Anglers began arriving at Glory Hole Sports at 4:00 am where Dan and Melanie Lewis, owners of the store, were open with hot coffee for everybody.
Conditions started out questionable as the cloud cover and slight drizzle had many wondering what the day would hold for them.
By 11:00 am the sun was peaking from behind quickly moving cloud cover with a just a slight breeze blowing. But as quickly as it changed for the better it took a turn for the worse. The wind got stronger and the clouds socked in once again.
The bite had been just as inconsistent as the weather. Throughout pre-fish many of the competitors reported days of easy limits followed by days that were tough to get a bite!
Soon the stories of the day would begin to unfold as the competitors began to arrive for the afternoon weigh-in.
Catching fish didn’t seem to be a problem as 32 of the 37 boats brought in five-fish limits. Finding big fish seemed to be a little tougher though as only five fish over 3 pounds were brought to the scales.
The competitors reported catching the majority of their fish on jigs, worms and spinnerbaits. The anglers brought 176 bass to the scales weighing 298 pounds. Average weight per fish was 1.70 lbs with the largest going 5.02 pounds.
Taking the title at New Melones was Clovis pro Jeff Mathews and his partner Albert Ignacio, of Santa Barbara. Mathews and Ignacio brought in a 12.32-pound five-fish limit that was anchored by Mathews’ 5.02-pound lunker that took big fish for the event.
Using 12-pound Stren on Shimano reels and Loomis rods, the pair keyed on long slopping points in the main lake and Coyote arm. Mathews’ big fish fell victim to a spinnerbait while the rest of their limit came on jigs and brushogs.
The team used Yamamoto green pumpkin hula grubs on ? ounce jig heads along with Carolina rigged Zoom brushogs in the same color. Their spinnerbait fish was caught shallow while the fish they caught on plastics came out of 35 – 45 feet of water.
For their great finish, Mathews took home $2,443 while Ignacio earned $1057 for a team total of $3,500.
Second place went to Oakdale pro Bruce Harris and his partner Bryan Shafer, of Modesto. Harris and Shafer brought in a five-fish limit weighing 11.92-pounds. Shafer’s 3.18-pound lunker took big fish honors in the Am Division and helped seal their 2nd place finish.
The anglers fished the main lake keying on rock structure from the bank to 20 feet deep. Their fish came on brown jigs with Yamamoto trailers, brown gitzit’s and shad colored Robo worms that were fished on 8-pound Trilene line with Shimano reels and St Croix rods.
Harris thanked his sponsors, St Croix rods and Thermo Batteries as he accepted $1,622 in winnings. Shafer took home $953 for a team total of $2,575.
Atwater pro John Myers and his partner Tom Bossard of Modesto finished 3rd with their five-fish limit that tipped the scales at 11.22 pounds. Myers’ pro division 2nd big fish, that tipped the scales at 4.08 pounds, anchored the team’s weight.
Myers and Bossard keyed on rocks and brush in the main lake to catch their fish. They fished 20 – 45 feet deep, dragging jigs and Texas rigged salt and pepper Predator worms as well as dropshotting on 8-pound Maxima line with Abu Garcia reels and Loomis rods.
Myers thanked his sponsors, Predator Worms, Map Cad and Jantz Farming as well as his best half, wife Bernadette. Myers won $1,045 while Bossard took home $460 for a team total of $1,505.
Rounding out the top five in fourth place was Riverbank pro Jeff Frey and his partner Milton Reynolds, of San Carlos. Frey and Reynolds brought in an 11.12-pound five-fish limit. Frey took home $651 while Reynolds earned $162 for a team total of $813.
Fifth place went to Modesto pro Anthony Pimentel and his partner Jim Findlay, of Oakdale. The team brought in a five-fish limit weighing 9.74 pounds. Pimentel earned $417 while Findlay took home $128 for a team total of $545.
Second big fish in the Am division went to Wesley Jones, of Riverbank, with his 2.92 pound bass that netted the angler $140.
The Pro Division Angler of the Year Points Race saw Jeff Mathews’ victory move the Clovis pro into 1st place with 217 points. Following close behind is Oakdale pro Bruce Harris with 211 points. Pro Angler of the Year champion earns $750 in 2005 entries.
Marvin Vaughn, of Delhi took the Am Division lead with 212 points. Right on his heels is Modesto’s Bill Clayton with 211 points. Am Division Angler of the Year champion earns $375 in 2005 entries.
New for 2004 is Nor-Cal’s push to encourage new pro’s to join our circuit. As an incentive to fish Nor-Cal Pro-Am’s, we have added the Bob’s Marine Pro Rookie Bonus Cash and the Thompson Chevrolet Pro Rookie Point’s Race.
The Bob’s Marine Pro Bonus Cash awards $100 to the highest finishing pro at each event, who is fishing in their first season as a Nor-Cal pro. The bonus cash at New Melones went to 6th place pro David Pereira of Modesto.
The Thompson Chevrolet Pro Rookie Point’s Race will track the same anglers throughout the season and award a prize package at the end of the year worth several hundred dollars. Kerman pro Tim Turner and Fresno pro Sieg Taylor moved into a 1st place tie in this race with 199 points. Only one point behind is Modesto pro John Silberbauer.
Thompson Chevrolet is also offering special pricing on new vehicle purchases through their dealership in Patterson for all Nor-Cal members. If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, shop around and then come to Thompson and see what Nor-Cal pricing can save you!
Special thanks goes to our tournament trail sponsors, Stratos Boats and Evinrude Outboards. Because of their support, Nor-Cal Bass will be awarding a fully rigged Stratos/Evinrude prize package at their Pro Championship tournament. Visit Bob’s Marine to take a look at this great boat and motor combination!
Thanks also to our official rod sponsor, St Croix, for supporting our anglers and awarding their quality built rods at the Nor-Cal Bass Pro Championship.
Nor-Cal Bass Tournament Trail sponsors are: Stratos Boats, Evinrude Outboards, Bob’s Marine, St Croix Rods, Thompson Chevrolet, Autolife Sporting Goods, Escalon Bait & Tackle, Tom’s Truck Repair, Tracy Oasis Marina, Del Taco Manteca/Oakdale, Thermo Oil Batteries, Super Pork, Keeper Custom Worms, Predator Worms, McClure Painting & Plastering, Hildebrand’s Auto Repair and PMZ Realty.
The third stop on our 2004 Pro-Am season takes place March 6, 2004 at Lake Don Pedro. Check-in will take place at Flemming Meadows at the store. Mandatory Check-in is from 4:00 am to 5:00 am on the morning of the event.
Our first open team of the season takes place on March 27, 2004 at Lake Don Pedro. Check-in will take place at Flemming Meadows at the store.
The Stratos Boats Western Regional takes place at Clear Lake on April 2 & 3, 2004. Nor-Cal Bass events are qualifiers for the Western Regional. Visit our website for more information.
For more information on our tournament trail and our 2004 schedule, visit our website, www.nor-calbass.com, or call (209) 634-8754.