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WON BASS is the leading tournament bass fishing organization in the West, offering both a pro-am circuit and a full slate of team tournaments across the Tri-States (California, Nevada, Arizona) area. Part of the Western Outdoors family of events and publications, WON BASS not only produces a monthly supplement to Western Outdoor News on everything connected with the bass fishing world, but is also the host organization for the prestigious U.S. Open of Bass Fishing held annually on Lake Mead outside of Las Vegas, NV. For tournament schedules and rules, check out

Game on with 186 teams
It’s game time this morning!

Dan Sullivan reporting:

186 boats gathered in Callville Bay Marina ready to push off into the waters of Lake Mead for day one of the 2016 WON Bass U.S. Open. The National Anthem has been sung and the rooster tails have started.

Follow on with the Costa Live broadcast all day for the next three days starting at 9 a.m. Pacific time. 


UPDATE at 9 a.m.The winds have come up early this morning on day one at Lake Mead with 20 to 30 mile per hour winds projected this afternoon. The anglers better strike early rhis morning.

CLEAR LAKE: Local knowledge counts

CLEAR LAKE: Local knowledge counts

2016 California Open title taken by WAYNE BREAZEALE, who took home the Nitro Z18/Mercury prize package. He came back and won the event after placing 23rd the first day!


Special to Western Outdoor News

CLEAR LAKE -- The 4th Annual WON Bass California Open at Clear Lake crowned Wayne Breazeale the 2016 champion with a three-day weight of 85.06. Breazeale’s victory on Friday came with a lead of more than 7 pounds.

The lake local started the event in 23rd place on Day 1 and rocketed up the leaderboard to 2nd after weighing in big stringer on Day 2 with 37.08. His biggest bass of the event went 9.41. Breazeale reported rippin’ his fish all week long.

On the AAA side, Dink Mendez climbed from 5th place on Day 2 to claim victory today with a tournament total of 73.54. His biggest catch weighed in at 8.17. Mendez attributed his best fish to an umbrella rig.

full results

See more results at and this week’s print and digital editions of Western Outdoor News, and the special event review supplement for WON BASS.

2016 California Open victors pro Wayne Breazeale 85.06 (left) and AAA Dink Mendez 73.54 (right).

THE FIRST DAY'S start at Clear Lake. 

2016 California Open | Day One

For many of the 2016 California Open competitors at Clear Lake it turned out the bite yesterday wasn’t as tough on Day 1 as it had been practice. At end of day, we saw two teams (Newby/Pena and Bailey/Howard) break 30 pounds and over 20 percent of the field bring in over 20 pounds. On the pro side, both Jim Elliot and Jason Newby brought 10-pound kickers, while the biggest (10.76) of Day 1 was weighed by AAA Shane Gore.

Fishing resumes at 7 a.m. today with little change in conditions from the first – mostly sunny and a daytime high of 70 should see the bite continue to improve from practice days. The went is a three-day tourney. For more details on the tourney and WON BASS, go to



George Kramer's annual top 40 California Bass Anglers Listing
Ehrler named best bass fisherman on California Top 40
20th Anniversary Edition

HE’S NUMBER ONE — Brent Ehrler is honored as the Best Bass Angler in California.


Special to Western Outdoor News

In this, the 20th anniversary of the California Top 40 Bass Anglers List, the task was almost impossible in determining the best bass anglers in the Golden State. Whether by peer references, point standings, or merely the “eye test,” our Bass Angler Assessment Team (BAAT) tried to find some separation between so many fishermen with worthy, but hardly lights-out performances.

Even on the biggest stages of national competition, the margins have never been closer. Yet, after much debate, Brent Ehrler of Redlands has been named the Number 1 bass angler in the Golden State on the strength of his two-circuit successes. He was third on the FLW Tour, just behind Cody Meyer, but his 7th place finish in the Bassmaster Northern Opens earned him qualification in the prestigious B.A.S.S. Elite Series in 2015. That right there was the difference.

Once again, the test was to find who showed the best among tournament anglers, big bass specialists and fishing guides. The only difference from previous editions over the last 20 years, is that the committee bowed to concerns that those fishing ponds or private lakes were not subject to the same monitoring as those on busy public waters. Therefore, those specialists were not included here.

