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Club president reels in title

Ominous skies and eminent rain didn’t deter the 12-angler field at the first stop of the Gold Country Bass Masters at Lake Oroville on Feb. 21.

Those anglers learned how demanding Oroville would be that day, as biting cold and 48-degree water temperatures made fishing quite the challenge. Coupled that with a water level that had risen 20 feet in five days and the normally, scrappy, cold-water tolerant spotted bass went into lockjaw conditions – but somebody had to win.

Club President Jeff Heyer, with a four-fish limit weighing 7.98 pounds took home first place. Second place went to Paul Kissell with five fish tipping the scales at 7.49 pounds and third place, as well as big fish honors, went to James Everhart with a 3.15 pound spot.



“We started with the mindset that the fish would be eating crawdads, exclusively to build weight for the spawn,” said Heyser. “My first fish actually came on a crawfish-pattern crank bait, but nothing else hit until around mid-morning.

“When we went up the south fork, the first cove we hit had pond smelt busting the surface, close to shore, so we started throwing rip baits – with no luck – then tried spinnerbaits, quickly picking up two fish in one area, one nearly 2 1/2 pounds.”




Heyser’s partner, Kissell, said “I started throwing a 3-inch purple ringworm on an 1/8-ounce darthead. That seemed to be the ticket for the remainder of the day. Producing all the keepers between 9:30 and 11 a.m. After that flurry, the remainder of the day produce only ‘slot’ fish, 12 to 15 inches.”

Heyser partially credits his success to a recent club-sponsored seminar by local pro R.J. Bennett, that helped him put together a strategy to find fish on steep, red, grass-covered banks near incoming muddy water.

The next Gold Country Bass Masters tournament is March 14 at Lake Collins. For more information, contact tournament director Jeff Boundy at 274-9705.


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