Anglers Search on Heavily Fished Clear Lake During CITGO Bassmaster Western Open

What’s at stake: $224,032 in total prize money, plus 15 berths into the CITGO Bassmaster Open Championship. The top five boaters at the Open Championship will earn berths into the CITGO Bassmaster Classic, Feb. 24-26, on Lake Tohopekaliga in Kissimmee, Fla.

The Pros Said It

“This is going to be one very interesting tournament. The lake has been hit hard every weekend with a large numbers of boats in tournaments and it has made the fish a little more wary for many anglers. This is a great lake and you’re going to see some large fish caught by anglers who can adapt throughout the day. If they work them right, they will catch fish.” - Two-time Classic qualifier Ishama Monroe, 31, Hughson, Calif.

“Practice was a little slow. The lake is in transition with the water temperatures around 65 to 67 degrees. If the water was warmer, fishing would be better and if the water was cooler, it would also be better. But that does not mean fish are not going to be caught. I had a strike today from a fish that felt like it shattered my fishing rod and slapped my shoulder. I put an ’X’ on the water and told the fish I would be back tomorrow.” – BASS pro Jim Reese, 40, Witter Springs, Calif.

“Fish are really scattered and it’s difficult to establish a pattern on them. I did find a better size of fish deeper, but my dad Monty Fralick found better action in shallow water then I did. Fish are going to be found from 2 feet to 22 feet and everywhere in between.” – One-time Classic contender Jami Fralick, Martin, S.D.

”I love this lake. It’s full of fish and I feel it’s the bass capital of the West. You’re going to see fish at the end of the day that could be in the 10-pound class. In this tournament, I’m fishing for points to get into the Classic in Florida. I’m not saying I don’t want to win, but I’m trying to position myself for the Classic. - John Murray, 31, Phoenix, Ariz., who has earned nearly $220,000 on the BASS circuit and is in second place in the points standings.

The Strategy

Monroe: He has 15 Daiwa rods rigged with every bait he can think of. Some are set with 6-pound test line for light finesse fishing and others have 80-pound test line and big, deep running baits for monster bass.

Reese: He is looking for a good takeoff at the beginning of the day and plans to fish a few favorite spots before other anglers can get to them. Then, Reese will run and gun for fish all over the lake. He plans to work shallow and deep, looking for shad to help lead the way.

Fralick: Fralick will throw lures with exposed hooks in an effort to present something the fish rarely see. With pressure on the lake in the last month - with more than 300 boats on the water in different tournaments – Fralick wants to offer something different.

Murray: With 15 rods rigged with everything from a worm and drop shot to a crank bait and spinner bait, Murray feels he can earn enough points to qualify for the Open Championship, which will send five anglers to CITGO Bassmaster Classic on Lake Tohopekaliga, Feb.24-26, 2006. But if he has a good position after two days of competition, he’ll make a run for first place.

Location and Field
CITGO Bassmaster Western Open
Clear Lake
Lakeport, Calif.
Oct.13-15, 2005

Cut to 50 after Day 2

Konocti Vista Resort & Marina
2755 Mission Rancheria Road
Lakeport, Calif. 95453

Konocti Vista Resort & Marina
2755 Mission Rancheria Road
Lakeport, Calif. 95453

Previous BASS events
2004 California CITGO Bassmaster Open
2003 California Western Open
2003 California Showdown
2002 California Western Open
2000 California Invitational

Previous winners on lake
48-14 Zachary Thompson, 2004
48-14 Mark Tyler, 2003
71-12 Alton Jones, 2003
67-15 Aaron Martens, 2002
83-5 Byron Velvick, 2000

Heaviest winning sack
83-5 Byron Velvick, 2000

Lowest winning sack
48-14 Zachary Thompson, 2004
48-14 Mark Tyler, 2003

85 degrees, sunny and clear

Lake level
1,321.71 feet above sea level

CITGO Bassmaster Western Open Points Leaders

1 Russ Meyer Calif. 315
2 John Murray Ariz. 295
3 Jim Davis Calif. 290
4 Steve Sapp Calif. 285
5 John Varanai Calif. 280
6 James Taylor Calif. 276
7 Jared Lintner Calif. 272
8 Gary Boyd Calif. 268
9 Fred Roumbanis Calif. 264
10 Jim Reese Calif. 260

CITGO Bassmaster Open
Central Open Division
May 5-7 Sam Rayburn Jasper, Texas
Oct. 13-15 Norfork Lake Mountain Home, Ark.
Nov. 10-12 Red River Natchitoches , La.

Northern Open Division
July 14-16 Lake Erie Sandusky, Ohio
Aug. 11-13 Lake Champlain Plattsburgh, NY.
Sept. 15-17 Oneida Lake Syracuse, NY

Southern Open Division
June 23-25 West Point Lake Lanett, Ala.
Sept. 22-24 Lake Guntersville Guntersville, Ala.
Oct. 27-29 Lake Tohopekliga Kissimmee, Fla.

Western Open Division
May 26-28 California Delta Waterway Bethel Island, Calif.
Oct. 13-15 Clear Lake Lakeport, Calif.
Nov. 17-19 Lake Shasta Shasta Lake, Calif.

Local sponsors: Local sponsors include the Konocti Vista Casino Resort and Marina.

Bassmaster Open Series sponsors: CITGO Petroleum Corp., Toyota, Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops and Cialis (tadalafil).

BASS is the worldwide authority on bass fishing, sanctioning more than 20,000 events through the BASS Federation annually. Guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans, BASS sets the standard for credibility, professionalism, sportsmanship and conservation, as it has for nearly 40 years.

BASS stages bass fishing tournaments for every skill level and culminates with the CITGO Bassmaster Classic. Through its clubs, youth programs, aquatic resource advocacy, magazine publishing and multimedia platforms, BASS offers the industry's widest array of services and support to its nearly 550,000 members. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.

For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit