It doesn't have any sign or marker, but Thompson sure knows where it's at and how to get to it. In two days, the area produced two lunker bass for Thompson and his fishing partner.
After producing a nine pound, six ounce bass for Thompson on Day One of the CITGO Bassmaster Western Open at Clear Lake, the spot kicked out an eight pound, 10 ounce bass for Thompson's fishing partner, non-boater George Thiel of Banning, Calif., on Day Two.
Thompson said he was putting one of his five or six pounders in the live well when Thiel hooked up on the giant bass.
"I knew it was a big fish, and, granted, I would have loved to have had it, but I already had some nice bass, so it was good to see him catch a big one," said Thompson, a general contractor from Orinda, Calif. Thompson weighed in five bass Friday totaling 23 pounds, 13 ounces and took the second-day lead in the Western Open. He leads first-day leader Anthony Klonowski of Eagle, Id., by just over two pounds. Klonowski fought boat troubles from noon on, but still had a two-day total of 33 pounds, 11 ounces.
A fog delay on Day One limited the anglers to three hours of fishing, but the fog cleared earlier Friday, allowing the 224 anglers to launch after a short delay. The nights have been cool here, with temperatures dropping into the 30s, so fishing is changing daily as the fish move deeper.
"Thursday was such a short day that I didn't really get to fish this spot as long as I would have liked," Thompson said of his Clear Lake honey hole. “But we got in there today and really caught them."
Thompson said he caught his bass in 15 to 30 feet of water, and many anglers talked of bass that were holding in shallow water scooting out and going deep.
Right behind Thompson and Klonowski lurks a very dangerous Gary Dobyns of Yuba City, Calif. Dobyns weighed in a five-bass stringer totaling 20 pounds, six ounces after turning in a miniscule eight-pound bag on Thursday. Dobyns could only wonder what might have been.
"I had a 10-minute stretch where I dumped five fish, including two keepers," Dobyns said. "It was the worst 10-minute stretch of fishing I've ever had. They just weren't eating the bait, I guess – not getting hooked well enough. Today I had some bonehead luck and didn't lose anything, but I'm still sick over yesterday. I should be running away with this thing."
Dobyns' limit included a seven-pound, 14-ounce bass that took the $1,000 prize as the Purolator Big Bass in the boater division. Thiel fetched the $400 bounty for the Purolator Big Bass in the non-boater division.
On the non-boater side, Jack Farage, a graphics designer from Discovery Bay near San Francisco, held onto the lead for the second day. His two-day total of 25 pounds, one ounce barely leads Sieg Taylor's 24-11. Farage managed to out-fish his boat pro, veteran Larry Hopper.
"It was one of those things where I just kept casting and casting and didn't worry about what [Hopper] was doing in the boat," Farage said.
Farage used a combination of rip baits, crankbaits and drop-shotted plastic worms to take his fish.
Clear Lake showed signs Friday of turning on for bigger bass. Many of the anglers said they caught their biggest bass ever in a tournament. There were at least 10 bass caught that weighed over 6 pounds, including a couple of seven pounders and Thiel’s eight pounder.
Bassmaster Tour pro Skeet Reese, who has fished Clear Lake for 20 years, said the anglers who fish deep structure on the south end of California's largest lake on Saturday probably will be rewarded with big stringers. Reese was in fifth place with 28 pounds, 6 ounces.
"The cold nights have chased all those fish that I've been chasing in the shallows into deeper water," Reese said.
BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail presented by Busch Beer, which includes the all-new Bassmaster Elite 50 series, 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 Southern Open include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Busch Beer, Toyota, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, and Bass Pro Shops.
Local Sponsors include Konocti Vista Casino Resort & Marina.
For more information, contact BASS Communications at (334) 551-2375 or visit www.bassmaster.com.