the years so my concern is warranted.

Positive stay positive.