Tournament anglers take up the majority of the top-40 spots this year, but the truth remains, tournaments cut both ways. Good finishes get the hoopla, but for the sake of ranking, bad finishes count against the angler. Figuring out the value of the anglers’ year-long performances, strong or weak, team or solo, in fields large or small, was the primary challenge.

And here is the final result. Go ahead and take a look at the names of the best California bass fishermen in 2014!

Top 40 - 20th Edition

Brent Ehrler, Redlands — In a very close race, Brent was one place behind Cody Meyer on the FLW Tour points, then took third in the Forrest Wood Cup. He also finished 7th in B.A.S.S. Northern Opens to earn a spot in the Bassmaster Elites in 2015.

Skeet Reese, Auburn — The highest finishing Californian in the Elites this year at 7th, Reese stayed in the race for B.A.S.S. AOY to near the end. Is he getting older — or better?

CODY MEYER FOUND himself ranked #3 in this year’s edition of the California Top 40, finishing in the runner-up spot on this year’s FLW Tour.

Cody Meyer, Auburn — A former #1 in the Golden State, his runner-up spot on the FLW Tour this year was not quite enough to earn the top spot on the Top 40. But any year could be THE year for Meyer, he’s that good.

Jared Lintner, Paso Robles — How close was this thing? Lintner was just 6 points behind Reese in the Bassmaster Elites, and that puts him way up here among Californians.

Matt Allen, Vacaville — A combo guide/big fish specialist, Matt crushed both big largemouth and spots this year — really, like nobody else out there.

KYLE GROVER WAS named Angler of the Year in the FLW Rayovac Series, and coupled with his strong showing in the 2014 U.S. Open, found himself well within this year’s top 10, at #6.

Kyle Grover, Trabuco Canyon — Angler of the Year in the FLW Western Rayovac Series, even with only three events, he also had a good showing in the U.S. Open.

Mark Daniels, Jr., Fairfield — One of the hardest guys to rank. He blew chunks on the FLW Tour, but was 12th in the Northern Rayovacs to qualify for the championship, and won a Western Rayovac contest at the Delta, earning 86k overall.

Gabe Bolivar, Oceanside — They can argue this one with so few events on his calendar, but some team wins and a Top 10 U.S. Open finish; he’s the best tournament angler in the county right now.

Chad Martin, Nicolaus — Wouldn’t recognize this guy if he walked in my kitchen — but apparently the Rayovac weighmaster sees him all the time. Big year at 3rd in the standings.

Jimmy Reese, Witter Springs — Pencil this guy in every year; he’s often more reliable than his flamboyant, Bassmaster brother.

Jason Borofka, Salinas — Not a 4-star year for this guy, but ranking bass fishermen in 2014 is like hunting Easter eggs in a bog.

Kevin Norling, Poway — Here’s the new poster boy for “Big fish in a small pond.” But he was a really big fish in 2014.

Aaron Britt, Yuba City — True, he won the final Rayovac event of the year, finishing 19th overall, but he was also strong (4th) in the CTT standings.

Wade Curtiss, Meadow Vista — Steady, not flashy, his eighth spot in the Rayovacs was no accident.

Joe Marshall, San Diego — Known as “Joe Fish,” this busy guide has to catch them before, during and after every tournament on the little City Lakes.

Ken Phillips, Antioch — Riding his 9th place finish in the Western Rayovacs. Maybe you can get his autograph?

Pete Marino, Moreno Valley — Another guide/team tournament angler who, outside of Norling, had the most impressive, multiple win season.

Greg Gutierrez, Red Bluff — Here’s a tough one to figure. He was only 34th in the Rayovacs but earned Angler of the Year in the 5-event (five different waters) California Tournament Trail. He lands here.

Jerred Jennings, Stockton — We keep hearing more and more about this guy and had to take notice when he cashed more than 13k while finishing 10th in the Rayovacs.

Larry Hemphill, Yuba City — Back on the list again, the veteran guide on Clear Lake and Berryessa has a full menu of trip types like a fine restaurant. And he serves big portions.

John Fuqua, Oxnard — He was a beast when he spent most of his time on Lake Casitas, but has branched out and finished 11th among the Rayovac contenders, collecting 11k this year.

Jason Milligan, Shasta Lake — Cashes in at the locals’ expense on his home water, but proved he can fish with the traveling pros, taking 12th in the Western Rayovacs.

Mike Walsh, San Diego — Always seems to be on fish in the team ranks where he was rated third among San Diegans. Very tough to beat.

