WON Bass Clear Lake Open: Anglers look forward to potential big bass slugfest at California’s premier largemouth lake.

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BY DAN O’SULLIVAN

SAN CLEMENTE– Clear Lake, nestled in the Coast Ranges of California mountains, at the foot of Mount Konocti is known as being the largest natural lake entirely in the state of California.  It is known for its picturesque scenery from any direction and for being a rich, fertile body of water.

It is also known as one of the best bass fisheries in the world.  For many years, Clear Lake has been ranked as one of the top 10 bass fisheries in the country by BASSMASTER Magazine, and the northern California waterway has been the site of fireworks for WON Bass and the Clear Lake Open before.

Clear Lake has seen record setting performances in the past, with Byron Velvick winning a Bassmaster Invitational in 2000 with a then three-day record of 83 pounds, 5 ounces and in 2007, Steve Kennedy set a four-day record with 122 pounds, 14 ounces in winning the Bassmaster Elite Series Golden State Shootout.

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In other words, having winning weights that average more than 25 pounds per day in a Clear Lake event are common, as evidenced by Nathan Phillips winning the Clear Lake Open in 2023 with 76.34 pounds.  According to Ish Monroe, the Oakdale, Calif. pro who is fitting the 2024 Clear Lake Open into his national event schedule, more of the same can be expected.

Monroe said that anything will go later this month.  “The lake should be fishing fairly large with the higher water levels, and the field should be able to do anything from finesse fishing to sightfishing and have a chance to win,” he said.  “I expect that the weights will be good, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see someone win running a pattern, or that someone could win on a one cast spot – it really has the potential to be a great event.”

When asked what his thoughts about the outlook for the event, 2023 WON Bass U.S. Open Champion Kyle Grover replied, “epic.” The Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. pro said that the conditions looked amazing.  “I really think the fish are in a stage, and the weather conditions are going to collide at a point that it should be an amazing event,” he said.  “I think the pressure could get to the lake a little, but it’s still going to take someone averaging in the high 20’s daily to win; it’s just that good of a fishery.”

To combat the pressure of a large field, Grover suggested that anglers have two or three areas to remain competitive, and he said that boat draw would be a factor.  “I think you’ll need a few areas to rotate through to win the event, but that’s also going to depend on where you get slotted for takeoff,” he said.  “Being able to get on your areas will dictate a lot, but I really think it’s going to be an epic event.”

The winner of the 2024 WON Bass Clear Lake Open will earn the Ranger Boats / Mercury Motor prize boat, 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 Bassmaster Opens Elite Qualifiers.

There are currently more than 156 pro anglers and more than 180 AAA partners signed up for the event.  WON Bass is seeking more Pro anglers to balance the field – signups remain open until April 12, 2024.

AAA anglers looking to enter will now be required to sign up with a Pro partner not currently registered for the event to guarantee their entry, and there is of course more room for individual Pro anglers to register currently. 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

May 15-17, Lake Havasu

Sept. 18-20, Lake Mead

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

 

For complete details or to register, 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 Northern California Lake Shasta Open is 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, SOG Knives, Cold Steel Knives, Gamma Line, Power Pole, Lowrance, Daiwa, AFTCO, Costa, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Anderson Toyota, A&M Graphics, Anglers Marine and Signature Gates.

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

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