LAKEPORT, Calif. — Jared Lintner and Chris Zaldain should fish together more often. The pair were randomly paired together on the final day of the CITGO Bassmaster Western Open at Clear Lake and won the boater and non-boater division respectively. Lintner takes home a $50,000 prize package including a fully-rigged Triton boat with Mercury outboard.
In dramatic fashion, California's Lintner jumped all the way up from 25th place to surge into the lead on the final day. His three-day catch of 49 pounds, 15 ounces was good enough to hold off Day 2 leader Michael Tuck by 2 pounds, 11 ounces. In the end, it was his experience with western fisheries that helped him to his first BASS win.
"I have a bunch of spots on this lake that I know I can go to" Lintner said. "I started my day in one of my hot spots that had been productive during this tournament. My partner Chris caught a limit there by 9 a.m. I knew I had a bunch of other places that I could go because I have fished here so many times, and I had to use them."
Lintner starter early in his hot spot working a buzz bait. Later in the day, due to the weather, he moved to protected waters as the wind built up. He switched to bright and flashy jigs to combat the unpredictable clarity of the water.
His 22-3 limit on the final day was by far the biggest bag on the day. Lintner attributed his fantastic finish to his knowledge of the lake. In 2004, Lintner finished third in the CITGO Bassmaster Open at Clear Lake.
Lintner's banner final day put the pressure on Tuck to bring in a solid limit. His catch of 10 pounds, 3 ounces was not quite enough to take home his first BASS victory. Despite the solid showing, Tuck could only think of the one that got away.
"When you are fishing a tournament like this with such quality anglers, you can't afford to lose any fish and this weekend I lost a few," the Californian said. "I don't even want to talk about the almost 9 pounder I lost in the last fifteen minutes of fishing today."
Finishing behind Lintner and Tuck is Nevada's Rob Wenning (47-3), California's Jim Davis (47-0) and California's Ricky Shabazz (45-3).
On the non-boater side, Zaldain takes home a Triton boat package valued at $25,000. Rounding out the top five are Japan's Hideki Maeda (38-8), California's Rick Spinney (36-11), California's John Sherak (35-9) and California's Gary Morris (34-12).
The Californians dominated on their state lake as 8 of the top 10 finishers on the boater and non-boater side hail from California.
The lone remaining event in the Western Open series will take place on Lake Shasta in Shasta Lake, Calif. (Nov. 17-19). The top 15 boaters and non-boaters from the Western Open point standings will advance to the 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Open Championship on the Alabama River in Prattville, Ala., Dec. 1-4. The top five boaters from the Open Championship will qualify to fish in the 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Classic (Feb. 24-26; Lake Tohopekaliga, Kissimmee, Fla.) and compete for a $500,000 top prize.
Location and Field