Lake is fishing strong and Spotted bass set to dominate 2024 Season Opener
The much-anticipated season opening event of the 2024 WON Bass Open Series is just around the corner, and northern California’s Lake Shasta is set to be the stage to set off the largest Pro-Am tour season since the heydays of the format in the 1990’s.
The season opener will conclude on February 3, 2024, by awarding the first Ranger Boats / Mercury Motor prize boat of the season, award the first automatic qualifiers to the 2025 Bassmaster BASS Nation National Championship to the top five Pro and AAA anglers and begin the season long competition to see who will receive guaranteed slots into the 2025 Bassmaster Opens Elite Qualifiers.
While it may seem to be a little early in the year to kick off a tournament trail, WON Bass realized that opening on a lake that isdominated by spotted bass, the anglers might be faced with cool conditions, but the fishing would most certainly be strong. As evidence of that fact, a recent Pro-Am event on Lake Shasta produced a two-day winning weight of 28.81pounds – an average of 14.5 pounds per day - with the middle of the pack producing nearly 12 pounds a day for the event.
Alex Klein, a veteran pro angler out of Oroville, Calif. has a history of performing well throughout the West, but with roots based inspotted bass, he is a threat any time they are the primary target. Klein said that anglers competing in the WON Bass event should be pleasantly surprised. “Shasta is fishing better than usual right now,” said Klein. “12 pounds a day is very competitive most years, but it will likely take 13 to 15 a day to win that event; it’s really fishing good.”
As for techniques, he reported that anglers should be ready for a variety of things depending on the weather conditions at the time. “I’ll put it to you this way, I’m going to have several St. Croix Elite rods on my deck that are capable of handling everything from swimbaits to drop shots, and everything in between; it could be won on anything and everything.
“As a rule of thumb, If I’m living in my Buck ‘n Bass raingear all day, then horizontal presentations will be key, but if it’s shirtsleeve weather, then the bottom will play more; we’ll just have to wait and see.”
As for the long-range weather forecast from weather.com, it appears that Lake Shasta will have relatively stable conditions throughout theremainder of the month with low temperatures in the mid 40’s and highs between the 50’s and 60’s. There appears to be some rainy days and wind in the forecast, so the fishing should continue to be strong. At time of press, Lake Shasta’s water level sits at slightly above 1015 feet elevation and should continue to rise with incoming rain.
With all of that to look forward to, WON Bass Tournament Director Bill Egan said anticipation is growing amongst the team. “With the new partnerships and opportunities for the field, we were already looking forward to kicking off the year, but we are getting more excited now as we get closer,” he said. “2024 will be a big year for WON Bass, our anglers and our partners, and seeing great conditions ahead only amplifies the feelings, we can’t wait to get started.”
There are currently more than 150 pro anglers and more than 120 AAA partners signed up for the Lake Shasta event. WON Bass is seeking more AAA anglers to balance the field - signups remain open until January 26, 2024.
Pro anglers looking to enter will now be required to sign up with a AAA partner not currently registered for the event to guarantee their entry, and there is of course more room for additional AAA anglers to register currently.The 2024 WON Bass Western Opens Series of events Consisting of five events in California, Arizona and Nevada, will culminate with the 2024 WON Bass U.S. Open at Lake Mohave in October.
Jan. 31–Feb. 2, Lake Shasta
April 17-19, Clear Lake
May 15-17, Lake Havasu
Sept. 18-20, Lake Mead
Oct. 14-16, U.S. Open at Lake Mohave
The 2024 WON Bass Northern California Lake Shasta Open is brought to you by Bass Pro Shops, Ranger Boats, Mercury Marine, Nitro Boats, Triton Boats, Bridgford Foods, Phenix Rods, Yamamoto Baits, Bill Lewis Lures, Buckeye Lures, Steel Shad, SOG Knives, Cold Steel Knives, Gamma Line, Power Pole, Lowrance, Daiwa, AFTCO, Costa, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Anderson Toyota, A&M Graphics, Phil’s Propellers, Redding Tourism, Anglers Marine and Signature Gates.