Professional angler Luke Clausen is one of just five anglers in the world to have won the Forrest Wood Cup and the Bassmaster Classic. Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, he credits his success with being from the west coast and fishing throughout the southwest and California as he advanced through the ranks. After traveling the country with a brief period living in the southeast, he is happy being back on the home. I sat down with Luke to see what makes anglers from the west unique, why they seem to do so well on the national tours, what his favorite western fisheries are and also about the challenges of fishing a major professional tour thousands of miles away from home.
Techniques and Innovation in the West
As much as we hear “a bass is a bass, no matter where it lives”, there are still major differences between the different parts of the country and more often than not - the newest techniques and products seem to come from the west. “In the south, bass fishing is more of a cultural thing, where it seems like the west is just now becoming more of a ‘cool thing’ to do and gaining more popularity. When you are fishing in the south, you see everyone bass fishing either in bass boats, kayaks, aluminum boats or inner tubes; it is just what everyone does back there” says Clausen.
While the per capita amount of bass fishermen is much less in the west, the innovation, technology and many new techniques all seem to originate from the west and always have. As he has traveled the country, he is always checking out the latest west coast trends in swimbaits, finesse fishing and anything else that may give him an advantage when competing nationally. “The things guys are doing here in the west continue to amaze me. I would say I have definitely brought more things from the west to the east than I have brought home from back there,” acknowledges the FLW Tour pro.
Competing on the FLW Tour provides a logistic challenge no matter where you live. Successfully arranging travel, pre-fish times and accommodations takes planning and organization to do it right. Add to the fact that western pros need a few additional steps to make it possible, it is a task just preparing for the season when you factor in plane travel and storage for a boat and truck when you return home. “This year I am going to make twelve flights back and forth just to be able to fish all of the FLW Tour events, the Toyota Texas Bass Classic and time to pre fish the lakes. That doesn’t even include any sponsor obligations or events like the Bassmaster Classic and ICAST,” says Clausen.
When flying back and forth across the country, Clausen and
other western pros rely on their network of friends as places to store their
rigs and will often leave them at the airport with all gear safely locked
inside of the truck. “I have left my rig for weeks at hotels, friend’s houses
and airports. I think airports are generally a safe place to keep your stuff
and that works great if you have nowhere else to keep it,” says the
Top Picks from the West
As we all know, there have been some top national pros who
have roots in the west, so what makes them so good? “The biggest thing is the
diversity, I know that is what everyone says that, but if you can fish Lake
Mead, then the Delta and then a place like the Columbia River and do well on
all of them, you can compete anywhere. Those places are so different and some
of the guys who have went on to the national tours have found a way to do well
on all of those places,” says Clausen. Among his favorite of all waters on the
west coast is
Luke Clausen is one of the many professional anglers who have made the journey across the country to compete on the national tours and even with his success and career being across the country, he is still very proud of the west coast bass fishing scene. He would love to see the FLW Tour or Bassmaster Elite Series return to the west and especially the Pacific Northwest to showcase the excellent fishing in the region. “There is no place like home and I am definitely a west coast guy,” says Clausen.
Photo Credits: FLW Outdoors