By David A. Brown
REDDING, Calif. — Philip Garcia of Yuba City, California started his day knowing what
he needed to do and sticking to that game plan yielded a 5-bass limit of 12.50 pounds
that leads Day 1 of the Wild West Bass Trail Superclean Showdown on Shasta Lake
presented by Bridge Bay at Shasta Lake and Phil’s Propellers.
Garcia targeted long, tapering main lake points, west of the Pit River (Interstate 5)
Bridge and caught his fish in relatively shallow water. Hitting six different points, all in
close proximity, produced his weight.
“I just hopped around; a lot of it was prefishing on tournament day,” Garcia said.
“Everyone’s fishing everywhere, so I would just jump around. I knew what stuff was
right, so I didn’t practice it.
“I would fish each spot about 45 mins to an hour before moving. If I started catching
fish, I’d be there longer.”
Noting that he caught 10 fish today, Garcia said most of his bites came in the morning
— including a 4.74 at 9 a.m.
“I think (the morning bite) is sight related,” he said. “The sun is low and there was a
good breeze in the morning, so the fish were a little more aggressive. As soon as the
sun gets overhead and everything is flat calm, it gets tougher.”
Garcia said he started out fishing swimbaits on P-Pine fluorocarbon, but once the bite
slowed down, he switched to dragging worms and jigs. The fish remained in his area,
but they were no longer chasing.
“I threw reaction baits all day to keep them honest, but after 11, it was over,” he said. “I
weighed three fish on swimbaits and two on dragging baits.”
Garcia said he followed a hunch and explored another area around noon, but
determined he had left his best option, so he returned and finished his day there. For
Day 2, he plans on committing to his main area.
“I think I just need to concentrate on catching 8 pounds and not worry about the big
fish,” Garcia said. “If I can catch 8 pounds, I think I’ll make it to the final round and then I
can go for the big stuff.”
APEX Cup angler Jeff Michels of Lakehead, Calif. is in second place with 12.27.
Spending his day in the Sacramento River Arm, Michels said he found consistent quality
today, but doing so required mindful consideration of the key variables.
“Conditions are brutally tough; you’re not catching a lot of fish, the water is cold — 47
degrees — and it’s breaking from 3- or 4-foot visibility,” Michels said. “It goes into a
muddier stretch with 2 feet of visibility and then it goes so clear you can see 20 feet. You
gotta make a ton of adjustments to water clarity and temperature.”
Michels caught his fish from 0 to 40 feet on a trio of reaction baits. Technique-specific
Dobyns Rods gave him the performance he needed to target the fish that were feeding
on shad, rainbow trout and Kokanee.
“I’m not really focused on specific habitat, I’m targeting bait,” Michels said. “When you
find the bait, you find the fish; it doesn’t matter if it’s on rock, mud, points, cliffs.
“It’s really crowded where I’m fishing. If I get a little room tomorrow, I can really blow this
APEX Cup angler Nick Wood of Little Shasta, Calif. is in third place with 12.13. Also
fishing the Sacramento River Arm, he focused on targeting the fish that were feeding on
shad. Noting that his was mostly a morning bite, Wood said he caught a 4-pound fish
“Where I’m fishing, we’re on a thermocline and there’s a lot of bait in the area, so they’re
up first thing in the morning chasing shad,” Wood said. “I know that way up these arms,
the fish will gang up there this time of the year on the thermocline.
“There’s always current there, so there’s always a transition of the current there. Right
now, it’s really distinct — it goes from 48 to 42. There’s a pretty good debris line there
Wood caught most of his fish on a 4-inch Keitech Swing Impact in Tennessee shad on
a custom 3/16-ounce dart head. He also slowed down to milk his areas with a green
pumpkin Reaction Innovations Flirt Worm on a 1/4-ounce Frenzy Nail.
Garcia is in the lead for Big Bass honors with his 4.74.
Su Saeteurn of Redding, Calif. leads the co-angler division with 13.35. Paired with
Michels, he said he knew he’d be in for a good day on the water, but also relied on
personal experience to knock down the day’s biggest bag.
“I drew the best guy in town, so I knew I was in good hands,” Saeteurn said. “I’ve been
fishing this lake for 20 years and when it’s tough, you have to slow down.”
For Saeteurn, that meant slow dragging a 3.8 Keitech Swing Impact in pearl white on
a 1/4-ounce ball head. This presentation produced the majority of his fish, although he
caught his biggest — a 4.35 — on a float and fly.
Craig Main holds the Big Bass lead among co-anglers with a 4.64.
Saturday’s takeoff is scheduled for 7 a.m. Pacific Time at Bridge Bay at Shasta Lake.
The weigh-in will be held at Bridge Bay at 3:10 p.m.