California B.A.S.S. Nation Event #2 at Cachuma
Guest Blog by: Jeff Jones 8/4/2013
B.A.S.S. affiliated club members from around California assembled once again, this time at Cachuma Lake north of Santa Barbara, for the second of four qualifying tournaments to earn a spot on the California State Team. Two more team members are seated at this event and the rest earn points for a chance at making the team by consistently placing well at each event.
Dwayne Fochler, representing the Ventura Bass Club, finished first at the tournament with the largest limit of bass weighing in at a lucky 7.77 pounds. Reflective of the conditions at Cachuma, the total weights were as low as the lake level, which played a significant role as the level has been consistently dropping and driving numbers of smallmouth bass to deeper water and stranding a few largemouth in shallow cover when it could be found.
Known for being an expert jig fisherman, Fochler reports that his primary lure of choice was a ¾ oz. j-lure jig head completed with a 5-inch green pumpkin Yamamoto Kreature bait, cast on a GLoomis rod and Abu Garcia Revo reel spooled with 10-pound P-Line. He found his numbers of bass hanging on windy points between 20 and 40 feet of depth and credits the day’s cloud cover as being helpful, keeping the bass more active for a longer period than with bright sunshine.
Finishing first at this event earns Fochler a Boater position on the California State Team. Finishing second, and earning a Non-boater position was Ventura Bass Club-mate Kevin Sherry, who also landed a limit of bass and finished a close weigh-in at 7.53 lbs. The Top 5 was rounded out by: Martin Brian (7.24 lbs.), Jason Hemminger (5.94 lbs.) and Rodney Scott (5.33 lbs.). The top four are the only contestants who managed to boat a limit at this tough event.
The optional Dobyn’s Big Bass prize was captured by Steve Wilson who caught a 2.36 lb. largemouth on a spinnerbait in shallow water to win a new Dobyn’s rod.
While numbers of smallmouth bass were hanging on the deeper banks, there were also some largemouth bass to be found holding to cover in shallower water. Even some right on wind-blown banks if there was also some wood cover to hold to. Lake Cachuma’s water level at normal pool is listed to be 800 ft. of elevation, but at this event the lake level was listed at 718 ft., over 80 feet low. Even the usual launch ramp was out of water and boat launching was directed to a secondary smaller ramp.
During the 2013 qualifying tournament circuit, the top two anglers earn spots on the State Team at each event, making up eight of the State Team spots. The rest of the participants earn points to qualify for the two boater and two non-boater spots remaining, and the 13th person Team Alternate.
The State Team formed this year will represent the California B.A.S.S. Nation at the 2014 B.A.S.S. Nation Western Divisional Tournament. The top California State Team member at that event will represent California at the B.A.S.S. Nation National Championship for a chance to earn a spot to “The Superbowl of Bass Fishing,” the Bassmasters Classic.
An avid angler and writer, Jeff started tournament bass fishing in 1990. While his first love is bass fishing, he also enjoys fishing for other species including fly-fishing and saltwater.
Jeff is active with area bass organizations and has held most officer position at either the club or state level and has been a frequent State Team Qualifier. A guest speaker for the Bass Pro Shops Spring Fishing Classic, Jeff has presented numerous seminars and tank demonstrations and is dedicated to promoting the sport of fishing through education and youth.