By John Johnson
BassFan Senior Editor

Kyle Grover's mind wasn't centered on fishing during the week leading up to the Clear Lake Western FLW Series. He'd spent the weekend before in Mountain Home, Ark., attending the funeral of his grandmother, Kathy Storie, who along with her husband John were among the co-founders of the Champion Boats brand.

"I flew all morning on Sunday and then drove all afternoon and evening to get there," said Grover, who along with father Rick operates the massive Southern California boat dealership/tackle shop Anglers Marine. "I was thinking about my grandma the whole time when I was driving and a lot of the time when I was on the water."

The split focus certainly didn't hinder his performance on the famed NorCal hawg factory. After a mediocre opening day (16-13), he caught sacks weighing 23-14 and 26-02 for a 66-13 total that outdistanced runner-up Gary Collins by nearly nine pounds. The victory was easily the most significant of his career and netted him a prize package in excess of $80,000.

He doesn't plan to use his winnings to bankroll a jump to the sport's next level anytime soon.

"Maybe down the line, but I like having a family and working," he said. "I love my job it pays my mortgage and I love fishing out here in the West. I'd love to do it at some point, but right now I'm pretty happy."

Following are some of the details of his Clear Lake program.

Dad Provided a Clue

Grover experimented with several patterns and didn't encounter great success during his first day and a half of practice. It rained hard on the final pre-fish day and he met up with his father, also a competitor in the field, in a covered marina to re-tie baits and whatnot.

Rick Grover mentioned to his son that he'd visited Henderson Point, one of the lake's best-known "community holes," and had caught eight fish in a half-hour, including a 4-pounder that jumped off.

When Kyle arrived at the point, he recalled a trip to the lake 6 or 7 years prior to deliver a boat that a customer had purchased. The customer was friends with longtime Clear Lake ace Sieg Taylor, and Taylor accompanied them for a quick excursion on the water to make sure everything on the boat was in order before Grover headed back to SoCal.

"We went over to Henderson and (Taylor) showed me one little rock pinnacle that comes out a little farther than everything else, and that stuck in my mind," Grover said. He said, 'the next time you fish here, this is the spot.'

"It's a place where they crush them in the fall on Huddlestons and 10XDs. I drove over the tip of itand marked a waypoint, and then on my first cast with a jig I caught a 3 1/2-pounder. It was the only cast I made in the whole area in practice and right after that I went in for the day."

Unrealized Potential

Henderson Point drew a good-sized crowd on the opening morning of competition and Grover pulled out to flip some tules after catching a couple of keepers off the rock pinnacle. He returned at noon and added a pair of 3-pounders before departing again for a slough he wanted to try, but found inundated with boats.

Having a late check-in time, he made one more visit to Henderson and boated a 3-pounder and a 4 to get him past the 16-pound mark.

"That was kind of the turning point for me," he said. "Up until then I didn't fully realize that place's potential."

He had an early boat number for day 2 and caught a 7-pounder on his initial cast to the rocks.

"Between me and my co-angler, we caught about 75 fish on the second day we just absolutely throttled them. We'd catch four or five 2 1/2-pounders, and then one that was 3 or 4. I caught one that was close to 6 at about noon and I knew I'd made the cut, so I stopped fishing."

The final day was more of the same his first throw with the jig produced a 6-pounder with his dad watching from 20 yards away. He nailed a near-4-pounder on his following cast, then lost a bite on his third heave and the action petered out.

His big bites came from the rock pinnacle, but he knew that about 100 yards away there was a huge congregation of smaller fish. He cranked his way to it with a Norman DD22 and added a 3-pounder, a 3 3/4 and a 4. He had more than 20 pounds in the first 20 minutes of the day.

Returning to the rocks and picking up the jig again, he caught a 6 3/4 and two more 4s. All of his weigh-in fish far more weight than he needed to secure the victory were in the box by 9:30.

