The EverStart Series is headed to Clear Lake, known to many anglers as a Golden State fish factory, April 26-28 when as many as 300 pros and co-anglers take to the water for the final stop in the Western Division. Last year 80 anglers caught their five-bass limit on day 1 and it took more than 76 pounds to win the event. This year is expected to be just as good, if not better.
“The lake is still pretty cool; Water temperatures are 51 to 54 degrees,” said legendary California angler Mike Folkestad. “There are a few warm areas up in the creeks, but for the most part temperatures are in the 50s. The lake is up about 4 feet, and the water is up in the tules. Temperatures are warming and the weather is pretty stable, and it’s supposed to remain that way until tournament time. The bass are starting to show signs of spawning, so you will see more bass moving up, but I still think the better fish are going to be caught offshore.
“Swimbaits and the ‘Calabama’ rig (California’s version of the Alabama rig, which consists of three hooks and two dummy hooks) will be big players in the tournament,” Folkestad continued. “The fish are starting to get used to the ‘Calabama’ rig so it is not as effective as it used to be, but it is still very productive, especially for those bigger fish. Guys can throw a buzzbait, spinnerbait and jerkbait and still catch bass, but they won’t be catching the big ones that you need to win.
“This is going to be a great tournament. You’ll see a lot of fish caught and probably even a couple of 30-pound bags. Another predominant pattern is going to be flipping and pitching in the tules with (Zoom) Brush Hogs and big worms.
Folkestad went on to say that the biggest challenge for this tournament is going to be locating the schools of large bass that anglers will need to win. There are a lot of 3- to 5-pound bass, but he believes that anglers will have to reel in a couple of 7- to 9-pounders in order to win.
Anglers will take off daily from Konocti Vista Casino Resort and Marina located at 2755 Mission Rancheria Road in Lakeport, Calif., at 6 a.m. Daily weigh-ins will also be held at the marina beginning at 2:00 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.
Pros will fish for a top award of $35,000 plus a Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. Co-anglers will cast for a top award consisting of a Ranger 177TR with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $5,000 if Ranger Cup guidelines are met.
The EverStart Series consists of five divisions – Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of four tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division that could earn them the Strike King Angler of the Year title along with $5,000 for the pro and $2,000 for the co-angler. The top 40 pros and co-anglers from each respective division will qualify for the EverStart Series Championship that will be held on the Ouachita River in Monroe, La., Nov. 1-4.
The EverStart Series tournament on Clear Lake is being hosted by the Konocti Vista Casino Resort Marina.