Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Yellow Bass Bonanza at Clear Lake

Well over 500 people at the dinner
banquet Saturday night
The Yellow Bass Bonanza has quickly grown to the most attended fishing event in the state of Iowa.  This year 255 teams participated, and even more would have but the event was full over a month ago.  This event is not only to create a great atmosphere for fans of fishing, but it also contributes to local charities and brings awareness to troubling species of the yellow bass.  Kevan Paul and his assistant Chris are the masterminds behind this event and all the details can be found on their website:  Kevan and Chris are guides in the area ( realize how fun the yellow bass are to catch, so why not plan an event to raise money for charities, promote the fishing in Clear Lake, Iowa and bring awareness to the species of fish that can harm smaller lakes in Iowa. 
Yellow bass are a fun fish to catch, they group up in schools and often you can one after another.  They are great fighters for their size and they taste great!  So what's not to love about Yellow Bass?  Yellow bass are an invasive species to Iowa Lakes.  They don't belong in them and can over populate a lake causing the Iowa DNR to spend millions of dollars reconstructing a lake.  To help control the population of these fish the DNR has no limit on how many you can keep.  For the most part on Clear Lake this has helped the lake to also provide great fishing for crappies and walleyes.  More information on the yellow bass can be found on the Iowa DNR site: Yellow Bass  This tournament brings together anglers from states all over the Midwest and gives me a chance to talk with anglers whom I seldom see.  It's a great social event with a relaxed atmosphere that anyone, no matter the skill level can enjoy and have a great time. 
On to the event, the week was a frigid one to say the least, making the ice great but putting the yellow bass in kind of a funk.  Temperatures for Sunday were topping out in the twenties but considering the wind chill the temps were well below zero.  This sent many anglers inside of the shacks for the day, my partner and I were able to stay warm and stay outside all day and be as mobile as we could to catch as many Yellows as possible.  The yellows seemed to moving very quickly this weekend.  Typically you can sit on a hole and catch numerous fish out of a school that is passing through.  This weekend was very different, a fish or two at a time was more the talk of the event.  Either way, a challenge was upon us, to catch 50 Yellows in 4 hours.  My partner, Jacy Large and I were up to the challenge.  We placed 5th last year in the event with about 12.50pounds, so our goal was 50 yellows and heavier weight.  We hopped around the lake numerous times, dropping our Vexilars down to see if any roaming Yellows were present.  It is some times necessary to move often with the yellow bass, and got our 50 yellows...with about 20 more extra.  We caught all of them on smaller spoons with waxworms, spike, or meat for bait.  We knew the Yellow Bass were a little bigger from last year and at weigh-in we were hoping for a better weight, we sure got it; 16.37#.  We were both delighted.  We waited while all the teams weighed in and we ended up in 15th place, a testimony of how big the Yellow Bass are in Clear Lake.  We were both very happy that we got in the top 25 once again and we beat our weigh from last year. 

I can't say enough about how well ran this event is, from the dinner banquet the night before to the weigh-in and prizes.  First-class all the way, if you have never fished Clear Lake for Yellow Bass, you still have time this winter, GET THERE!  As for next year, you can bet we will back to see if we can better our weight once again.

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