Nation: Utah wins state title; Brown hangs on

HENDERSON, Nev. — Utah won the competition between 11 western states by winning the team 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 lead in the tournament that concludes tomorrow.

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. The Utah angler was Brown, who caught 20 pounds on Day 1.

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

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

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

“Most of guys 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 had a tougher day on Lake Mead. He caught a limit weighing 13-6 by using the same strategy as Day 1. That is fishing the middle of the portion of the lake where the 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 admitted. “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 lead head 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 are aggressive feeders.

“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 yesterday with a full field of 212 anglers representing B.A.S.S. clubs from 11 states. Fishing tomorrow are the top 21 anglers and the three highest-ranking boaters and non-boaters from each state.

To be determined is the overall winner and qualifiers to bass fishing’s world championship. That event is the Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation Championship presented by Magellan Outdoors. The top angler from each state advances to bass club fishing’s championship competition.

The Livingston Lure 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.