This leader doesn't follow

LAKEPORT, Calif. — Jeremy Percifield took the lead today in the 2013 B.A.S.S. Nation Western Divisional on California’s Clear Lake by doing his own thing.

“Everybody talks about the California swimbait deal here,” said Percifield of Kennewick, Wash., “but that didn’t work out for me in practice.”

So he switched to a style of fishing he’s comfortable with, and it paid off — with a monster 34-pound sack.

That’s the same thing he did when he won the state title at the Western Divisional last spring in Wyoming, and it’s what he did at the 2012 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship in Alabama. “Several anglers were throwing the Alabama Rig on Wheeler Lake at the championship, but that didn’t work out for me. When I changed on the last day, I did much better.”

Sticking with what he knows has paid off before, he said, so that’s his plan for this tournament, too.

“I found a spot yesterday during practice, after being here since last Friday,” explained Percifield. “No one else is there, except for a teammate of mine, so it worked out pretty well today. I left some fish there, so I hope my area holds out.”

His bag included his second-biggest bass ever, a 9-pound, 3-ounce behemoth. It’s currently in the lead for Carhartt Big Bass.

Percifield’s co-angler, Ty Faber of Colorado, caught a huge sack in that spot today, too. Faber is currently in second place with 28-1.

If Percifield maintains his lead among his Washington teammates, he’ll be headed to the national championship for the second year in a row. Other state leaders are Faber for Colorado; Brian Severson, Arizona, 19-9; Don Welch, California, 22-2; Keegan Graves, Idaho, 24-8; Tim Johnston, Montana, 23-10; Jesse Milicevic, Nevada, 22-11; Mark Williams, New Mexico, 20-7; Kevin Pangle, Oregon, 17-11; Mike Powell, Utah, 14-14; and Bill Golightly, Wyoming, 19-6.

The 2013 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship is scheduled for Oct. 24-26 on Lake Dardanelle in Russellville, Ark.

The Western Divisional is also a state competition, in which all teammates’ weights are added together for the team. Currently, Oregon leads with 157 pounds, 4 ounces. Behind Oregon are Washington with 153-2 and Arizona with 140-7.

Competition resumes tomorrow, with launch at 6:30 a.m. PT from Konocti Vista Casino & Resort in Lakeport. The weigh-in begins at 2:30 p.m. in the same location. Tune into for live video of the weigh-ins, as well as photos and videos throughout the day. Competition concludes on Friday, April 12.