Idaho angler leads Western Divisional at Clear Lake

LAKEPORT, Calif. — In a tournament dominated by offshore pre-spawn bass, there is one angler doing something completely different at one of the nation’s premier largemouth fisheries.

Brent Shores is junk fishing on Clear Lake.

To the educated bass fisherman that strategy just does not add up. The prevailing pattern should be staging bass on cover just outside the shallow coves. That’s how many of the top anglers are fishing, but not the leader from Idaho.

Even so, the leader board tells the truth. Shores moved from 8th place to take the lead with a 5-bass limit weighing 22-pouunds, 2 ounces. Going into tomorrow’s final round his two-day total is 39-14.

The Boise Bass Busters angler realizes his lead isn’t secure. In second place with 38-8 is Davick Hansen of Utah. Behind him is fellow Utah angler Mike Lavallee with 37-0. Considering where Shores was yesterday makes a dark horse coming from behind the pack entirely possible.

Shores already claimed one prize in this tournament with multiple awards. With the lead comes the Livingston Lures Leader Award and it’s $250 cash bonus.

Should Shores win tomorrow he advances to the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship set for next March on Grand Lake, Okla. The overall tournament winner and leaders from the other 10 states in the competition advance to the championship.

Junk fishing is the go-to pattern when all other tactics fail to produce. It requires strong patience, intense focus and the willingness to use multiple lures and techniques.

Shores’ lineup of lures includes swimbaits, spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits, and even a Carolina-rig. He’s using a different lure presentation with each bait.

“It took all of it to fill out the limit,” he admitted.

KC Stone, who today fished with Shores, went along with the junk fishing approach. It worked for him, too. Stone is 26th overall but his weight for today was 20 pounds. Yesterday he didn’t weigh a fish.

“The fish are moving and it takes baits with different actions to get their attention,” added Shores. “Tomorrow might be completely different and require me to change up again.”

Today’s results also showcased Clear Lake’s top shelf status among the nation’s bass fisheries.

Several double-digit weight fish were caught. Addam Gross led the pack with a largemouth weighing 11 pounds. Two more fish weighing 10 pounds were weighed and several more near the mark. Ironically, by all standards the lake is off due to post-frontal conditions.

California maintains its lead in the state competition with 228-2. Washington follows with 217-7 and Utah is third with 214-15. Idaho is fourth place with 214-9 and Oregon in fifth with 207-3.

The winning state team is awarded a Triton 189 TRx rigged with Mercury outboard, Lowrance electronics and a MotorGuide trolling motor. The complete package is valued at $39,000.

Another competition is brewing in this diverse event. High School teams are competing in a friendly competition alongside the adults. The teams already are state champions and will fish in the Costa Bassmaster High School Championship. The idea is for the youths to gain experience at a high-level event.

Stay tuned to Bassmaster.com during the 2015 B.A.S.S. Nation Western Divisional.