Jon Strelic, El Cajon — A soft-spoken pro with national experience and rated fourth among San Diego County anglers.

Wade Strelic, El Cajon — Like father, like son. Just too hard to leave the 24-year old off, especially since his local ranking put him second in the county.

Butch Brown, Castaic — While long known for his big bass catches (and there were some early at little Castaic) he even went as far north as Isabella for double-digit fish this year.

Ed Arledge, Valley Center — This old Navy man just won’t go away. Long a fixture in San Diego, he just missed pulling the upset in the Havasu Rayovac this spring. Thirteenth overall in the points.

Wayne Breazeale, Kelsey­ville — Second only to Gutierrez in the CTT points race, this guy continues to succeed.

Bill Siemental, Castaic — Okay, not his most memorable year. Some team wins fishing solo, then a broken boat, but an ICAST best of show winning designer and he just inked a national Mercury deal.

Randy Pringle, Salida — One of his best years for client success, Randy is known for instructional guiding at the highest level and was strong in 2014.

Tom Leedom, Fallbrook — Fifth among San Diegans according to It wasn’t his best season, but it was pretty darn good.

Dean Jamieson, Chula Vista — He may not have been the only guy with a 15-plus this year, but he A-rigged and swimbaited his way through an impressive season.

Jamond Andrews, Oakley — Proving he can power fish with the best of them, and with any team partner, thank you.

Jon Demonet, Downey — Won his Anglers Marine division at DVL, the TST Tour­nament of Champions on Havasu and finished second in that AOY race. Enough to make the list.

Chris Studinger, San Marcos — Willing to fish out of San Diego County, he was top 5 material on DVL, respectable in his local waters and even went all the way to the Clear Lake Open for a 13th spot.

Todd Kline, San Clemente — Word is he’ll be waving good-bye to the co-angler ranks where he was Angler of the Year for the second straight year in FLW out West.

Bryant Smith, Castro Valley — No big numbers in the points standings (only 23rd in Rayovacs), but a number of outstanding individual finishes around NorCal. We expect much more next season.

Eric Elshere, Camarillo — A fixture at Lake Casitas, but really needs to get out of town. We’ll give him one more chance to break out.

Guy Williams, Menifee — He got his plaques and his points so we put him here.

(tie) Ross England, Kelsey­ville; Bob Mysky, Lakeport — Two highly respected guides at Clear Lake that needed to be recognized. Proves you don’t need any hardware to be ranked among the best in the state.

Northern CA Clear Lake Open, June 10-12, 2013

Two amazing days down and one to go at the Clear Lake Northern California Championships.

Day 2 Review - for full results go to

WON BASS NorCal Open: The Nitro Z-7 with Mercury 150 hp Optimax and a pile of cash is on the line.

Although the second day of the inaugural Northern California Open closed with weights lower than that of the first, a third of the pro field still boasted two-day totals with an average daily limit over 20-lbs.

The Day One Big Fish honors held for another round at the scales, leaving Rick Correa only one more day to defend the claim of Overall Big Fish with his 9.04.

Day One Big Stringer title holders Mike Stiles and Jacob Russell and their 26.82 were joined by the Day Two Big Stringer catchers Jeff Michels and Chad Smith with their 25.98.

WON BASS NorCal Open: Jeff Michels and AAA Chad Smith claimed the Costa Daily Big Stringer prize for Day 2 with 25.98. Michels said they smashed 'em in the morning, getting 25 fish before 10 a.m., but then it all shut down.

A two-day total of 49.20 puts Bryant Smith currently holding a lead of less than a pound on the pro side, while Dean Yoshizuni is leading the AAA's with 47.52 in the first tournament of his angling career.

The final day blast off will commence at 5:30 a.m. with stabilizing conditions for the anglers. The fishermen can expect another partly cloudy day, warming to the mid-80's. For those hoping for the breeze, NW winds will reportedly increase to 10 to 20 MPH.
Some will make calculated adjustments, some will toss patterns to the wind and just go junk fishing, others are simply hoping their spots will hold; but by the end of Day 3, the tale of the scale will be told and we will meet the first-ever Northern California Open champion.

