First off I would like to thank all the officers for a awesome season & keeping everything running smooth. A huge thanks to Jon graves & rich caro for helping out!! Thank you Marc Harrison & Laura for always cooking awesome food!! Thank you to all the members of the Scbbbc for awesome memories & great laughs and keeping this possible. You guys are a BLAST to be around
) You guys feel like family to me!!
Okay now to the report- as ALWAYS (lol) I get to go up a few days early to do some pre-fishing/fun-fishing. I love to camp & fish so I will always try to sneak away early from my HONEY-DO-LIST. I left Santa Rosa at 4:30 a.m. I got a private area to launch from around mid-lake, so that's where I started. I didn't end up getting in the water until around 7 am, after shooting the crap with bob at limit out tackle. I rowed up to some docks to see if I could find/graph any bait- nada!! I started off throwing a Alabama rig parallel to the docks for zero bites. I quickly switched to a 20 ft crank thinking I can cast between the docks and smash it into the pillars causing a reaction bite because maybe they were holding tighter to the structure? Nope that didn't work either. I tried a few other things including my trusty jig & the unbeatable mm3 4 1/2 robo. Still for no bites. I started to just row around and use my lowarance hdi & see just how much bait or bass I can find. I only came across a few very tiny & scraggly looking bait balls, and marked only a few stray bass - not the quantity I was looking for. I decided to get the hell out of there and try a different area.
After I got done packing up all my stuff the time is now about 1030 in the morning. I start my truck and proceed to head north. As I'm driving along the road I am looking for any activity of birds or signs of a lot of bait movement or feeding activity. Everything I drove past just look like a dead sea. I decided to stop and get in up north & just fish the rest of the day and try to have some fun. I get in the water and cut my dt10 off my dobyns 705cb to replace it with a trusty speed trap. I get to my sweet spot and fire off a cast & immediatly stick a nice 4 1/2 pounder. I thought to myself wow that was lucky and maybe could have been a random fish? I fire off another cast & got smashed on the "pause" of a stop & go type retrieve, missed it. Throw back out and hammer another 3 lber. I started thinking I just most likely found my starting area for the TOC.
I put away my rods & hopped on the oars to go check some other spots in the general area. I ran into a big boat not far from the area I just left. We started shootin the crap, he said there was a school of bass swimming around a week ago, but couldn't find them. My wheels started really turning now!! I was pretty sure I found a school of bass, I just wasn't sure how big the school of bass is, or what size class? I figured since I caught a 4 pounder there has to be a few more 4 pounders around hopefully. The day goes on and is going to get dark soon. I start a long row back to my launch area & spotted a bass boat fishing that general area. They were absolutely crushing smaller fish 1-2 lbers on lv,s. I had my truck packed up & just kinda watched them for a minute hammering all these dinks. The picture I was painting in my head was growing bigger as more clues kept revealing themselves.
I check in to my cottage at the skylark & crack open a cold Sierra Nevada and quickly start over-thinking on where to go for Friday morning. I did this for hours and enjoyed a short nap before getting up at 4:15 Friday morning, but hey who cares about sleep right? This is Clearlake dammit so go out & do what you love!! After I made coffee strong enough to kill a horse, I decided to try Henderson. I set up my stuff and start rowing into the blackness. I stopped half way at a rocky point island area. I grabbed the a rig & started chucking it around for no bites. I switched to a brown craw dd22 for no bites. I then tried a silent dd22 thinking they were pressured or spooky? Again no bites!!! Geez!! I then quickly ran a delta craw speed trap super tight to the bank- still nothing!! I said this area is ruled out for sure! I grabbed the oars and finished the row to Henderson. I finally get there and started marking fish and lots of bait!! I threw 4 differnt pre-tied a rigs, 10 differnt depth/color cranks and tried multiple retrieve styles for still no bites!! I started thinking to myself I probably will not fish here either. I really didn't want to row back that far right away- I really wanted to catch a fish so I took out a trusty homemade jig and tied it to a dobyns dx784 c ml jig rod with straight 50 pound power pro.
