LAKEPORT, Calif. – No lead is safe on a fishery that cranks out as many 25-pound plus bags as Clear Lake. At the end of the day it boiled down to just two men, day-two leader Jason Borofka and Jody Jordan. Both anglers sacked over 25 pounds on the final day of the EverStart Series Western Division on Clear Lake, but when the weights settled, Jordan claimed the title by just 2 ounces.
Jordan started his week off with the smallest limit he would weigh at 23 pounds, 12 ounces. Day two saw him climb the leaderboard after a 28-11 bag that had him in third place for the final day – nearly 3 pounds off the lead. Lightning struck twice as he replicated his success from the previous day weighing 28-10 to give him a three-day total of 81-1 and his first EverStart victory.
“I don’t know how to explain this feeling right now,” said Jordan after clutching the trophy. “I have been fishing since I was two. I started on small rivers then worked my way to some ponds and actually became a fly-fishing purist in my teens. I went to work at a refinery when I was 24 and a guy took me fishing on the California Delta. Two weeks later I went out and bought my 518 Ranger. I haven’t touched a fly rod since and this win represents everything I have worked for.”
Jordan has fished Clear Lake for years and regularly competes in team tournaments. His practice went well as he knew an area that held potential after catching 24 to 25 pounds from it earlier in the week. He knew a deep crankbait would be the ticket and he spent the first day sampling several areas.
“I moved around more on the first day and stuck with the crankbait,” said the 42-year-old wharfinger for a refinery. “On day two I got to my starting area and never cranked the motor up until the end of the day. I actually made a change halfway through the day to a swimbait and caught a 5-pounder and a 7-pounder. My co-angler started to throw a smaller swimbait and caught a 7 1/2-pounder, so I knew that was something I needed to do today.”
Jordan went to the same 100-yard stretch of bank today on the south end of the lake and stayed put. He rotated between a Strike King 10XD and an 8-inch Huddleston swimbait he named Barry. He focused on 20 to 25 feet of water and utilized both 12- and 15-pound test lines to get his crankbaits down deep. He also noted that he is a big fan of fiberglass rods for cranking and credits that to him being able to land the fish he did.
“The area I was fishing had a lot of rock on it and it is something I have won several tournaments on. I thought I knew everything about that spot until I fished this event. After spending three days on it I feel like I am intimate with that spot. I did have some company on it this week, though and I can’t say enough about Billy Hines and Zack Thompson. Those guys were also fishing there and we worked phenomenal together. We understood where each other were fishing and couldn’t have been more courteous.”
The Vacaville, Calif., resident took home a check for nearly $29,000.
“I am just blown away. I wanted this win for redemption for last year when I made some bad decisions that cost me a top-10 finish out here. It’s tough to do well for three days against these guys.
“I also can’t forget to thank my wife. She is at home right now with a broken hand trying to take care of our two kids. I can’t thank her enough. It feels great to have that kind of support at home. And I can’t forget to thank Mike Moreau for his custom painting work he does and Tom Shimabukuro for letting me borrow his boat. I have known him from fishing a local club and he kindly offered up his boat for me since mine is older and I didn’t want to take any chances on having issues.”
Borofka short by ounces, takes second
Like Jordan, Borofka also had a slower start to his week by catching 23 pounds, 4 ounces on day one. Borofka showed what Clear Lake is all about on day two with a 32-1 bag – the heaviest of the tournament – and grabbed the lead. Despite catching 25-10 today, Borofka couldn’t seal the deal and his three-day total weight of 80-15 earned him second place and a check for $11,055.
“Losing by that much is tough,” said Borofka. “But the one thing that really gets to me was having to come in early on day two thanks to a cranking battery issue. I still had a 3 1/2-pounder in the livewell and that hurt.”
Borofka spent his week cranking a Norman DD-22 on 10-pound test on several points in the Redbud arm of the lake. The points featured grass and rocks but his targets were the deeper rock piles in 20 feet of water that he could hit by kneeling and reeling. The only issue, however, was that his bite was only good in the afternoon.
