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First-Person View: MLF College Fishing Clear Lake

By Jacob Greene

Sport or not—bass fishing is tough.



Pre-fish

We – myself and my boater partner, Brayden Bishop – left at 4 a.m. to make the 3-hour drive to Lakeport, CA. That day we fished all around Clear Lake from 7:30 to about 5. In the cloudy, cold, and periodical rain—we had no bites at the end of the day.


Pre-fish is the time spent before a tournament to find where the schools of bass are. Then you throw different styles of lures. You change the color, the presentation (retrieval rate), or the technique. You use trial and error to find a behavior pattern the bass are in. That is also conditional on what season it is.


On LiveScope we did not even see any schools of bass. We knew going into this tournament that it would be tough. We also knew the weather pattern was going to improve as it got closer to tournament day. The MLF Toyota Series had started their pre-fish 2 days prior—in 29 degrees with snowfall.


Day 2 of pre-fish–which was Day 2 of the 3-day tournament for the Toyota Series–we went out early. After Day 1 we had only eliminated water. There was no pattern we had found. We could not figure out the bite—which we knew was due to the pressure on the lake in the last couple of weeks. We had a couple of places to try, one we wanted to go to—first thing. Our goal was to get to the spot across the lake before the pros blasted off at 7 am.


Our lines were wet by 6:45 am.


On Brayden’s 3rd cast of the morning, he set the hook on a 7-pounder. Our plan–now that we had found fish–was to sit there all day to make sure no one took our spot. At about 7:10 a boat rolled up—asking us to move. He was leading after Day 1 in the Toyota series.

We moved.


From there–in our state of hopelessness–we ran north and south searching for something that replicated that spot. We found nothing. Both of us kept in contact with our teammates to see how they were doing. Everyone had 1 or 2 bites. By the time we got back to the hotel, we had nothing to go off.


We had covered a lot of water—attempting to [still] replicate what we found earlier. We were looking for down willows, warm water flowing in through a creek channel, and some sort of flat or ditch where the bass would be schooled. Some places had downed willows,

but no bites.


After talking to a couple of other teammates we found out they were biting down south–if you could find them–if you fished a drop shot. I had been fishing a drop shot along with everything else in my tackle for the past 2 days—coming up empty.


With pre-fish over –20 hours of fishing done–with only 1 bite, the hopelessness ahead of tournament day only grew. All we knew was fish slow. We needed to not throw any fast-moving baits.


Tournament Day

I woke up at 5 am. We had to pack before heading to the boat. From there we got all our gear ready, checked in, then launched. Neither of us knew where to start—what water to cover. As we idled out before blast-off we decided to see if there was a pro in our one spot where we had a bite. He was so we went north—then south to find a fish. 3 hours later we had nothing to show but an empty live well.

Brayden made the call to go to a spot where we had seen fish on day 1. As we rolled into the area a boat 100 yards away from us caught a bass. They graciously offered to let us roll past them–to where we were trying to go–since we were in a tournament.


About 10 casts in Brayden cast his swimbait (the only bait anyone could get bit on). He got bit but missed the fish. I gave him my drop shot rod. He casts into the same spot, gets bit, sets the hook, and the line snaps. As that happens, I flip my Senko (a slow-moving finesse bait) into the same spot—then I got bit, missed the hook set, and reeled in with no lure on the end. I put another Senko on—cast again, then set the hook as I got bit. Once we got that first fish in the boat, we stuck with what we were doing—after about 24 hours of fishing in 3 days, we had figured out what pattern to run.


I kept flipping a Senko into the tules. Brayden fished a drop shot. Our 3rd fish was the biggest, but our 4th made all the difference. Without the 4th fish–caught about 2 minutes before we left to make it back by 2 pm–we would have got 6th place. We got 3rd, one spot away from qualifying for Nationals.

RESULTS

1st Joey Gentle / Justin Gentle UCLA 16 - 13 (5)

2nd Kent Moua / Seth Moua FRESNO STATE 14 - 09 (4)

3rd Brayden Bishop / Jacob Greene SIMPSON UNIVERSITY 13 - 13 (4)

4th Landon Ford / James Hawkinson SIMPSON UNIVERSITY 13 - 09 (4)

5th Austin Brown / Brandon Huse CHICO STATE 12 - 13 (4)

6th Justin Keegan / Cody Wyatt SONOMA STATE UNIVERSITY 9 - 07 (3)

7th David Berry / Aiden Grad SIMPSON UNIVERSITY 6 - 10 (2)

8th Jordan Harris / Fisher Perkins CHICO STATE 6 - 06 (2)

9th Michael Bray / Brennan Osborn SIMPSON UNIVERSITY 5 - 14 (2)

10th Miles Bootay / Jim Emory SACRAMENTO STATE 3 - 06 (1)

11th Dylan Grad / Taj White SIMPSON UNIVERSITY 2 - 01 (1)

12th Koobheem Her / Austin Soucy CHICO STATE 0 - 00 (0)

13th Peter Khoury / Steven Verschoor CHICO STATE 0 - 00 (0)

14th Nolan Bartlett / Bradley Tiller OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY 0 - 00 (0)

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