CLEARLAKE, Calif. – Pro Tai Au of Glendale, Arizona, crossed the stage with a five-bass limit Saturday weighing 26 pounds, 4 ounces, to vault to the top of the leaderboard and win the three-day Toyota Series at Clear Lake tournament in Clearlake, California. Au’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 63-3 earned him the win by a 5-pound, 4-ounce margin and earned him the top payout of $24,635 in the third and final tournament of the 2020 Toyota Series Western Division.
Au also won the Western Division season opener in his home state on Lake Havasu back in March.
“I'm shocked that I won,” Au said on stage. “It's also a little emotional for me because this might be my last Western Division event for a while. I'm planning to go back east and fish the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit next year and make my dream a reality.”
“I just got a brand new boat and this week was the first time putting it in the water,” Au said. “I spent time breaking in the motor and getting my Lowrance units rigged up. On the third day of practice, I broke one off on a Neko Rig and then caught a 5-pounder in one area and that gave me the confidence to start there during the tournament.”
The area he found ended up being the winning area and he plied it for three straight days on the way to victory. Au described the area as a rounded point inside a pocket adjacent to a long flat. He fished in the mid-lake area and the spot had clean water and grass.
On the second day, Au returned to the same area. He caught one immediately, but the bite went cold after that.
“I knew they were still there because I could see them on my Lowrance units,” Au said. “They were just nipping at the Neko Rig and I knew I had to change it up to get them to react. I started throwing a Lucky Craft LV 500 in ghost minnow and chartreuse shad and figured out the cadence they wanted.”
Once he figured out how to fish the bait in his area, his catches went way up as he brought in 19-7 on the second day.
“The key was to rip it as hard as I could to get them to react,” he said. “I sat in one spot and made repeated casts to the same place. If you could get the school to fire up, you could catch four or five in a row.”
Saturday, he returned to his magic area and worked it all day long on his way to the win.
“I parked in that same spot for three straight days," Au says. "It was a highway for fish coming in and out along the grass.”
He fished the lipless baits on two different setups, depending on the thickness of the grass. A 7-foot, 4-inch heavy Fitzgerald Bryan Thrift Signature Series cranking rod on the outside edges of the grass and a 7-foot, 6-inch medium-heavy Fitzgerald Stunner HD Series rod on the inside grass line. He fished both on Daiwa Tatula 100 reels spooled with 20-pound fluorocarbon.
The top 10 pros on Clear Lake finished:
1st: Tai Au of Glendale, Ariz., 15 bass, 63-3, $24,635
2nd: Tom White of Costa Mesa, Calif., 15 bass, 57-15, $9,613
3rd: Jared Linter of Arroyo Grande, Calif., 15 bass, 54-14, $7,390
4th: Justin Kerr of Simi Valley, Calif., 15 bass, 54-9, $6,159
5th: Todd Kline of San Clemente, Calif., 15 bass, 53-5, $5,543
6th: John Pearl of Upper Lake, Calif., 15 bass, 51-6, $4,927
7th: Sergio Arguello of North Hollywood, Calif., 15 bass, 50-6, $4,378
8th: Jordan Collom of Canyon Lake, Calif., 15 bass, 49-7, $3,695
9th: Wade Curtiss of Eagle, Idaho, 15 bass, 49-6, $4,079
10th: Phillip Dutra of Concord, Calif., 15 bass, 47-4, $2,463
A complete list of results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Curtiss took home an extra $1,000 as the highest finishing FLW PHOENIX BONUS member. Boaters are eligible to win up to an extra $35,000 per event in each Toyota Series tournament if all requirements are met. More information on the FLW PHOENIX BONUS contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.
Blaine Christiansen of San Jose, California, won the Co-angler Division Saturday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 50 pounds, 1 ounce. Christiansen took home the top prize package of a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower outboard motor.
The top 10 co-anglers on Clear Lake finished:
1st: Blaine Christiansen of San Jose, Calif., 15 bass, 50-1, Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat w/115-hp outboard
2nd: Jeff Hodges of Grover Beach, Calif., 15 bass, 48-1, $3,209
3rd: Travis Avery of Mount Vernon, Wash., 15 bass, 46-11, $2,567
4th: Jack Farage of Discovery Bay, Calif., 15 bass, 45-10, $2,246
5th: Bruce Harris of Oakdale, Calif., 15 bass, 44-15, $1,926
6th: Jesse Parks of Avondale, Ariz., 15 bass, 42-2, $1,605
7th: Larry Rogers of Riverside, Calif., 15 bass, 40-2, $1,284
8th: Scott Bern of San Rafael, Calif., 15 bass, 39-12, $1,123
9th: Zack Eggleston of Goleta, Calif., 15 bass, 38-14, $963
10th: Ilya Guryanov of West Sacramento, Calif., 15 bass, 35-14, $847
The Toyota Series at Clear Lake was the third and final regular-season tournaments in 2020 for Western Division anglers. The next event for Toyota Series anglers will take place Oct. 1-3 – the Toyota Series at Lake Norman in Huntersville, North Carolina. For a complete schedule, visit FLWFishing.com.
The 2020 Toyota Series consists of eight divisions – Central, Eastern, Northern, Plains, Southeastern, Southern, Southwestern and Western – each holding three regular-season events, along with the International division. Anglers who fish all three qualifiers in any of the eight divisions and finish in the top 25 will qualify for the no-entry-fee Toyota Series Championship for a shot at winning $235,000 cash, including a $35,000 FLW PHOENIX Bonus for qualified anglers. The winning co-angler at the championship earns a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower outboard. The 2020 Toyota Series Championship will be held Dec. 3-5 on Lake Cumberland in Burnside, Kentucky, and is hosted by the Somerset Tourist & Convention Commission and the Burnside Tourism Commission.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Toyota Series on FLW’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, FLW and its partners conduct more than 290 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Namibia, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Zimbabwe.
FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show while Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros. Acquired by Major League Fishing in late 2019, FLW is expanding its programming in 2020 to the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel as well as on-demand at MyOutdoorTV (MOTV).
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