ANGELS CAMP, Calif. — Taylor Parsons of Ione won the 2018 California B.A.S.S. Nation Qualifier 2 on New Melones Reservoir, April 28-29, by a massive 6-pound margin.
Parsons, who is a member of the Oro Madre Bass Anglers, knows New Melones like the back of his hand, but boat trouble threatened to ruin his otherwise good chances.
“I knew where I wanted to start,” said Parsons after his victory. “I had just fished another tournament there a week before, and I got fourth out of 45. But on the first day, my boat wouldn’t go over 40 and it kept cutting out.”
The mechanical issue limited his ability to move around, and he was only able to fish two areas on Day 1, but he still managed to catch 15.70 pounds. He called a friend of his and asked to borrow his boat for Day 2. That change made all the difference.
“I got my limit in the first 20 minutes,” said Parsons, who spent the rest of the day culling. But he managed a 7.67-pounder at 10:45 a.m. that sealed his fate.
“She was in an area around brush down on the south end of the lake,” Parsons said. “I caught her using a 6-inch Roboworm in margarita mutilator color in 18 to 20 feet.” He was using 6-pound-test line.
This was a spot he’d been wanting to get to. “I knew there was a pack of good largemouth there. They had followed my swimbait on practice day, and on the second day of the tournament, I decided I’d drop shot really slow.”
Parsons’ big bass was the biggest of the tournament by 2 pounds. His Day 2 weight was 20.09 pounds, and he ended with 35.79 pounds. Charles Cornelison of RB Bass Club finished in second place with 29.93 pounds.
John Steinhilber of Ventura County Bass Club won the nonboater division with 16.53 pounds. His two limits were both anchored by 3-plus-pound bass.
Parsons and Steinhilber both earned automatic berths on the 2019 California B.A.S.S. Nation State Team. They will compete in the 2019 B.A.S.S. Nation Western Regional at a place yet to be determined, for a chance to qualify for the 2019 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship. They join Kenneth Cleveland and Jim McLaughlin, who qualified by winning the first qualifier, on Castaic Lake. The winning boater and nonboater of the last three qualifiers in 2018 will also join the team, and the remaining 12 spots will be filled by the top points finishers. The next tournament is July 14-15 on the California Delta.
To be eligible to compete, each angler must be a member of a B.A.S.S. Nation-affiliated club. To find a club in your area, contact Chief Mark Torrez, California B.A.S.S. Nation president, at (805) 233-0883, or visit www.calbn.com.
Keep up with the California B.A.S.S. Nation on Facebook (www.facebook.com/CaliforniaBASSNation) and on Instagram (@cal_bn).