Elites get them early, late on Clear Lake

LAKEPORT, Calif. — The majority of the Elite Series anglers experienced a hot early morning bite, went through a period of mid-day doldrums and then finished the day strong when the water warmed.

Denny Brauer only had five keepers all day, but they weighed 21 pounds, 9 ounces and he is lining himself up for another top-12 finish.

"The first spot I hit I caught the 5.5-pounder," Brauer said. "They I caught a 5-pounder on my second spot. After that, I went four hours without a fish. Sometimes, the way you fish best is to slow down and pick everything apart and by the end of the day, I had five fish."

The low-light conditions in the early morning were conducive for fish catching for Dean Rojas, who cut his teeth on Clear Lake in his early 20s.

"I caught them real quick this morning and then there was a big lull for me," Rojas said. "I never had another bite all day until I went back near the area I started and culled up a few more times."

Culling in the afternoon, when water temperatures warm into the upper 50s and lower 60s, was a common trend for many anglers. Mark Davis went through 35 fish on Thursday and ended up with 18 pounds, 2 ounces. He was in an early flight and had to leave fish biting to get back to the weigh-in.

"The fish just started to bite — I hated to quit," Davis said. "With these cold nights, there is a small window in the morning, but the best fishing is in the afternoon. I'm in the last flight tomorrow and I'll get to fish all day."

The majority of the fish caught have been males and it seems the females are still holding back. Skeet Reese figured he had four males to one female on the day and his 20-pound, 4-ounce bag had him in 10th place.

"I didn't get a lot of bites, but I kept looking for fish moving up," Reese said. "You have to figure out a way to catch females. I just think they are staged way offshore."

Will the water warm up enough for the bigger females to play a bigger role?

"There are a lot of fish on the outside that are wanting to move up," said Gary Klein.

Aaron Martens agreed, but was more cautious about getting enthusiastic about a big wave of females moving up.

"It's not warming up much — only a degree a day," said Martens. "By the end of the day, it's in the 60s, but with these cold mornings, it doesn't start warming up until 10 or 11." 

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