I backed off the rock to the transition point where the rock ends and it levels off in about 20 feet of water. I figured since how the lack of bite has been I will just drag the jig with no hops or sudden movements. I would kick with a zig zag pattern to find the edge of the rock & then back off just a touch, because for some reason I just wanted to be right at the transition point and not actually on the rock itself. As soon as my mind forgot I was actually fishing instead of nature watching, I get SLAMMED on my homemade 1/2 brown jig. Right away before I even set my hook, the word catfish popped into my head. A millisecond later my arm & shoulder react to a shoulder displacing hookset. As soon as the hook finds its mark it immediately starts fighting just like a cat. She kept staying deep & swore I felt her "rolling" just like a cat. If anybody was there I would've bet you $100 it was a catfish !! After a pretty good battle she finally revealed her true identity !! My jaw DROPS- I used a couple colorful words and grab the net. She starts to thrash ... I keep saying the words holy $hit she is a beast. I finally get the net under her & was thinking she might go 11 lbs!! (See pic in TOC double digit thread) I put this giant on the cull-em-rite scale 5 times and varied between 10.06- 10.16. As soon as I took the first scale reading I yelled as loud as I could, but nobody was around. I was all smiles and didn't even care about how I fished the TOC. I came and caught a dream & was content for definitely the rest of the weekend. After I watched her swim back down, I just looked around- shook my head and said frickin Clearlake !!! I am lucky and blessed to live by one of the best fisherys in our nation !!
I pack up my stuff and figured I would now try buckingham. I row out to a community spot and tried lv,s, cranks, jigs for about 2 hours tops. I quickly left & ruled that area out. Even my feeling about it was terrible!! I pack up again and decided to stop at Clearlake outdoors & try to give a little business. After leaving the shop I set up at the skylark & rowed way off shore to these so called rock piles ? They were marked on my navionics but I wasn't impressed. I fished all around for no bites. I thought maybe some fish were closer to the bank, so I rowed a cast distance away from the bank in between 5th street and the skylark. I tied in a 3 ft crank and immediatly got a few decent bass 2-3 lbers. I thought it might be a decent thing to do for a back up / last minute / just catch a limit area. I got out and hung out with Ayers for a bit. After getting back to my room I knew I had a plan. I would go to the area where I caught my trap fish.
Day 1 TOC - we blast off and I follow deren to see where he gets in at Rocky - LOL, thanks for a new spot homie ) I pull up to my area and quickly get in. I row to my spot and immediately started chucking the trap. After about 30 minutes of no bites, I pull up on the "spot" I put the trap away and decided to grab the quite blade and retrieve it with its belly rubbing bottom, because my fish were hugging bottom. I immediatly get hammered by a nice fish around 4 pounds. I put it in the box and continue with the blade. Boom!! Another 3 lber !! I'm feeling pretty good because I almost NEVER get fish first thing. I continue to work with the blade for no more bites. I stop for a second and think of how I'm getting them- close to bottom & reaction has been good. So I tie on a HEAVY jig thinking the quicker fall can trigger bites- kinda like getting lv fish on the fall. I liked the jig because I also thought the silent approach compared to noisy rattling baits - like a yo yoed lv. Don't get me wrong the lv KILLS THEM, but from watching 20 boats with 40 guys all throwing lv,s I wanted to be a little differnt. I tied on a big 3/4 oz jig and started to pop & stroke it around the area. My split screen downscan & broadbrand was definitely revealing fish holding in the area. I continue to violently hop the jig with 1-2 ft snaps. I get hammered after a sharp 2 ft snap of my jig. I set the hook and thought - oh it's a good one!! She breaks water & I yell out loud to her- "if you come off I'm going to be pissed!!) she cooperates and stayes on. I get her in the net & just thought- I have a good chance at big fish!! I do not weigh her, but I'm guessing she could be pushing 8 lbs. I continue with the jig and get my limit fish. I'm feeling happy with a limit considering how pre-fish was & how big boats were doing. I didn't want to fish the area any more, but wanted to upgrade my smallest of 3.06. I stick with my jig and let go a bunch of 2,s. Damn! I'm thinking I'm fishing it too much, but still want to upgrade the 3 lber. I finally get hammered on the jig and cull out the 3 with a beautiful 5.66!! I put my rod away and never made another cast.
