LAKEPORT, Calif. – The 2020 Wild West Bass Trail (WWBT) California Teams Tournament of Champions (TOC) on Clear Lake presented by Bass Cat Boats and Mercury Marine closed the scales with Jeff Michels and Tony Zanotelii hoisting a team trophy for the 2nd time this year.
The team put together a tournament total of 55.85, with 26.17 for Day One, adding the big stringer of the event on Day Two at 29.68. Their win earned the team a brand new Bass Cat Boats Margay with a Mercury Marine 150 ProXs.
Earlier in 2020, Michels, of Lakehead, and Zanotelli, of Redding, claimed victory at the February 8th, regular season CA Teams stop on the famed, big bass fishery.
“The difference in the win for us was rolling with the change in conditions,” explained Michels. “We caught good fish, doing things different ways because of the weather. The strategy was a little bit of the same thing both days; but with the wind blowing like it was, we had to make some changes.”
The team believes a key was their extremely slow presentation during the absence of wind.
“When it would start to blow, we covered a lot more water and threw more moving baits,” added Michels. “When the wind wasn’t blowing, we were fishing deeper with down baits. On the first day, we caught our biggest bass on a down bait and then the next day, our biggest bass was on a moving bait. The conditions kept changing and that dictated what we would throw.”
Although the pair remained tight-lipped on their specific baits and techniques, they did reveal that Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits were the plastics tied on.
Their weigh-fish came from both the north-end and south-end of the lake.
“When it was calm, we got them out of 10- to 15-feet and when the wind blew, we fished 0- to 8-feet,” shared Michels.
They reported catching 30 to 40 keepers on Day One and 50 to 60 on Day Two, with the majority of the fish running in the two-pound range.
The partners have been fishing together for about six years and looking forward to splitting their winnings. They shared their appreciation for WWBT and the sponsors.
The 2020 WWBT California Teams Anglers of the Year (AOY) honors went to Robby Chikasawa and Niel Lum. Their finishes in the regular season included:
Their effort will allow the team to compete for 2021, with entry fees provided by Buck Knives.
The event marks the final team competition for the 2020 year and highlights the partnership between WWBT and Bass Cat Boats.
“We’ve been working diligently with Rick Pierce, Kevin Short and the Bass Cat brand,” said Jeremy De Hart, Owner of Wild West Bass Trail. “It has been very encouraging to see a few more Bass Cats in the field at every event. I think it is a testament to the loyalty that our anglers show to the companies that support the West Coast.”
Looking forward, DeHart mentioned changes for the WWBT Teams, including a field cap and a five-fish limit.
REST OF THE BEST | PRO TOP RESULTS
2nd 53 Ericksen/Page
3rd 51.65 Zinda Jr./ Conder
4th 50.05 Jordan/Sweat
5th 47.39 Cree/Silveira
The next WWBT event, the 2020 Lucas Oil Western Classic on Clear Lake will blast off on November 13 - 15. The WWBT debuted in 2016. The trail includes a Pro/Am circuit and two Teams circuits – one based in California and the other in Arizona.
A special thanks to all the WWBT sponsors – Bass Cat Boats, Ben Green Insurance, Bobs Machine, Buck Knives, Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits, General Tire, Genesis Graphics, Fitzgerald Fishing, Lucas Oil, Lure Lock, McMillian Fiberglass Stocks, P-Line, Power-Pole, Protect the Harvest, Super Clean, Top This Premier Accessory Outfitters, Vets 4 Hunting and Fishing and Wood Brothers Flooring.