Day 1 Review
Join the WON BASSer's and cheer on your fave fisherman at the Konocti Vista Casino ramp. The fun will begin with a first flight time of 2:30 p.m. The Awards Ceremony is slated to kick off at 5:30 p.m. inside the casino.
WON BASS NorCal Open: The sun has gone down on Day 1 of the inaugural WON BASS Northern California Open. Weights are recorded, rods are ready and lures are tied as the anglers prepare for Day 2. The full results are up on

The air temps are on the rise again, after a 36-degree drop from Saturday to Monday. The anglers will see the conditions spike back up into the mid- 80's on Tuesday.

The day one results were incredible at Clear Lake.

Nitro pro angler Matt Shura came all the way from Arizona and has no experience fishing Clear lake and was up among the leaders on day one. According to Matt, Clear Lake is the most fun lake he has ever fished and he highly encourages his fellow desert pros to come up and fish it next year.

Matt Shura video interview
There were reports of a tough bite and constant adjustments needed, but at close of scales on their first day, nearly half the field found limits that broke the 20-lb mark and many were challenged by cullin' four pounders - not a bad day on any fishery.

The top-5 are hovering near the 26-lb range, but with two more days of bassin' ahead, it is still anybody's game.

Following a blast-off delay on Monday due to an unexpected morning of thunder and lightning, the WON Basser's will blast off Tuesday at the scheduled time of 5:30 a.m. They can expect some cloud cover for most of the day and winds from the N at 10 MPH or less.

Weigh-in will resume at Konocti Vista Casino at 2:30 p.m. Flights are slated to return every 15 minutes until 3:45.

Here are some pictures and videos from day one:

Western bass fishing legend Dave Gliebe

Lowarance Pro Ken Sauret talks about day one and Onsite Lowrance Support

The official start of the 3 day Northern California Open at Clear Lake was delayed an hour this morning as mother nature put of a fireworks show to welcome the Clear Lake anglers with thunderstorms an lightening. The weigh-in will be pushed forward an hour to give the anglers a full day. With everyone fishing all three days the strategy may change to staying in the game, versus needing one huge Clear Lake day. Some of the anglers are predicting it will take 50-something pounds, where others think it will take close to eight pounds to win, so obviously opinions vary heading into today.

<br />

A little later this morning we are set to get started...

Being the angler to win the 1st WON BASS Northern California Championship trophy is why most everyone is entered. I guess the new Nitro boat and Mercury motor package and the cash are pretty nice too...

Clear Lake Open Trophy

142 anglers are ready to go to battle for the next 3 days at Clear Lake. This picture is from the partner pairing meeting on Sunday at Konocti Vista Casino.

Partner Pairings Clear Lake

Thanks to Nitro Boats and Mercury Outboards the Northern California Open is a special event with this rig added to the the cash payback. Who will be the first northern California champion and leave Clear Lake with this brand new Nitro Z-7 / Mercury 150 package, a lot of cash and the trophy ?

Mike Stiles video on what it will take to win NorCal Open at Clear Lake

Jeff Klicka checks in and seems ready to have a great tournament at the 2013 Northern California Open at Clear Lake.

Lowrance Pro and factory representative Ken Sauret explains Clear Lake's changing conditions

Here's a nice video of Jared Lintner by Jody Only. Jared talks about the tough fishing, but thinks someone will probably get 80-lbs to win it.

Bob Cepek at Cleat Lake
Bob Cepek enjoying the hot bass fishing and weather during his prefish at Clear Lake.

Early Check in at Clear Lake 2013
WON BASS NorCal Open: Early Bird Registration is underway at Clear Lake Outdoors on Soda Bay Road. The BBQ is ready. Come on down. With both a 2nd and 3rd place finish in the last 3 U.S Open events at Mead, Dick Watson is registering for the first-ever NorCal Open on Clear Lake. Will this be the time and place for his victory?

Docks before Clear Lake Tournaemnt
WON BASS NorCal Open: The final day of practice is coming to a close. The boats are coming in and the anglers are getting ready for tomorrow's Sponsor Showcase and Partner Pairings.

