Kyle Grover of Rancho Santa Margarita, California caught a 26-02 stringer on Saturday – the heaviest limit weighed in the three-day tournament – to win the Clear Lake Western FLW Series. Grover’s three-day total of 66-13 was enough to earn him the victory by an 8-13 margin and the top prize of $80,303, including a new Ranger Z518L boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard.
Grover said he started the tournament Thursday flipping tules with jigs and wacky-rigged, green-pumpkin-colored Yamamoto Custom Baits Senkos. Friday he started at an area he’d fished only a couple of times on Thursday and caught a 7-pounder within the first few casts.
“I didn’t realize the area’s potential, but when I caught the 7-pounder on my second cast that made me hunker down,” said Grover, who earned his first win in FLW competition. “I ended up staying there all Saturday today, too. I think on my second cast I caught a 6-pounder and then a 3 3/4 right after that.
“I was catching them on jigs the past two days,” continued Grover. “The area we were fishing had so many in there. I caught 40 yesterday, and probably 30 today. You’d just rattle off 2 1/2- to 3 3/4-pounders, and then you’d catch a big one.”
Grover said his key area was a 300-yard stretch called Henderson Point, near Soda Bay.
“It’s a popular community hole, but I think the weather made it difficult to fish. I stuck it out though, and had a special day out there today.”
Grover said he primarily used a 3/8-ounce brown with green-pumpkin-colored Phoenix football jig with a 3-inch green-pumpkin Berkley PowerBait Chigger Craw, as well as a half-ounce version of the jig with a Falcon Lake Craw-colored Strike King Rage Bug. He also had some key bites on a Norman DD22 crankbait in the chili bowl color.
Here are the final numbers for the top 10:
1. Kyle Grover: 66-13
2. Gary Collins: 58-00
3. Joe Uribe Jr.: 56-13
4. David Valdivia: 56-09
5. Andrew Loberg: 56-08
6. Ryan German: 53-08
7. Lane Olson: 53-04
8. Bryant Smith: 51-15
9. Travis Archer: 48-13
10. Jim McLaughlin: 48-07