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Jeff Jones
"Bassnfly"
Guest Blogger

Gary Collins Wins Second Cal BASS Nation Event

Guest Blog by: Jeff Jones , California 8/30/2014
The second of four California BASS Nation qualifying tournaments, held August 24-25, 2014 at Lake Nacimiento, CA, was an exercise in persistence and tolerance for most.  The numbers were there even if the sizes were not.

Anglers undoubtedly like to catch a lot of fish, and the bigger the better, especially in a tournament, but at Nacimiento the numbers and the size available was certainly a challenge for some.  But Gary Collins of Zero Limit Fishing, a Castaic based BASS club, culled his way to the top one quarter of an ounce at a time to win the tournament and qualify for the 2015 California BASS Nation State Team in a boater position.

It is often said by anglers that when traveling away from home they would like to at least have a chance of catching some nice bass.  But, it is just as often said that in any tournament, under specific conditions at any given lake, that all the anglers are “In the Same Boat” as it were.  Meaning, no matter what the conditions are, that all of the anglers are fishing for the same fish, on the same day.  Those anglers that figure out what works best, no matter if it is for skinny one-half pound spotted bass or massive 10 pound largemouth, will be the anglers in contention on that day.

This time Collins figured it out better than everyone else.  His two-pronged approach at Lake Nacimiento was to fish a shaky-head worm and a jig.  “The key was to fish it painfully slow,” Collins reports, “When you found some rock, just shake slack line to tap it on the rock and then wait for a thump, or for it to swim off.” Collins managed a limit each day for a total of 10 bass weighing 10.97 pounds.

When the conditions get tough often the best approach is to rely on the confidence baits you have.  Collins stated that he had confidence in the shaky-head on this lake that he had not been to in many years. “I primarily just fished a technique I have years of faith in. I just kept castin’ and shakin’, and lots of patience.  Especially on Day 1,” he said, when boat traffic and wakes made for muddier water and even more finicky bass.  “I pretty much caught my limit in the last 45 minutes when things started to settle down,” on the first day of the two day event.  “On Sunday, I consistently caught them all morning as there wasn’t as much boat traffic.”

Gary Collins’ choice of equipment for the winning pattern was using a Zoom watermelon candy trickworm on a Buckeye Spot Remover ¼ ounce shaky-head jig (green pumpkin), cast with a G. Loomis (MBR 782 GLX) rod and Wright & McGill Victory reel (6.2:1) spooled with 12- pound Sunline Shooter fluorocarbon.

Collins added that, “I did catch my biggest fish”, a 1.22 pound kicker, “throwing a Pro Gold CRL Spider Series Jig into a ‘nervous’ school of shad.”  For the ½ ounce jig he used a Steve’s Custom Rod, the same W&M Victory reel, but with 14- pound fluorocarbon. 
“It turned out to be a much tougher bite than I anticipated… It was a real grind out there.”

For the win Collins earns a coveted ‘Boater’ position on the 2015 California BASS Nation State Team that will represent the state at the 2015 BASS Nation Western Divisional event for a chance to attend the National Championship and to earn a spot in the Bassmasters Classic.

Second place, and locking up a non-boater position on the team, was Jason Hemminger of the Ventura County Bass Club.  Hemminger also landed a limit totaling 10.42 pounds, just .55 short of the winning weight.  Jason reported that finesse worms were also his primary lure.  Jason and Gary are the only two anglers with a limit on both days.

Ventura County Bass Club’s Dejon “Carhartt Big Bass” Lewis upped his game enough to take this tournament’s Dobyn’s Big Bass Award, winning a new Dobyn’s Rod with a 2.48 pound bass, 3rd Place overall and a total weight of 9.63 pounds.  This tournament’s Dobyn’s Big Bass was the only fish brought to the scales that weighed over 2 pounds, although it should be said that Lake Nacimiento produced a giant 11-14 pound largemouth bass just a few months ago!

The next event for the California BASS Nation State Team Qualifying Tournaments is September 27-28, 2014 at Lake Shasta, CA.  Visit the California BASS Nation website for more information.  At each event the top angler earns a spot on the team as a boater, the second place angler as a non-boater, and the rest of the participants are awarded points based on standings that will fill out the 13 person State Team.
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.
Pictured: 4th Place Brian Day, 3rd and Dobyn`s Big Bass Dejon Lewis, 1st Place Gary Collins, 2nd Place Jason Hemminger. Pic ctsy of Mike Landy
Blog content © Jeff Jones