REDDING, Calif.— The Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation Western Regional presented by Magellan at Lake Shasta may be the most closely contested B.A.S.S. Nation tournament ever. After 11 teams battled for two days on Lake Shasta, the California B.A.S.S. Nation team claimed first place with 293 pounds, 12 ounces, besting second place Idaho by a mere 7 ounces.
Less than 6 pounds separated the Top 8 teams. Colorado started the day in the lead, but finished sixth. Only a handful of boaters and nonboaters failed to catch a limit of bass on both days. Spotted bass dominated the event with relatively few smallmouth and largemouth bass coming to the scale.
California receives a Triton 189 TrX bass boat, trailer and a Mercury 150 Pro XS outboard motor worth $37,000 for their win.
“You guys put on a heck of a show,” said California team Captain Mark Torres to his team after he accepted the certificate for the boat.
California held team meetings every night to share information that would help everyone on their team catch bass.
“Everybody was open about how they were catching bass,” Torres said. “Everybody knew they had to catch fish for the team to win, and they did it.”
Nick Wood of Yreka, Calif., anchored the California team with a two-day total of 27-9. He holds nearly a 4-pound lead in the individual standings going into the final day. His 13-11 five-bass limit today did not have any heavyweights, such as the 6-9 spotted bass he caught Wednesday.
“I fished more conservatively today,” Wood said. “It’s going to be warmer tomorrow, and that should make the fishing even better. I think I can catch enough fish to win.”
Bryson Mort of Post Falls, Idaho, is in second place in the boater division with 23-12. Tony Lind of Auburn, Wash., is third with 23-8.
Nonboaters are allowed to weigh three bass per day. Austin Johnson of Noxon, Mont., leads the nonboater field with 13-7, followed Mike Powell of Midway, Utah, with 13-1. Cory Stovall of Riverton, Utah, is third with 12-13.
Although limits of bass were common, trophy bass have been scarce. Bryson Mort of the Idaho team brought in a stunning spotted bass that weighed 8-5.
Mort had a delayed start this morning because he did not have his boat insurance policy on hand, which is required of all contestants. After he managed to produce the necessary paperwork, he caught the trophy spotted bass within his first five casts.
By holding onto the boater lead today, Wood earned the Livingston Lures Day 2 Leader Award of $250 in the boater division. As the nonboater leader, Johnson collected the Livingston Lures Day 2 Leader Award of $250 in merchandise.
On Friday, the Top 21 boaters and the Top 21 non-boaters compete to earn a berth in the Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation Championship presented by Magellan. The Top 3 boaters and nonboaters from each of the 11 teams that did not make the Top 21 cut will also compete.
After the weigh-in Friday, one boater and one nonboater from each state team will advance to the B.A.S.S. Nation National Championship at Lake Hartwell, South Carolina, on Oct. 19-21. Friday’s weigh-in begins at 2:30 p.m. PT at Bridge Bay Marina.