"A lot of guys fish there, but most of them pull up and fish a little section and then leave," he said. "And a lot of guys fish a big jig and they fish it fast. I was using a little 3/8-ounce jig with a 3-inch Chigger Craw.

"Danny Sansom, the customer who bought the boat years ago, is a live-crawdad fisherman and those guys always said the big bass like the small crawdads it might be something to do with not having to battle the big pinchers. They like the small green ones with the tiny pinchers, and having that setup made me fish really slow because it's so light."

Winning Gear Notes

> Jig gear: 7'1" medium-heavy G. Loomis GLX 854 rod, Daiwa Tatula CT casting reel (7.1:1 ratio), 16-pound Sunline Super FC Sniper fluorocarbon line, 3/8-ounce Phenix football-head jig (brown with a few strands of green-pumpkin in the skirt), 3" Berkley PowerBait Chigger Craw (green-pumpkin).

> Cranking gear: 7'11" Powell Endurance Series heavy cranking rod, old-school Shimano Chronarch Super Free casting reel (5.3:1 ratio), Berkley Trilene Big Game monofilament line, Norman DD22 (chili bowl).

Much of the tackle referenced above is available at the BassFan Store. To browse the selection, click here..



Final Standings

1. Kyle Grover -- Rancho Santa Margarita, Ca -- 16-13 (5) -- 23-14 (5) -- 26-2 (5) -- 66-13 (15) -- $80,303

2. Gary Collins -- Upper Lake, Ca -- 15-1 (5) -- 21-11 (5) -- 21-4 (5) -- 58-0 (15) -- $13,099

3. Joe Uribe Jr. -- Surprise, Az -- 22-8 (5) -- 19-5 (5) -- 15-0 (5) -- 56-13 (15) -- $10,456

4. David Valdivia -- Norwalk, Ca -- 19-3 (5) -- 17-2 (5) -- 20-4 (5) -- 56-9 (15) -- $8,551

5. Andrew Loberg -- Rocklin, Ca -- 17-7 (5) -- 20-10 (5) -- 18-7 (5) -- 56-8 (15) -- $7,606

6. Ryan German -- Fairfield, Ca -- 18-0 (5) -- 19-1 (5) -- 16-7 (5) -- 53-8 (15) -- $6,761

7. Lane Olson -- Forest Grove, Or -- 25-0 (5) -- 12-9 (5) -- 15-11 (5) -- 53-4 (15) -- $6,031

8. Bryant Smith -- Roseville, Ca -- 19-9 (5) -- 17-3 (5) -- 15-3 (5) -- 51-15 (15) -- $5,070

9. Travis Archer -- Covington, Wa -- 21-2 (5) -- 15-4 (5) -- 12-7 (5) -- 48-13 (15) -- $4,225

10. Jim McLaughlin -- Bakersfield, Ca -- 18-13 (5) -- 17-12 (5) -- 11-14 (5) -- 48-7 (15) -- $4,880

The following anglers did not make the cut and did not fish on day 3.

11. Wade Curtiss -- Lincoln, Ca -- 18-4 (5) -- 17-15 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 36-3 (10) -- $3,169

12. Paul Bailey -- Kelseyville, Ca -- 18-5 (5) -- 16-7 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 34-12 (10) -- $2,958

13. Tim Klinger -- Boulder City, Nv -- 15-3 (5) -- 19-6 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 34-9 (10) -- $2,535

14. Mark Crutcher -- Lakeport, Ca -- 15-12 (5) -- 18-11 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 34-7 (10) -- $2,535

15. Wayne Breazeale -- Kelseyville, Ca -- 20-14 (5) -- 13-6 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 34-4 (10) -- $2,535

16. Justin Kerr -- Simi Valley, Ca -- 19-11 (5) -- 14-4 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 33-15 (10) -- $2,535

17. Chris Gosselaar -- Fresno, Ca -- 17-15 (5) -- 15-14 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 33-13 (10) -- $2,535

