1st place winner of our Clearlake Kayak event Alex Cox
Full results can be viewed here
By Jody Only
LAKEPORT, Calif. – As the only angler to break the century mark, Alex Cox, of Seal Beach, Calif., reeled in 100.25” for the victory at the 2nd stop of the Wild West Bass Trail Kayak Series at Clear Lake presented by Headwaters and Crescent Kayaks.
With 93 other kayakers vying for inches on the famed big bass fishery, Cox measured up with the biggest bass of the day at 21.50”, adding to his total and pushing him just shy of 3-inches past his closest competitor.
Cox put in south, at Redbud and traveled approximately 30 minutes with his MotorGuide Xi3 trolling motor. He was equipped with two Bioenno batteries for a game plan that included 15 areas over 17 miles. However, a super-productive first stop kept him in place for most of the fishing day.
“The area just kept putting out fish from about 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. and with the weather conditions and how they were biting I just didn’t want to leave,” Cox recalled. “I had 100 inches by about 9:30 a.m. and then I just went around for a boat ride. I junk fished a little and looked for bed fish; but didn’t get further from the ramp than I had to.”
His magic spot stretched 100-yards and was described as a sloping bank covered in rock. His fish came out of 8- to 20-feet of water.
“I think it was productive because all of the fish seemed to be post spawn and it was a stage for them to come off of their spawning area and eventually move into their summer areas,” he added.
He matched his single spot with a single lure, catching all fish on a jig.
“It was a ½-ounce, brown, custom, hand-tied Tas Moua jig – a TM jig – with a green pumpkin Yamamoto Cowboy trailer,” he said. “It is the only thing I threw, and I threw it on 40-pound PowerPro Maxcuatro braid to 17-pound Sunline FC Sniper Fluorocarbon.”
Cox noted his retrieve was “painfully slow” and his bites depended on the wind.
“Once it calmed down, the algae picked up, the water dirtied up and I just didn’t get much after that,” he stated.
Cox expressed appreciation to his sponsors – NuCanoe, Bioenno Batteries and Performance Tackle.
Adding his 2nd runner-up finish in as many stops of the Series, John Myers, of Atwater, Calif., came in with 97.50”.
Myers feels his success came from making the right adjustments at the right time.
Entering at Braitos, Myers started with a key fish within his first four casts. It went 19-inches and fell to a homemade white buzzbait with a black and white PowerBait trailer.
Fast forward two hours and the buzzer never produced another bite. Myers knew an adjustment was necessary.
By noon, he landed on an area with similar conditions where he had seen success within previous weeks. It was a rocky point between two spawning coves. There was a school of post-spawn fish that had suspended on the point.
“It’s a community spot,” said Myers. “It is one of those perfect locations that is a migration point that hold fish for pre and post spawners.”
Myers’ best bait was a ½-ounce, green pumpkin Tas Moua Finesse Jig with a Yamamoto Twin Tail Grub trailer in cinnamon/purple.
“I hadn’t picked it up all day, but when I got to the rocky point, I threw it out to deep water, to about 20- to 25-feet,” he said. “I used a pop/pop/fall retrieve to mimic a crawdad’s movement this time of year and right when it got to the boat, my line got heavy.”
His bite came on the fall and the bass went 20 ½-inches. He estimated it in a 4-plus class range.
Focused on that area, which crossed about 4-feet, Myers quickly picked up another bass, similar in size, and again on the fall.
“I needed to retie; so, I threw out a Texas-rigged, 5-inch Yamamoto Senko in watermelon/green laminate that I had on 8-pound P-Line Tactical,” he said. “I was watching my Senko while I retied my jig and I got another four-pounder on my line. That is when I knew I was on to something. In a ½-hour, I caught about 22-pounds of fish in a spot the size of a car hood.”
After winning the first-ever WWBT Kayak event in the Series, Damian Thao, of Fresno, Calif., also made an encore performance in the top-3 at Clear Lake, with 95.25”.
Proving that the big ones can be sacked up on either side of the lake, Thao put in on the north end, at Rodman Slough and remained in the mouth and bay of the Rodman area through “lines out”.
He credited two presentations for his fish – an Owner Flashy Swimmer underspin, switching from a Keitech Swing Fat 4.3 in alewife or 3.8 in bluegill flash, fished on 16-pound Sunline FC Sniper and a River2Sea Rover 128 in Powder tied to 65-pound Power-Pro.
“I started with the underspin in the morning,” he shared. “The 4.3 got me more bites; but the 3.8 is what I got my biggest fish on. For the underspin, I was Power-Pole down, fishing out into the deeper stuff, targeting the nicer grass in about 6-feet.”
A mid-day condition change prompted Thao to switch to his topwater option.
“The wind direction was a big player,” he explained. “It was blowing from north to south in the morning and then at about 9 or 10 a.m., it changed from south to north and blew straight into Rodman Slough. I had to wait a couple hours for the wind to blow enough to position the fish and push the baitfish onto the flats.”
Thao employed his HydroWave in Surface Baitfish mode and targeted fish in a depth of 2-feet.
“I turned the HydroWave on and I started seeing the fish busting,’ he said. “When the time was right, I started with the Rover. Again, I was Power-Pole down and fan-casting on the outside of grass patches and edges. It didn’t really seem to matter what the retrieve was as soon as it got in front of them, they just grabbed it.”
For complete results, visit TourneyX.com
Clear Lake Outdoors served as the tournament headquarters