Nation: Wood wins Western

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Tyler McCollum

REDDING, Calif. — Building contractor Nick Wood of Yreka, Calif., led the Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation Western Regional presented by Magellan at Lake Shasta, California, from start to finish. A day after Wood helped the California B.A.S.S. Nation team claim a victory, he earned the individual title for himself with a three-day total of 37 pounds, 1 ounce.
 
Because Wood is a local angler who knows Lake Shasta well, it comes as no surprise that he won the tournament. Wood has won previous tournaments at Shasta with five-fish limits of spotted bass that weighed 30 pounds. He has also caught spotted bass at Shasta in the 9-pound class.
 
Wood’s primary lure for sacking trophy spotted bass is an 8-inch Huddleston swimbait in the “hold over” color. However, all but one of Shasta’s monster spots succumbed to Wood’s big swimbait during the tournament. That bass was the 6-9 bass that anchored Wood’s first-day limit of 13-14. He resorted to a 4-inch Keitech swimbait on a 1/8-ounce darter head jig to finish his first-day limit.
 
The poor response Shasta’s magnum spotted bass gave to the Huddleston swimbait Wednesday prompted Wood to fish more conservatively on Thursday. He dropped down to a 7-inch Osprey swimbait. The result was a 13-11 limit that gave him a nearly 4-pound lead on the field going into the third and final day.
 
“I was slow rolling the Osprey next to log booms floating over 245 feet of water,” Wood said. “The bass were suspended about 5 feet under the logs.”
 
On the third day, Wood stuck with the Osprey swimbait, but he had to cover miles of water to fill the 9-8 limit that secured his victory and earned a $5,000 purse.
 
“I burned 27 gallons of gas today to catch six bass,” Wood said. “I only burned 6 gallons the first day. I believe all the fishing pressure pushed the big bass off the points I was fishing. That’s why I couldn’t catch them with my Huddleston swimbait.”
 
Chuck Harrison of Ft Collins, Colo., caught his third three-bass limit of the tournament today. It weighed 6-10 and brought his total catch to 19-2. That proved enough to win the nonboater division and a $2,500 cash award. The Top 21 boaters and nonboaters also received cash prizes.
 
Eleven Western states brought 20-angler teams to the tournament. They competed to win top state honors and to qualify for the Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation Championship presented by Magellan. Today, the top boater and nonboater from each state qualified for that championship, which takes place at Lake Hartwell, South Carolina, Oct. 19-21.
 
A Big Bass Award of $500 went to Bryson Mort of Post Falls, Idaho, for the 8-5 trophy spotted bass he caught on the second day of the tournament. Mike Powell of Midway, Utah, received the Big Bass Award of $250 in the nonboater division for catching a 4-9 bass.

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