The 2017 Triton Owners Tournament marked the 10th anniversary of the event for Triton owners. The compeition is open to any owner of a Triton boat and put together by Triton Boats rep for the Western United States, Kent Brown of the Ultimate Bass Radio show and Jeff Priester of Nixon’s Marine in Washington.
Clear Lake Conditions and Fires
With the recent fires around Clear Lake, it was a testament to how dedicated Triton owners are to this event.
“We had a smaller turnout due to all of the fires. When we got there on Thursday you could see the smoke and air tankers fighting the fires,” recalled Priester. “The smoke was brutal but luckily it cleared for our tournament.”
The fishing was also tough and Priester noted that the two-day winning weight was less than the first day leaders had at last year’s event. “We heard from the anglers that the water clarity was poor throughout the lake and was really affecting the fishing,” he said.
Even still, the team of Max Escamilla and Paul Bailey had enough to claim the title with a two-day weight of 29.56.
Winning Pattern for Clear Lake
Max Escamilla and Paul Bailey weighed in 16.38 on the first day and 13.18 on the second day to accumulate a two-day weight of 29.56. They took home $2,595 for their win.
Bailey is a guide on Clear Lake and confirmed that the poor fishing was due to the water clarity.
“The whole lake is a chocolate brown color and that makes it hard for the fish to see the baits. They are still in there, but they just can’t see your baits and you have to basically hit them on the head with it to get them to bite,” he says. The lake has seen algae and dead vegetation from aquatic weed control. “It is shocking how bad it looks right now,” added Bailey.
With the tough conditions, the duo knew that low weights would be the norm.
“We went in saying that we would be happy with anything that bit. If we had 10-pounds, we would be happy,” he said. They took the lead after the first day thanks to three quality fish and their 13-plus on the second day was more than enough to win the event.
Bailey relied on a wealth of experience with numerous waypoints showing isolated rocks.
“Every time I see one or hit one with a bait I mark it and we just ran all of those with a square bill. I wasn’t hitting bottom with the bait but was just getting the bait around those isolated boulders,” he shared.
The lure Bailey and Escamilla used was a Strike King KVD 1.5 square bill. They were able to land seven fish the first day and roughly the same on the second day.
The rocks he had marked were slightly higher in the water column, but the 3- to 7-feet zone was key for them during this tournament.
The team focused on the Soda Bay and Rattlesnake areas of the lake. “We would fish one and then run to the other and then come back again,” he recalls.
In addition to having numerous rocks marked, Bailey also credited their win to the fact that they fished clean. “We didn’t lose any fish over the course of the tournament,” he shared.
2nd Place - Ian Unsaker and Kody Wintrode - 25.82lbs $2,030
3rd Place – Daniel Krause and Jackson Jaurez - 25.82lbs - $1,200
4th Place – Michael Rothstein and Adam Martin – 25.18lbs - $1,265
5th Place – Taylor Thompson and John Thompson – 24.35lbs - $750
Part of the fun of this event is that they give out a lot of prizes to competitors. This adds to the tournament purse and makes it a must-attend event for so many anglers on the west coast. “It is our way to give back to Triton owners and the sport,” said Priester.
About Nixon’s Marine
Nixon’s Marine is located in Walla Walla, Washington and attracts buyers across the west coast who are looking for Triton boats of all styles and materials. Besides Walla Walla, they also have a location in Lakewood, Washington. In addition to Triton, they carry Ranger, Skeeter, Crestliner and Legend bass boats and service all makes and models of boats.
2018 Triton Owners Tournament
The 2018 event has already been planned and Triton owners should mark their calendars for October 6th and 7th.