Clear Lake - It's extraordinary

I'm with Wade Grooms. We're getting ready to launch at a small lake near Clear Lake so we can work on our swimbait tackle for tomorrow. (I'm writing this on Sunday.) We need to get that done, but it's hard to keep our minds on business.

This has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth. I can see why so many people like California. From my motel room I can see snowcapped mountains in the background, and palm trees along the bank of the lake in front of my room. It'll take your breath away. And remember who's writing this — a guy who has spent most of his adult life traveling around the United States. I've seen a few things. This is one of the best.

The Delta is about the same, except different. It might not have the scenery of Clear Lake but where else can you fish for bass with an 8-foot sea lion swimming around your boat? It's crazy. You work your way back into a canal without a bite wondering why. Then, all of a sudden, out of nowhere one of these things surfaces right next to you. You can't blame the bass for hiding. Heck, they make me nervous.

OK, let's get back to reality. We'll be able to practice tomorrow morning. Wade and I need to get our tackle ready. Heavy swimbait tackle can be a problem for some of us. Coming from the Midwest I don't have much experience throwing big lures. We just don't do it in my neighborhood. Giant bass lures require special equipment and a lot of practice if you expect to catch fish with them. It's not a spur-of-the-moment thing. I need to decide which rods I'll use with which reels, spooled with which line. The baits we're using are big and they're heavy. Some of the plastics are over a foot long, and some of the hard baits weigh 4 ounces. You don't throw that kind of stuff with Ohio bass tackle.

This place we're going to is supposed to be just like Clear Lake. We should be able to rig what we'll need to get started. Once we're fishing the real thing tomorrow it'll be a matter of adjusting to the current conditions. Basically, that means finding the right giant lure to throw in the right place to catch a giant bass. A lot of us will be fishing with local baits. If you're ever out this way, make sure you check out the tackle shops. A lot of them specialize in handmade lures. They're bad to the bone. The very best ones can be described as works of art rather than fishing lures. The attention to detail is extraordinary. They aren't cheap, either. The finest ones will cost you a pretty penny. It's time to go to work. I'll write after the tournament.

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