Idaho Takes Team Title In B.A.S.S. Nation Regional On Shasta Lake
REDDING, Calif. —

After establishing a slim first-round lead, the 20-member Idaho B.A.S.S. Nation team turned in another strong performance today and clinched the team championship at the TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Western Regional on Shasta Lake.

A Day 1 combined weight of 149 pounds, 3 ounces gave Idaho a 4-ounce lead over the Washington B.A.S.S. Nation team Wednesday. Adding 143-1 today boosted Idaho’s team total to 292-4 and yielded a winning margin of 8-4.

For their accomplishment, the Idaho team won $12,000. The second-place California B.A.S.S. Nation team earned $6,000, and the third-place Utah B.A.S.S. Nation team won $2,000.

Idaho B.A.S.S. Nation team captain David Bertsch attributed his team’s success to a disciplined regimen of pre-competition rest, strategy sessions and a commitment to persistence.

“We have a young team with a lot of up-and-comer guys that fish to the end; we talked about that at our team meetings,” Bertsch said. “We just stayed at it and kept getting ounce by ounce by ounce, and that’s what got us the state team trophies.”

B.A.S.S. Nation President Jon Stewart agreed and noted the importance of anglers blending their individual competition with their team interests.

“In every tournament, we notice that teams that really work together and share information are the ones that move up to the top,” Stewart said.

Acknowledging each team member’s contribution, Bertsch said he’s particularly proud of the team’s younger anglers who are assimilating well with established members and availing themselves to the knowledge and experience available through team competition.

“These younger guys are very open to the few older guys we have on the team,” Bertsch said. “It’s more about attitude and fortitude than it is about fishing skill. A lot of times guys spin out, and it’s not because of equipment, it’s just mental. It takes a certain mental toughness to be good at this sport and these guys are starting to understand that.”

Stewart said he views the Idaho B.A.S.S. Nation team’s younger complexion as a testament to what the B.A.S.S. Nation program is all about.

“I’m really proud of the B.A.S.S. Nation programs from the Juniors all the way up through the adult B.A.S.S. Nation teams,” he said. “It’s really good to see that the adults are welcoming the kids to be part of the state teams.

“There are a lot of older guys who have been here for a long time and it’s good to see new faces. Not that we don’t want to see those older guys, but it’s good to see new faces because it means the sport is thriving and the B.A.S.S. Nation is growing.”

Leading the Idaho B.A.S.S. Nation team standings, Taylor Smith of Spokane, Wash., also leads the tournament’s individual competition with 23-2. In his first season of B.A.S.S. Nation competition, Smith placed fifth on Day 1 with 12-2 and added 11-0 today.

“I’m fishing for a big bite or two a day, so I’m running like 65 spots, making a cast or two and leaving,” Smith said. “It’s stressful, but what I’m not doing is weeding through those spotted bass to get those better 1 1/2- to 2-pounders. If I don’t get a big bite I’m not going to do well, so it’s high risk, high reward.”

Day 2 rewarded Smith with a 4-pound spot. He started his day with a topwater, spent some time with a Ned rig and then transitioned to flipping a Texas-rigged stickworm around midmorning. His big fish ate a nail-weighted stick worm.

Joe Cole of Coalville, Utah, is in second place with 22-14. Cody Hollen of Beaverton, Ore., follows closely in third place with 22-11.

Trevor Scott of Windsor, Colo. is in the lead for Phoenix Boats Big Bass honors with his 7-4.

Jonathan Bryson of Las Vegas, Nev. leads the nonboater division with 15-14.

Bryson also is in the lead for Phoenix Boats Big Bass honors among nonboaters with his 4-1.

The Western Regional includes 220 anglers from 11 states competing for prizes, bragging rights and berths in the TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Championship. The Top 3 finishers in the national championship earn invitations to compete in the 2020 Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK`S Sporting Goods.

The individual competition continues through Friday, when the takeoff is scheduled for 5:45 a.m. PST at Bridge Bay Marina. The weigh-in will be held at the marina at 2 p.m.