CLEARLAKE, Calif. – Pro Bryan Grier of Hollister, California, brought five bass to the stage Saturday weighing 21 pounds, 12 ounces to win the Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. at Clear Lake and earn the top payout of $25,129. Grier’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 58-5 earned him the victory by a 2-pound, 9-ounce margin over second place boater Joshua Adams of Cloverdale, California.
The three-day event, which launched from Redbud Park in Clearlake, was the second event of the season for the Toyota Series Western Division.
Grier noted that a major difference-maker for him was targeting fish in the right stage of the spawn cycle. He felt this improved his chances at the quality bites that could (and eventually did) put him at the top on the final day.
“The big thing was fishing the prespawn fish,” Grier said. “A lot of the lake has spawning fish, some postspawn fish, but I found a pretty big group of prespawn fish, and they were just a lot heavier. It wasn’t necessarily that they were ‘bigger,’ but they weighed a lot more. They were still feeding up. They were still prespawn, and they were just moving up.”
Grier worked over his prespawn fish with a 7-inch Osprey Inline Tournament Talon swimbait and a Daiwa Yamamoto Neko Fat Worm consistently throughout the week. But, unlike many anglers in the Top 10, Grier opted to target boulders as opposed to vegetation and spawning fish.
“I just had a very large wad of fish, they didn’t really change much,” he said. “The first day I just kind of got blown off of it. I think I could have stuck it out, but I didn’t feel safe. There were big waves coming right into where I was fishing. Today though, I had nothing to lose, so I just stuck out there. It was brutal.”
Grier also noted that depth was a predominant factor as many anglers cruised the banks, he opted to target fish deeper that were less affected by windy conditions and were more likely to be in a prespawn pattern.
“I was looking for them a little deeper,” Grier said. “I was looking for my fish in anywhere from 10 to 14 feet. Where most people were up shallow fishing the flats, I stuck out deeper trying to get those prespawn fish.”
For Grier, the come-from-behind victory is not only a culmination of 20 years of professional tournament fishing on the west coast, but also a proper send-off for the San Jose area pro as he prepares to migrate east in the coming month.
“It’s amazing, I’ve been fishing off and on … for the last 20 years, I’ve been fishing as a pro somewhat, here and there,” Grier said. “Some years more than others. I actually just sold my house here and bought a house in Texas. In 30 days, I’ve got to be out of my house. I was just bummed because I’ve done it so long here and never won a (major) tournament in California. So, I’m excited to get one in California.”
The Top 10 pros on Clear Lake finished:
1st: Bryan Grier, Hollister, Calif., 15 bass, 58-5, $25,129
2nd: Joshua Adams, Cloverdale, Calif., 15 bass, 55-12, $9,738
3rd: Kyle Grover, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., 15 bass, 54-9, $7,539
4th: Daniel Andrusaitis, Lakeport, Calif., 13 bass, 53-2, $6,282
5th: Scott MacKenzie, Hercules, Calif., 15 bass, 52-14, $5,654
6th: Ronald Lorenzo, Princeton, Calif., 15 bass, 52-13, $5,026
7th: Jordan Collom, Canyon Lake, Calif., 15 bass, 51-12, $4,398
8th: Patrick Touey, Santa Maria, Calif., 15 bass, 51-11, $4,269
9th: David Valdivia, Norwalk, Calif., 15 bass, 51-5, $3,141
10th: Justin Kerr, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., 15 bass, 50-1, $2,513
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Pro Joshua Glenn of Temecula, California, won the $500 Day 1 Berkley Big Bass award in the pro division Thursday with a largemouth weighing 7 pounds, 13 ounces. Patrick Touey of Santa Maria, California, earned Friday’s $500 Berkley Big Bass award with a 6-pound, 6-ouncer.
Pro Randy Pierson of Oakdale, California, took home an extra $1,000 as the highest finishing Phoenix MLF 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 Phoenix MLF Bonus contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.
Blaine Christiansen of San Jose, California, won the Strike King Co-angler Division Saturday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 49 pounds, 15 ounces. Christiansen took home the top prize package of a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard motor.
The Top 10 Strike King co-anglers on Clear Lake finished:
1st: Blaine Christiansen, San Jose, Calif., 15 bass, 49-15, Phoenix 518 Pro boat w/115-hp Mercury outboard
2nd: Jose Juarez, Jr., Kelseyville, Calif., 15 bass, 49-14, $3,261
3rd: George Fedor, Yucaipa, Calif., 15 bass, 45-1, $2,609
4th: David Zavvar, Concord, Calif., 15 bass, 44-14, $2,283
5th: Jonathan Green, San Pablo, Calif., 15 bass, 44-8, $1,957
6th: Kirk Marshall, Discovery Bay, Calif., 15 bass, 44-6, $1,631
7th: Ty Crofts, Cedar City, Utah, 15 bass, 43-10, $1,304
8th: Mike Walsh, El Cajon, Calif., 15 bass, 43-8, $1,291
9th: Bruce Harris, Oakdale, Calif., 15 bass, 42-6, $978
10th: Kristian Puga, La Mirada, Calif., 15 bass, 41-5, $815
The Day 1 Berkley Big Bass $150 award winner in the Strike King co-angler division, was Daniel Riportella of Exeter, California, with a 6-pound, 14-ounce bass, while the Day 2 $150 award went to Christiansen, also with a 6-pound, 14-ounce fish.
After two events in the Toyota Series Western Division, boater Kyle Grover of Rancho Santa Margarita, California, leads the Toyota Series Western Division Pro Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 517 points, while Zack Eggleston of Goleta, California, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 507 points.
The next event for Toyota Series Western Division anglers will take place June 1-3 – the Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. at the California Delta in Bethel Island, California. For a complete schedule, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.
The 2022 Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. consists of six divisions – Central, Northern, Plains Presented by Outlaw Ordnance, Southern, Southwestern Presented by Outlaw Ordnance and Western – each holding three regular-season events, along with the International and Wild Card divisions. Anglers who fish in any of the six divisions and finish in the top 25 – or the top 12 from the Wild Card division – will qualify for the no-entry-fee Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. Championship for a shot at winning up to $235,000 cash. The winning Strike King co-angler at the championship earns a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard. The 2022 Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. Championship will be held Nov. 3-5 on Lake Guntersville in Guntersville, Alabama, and is hosted by Marshall County Tourism and Sports.
Proud sponsors of the 2022 MLF Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. include: 4WP, 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, AFTCO, A.R.E. Truck Caps, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, E3, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, Gary Yamamoto Baits, General Tire, Lew’s, Lowrance, Lucas Oil, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Outlaw Ordnance, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, Wiley X and YETI.
For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the MLF Toyota Series on the MLF5 social media outlets at Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.