18. Jeff Michels -- Lakehead, Ca -- 19-3 (5) -- 14-2 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 33-5 (10) -- $2,535

19. Carl Keller -- Hidden Valley Lake, Ca -- 15-8 (5) -- 17-11 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 33-3 (10) -- $2,535

20. Douglas Jones -- N. Las Vegas, Nv -- 16-13 (5) -- 16-5 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 33-2 (10) -- $2,535

21. Zac Dinkins -- Green River, Ut -- 17-1 (5) -- 15-15 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 33-0 (10) -- $2,324

22. Nick Nourot -- Benicia, Ca -- 15-4 (5) -- 17-9 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 32-13 (10) -- $2,324

23. Eric Urstad -- Snohomish, Wa -- 16-6 (5) -- 16-7 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 32-13 (10) -- $2,324

24. Brett Leber -- Dixon, Ca -- 18-14 (5) -- 13-10 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 32-8 (10) -- $2,524

25. Jeremy McKay -- Creswell, Or -- 16-12 (5) -- 15-10 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 32-6 (10) -- $2,324

26. John Pearl -- Upper Lake, Ca -- 18-7 (5) -- 13-13 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 32-4 (10) -- $2,113

27. Ricky Shabazz -- La Mesa, Ca -- 16-15 (5) -- 14-14 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 31-13 (10) -- $2,113

28. Blake Dyer -- Walnut Creek, Ca -- 15-1 (5) -- 16-12 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 31-13 (10) -- $2,113

29. Joe Cole -- Coalville, Ut -- 17-1 (5) -- 14-7 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 31-8 (10) -- $2,113

30. Angelo Alorro -- Vacaville, Ca -- 15-4 (5) -- 15-12 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 31-0 (10) -- $2,113

31. Richard Dobyns -- Marysville, Ca -- 16-0 (5) -- 14-14 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 30-14 (10) -- $1,690

32. Clayton Eslick -- Gilroy, Ca -- 17-15 (5) -- 12-14 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 30-13 (10)

33. Chris Costello -- Gilroy, Ca -- 13-10 (5) -- 17-3 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 30-13 (10)

34. TJ Merrell -- Spokane, Wa -- 15-10 (5) -- 15-3 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 30-13 (10)

35. Scott Mosey -- El Ajon, Ca -- 16-13 (5) -- 13-14 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 30-11 (10)

36. Todd Woods -- Los Angeles, Ca -- 11-14 (5) -- 18-8 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 30-6 (10) -- $230

37. Rusty Salewske -- Alpine, Ca -- 13-9 (5) -- 16-9 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 30-2 (10)

38. Sergio Arguello -- North Hollywood, Ca -- 16-11 (5) -- 13-6 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 30-1 (10)

39. Jon Strelic -- El Cajon, Ca -- 14-10 (5) -- 15-7 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 30-1 (10)

40. Chad Hulbert -- Gilroy, Ca -- 14-10 (5) -- 15-5 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 29-15 (10)

41. Howard Hughes -- Redding, Ca -- 14-15 (5) -- 15-0 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 29-15 (10) -- $1,000

42. John Zeolla -- Oak Park, Ca -- 14-12 (5) -- 14-14 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 29-10 (10)

43. Brandon Koon -- Phoenix, Az -- 16-0 (5) -- 13-9 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 29-9 (10)

44. Rick Correa -- Wilsonville, Or -- 15-15 (5) -- 13-10 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 29-9 (10)

45. Cory Hoopes -- Malad, Id -- 18-15 (5) -- 10-8 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 29-7 (10) -- $100

46. Benjamin Byrd -- Moab, Ut -- 16-9 (5) -- 12-13 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 29-6 (10)

47. Jordan Collom -- Temecula, Ca -- 19-10 (5) -- 9-11 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 29-5 (10)

48. Jimmy Reese -- Witter Springs, Ca -- 16-0 (5) -- 13-2 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 29-2 (10)

