It’s long been a belief here in the California Sportsman offices that the West Coast – and specifically the Golden State – is the true Mother Lode of bass fishing. The Southern-based professional circuits obviously believe otherwise, but, our editors here will go to their graves with the belief that anglers from California are the best, most diverse in the country.
Auburn’s own Skeet Reese notched one on the “West Coast” list this weekend with a Bassmaster Elite Series victory at West Point Lake in Georgia, the former Bassmaster Classic champion’s first tour win since 2010. And who finished second? None other than Aaron Martens, another born-and-bred Californian.
For good measure, San Jose’s Chris Zaldain settled nicely into sixth place, officially giving the state of California 33.33 percent of the top 10 in a 100-man field.
Reese, though, served the loudest proclamation about West Coast anglers and their diversity by ditching his original plan – to throw swimbaits – and racking up most of his 46 pounds, 6 ounces by targeting bedding largemouth with a drop-shot 4-inch Berkley Havoc Bottom Hopper.
“I thought if I could win, I’d win on a swimbait,” Reese told Bassmaster. “I couldn’t get a bite on a swimbait. I didn’t think I’d be picking up a spinning rod, but I adapted to conditions.”
The win pushed Reese to third place in the coveted Toyota Angler of the Year Standings, followed closely by Zaldain in fourth.