The cold had an effect on the anglers and many wondered what effect it would have on the fish. The bite had been good the past few weeks with many anglers catching quality limits of bass. The question would be would it continue.
The end of the day would bring the answers surrounding the bite as well as crown a new champion to kick-off the season.
Twenty-six of the forty boats brought in 5 fish limits. The bite did toughen, but the competitors still managed to bring 168 bass to the scales weighing 305 pounds. With a predominantly spotted bass lake, McClure still kicked out some quality limits with the average bass weighing 1.81 pounds.
First place went to Denair Pro Bill Park and his partner Brian Ruthman, of Oakdale. Park and Ruthman brought five fish to the scales weighing 12.74 pounds.
The pairs fish came by dropshotting shad patterned Pro and Robo worms. Their fish were scattered in water from 20 to 70 feet. The pair keyed on rock structure in the south part of the lake to take the title.
Ruthman capped the teams weight with his 3.10-pound lunker that tied for Amateur Division Big Fish.
For their championship victory Park took home $2,283 while Ruthman earned $1,187 for a team total of $3,470.
Sonora Pro Bruce Wallace and his partner Marvin Vaughn, of Delhi, finished second with a 12.60 pound 5 fish limit.
Wallace and Vaughn fished Piney Creek and Maxwell where they keyed on creek channels in seventy feet of water. The pair used Mega Buck and Ex-Cel spoons to catch all their fish.
For their solid performance Wallace took home $1,753 while Vaughn won $712 for a team total of $2,465.
Third place went to Modesto pro Paul Cox and his partner Bob Burke, of Oakdale. Cox and Burke brought in a five fish limit that tipped the scales at 12.44 pounds.
The anglers keyed on rocky banks in Piney creek to catch their limit. They caught their fish on ? oz brown on brown jigs in 15 to 20 feet of water and Lucky Craft rip baits.
Third place netted Cox $1,261, while Burke took home $272 for a team total of $1,533.
Rounding out top five in 4th place was Clovis pro Jeff Mathews and his partner Bill Clayton, of Modesto. Mathews and Clayton brought in a five fish limit weighing 11.32 pounds. Mathews took home $708 while Clayton earned $336 for a team total of $980.
Fifth place went to Arnold pro Dan Perkins and his partner Corey Lewis, of Merced. The pair brought in a five fish limit weighing 10.84 pounds. Their finish earned Perkins $453 while Lewis secured $128 for a team total of $581.
Pro Division Big Fish went to Le Grand pro Steve Greene. Greene’s 3.34-pound lunker moved him into 17th place and earned the pro $250.
Tied for Am Division big fish was Richard Marchini, of Le Grand. Marchini also brought in a 3.10-pound bass that secured 11th place and $165.
The Pro and Am Division Angler of the Year Points Race kicked off its five-tournament race to the title. Bill Park and Brian Ruthman’s victory at McClure started the pair out on top of their respective divisions. Pro champion earns $750 in 2005 entries while the winner in the Am Division 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 who is fishing in their first season as a Nor-Cal pro. The bonus cash at McClure went to 2nd place pro Bruce Wallace.
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. Wallace’s 2nd place finish at McClure started him off in 1st place for this exciting race. Thompson is also offering special pricing on new vehicle purchases through their dealership in Patterson. 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 & 100% 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/100% BASS Pro Championship.
Nor-Cal Bass Tournament Trail sponsors are: Stratos Boats, Evinrude Outboards, Bob’s Marine, St Croix Rods, Thompson Chevrolet, PMZ Realty, 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 and Hildebrand’s Auto Repair.
Our next pro-am event takes place on February 21, 2004 at New Melones. Check-in for the event takes place from 4:00 am to 5:00 am at Glory Hole Sports.
For more information on our tournament trail and our 2004 schedule, visit our website, nor-calbass.com, or call (209) 634-8754.