|05-03-2012, 11:56 AM||#1|
Join Date: Aug 2003
Jay Wright Wins Clear Lake EverStart
conveiant Before last week's Clear Lake Western EverStart, Jay Wright had competed in 12 FLW events in his home region and had pocketed a little over $3,000. He earned nearly nine times that amount for 3 days of work at the California big-fish factory.
The 45-year-old resident of Seal Beach, Calif. caught back-to-back 26-11 sacks to claim victory in the last of the circuit's four 2012 events. His 74-05 total for 3 days eclipsed runner-up Wayne Breazeale by a little over a pound. The most significant victory of his career garnered him a $26,155 paycheck.
Northern California was under a warm spell the weekend prior to the event and Wright found a bunch of massive spawning fish at the south end of the lake. If those conditions had held throughout the tournament, he thinks he could've boxed 30 pounds a day.
"The area I had for bed-fish, it was kind of scary," he said. "There wasn't much pressure on it and they were in there thick, and all I had to do was fan-cast. I caught an (8-pounder) off a dock and a 5 off the corner of a seawall, and a kid fishing off the shore pulled up a stringer that had a 4, a 5 and a 6.
"Those areas have walled-off little bays and when it's flat, it's perfect. The only problem was that I knew when the wind started blowing, it was going to take that away."
A big storm front arrived the night before the tournament, bringing rain and the type of violent wind that he knew would foil his plans. Fortunately, he'd located some staging fish on dock poles and rockpiles that would chase a swimbait.
Although those fish wouldn't engulf the big "tennis shoe" in practice, they would later on when it mattered.
The fish on the docks and rocks were still reluctant to eat a swimbait on day 1, but Wright was able to scratch out a 21-pound bag with a worm on a dropshot rig to keep himself in contention – about 6 pounds out of the lead.
The wind slowed down dramatically on day 2 and the sun reappeared, and he got six quality bites on the swimbait. However, his biggest fish of the day – a 7-pounder – came on the dropshot.
He began the final day about 5 pounds off the pace set by Clear Lake ace Jimmy Reese. He caught six fish on the swimbait that day – a 6 1/2-pounder and five 5s.
He said a true monster – a fish that he estimated at 14 pounds – chased his bait and touched it twice before shying away. "A giant came out of an area that's known for big ones and I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was twice as long as any of the other ones I'd seen or hooked. She kissed it on one side, and then I made the bait turn and she kissed it on the other side, Then she went down. "It was so close."
Wright said he could frequently see the fish following the swimbait. Some would take it when he gave his rod a jerk to make the bait change direction, while others weren't impressed by that move.Of the seven bites he got on day 2, five committed immediately after the jerk.
"I didn't start throwing the swimbait solely until about 11:00, and getting those seven bites after that was a big deal. To make the cut, you've got to swing for haymakers."
Swimbait gear: 7'11" heavy-action Phenix Ultra rod, Shimano Curado 300 casting reel (6.3:1 ratio), 25-pound Evergreen Seil fluorocarbon line, 8" Huddleston Deluxe (hitch).
Dropshot gear: 7'2" medium-action Phenix Ultra rod, Shimano Core 50 casting reel (7:1 ratio), 12-pound Evergreen Seil fluorocarbon, 1/4- or 3/8-ounce teardrop-shaped dropshot weight, 1/0 Roboworm ReBarb hook, 6" Fat Roboworm (margarita mutilator III).
Main factor: "Scratching out the 21 pounds on the first day after the areas where I thought I could catch 30 were taken away. In the old days, I don't know if I could've pulled that off – I had a tendency to spin out sometimes. Mentally, I've gotten stronger."
Performance edge: "The 25-pound Evergreen Seil is really supple and the diameter isn't as heavy as most fluorocarbons. It has like a 20-pound diameter."