49. Jay Wright -- Seal Beach, Ca -- 14-10 (5) -- 14-5 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 28-15 (10)

50. Nathan Bromley -- Albany, Or -- 13-4 (5) -- 15-10 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 28-14 (10)

51. Jim Lyon -- Reno, Nv -- 18-3 (5) -- 10-10 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 28-13 (10)

52. Brent James -- Saint George, Ut -- 15-8 (5) -- 13-2 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 28-10 (10)

53. Jason Milligan -- Cottonwood, Ca -- 12-15 (5) -- 15-7 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 28-6 (10)

54. Michael Caruso -- Peoria, Az -- 14-6 (5) -- 13-14 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 28-4 (10)

55. Jim Moulton -- Merced, Ca -- 14-6 (5) -- 13-14 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 28-4 (10)

56. Jason Hickey -- Weiser, Id -- 12-6 (5) -- 15-12 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 28-2 (10)

57. Kazuki Kodama -- Torrance, Ca -- 14-14 (5) -- 13-3 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 28-1 (10)

58. Gerard Thomas -- Ralston, Wy -- 14-5 (5) -- 13-7 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 27-12 (10)

59. Josh Needleman -- Napa, Ca -- 10-4 (5) -- 17-7 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 27-11 (10)

60. Jason Borofka -- Salinas, Ca -- 17-1 (5) -- 10-8 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 27-9 (10)

61. Jon Griffith -- Mesa, Az -- 14-10 (5) -- 12-14 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 27-8 (10)

62. Jake Boomer -- Spokane Valley, Wa -- 13-10 (5) -- 13-14 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 27-8 (10)

63. Aenhay Noy Vilaysane -- San Diego, Ca -- 13-14 (5) -- 13-10 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 27-8 (10)

64. Brett Posladek -- Valley Center, Ca -- 16-1 (5) -- 11-6 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 27-7 (10)

65. Scott MacKenzie -- Hercules, Ca -- 15-1 (5) -- 12-5 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 27-6 (10)

66. Louis Fernandes -- Santa Maria, Ca -- 12-15 (5) -- 14-7 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 27-6 (10)

67. Todd Kline -- San Clemente, Ca -- 12-2 (5) -- 15-3 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 27-5 (10)

68. Ed Arledge -- Valley Center, Ca -- 16-4 (5) -- 10-13 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 27-1 (10)

69. Vince Hurtado -- Turlock, Ca -- 13-15 (5) -- 12-15 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 26-14 (10)

70. Jonas Pettit -- Orting, Wa -- 15-4 (5) -- 11-6 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 26-10 (10)

71. Damon Witt -- Roseville, Ca -- 12-15 (5) -- 13-11 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 26-10 (10)

72. Gregg Leonard -- Wilton, Ca -- 13-1 (5) -- 13-8 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 26-9 (10)

73. Ray Huff -- Bakersfield, Ca -- 14-4 (5) -- 12-3 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 26-7 (10)

74. Robert Nakatomi -- Sacramento, Ca -- 14-3 (5) -- 12-1 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 26-4 (10)

75. Mark Lassagne -- Dixon, Ca -- 13-13 (5) -- 12-7 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 26-4 (10)

76. Levi Samz -- Greenriver, Wy -- 13-2 (5) -- 12-15 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 26-1 (10)

77. Wes Wezenberg -- Lacey, Wa -- 13-7 (5) -- 12-9 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 26-0 (10)

78. Kyle Gelles -- Pingree, Id -- 12-0 (5) -- 13-15 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 25-15 (10)

79. Mike Stahlman -- Buckley, Wa -- 13-11 (5) -- 12-4 (4) -- 0-0 (0) -- 25-15 (9)

80. Marvin Finley -- Peoria, Az -- 10-9 (5) -- 15-5 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 25-14 (10)

81. Mike Rennie -- Pioche, Nv -- 13-3 (5) -- 12-8 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 25-11 (10)

82. Doug McKa -- Olivehurst, Ca -- 11-1 (5) -- 13-15 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 25-0 (10)

83. Trace Myers -- Santaquin, Ut -- 12-11 (5) -- 12-4 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 24-15 (10)

84. Rick Grover -- Trabuco Canyon, Ca -- 12-3 (5) -- 12-11 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 24-14 (10)

