Siemantel, of Castaic, Calif., and the Day One leader of the CITGO Bassmaster California Open at Clear Lake, extended his lead after Day Two Friday with five bass totaling 13 pounds, 7 ounces. His two-day total of 38 pounds, 3 ounces leads Bink Desaro of Boise, Idaho, whose two-day sack of bass hefted 33 pounds, 15 ounces.
For the most part, the 248 anglers – 124 boaters and 124 non-boaters – had a tough time finding the big bass that California's largest lake is known to kick out. It wasn't the weather, which was perfect -- sunny and hot, with just a light breeze to keep it interesting.
Siemantel's five-bass limit was 11 pounds, 5 ounces less than his limit from the first day, and that was the story for most of the boaters and non-boaters on the second day. Most had a tough time equaling their first-day catches.
"I know where the big bass are and what they're doing, but I just can't get to them because I don't know what the people are doing," Siemantel said. "I couldn't get to any of my spots after 11 a.m. because there were people fishing them."
The two heaviest bass were turned in by amateurs, with Eddie Fletcher of Elk Grove, Calif., checking in the heaviest, a 9-3, worth $1,000 in the non-boater division, and Bob Banta of Rathdrum, Idaho, turning in a 9-pound, 1-ounce bucketmouth. Banta, checking in with a two-day total of 24 pounds, 13 ounces, trails John Olimpic of Angwin, Calif., the non-boater leader with 26 pounds, 5 ounces.
Olimpic owns a dental clinic in Angwin, and he specializes in whitening teeth. He wore a 1970s B.A.S.S. hat that he said he paid $15 for on e-Bay.
"My pro fished a lot slower today, and I was able to use more finesse techniques that work for me," Olimpic said.
Siemantel hasn't won on the BASS Tour since winning the Bassmaster Western Invitational in 1997 at Lake Powell. But he's threatening to go wire-to-wire here unless someone like Desaro or third-place angler Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., can step up.
Desaro has been trying his best to remain a pro fisherman, but he said he's running out of time and money. A win here would bolster his confidence and bank account and, more importantly, keep him from having to go back to working a construction job.
"I'm just doing what I can right now to keep fuel in the boat and stay out here fishing," Desaro said. "It's exciting to be here and be in contention like this. I'm just going to go out tomorrow and see if what worked today will work again. I found fish flipping tule points, and the fish seemed to be in no more than three feet of water. That seemed to be the cherry depth."
BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. In 2004, BASS will introduce the all-new Bassmaster Elite 50 Series, a four-event, no-entry-fee circuit featuring a $1.6 million prize purse for the world's best anglers. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail presented by Busch Beer is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass-fishing tournament circuit and continues to set the standard for credibility, professionalism and sportsmanship as it has since 1968.
Sponsors of the CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail presented by Busch Beer include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Busch Beer, Chevrolet Trucks, Yamaha Outboards, Mercury Marine, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Lowrance Electronics, Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, Kumho Tires, Progressive Insurance, Abu Garcia, Berkley, Diamond Cut Jeans, MotorGuide Trolling Motors, and BankOne.
Associate Sponsors include Bryant Heating and Air Conditioning and G3 Boats.
Local Sponsors Include Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce
For more information, contact BASS Communications at (334) 551-2375 or visit http://www.bassmaster.com.