Fifteen years ago this month, Byron Velvick won the 2000 Bassmaster California Western Invitational on Clear Lake by a margin of more than 11 pounds. It wasn’t like he was beating up on the Little Sisters of the Poor, either, as the three anglers directly behind him were Skeet Reese, Aaron Martens and Brett Hite. Other western/national powers like Dean Rojas (6th) and Ish Monroe (9th), as well as legends like Gary Dobyns (13th) and Mike Folkestad (16th) also made the top 20, but all fell well short of Velvick’s 83-05 total.
Velvick certainly wasn’t a newcomer to the sport, having previously won the 1990 and 1996 U.S. Open Championships, but the Clear Lake victory marked the first of his three B.A.S.S. wins to date. In winning, he also set the B.A.S.S. record for total weight in a three-day, five-fish-limit event.
In many respects, Velvick’s win sparked a national awakening of swimbait culture. At the time, even Western writer Michael Jones thought that the big baits looked as if they “were more suitable for salt water than tap water.”
When sight fishing with a plastic craw was not an option, “Velvick switched gears to a cutting edge, typically Western tactic – one widely considered to be the sole domain of big-bass hunters on lakes with planted trout,” Jones wrote.
You don’t need to accurately describe Skeet Reese’s 2000 hairdo in order to win the prize this week. Just be the first to answer the following four questions correctly in the comments section and you’ll win a $25 gift card to Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits.
1) Whose three-day, five fish limit record did Velvick eclipse?
2) What brand of soft plastic craw did Velvick use to catch spawning fish in the early part of the tournament?
3) What species of baitfish was Velvick’s primary swimbait during this tournament meant to mimic?
4) Who caught the big bass of the event?
The answer and winner will be announced Thursday. Good Luck!