Austin Bonjour Wins 2024 WON Bass Clear Lake Open

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Austin Bonjour Wins 2024 WON Bass Clear Lake Open
Joe Mariani finishes second, Anthony Madrigal wins AAA Division Crown.
By Dan O’Sullivan

LAKEPORT, Calif. – April 19, 2024 –– Opportunity knocked – Austin Bonjour answered.

After taking a little more than a two-pound lead on the second day of the tournament, Bonjour, the 30-year-old pro from Templeton,Calif. knew that he had to perform on the final day.  With warm and mild conditions remaining on the lake, and waves of massive Clear Lake largemouth bass moving, he knew his lead was tenuous.

He knew that all he had to do was locate quality fish and get them in the boat, often easier said than done – especially in a majortournament.  He also knew that he had one major advantage in that he was going to be the first boat to takeoff and the final angler to weigh-in.

Walking on stage for the final time, Bonjour’s day two total of 59.25 was his official weight, and as each angler weighed in during the day three weigh-in, he stood in 46th place until his five fish limit hit the scales.  He needed his bag to be 19.15 pounds or more to claim the crown and the keys to the 2024 Ranger Boats Z518 with Mercury 150 ProXS outboard presented by Bass Pro Shops.

His daily limit posted at 24.03 pounds, bringing his total winning weight to 83.28 pounds for the three-day affair.  He was followed by Winters, Calif. pro Joe Mariani, who had been in contention each day. Mariani produced a 21.87-pound limit on day three to bring his three-day total to 78.39 pounds, good enough for second place.

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Bonjour said that he spent his days in the north area of the lake.  “I fished Adobe and the creeks from the State Park to Lakeport in the mornings and went to Nice and Lucerne in the afternoons,” he said.  “That’s the timing that seemed to work out for me as the fish moved with the sun.”

He reported catching two thirds of the keepers he weighed on a pair of unnamed 9-inch glide baits in Trout and Bone colors.  Healso mixed in a 1/16-ounce 2/0 Garage Tech Baits FFS jighead and Z-Man Scented Jerk Shad in “The Deal” color for three of his keepers while using Forward Facing Sonar, and he caught two bed fish on the final afternoon using a 1/2-ounce Garage Tech Baits Bed Jig in Bluegill color.

His best day was the first day, he reported catching 15 keepers, but then had to work hard to fill his limits on days two and three.  “I only caught five keepers on the final two days,” he said.  “I just had to keed gridning and trust that the bites would come.”

The win helped the Templeton, Calif. pro reach a peak he’s been climbing towards for years.  “I finally got it done in a big event, he said.  “I’ve had a few seconds (place finishes) and I’ve come close, but this is surreal and I can’t believe I’m sitting here with this trophy; I’m actually having a hard time putting my thoughts to words about it.”

Oakdale, Calif. pro Ish Monroe, a Bassmaster Opens EQ pro with nearly $2.5 million in career earning on national tours, smashed a 32.54-pound final day limit to bring his total weight to 77.47 pounds to finish third overall, jumping from 12th place.  Day one leader Nick Klein, from Oroville, Calif. pushed his final weight to 76.30 pounds to finish fourth for the event and Scott Helleson of Paso Robles, Calif. rounded out the top five with a three-day total of 74.82 pounds.

In winning, Bonjour earned the Ranger / Mercury prize boat rigged with Power-Pole Charge and Bioenno Power Batteries valued at $55,000 and the winner’s $17,000 share, bringing the total Champion’s prize package to $72,000 in value.  Mariani’s runner up prize was $13,500 with Monroe earning $11,500 for third place, Klein received $10,000 and Helleson collected $9,000.

Mariani said he made the most of what he had found during practice.  “I caught my first day weight off of Windflower point around the lava rock,” he said.  “I caught an 8-pounder on a 6-inch Trash Fish (Lil’ Creeper’s Swimbait) and the rest on a wacky rigged 5-inch green pumpkin purple flake Senko; I sight fished the rest of the event.”  He also said that he made the decision to stay in the Redbud and Rattlesnake arms of the lake to avoid the “circus up north.”

One of his main goals for the event was to earn one of the B.A.S.S. Nation Golden Tickets to compete in the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship in 2025.  “I am super stoked to have accomplished that goal, and I really fished a super clean event; I did everything I could here,” he said.  “Austin just flat beat me, and I’m really happy for him – he’s a great guy.”

In the AAA Division, Anthony Madrigal of Auburn, Calif. paired with Redding, Calif. pro Antonio Gold on the final day.  The pair produced a final day limit of 30.03 pounds which was enough to push Madrigal’s three-day total to 79.46 pounds to claim victory and the $6800 AAA prize.  Second place in the AAA division went to Oroville, California’s John McClellan with 78.33 pounds.

