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

Anglers began blasting off at 5:30 a.m. PDT from the Konocti Vista Resort Marina, for the second round of competition of the 2018 Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation Western Regional presented by Magellan Outdoors, under gloomy, overcast skies. A change in weather was undeniable with the relative calmness that lasted, for the most part, throughout the day.


The approaching front didn’t seem to hurt the fishing for most. There were a few more limits than on Day 1 and overall weights were up for both anglers and co-anglers.

The biggest jump in weights came from team Arizona. Todd Herman led the way with an impressive 18-pound, 12-ounce bag. Jacob Shull with 17-2 and JJ Gibbs IV with 15-13 were right behind him. The entire group’s efforts vaulted them from fourth place to the top, winning by a margin of almost 30 pounds.

“There was no secret to what we did,” explains Angelo Messina, Arizona team captain. “Everyone just went out there and fished their strengths. Of course we had some meetings and talked about things. But most importantly, we fished as a team.”

The last time that the B.A.S.S. Nation Western Regional Championship was held on Clear Lake, team Arizona almost pulled off a win, falling to California by only 14 ounces. Defeating the home state team this time made the victory that much more special.

“This is our first win, so it’s great,” admits Messina, “but beating the host-state team and doing it by 30 pounds is awesome. We have a great group of guys that came up here to represent the state and we all pulled it out.”

Arizona B.A.S.S. Nation has 120 members, and Messina thanked the president, the board and every angler for helping the team come up to Clear Lake.

In recognition of their outstanding achievement in the B.A.S.S. Nation Western Regional Championship, the Arizona team received a Nitro Z18 fully equipped with a Mercury 150 Pro XS outboard, Nitro single axle trailer, Minn Kota Maxxum 70 42-inch 24 volt trolling motor, Lowrance Hook 5X Pro electronics, and prop.

Moving into the individual lead after the second round of competition is Arizona team member Todd Herman with a two-day weight of 36-10. Herman, who is fishing Clear Lake for only the second time, says that the change in weather didn’t impact anything that he was doing. Tomorrow, however, may be a different story.

“I’ve been throwing the same bait for the past two days,” says Herman, who calls Gilbert home. “And I spent the entire time pretty close to Konocti Bay — the spot is pretty beat up because there’s been another guy fishing it too. But it reloaded after Wednesday, so I’m hoping it reloads one more time for me.”

Herman, who is targeting both prespawn and postspawn fish, caught his biggest largemouth before noon on both Day 1 and Day 2. And he feels the key is being in the right place at the right time.

“I’m sitting on a channel that the fish are moving in and out along,” explains Herman. “I’ll be sitting on that spot tomorrow so that I’m there when they hopefully move again.”

Kennewick, Wash., boater Ken Day brought the largest bass of Day 2 to the scales. The 9-pound bass helped to skyrocket him from a three-way tie for 67th to 5th place.

“We were pitching under docks all day and catching smaller bass,” Day said. “I was using my friend’s Abu Garcia Premier rod and I was feeling every tick. This bite felt like all the rest so I figured it was another 2-pound fish. But when I set the hook, out comes this giant — it barely fit in the net.”

On the co-angler side, Quincy Grupenhoff remained in first place with another three-bass limit. Though his weight was down, the Noxon, Mont., angler’s 8-12 was enough to give him a slim 13-ounce lead over Arizona’s Loren Bryant.

“My boater had 17 pounds today,” says Grupenhoff, “so I had to fish slow, make a lot of casts and hit every little target to pick up the fish that he didn’t. I caught a fish on the first cast and thought I was going to jinx myself, but five minutes later I caught two back-to-back.”

On Friday, the top anglers will be vying for $33,000 in winnings, with $5,500 paid to the winning boater and $2,750 going to the highest finishing co-angler. Big bass awards of $500 and $250 will also be decided.

Friday’s final-day launch will begin again at 5:30 a.m. from the Konocti Vista Resort Marina. Weigh-in starts at 2 p.m., with an awards ceremony at 4 p.m.