By David A. Brown
REDDING, Calif. — Adjusting to a windy Day 3, APEX pro Alex Klein of Oroville, Calif. tallied a 3-day total of 38.89 pounds to win the Wild West Bass Trail Superclean Showdown on Shasta Lake presented by Bridge Bay at Shasta Lake and Phil’s Propellers.
Going into Championship Sunday, Klein trailed Day-2 leader John Maes by less than half a pound. At the final tally, Klein had edged second-place Ryan Friend by 1.04.
After placing 58th on Day 1 with 9.95, Klein raced up the leaderboard with a Day-2 limit of 15.78. Sacking up a final-round limit of 13.16, Klein added his second Wild West Bass Trail trophy to the one he claimed at last year’s Wild West Bass Trail Duel on the Delta.
“It’s incredible,” Klein said of his second major win in as many years. “Winning the first pro-am on the Delta was insane, because it’s the Delta. To almost win a pro-am on Shasta in November and come in second, then to come back and win at Shasta this year is absolutely amazing.
“To win on two bodies of water that are completely opposite — from a shallow water largemouth tidal fishery, to a deep reservoir with spotted bass — in a short amount of time is pretty special to me.”
Returning to the main lake area where the lower Sacramento River arm, Klein worked familiar waters and targeted bank structure with an adjacent deep drop. After a slow Day 1, Klein was finally able to access his prime areas on Day 2 and caught his biggest bag by targeting fish that were actively chasing shad along the wall.
“In the morning (Day 2), bass were pushing bait up and feeding, so I caught them fast,” Klein said. “Today, the fish weren’t feeding, so I had to move around and relocate them.
“There weren’t any flurries; it was just one here, one there. At 10:30, I made a big cull with a 2 3/4-pound fish. After that, there was a midday lull, then a few small upgrades.”
Klein recalls a late-day happening that likely sealed the deal. Around 3 o’clock, as he told his co-angler they had to leave to go in, Klein made a cast and set his rod down, while he tucked away his others.
“I picked up my rod and I had a 2 1/2 pounder that made a cull,” Klein said. “I looked at my co-angler and said: ‘When it’s meant to be it’s meant to be.’”
Klein caught his fish on 3.3 and 3.8 Keitech Swing Impact Fat swimbaits in the gold flash minnow and smallmouth magic colors on ball heads. He also caught keepers on a dropshot with a 4-inch Keitech Easy Shiner and a 1/4-ounce weight.
“The fish weren’t actively feeding like they were on Day 2, but I stayed around the bait because I knew the fish would be there,” Klein said. “Lake Shasta is notorious for being a super tough fishery when the north wind blows. I knew it would be tough and I would have to capitalize on every bite.
“The wind made it tough to control the boat, so it was a mental game.”
Hailing from Oroville, Calif., Friend finished second with 37.85. After placing 11th on Day 1 with 12.32, he added a second-round limit of 11.35 and gained four spots to seventh. On Championship Sunday, he added the day’s heaviest limit — 14.18 — to secure second place.
Friend said he fished the lower Sacramento River arm and focused on points. Hitting 50-75 spots a day, he found his bites came out of 10-12 feet. Friend’s main offering was a 1/2-ounce white/chartreuse Mayhem Baits spinnerbait with tandem willow-leaf/Colorado blades.
“I fished the spinnerbait shallow early and late, then slow rolled it midday,” Friend said. “
When Friend spotted suspended fish on his Garmin Livescope, he’d throw a float-n-fly rig with a 1/8-ounce Spro Fat Fly in the grey ghost color.
Chad LeBlanc of Wheatland, Calif. took third with 34.37. Fishing the west side of the main lake, near the dam, he posted daily bags of 9.40, 14.08, and 10.89.
“I was trying to locate some bait schools I had pinned down the last couple of days, but the wind kind of threw them off,” LeBlanc said. “I threw a 7-inch Osprey swimbait and got multiple bites, but I realized they weren’t eating right in the wind.”
LeBlanc adjusted by switching to a 1/2-ounce chartreuse/white War Eagle spinnerbait with double willow-leaf blades.
“All week, my fish came in shallow water with deep water access,” LeBlanc said. “Anywhere I could find some baitfish near that deep water, the fish were moving up and down to feed on the bait.”
LeBlanc won Big Bass honors for his 6.35.
Kyle Porter of Lodi, Calif. won the co-angler division with 33.25. His daily weights were 12.06, 9.89 and 11.3.
Spending the day in the main lake region, Porter caught fish in 5-35 feet. While windblown points offered a shallow bite all day, he found the deeper zone most productive.
“The majority of my fish were caught in 20-30 feet over rocky points,” Porter said. “I caught 12 fish, but I only culled twice. I made my last cull at noon.”
Porter caught his fish with slow presentations. His main baits were a 3-inch Roboworm in morning dawn on a 1/5- to 1/3-ounce Ned head (heavier in Day 3’s windy conditions), a Zoom Trick Worm on a 3/8-ounce Ed’s Lead shaky head and a
3.3-inc Keitech Swing Impact Fat on a ball head.
David Zavvar of Concord, Calif. won the Big Bass award among co-anglers with a 6.13.