Chris Crawford of Sacramento, Calif. Finished third with 73.53 pounds, with Ottis Woodwar of Clearlake, Calif. finishing fourth with 71.52 pounds and David Oyler of Boulder City, Nev. round out the top five in the AAA division with 71.19 pounds.

Each of the pros and AAA anglers who finished in the top five have earned a Golden Ticket berth into the 2025 Bassmaster B.A.S.S. Nation Championship for a chance to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic

The top 10 in each division are posted below: for complete standings, visit https://wonbassevents.com/pages/clear-lake-2024-pairings-results

WON Bass Clear Lake Open 4/17 to 4/19/2024

Place

Pro Day 3

Hometown

Fish

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Pnlty

Total

1

Austin Bonjour

Templeton, CA

15-15

33.84

25.41

24.03

83.28

2

Joe Mariani

Winters, CA

15-15

34.34

22.18

21.87

78.39

3

Ish Monore

Oakdale, CA

15-15

21.30

23.63

32.54

77.47

4

Nick Klein

Oroville, Ca

15-15

35.59

21.64

19.07

76.30

5

Scott Hellesen

Paso Robles, CA

15-15

26.46

17.85

30.51

74.82

6

Kurt Dove

Del Rio, TX

15-15

19.54

32.44

19.86

71.84

7

Scooter Griffith

Mesa, AZ

15-15

27.47

20.44

23.22

71.13

8

Bill Brown

Grand Junction, CO

15-15

25.59

20.41

23.86

1.00

69.86

9

Matt Nadeau

Nevada City, CA

15-15

19.61

22.33

26.29

68.23

10

Antonio Gold

Redding, CA

15-15

20.52

17.44

30.03

67.99

Place

AAA Angler Day 3

Hometown

Fish

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Pnlty

Total

1

Anthony Madrigal

Auburn, CA

14-14

33.84

15.59

30.03

79.46

2

John Mcclellan

Oroville, CA

15-15

20.80

29.27

28.26

78.33

3

Chris Crawford

Sacramento, CA

15-14

17.23

32.44

23.86

0.50

73.53

4

Ottis Woodford

Clearlake, CA

15-15

24.24

21.12

26.16

71.52

5

David Oyler

Boulder City NV

15-15

26.73

25.41

19.05

71.19

6

Damon Motley

Orange, CA

15-15

30.37

25.86

14.52

70.75

7

Bob Nelson

Galt, CA

15-15

23.86

21.13

25.32

70.31

8

Chase Harrell

San Jose, Ca

13-13

34.34

20.86

14.43

69.63

9

Eric Painter

Tucson, AZ

14-14

15.05

20.68

32.54

68.27

10

Kirk Marshall

Discovery Bay, CA

15-15

21.27

20.71

26.08

68.06

The winner of the 2024 WON Bass Clear Lake Open earned the Ranger Boats / Mercury Motor prize boat provided by Bass Pro Shops, and the Golden Tickets to the 2025 Bassmaster BASS Nation National Championship will be awarded to the top five Pro and AAA anglers and will further develop the season long competition to see who will receive guaranteed slots into the 2025 BassmasterOpens Elite Qualifiers.

The 2024 WON Bass Western Opens Series of events Consisting of five events in California, Arizona and Nevada moves next to the California Open at Clear Lake April 17 to 19, 2024.  The series will culminate with the 2024 WON Bass U.S. Open at Lake Mohave in October.  The full schedule of the five event dates are as follows:

Jan. 31–Feb. 2, Lake Shasta – Champion Nick Wood – 47.42 pounds

April 17-19, Clear Lake – Champion Austin Bonjour – 83.28 pounds

May 15-17, Lake Havasu

Sept. 18-20, Lake Mead

Oct. 14-16, U.S. Open at Lake Mohave

For complete details to register for future events, or to find results, look to wonbassevents.com and WONews.com to hear the latest news about the 2024 season and beyond and follow along at Facebook.com/WONBassTournaments.

The 2024 WON Bass Clear Lake Open was brought to you by Bass Pro Shops, Ranger Boats, Mercury Marine, Nitro Boats, Triton Boats, Bridgford Foods, Phenix Rods, Yamamoto Baits, Bill Lewis Lures, Buckeye Lures, Steel Shad, Bioenno Power, SOGKnives, Cold Steel Knives, Gamma Line, Power Pole, Lowrance, Daiwa, AFTCO, Costa, Berkley, Abu Garcia, DD26 Fishing, Anderson Toyota, A&M Graphics, Anglers Marine and Signature Gates.

Local presenting sponsors were Clear Lake Outdoors and the City of Lakeport.  Daily takeoffs and weigh-ins were at Library Park in the City of Lakeport, California.

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