Arizona Angler Claims Title At B.A.S.S. Nation Western Regional On Clear Lake
LAKEPORT, Calif. —

Thirty-five anglers and 35 co-anglers were eager to get out on Clear Lake for the final day of competition of the 2018 Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation Western Regional presented by Magellan Outdoors. And with the monster largemouth swimming these waters and ideal fishing conditions, they all felt they could win the event.

Arizona team member Jacob Shull made one of the largest moves of the contest. Shull jumped from 72nd place after Day 1 to 17th on Day 2, and he found himself in the winner’s seat when the dust settled following the final round.

“I caught a small limit in the area I fished throughout the tournament on Day 1,” explains Shull, “but my co-angler didn’t have any bass so I moved around to try and help him get some fish. I ended up with only 10 pounds after the first day. I started there again on Day 2, and my co-angler had 8 pounds in the boat before I caught anything. After watching and learning I went to work and caught 17-2. On the final day my gut feeling was to do the same thing, and I ended with 21 pounds, 11 ounces.”

This gave the Willcox, Ariz., angler a three-day total weight of 49-4.

Shull, who spent the entire contest fishing a main-lake tule point five minutes from Konocti Vista Marina, caught the majority of his fish on weightless, Texas-rigged Senkos. His baits of choice were 5-inch green pumpkin with copper flake and watermelon with purple flake.

“Winning this tournament means a lot because I had to take it just one day at a time,” says Shull, who was fishing Clear Lake for the first time. “A buddy of mine, who has been a lot of help to me, told me I’d have a good chance to make it to the Western Regional. And it was unreal to be able to do it with my family here to watch.”

For Shull’s efforts he earned a $5,500 share of the $33,000 winnings paid out at the Western Regional Championship.

While the winning boater climbed the ladder to claim victory, the co-angler champion held his first-place position every day of the contest.

“In practice I picked up a weightless, Texas-rigged Senko because it’s a bait that I have confidence in,” says co-angler victor Quincy Grupenhoff. “I was catching so many fish that I stopped throwing it because the baits are so expensive. But they’re all I used, along the tules that we were fishing, on the first and second days of the tournament. Today my boater was fishing more offshore, and I knew he was around fish because he was leading, but I couldn’t get bit. So I switched to a wacky rig and caught a fish on the third cast — every bass there after came on the fall.”

Grupenhoff explained that this win was extra special because he always told his kindergarten teacher, who passed away last year, that he wanted to be a professional bass fisherman. And all of the baits that he caught fish on this week had some shade of purple, her favorite color, in it. He ended the tournament with a three-day total weight of 29-1 besting second-place Loren Bryant of Phoenix, Ariz., who finished with a nine-bass limit of 29-1.

For Grupenhoff’s win on the co-angler side he collected $2,750.

Big Bass of the tournament was a 10-7 caught by Lane Coale on the boater’s side, earning the Colorado angler a $500 award. There was a three-way tie for co-angler Big Bass award, with Utah’s Tate Brown, Idaho’s Anthony Ocamica and Grupenhoff each bringing in 6 pound, 11 ounce largemouths. The trio split $250.

Shull’s and Grupenhoff’s wins, along with the first place finishers from each of the other ten state teams on the boater and co-angler sides, all qualify to fish in the 2018 Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation Championship presented by Magellan Outdoors this fall.