“Coming into today I knew I didn’t have much for the morning bite,” explained the Salinas, Calif., native. “When I was talking to my co-angler (Dante Ray) last night he told me he had found something in practice on the north end that would go in the morning. I slept on it and decided we should give it a shot. They were schooling fish and it was unreal; I had a limit by 9 o’clock with a 6-pounder and a 5-pounder. At around noon I decided to head to Redbud and caught my biggest fish on the DD-22.”
When Borofka did fish the shallow portions of the points he threw a ChatterBait with a swimbait trailer.
“I have been truly blessed by the Lord. I didn’t lose any fish or give up so that helps ease my mind. I know that my time will come eventually.”
Smith up to third
Bryant Smith of Castro Valley, Calif., slowly climbed the standings this week after starting out with a 21-pound, 11-ounce bag the first day. He backed that up with 26-12 on day two to slide in the top 10. He saved the best for last and brought in the day’s best weight of 29-1 to bring his three-day total to 77-8. For third, Smith claims a check for $7,240.
Smith covered a lot of water on the north end fishing no deeper than 5 feet. His bait of choice was a squarebill crankbait in a translucent color. He matched that with an 805 Dobyns rod and 15-pound test monofilament.
He targeted 10 to 15 spots throughout the day, making repeated visits to each.
“I just had to hit each spot as many times as I could,” said Smith. “It was all timing for when those fish wanted to eat and there wasn’t really any deciding when that was. For example, I caught five fish in the morning today, but yesterday I only had one.
“I lost one fish today that may or may not have helped me. Other than that the whole week went well and I can’t complain at all.”
Uribe Jr. to fourth
Another angler that rose through the ranks this week was Joe Uribe Jr. of Lake Forest, Calif. With a day-one limit of 19 pounds, 12 ounces, Uribe Jr. was down but not out. He cracked 28-2 to narrowly make it in the top 10 and fish the final day. Today, he was one of five pros to bring in a limit over 25 pounds with 28-7 to capture fourth place.
Uribe only practiced for a few days this week since it was going so well. His pattern was shallow cranking in the mid-lake region on down to the south end. Uribe didn’t want to divulge too much information since he has another big tournament next weekend on Clear Lake but said a Lucky Craft crankbait in shad color on braided line with a fluorocarbon leader was the deal. His rod was a Performance Tackle custom rod.
“I’d hit about 10 spots per day,” said Uribe. “I was catching about 10 to 15 fish each day. I really had to make each fish bite because they just weren’t eating it.
“I caught a limit quick this morning and I made my last cull on my last cast of the day. The one difference today for me was that I caught multiple fish off of my spots. Earlier in the week I could only get one fish from each.”
With a three-day total of 76-5, Uribe landed a check of over $6,500.
Krnaich to fifth
“I was cranking as fast as I could all three days,” said Krnaich. “I fished shallow and deep with a 7:1 gear ratio and fished the same triangle of spots in the south bay I did for the tournament last weekend. My main spot had a shallow and deep area I could hit without even moving the boat.”
Krnaich weighed 27 pounds, 1 ounce today despite having two little ones that combined to weigh only 3 pounds.
“I lost a lot of fish this week. I even lost a few today. I think one thing that really helped me was switching to a 734 iRod. It really helped me get those bigger fish under control. Another big key was looking for the silversides. When they were around those fish would bite.”
Krnaich posted a three-day total weight of 76 pounds even which earned him a check for over $5,700.
"It felt really good to fish FLW again. This tournament got me fired up to fish next year."
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top-10 pros in the EverStart Series Clear Lake event:
7th: Jason Newby of Bakersfield, Calif., three-day total of 73-14, $4,344
8th: Mike Tuck of Granite Bay, Calif., three-day total of 72-3, $3,620
9th: Jeff Michels of Lakehead, Calif., three-day total of 67-4, $2,896. Michels wrapped up the Strike King Angler of the Year for the Western Division with 782 points over four events. For winning the AOY, Michels locked up his spot for the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup.
10th: Billy Hines of Vacaville, Calif., three-day total of 64-8, $2,172