I rowed to some no name spots to "kill time" thinking I had around 20 lbs. I fished around some random areas and got some 3 pound bass I was so tired I decided just to leave early. I started rowing back at around 11:45 ish. I get to my area & see 2 boats hammering my spot. I was thinking there should be at least 4 fish here tomorrow hopefully. As I get closer I start to ear hustle them. One boat has caught 100 fish or so, I watched him DESTROY lv fish (tons of smaller 1-2 lb class ) he had a few nice ones mixed in. He said his 5.12 was the biggest. I quickly realized how many fish were around!! Usually the size class is the same, but this school was 1-7 plus lb class fish. I knew were I was coming day 2!! I get back to the skylark super early and just have some snacks and wait for everyone. I knew I had a good limit and wanted to "sandbag" cause it always looked like fun, thought it was funny when guys did that on purpose- lol. I put my cooler at the end of the line. Deren showed me his big fish early, I figured I might have him beat. Mine was a little fatter, but his was a definite 7 lber at least- I think it's going to be close I thought. After I pulled her out and put her on the scale- she weighed 7.59. I quickly did a fist pump because I knew I got big fish for the day. We put the rest on the scale and I had almost 21 lbs & day 1 leader!! After some friendly smack talk about the day one curse and saying I'm going to "slack off" - I reply bring the curse on!!! I'm just glad to be leading today cause I'm never leading - lol. I think Joe mentioned my beard or something blocks the curse - lol. We head off to tnt restaurant to eat . After some grub, good laughs and guys trying to get me drinks or pry info (lol) Dave and I smash back to the hotel. I hung out with Joe & Rolo and enjoyed shootin the crap. After laying down for bed at around 8:30, the dreaded burrito is fighting back with sharp pains. I figured if I get food poisoning I don't give a crap I'm going to go out throw up all day and try to fish - well at least that was my inflated mentality, but confident at the same time. I can't sleep due to stomach pains and overthinking day 2. My anxiety was kickin!! After a few hours I purposely tried keeping my eyes open. This worked great and got those body, leg muscle jumps you get when you are extremely tired, I knew I would be asleep soon after a long nap, I wake up at 3:58 and was just way too excited and ready to get up even though my alarm wasn't set until 4:30 AM.
Day 2 TOC - I get in the water as fast as I could, I immediately go to my spot. Grabbed my blade hoping the fish did not leave this area. Boom- 4 pounder crunches it, as I grab the Net it comes off right at the boat !! I was kinda rattled but not really. After fishing about 30 minutes with no bites I start to think more & more about the 4 pounder I dumped. I put the blade away & out came the jig. I ripped it off the bottom ang got smashed by a 3 pounder. Next cast 2 pounder and so on. I get my limit quickly & said to myself- this is it its time to start Cullen (lol) I had my limit & culled 5 times by around 7 am. The fish kept getting bigger. I knew I could hammer it all day and not have to "save" any for tommorrow. I started putting 41/2 pounders in the box, then culled out a 4 with a 5 plus!! WOW this is epic I'm thinking!! Then I see a 3 ft line jump after ripping my jig. The battle is on with a nice one, she cooperates and stays down . I fetch my net and put a 7.76 toad in the net. I'm thinking I just got day 2 big fish as well!! I continue fishing the jig & throw out another 4 for a 5.72, then another 5 1/2. I continue to upgrade by 5 plus ponders to 6 pound class fish. Now I have a 7.76, 6.44, 6.22 and a 6.07. I continue to pound the area violently hoping the jig, then BAM!! The fight is on with another good one- she jumps , oh crap it's another 7 plus !!! I'm shaking fighting her and kept muttering I NEED this one . I finally net her & weighed her. She came in at 7.22. I put a culling buoy on because I seriously thought I was going to cull 6,s & 7,s now? For the rest of the day I catch 4- high 5 pounders including another 6 that couldn't help!! It was a crazy feeling to throw 5,s back. Didn't even care about my go pro or taking pics !! My hands were actually bleeding from so many teeth!!
I got back to the weigh in & knew I had the win and thought maybe a new record too? I still waited to weigh in last, but showed a few ppl. The water was foamy and kinda hard to see them. When I pulled them out of my livewell it was an amazing feeling to be blessed with so many toads. We put them in the scale and it said 27.66 lbs!!! Holy smokes!!!!! I felt like a celebrity or something with everyone taking pics & all the great praise. I was shaking with adrenaline. This is my first club win in 3 years, I had no idea it would go down like this!! It was truly what dreams are made out of. I feel very fortunate & lucky to have to experienced these few days on the great fishery of Clearlake !!! Thank you once again to all the officers for a memorable year !!! See you guys soon ) - JASON CULLEN
Best for 2015 - 8 lb 15 oz. Clearlake swimbait 8 lb 9 oz. Clearlake flipping 8 lb 10 oz. Springlake punching 8 lb 0 oz. Springlake whopper plopper 8 lb 10 oz. ClearLake - Deep Crank