"It is something that we need out here," said the 2009 U.S. Open champion. "I'm excited to see it happen. Clear Lake is one of the best lakes there is and the fishing is going to be just awesome." — Gary Dobyns

THIS NITRO Z-7/MERC. prize package waiting for one lucky angler

It's a boat, it's $100,000, it's a 100 percent payback: It's all three and it's on Clear Lake June 10-11-12, 2013

WON Staff Writer

LAKEPORT, Calif. — Many have asked, now they shall receive.
With ongoing requests to relocate the prestigious, annual U.S. Open event to Clear Lake, one of the West's biggest bass factories, WON BASS has agreed, negotiating an additional Open event — a 2013 Northern California Open on the famed fishery to be held June 10-11-12, 2013

Excitement and anticipation has taken root in bass anglers as they count the days until the long-awaited, multi-day, 100 percent payback tournament blasts off on the NorCal waters, where any cast offers any angler a catch of a lifetime.

A hundred boat draw will deliver a $100,000 payout that includes a Nitro Z-7 with a Mercury 150 Pro XS prize package plus $15,000 in cash to the victor. WON BASS is bringing an unprecedented, modern day specialty event to Northern California; the fish and the payday are only as far away as your next cast.

A TOURNAMENT NEWBIE catches a 9.22, proof it could be angler, on any cast at Clear Lake as the open nears.


The West's all-time, leading money winner with 40 fully-rigged prize boats to his name, Gary Dobyns is one of those standing in line to throw his hat in the ring for the event. "It is something that we need out here," said the 2009 U.S. Open champion. "I'm excited to see it happen. Clear Lake is one of the best lakes there is and the fishing is going to be just awesome."

Dobyns' enthusiasm for the big bag potential was obvious as he discussed the hitch population on the lake. "There are more hitch there than I've ever seen," he remarked. "They are jumpin' out of the water and the bass are bustin' all over ’em. I'm thinking that the swimbait could be a huge factor, because of all the hitch. It's a pure protein meal and they get after ’em. I've seen bass swim right past a bluegill to go get a hitch."

He mentioned several swimmers that he thought would come in to play from the big guns — a Hudd and an Osprey all the way down to the smaller Basstrix.

"I've got to think topwater baits will factor in too," added the Yuba City angler. "And, I think there will still be some spawners to pluck. I think it could top 75 pounds to win it, depending on the crazy winds that can hit there. I can't wait. Anytime I can fish for a boat, I think it's a special deal."


The event has also caught the attention of big bass hunter Matt Allen of Vacaville. Known for his numerous double-digit bass catches, the trophy that Allen hopes to have this summer is that of the Northern California Open. "It is a huge deal and on a monster fishery," he stated. "It's about time something of this caliber came to Clear Lake. We just don't get events like this, here."

Well acquainted with the lake's bounty, Allen and partner just bagged over 60-pounds for a runner-up position in last weekend's two-day event. "The fishing will change some by then; I think the fish will spread out more and we won't see the wolf packs they're in now."

Allen anticipates a variety of baits to be productive including a big swimbait, frogs, wake baits and spooks. "Of course the flip and punch bite will be on, too," said Allen. "It's March and the flip bait is already on. There will be a ton of four to sixes caught"


At the top of the Clear Lake competition are notable lake locals Paul Bailey and Mark Crutcher. Both of which have the event on their fish catching calendars.

"This year, the fish are as big as I've ever seen," exclaimed Crutcher. "There are more five to nine pounders than ever. I've been waiting for years for an event like this on our lake and it's setting up to have better fishing than we could ask for. I expect this will draw lots of media, angler participation and some of the best sticks."

MARK CRUTCHER — “There are more five to 9 pounders than ever!

Crutcher commented that there will be a good bite on both ends of the lake and that there should still be some big ones on beds. He expects topwater, flippin' and Senkos to pull in the biggest ones for an 80- to 83-pound winning tournament total.

Frequently found in the top of the field, Bailey is also expecting "the whole lake to be on fire" for the June event. He also noted that because of the time of year and the bite, the event will be an equalizer for the locals.

"You can't keep the five and six pounders off your line right now," said Bailey. "The frog bite will be crazy, there will be fish on beds, the rock fish will be bitin'. Beyond the fishing, with the size of the prize package, you can't ask for anything better. It will be epic!"

Join anglers from near and far this June on Clear Lake. Fish for a personal best, fish for a big stringer, fish for a boat — fish for the chance of a lifetime — a $100,00 pro purse.

An all-in entry includes Big Stringer and three Big Bass payouts daily for both sides of the boat. Nitro and Bass Pro Shops Tournament Rewards programs will sweeten the pot for eligible anglers. Register early for a chance to fish for free. Early bird deadline is May 15. Click in to to sign up.

PAUL BAILEY — “It will be epic!”

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