85. Deejay Evans -- Las Vegas, Nv -- 11-13 (5) -- 12-12 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 24-9 (10)

86. Dave Phillips -- Nampa, Id -- 11-15 (5) -- 12-10 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 24-9 (10)

87. John Karayan -- Ventura, Ca -- 10-14 (4) -- 13-10 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 24-8 (9)

88. Carson Sims -- Boerne, Tx -- 13-3 (5) -- 11-5 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 24-8 (10)

89. Michael Crowther -- Page, Az -- 8-6 (4) -- 15-14 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 24-4 (9)

90. Kevin Caruso -- Glendale, Az -- 13-11 (5) -- 10-9 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 24-4 (10)

91. Nicholas Elliott -- Chula Vista, Ca -- 12-15 (5) -- 11-4 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 24-3 (10)

92. Clayton Meyer -- Henderson, Nv -- 12-3 (5) -- 11-14 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 24-1 (10)

93. Jim Vretzos -- El Dorado Hills, Ca -- 13-15 (5) -- 9-15 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 23-14 (10)

94. Ron Lorenzo -- Princeton, Ca -- 11-14 (5) -- 11-15 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 23-13 (10)

95. Russ Barger -- Boise, Id -- 12-2 (5) -- 11-5 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 23-7 (10)

96. Carl Limbrick Jr -- Bonita, Ca -- 10-13 (5) -- 12-9 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 23-6 (10)

97. Sunny Hawk -- Salt Lake City, Ut -- 13-6 (5) -- 9-4 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 22-10 (10)

98. Raymond Tak -- Los Angeles, Ca -- 10-15 (5) -- 11-4 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 22-3 (10)

99. Robert Gritski -- Pendleton, Or -- 9-6 (4) -- 12-6 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 21-12 (9)

100. James Shaw -- Coolidge, Az -- 9-8 (5) -- 11-3 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 20-11 (10)

101. Ronald Hammett -- La Mesa, Ca -- 11-14 (5) -- 7-6 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 19-4 (8)

102. Mark Dotterer -- Phoenix, Az -- 12-4 (5) -- 6-12 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 19-0 (8)

103. Gregory Halliman -- Littlerock, Ca -- 7-9 (4) -- 10-8 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 18-1 (9)

104. Ron Ratlief -- Lake Havasu City, Az -- 7-15 (4) -- 9-3 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 17-2 (9)

105. James Scott -- Lancaster, Ca -- 10-10 (5) -- 5-11 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 16-5 (7)

106. Shannon Abbott -- Oceanside, Ca -- 16-3 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 16-3 (5)

107. Kent Brown -- Roseville, Ca -- 16-3 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 16-3 (5)

108. Guy Savidan -- Norco, Ca -- 4-0 (2) -- 11-3 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 15-3 (7)

109. Brian Trusso -- Covina, Ca -- 8-10 (4) -- 6-9 (4) -- 0-0 (0) -- 15-3 (8)

110. Patrick Touey -- Santa Maria, Ca -- 14-8 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 14-8 (5)

111. Philip Roesener -- Logandale, Nv -- 14-0 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 14-0 (5)

112. Melvin Williams -- Chula Vista, Ca -- 5-3 (3) -- 8-4 (4) -- 0-0 (0) -- 13-7 (7)

113. Darius Arberry -- Las Vegas, Nv -- 0-0 (0) -- 12-6 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 12-6 (5)

114. Corey Fenske -- Granite Bay, Ca -- 10-11 (4) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 10-11 (4)

115. Daniel Shelton -- Sparks, Nv -- 5-12 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 5-12 (3)