Utah Wins State Title At B.A.S.S. Nation Western Regional

Utah won the competition between 11 western states Thursday, claiming the state title at the Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation Western Regional presented by Magellan Outdoors.


Utah’s winning effort got a boost from Bill Brown, who maintained his individual lead in the tournament that concludes Friday.


Utah won the state title by virtue of a tie-breaking rule. The teams from Utah and Nevada both caught 335 pounds, 15 ounces after two days of competition. In the event of a tie, the angler with the heaviest single-day catch earns his state the title. That Utah angler was Brown, who caught 20-0 on Day 1.


Utah won a Triton 189 TrX with a trailer, accessories and a Mercury 150 Pro XS. The total package value is $33,340.


Idaho claimed third place with 326-4, while Washington took fourth with 277-12 and Colorado placed fifth with 271-8.


Utah anglers hold down the top four spots on the individual leader board. Brown holds a narrow lead, with Travis Graham in second with 31-5, Mike Lavallee in third with 30-4 and Ben Byrd in fourth with 29-5.


“Most of these guys (from Utah) fish clear water and are very skilled on this type of water,” said Rick Culver, president of the Utah B.A.S.S. Nation.


That’s an understatement, actually. Lake Mead is downstream on the Colorado River from Lake Powell, the home lake for Utah.


“We have a lot of tournaments on Powell and it fishes the same way,” continued Culver. “So things just naturally fell into place for us.”


Brown caught a limit weighing 13-6 on Day 2 by using the same strategy as Day 1. He is fishing the middle portion of the lake where bass are just beginning to spawn.


“I went back to the same area thinking I could catch the bass I lost there yesterday,” said Brown, a member of the Top of Utah Bass Anglers.


On Day 1 Brown lost enough bass in the 4-pound range to draw him back. His choice of lures is the reason why.


“I’m fishing a topwater lure and you get your fair share of missed strikes,” he said. “The bass are hitting short, and I am having to try and catch them twice.”


The slaphappy bass are getting a second cast from a leadhead jig. He is flipping the lure along shoreline tules when not using it behind the topwater. On the upside the lure imitates baitfish, and spawning bass usually strike aggressively to defend their beds.


“It’s a very niche bite and I realize there are risks,” he continued. “But for me a topwater is a confidence bait that I feel very comfortable using for spawning bass.”


The tournament began Wednesday with a full field of 212 anglers representing B.A.S.S. clubs from 11 states. After two days, the field has been trimmed to the Top 21 anglers and the three highest-ranking boaters and non-boaters from each state.


Friday’s round will determine the overall winner and the qualifiers for the Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation Championship presented by Magellan Outdoors. The top angler from each state advances to the championship.


The Livingston Lures Leader Award was presented to Brown. He earned the $250 bonus by leading the tournament on Day 2.


Callville Bay Resort and Marina is tournament headquarters. Anglers depart at 6:15 a.m. PDT and return for the weigh-in beginning at 2:30 p.m.