Jim Graddy wins Bass Nation Event on New Melones with 35 pounds

Jim Graddy with a Nice New Melones Bass

Jim Graddy won the California B.A.S.S. Nation qualifier with the help of this 8.93-pounder.

The 74-year-old also caught the biggest bass, almost a 9-pounder

ANGELS CAMP, Calif. — Jim Graddy of Shafter, Calif., won the 2017 California B.A.S.S. Nation State Team Qualifier 1 on New Melones Reservoir, March 18-19, and no one was more surprised than he was. “I am shocked that I won,” said the 74-year-old real estate broker. “The first time I had ever been to New Melones was on Thursday.”  At his ripe age, Graddy said he’s not only proud to have won: “I’m proud to still be alive.”  Graddy jokes about his age, adding that after this many years of fishing, he should really be better than he is. But based on his 24.64-pound bag on Day 2, most of his fellow competitors would argue that he’s doing just fine. Graddy finished with 35.35 pounds, eclipsing second place by almost 2 pounds. But he won another honor as well — biggest bass overall. He caught an 8.93-pounder on Sunday, the biggest bass of the tournament by a nearly 2-pound margin. It was mid-morning when the big fish took his Senko and started swimming toward him. “I didn’t even know it was big at first,” Graddy said. His nonboater partner, Louie Marques, asked if he needed help with the net and Graddy declined, saying it didn’t feel like much. “But then I got a little pressure, and it got bigger,” said Graddy, laughing about his rapid change of mind. “I said to Louie, ‘Maybe I do need a little help.’”  The fish was near the dam in 2 to 3 feet of water.

 Graddy had used Texas-rigged Zoom Brush Hogs in green pumpkin all day Saturday, when he brought in a limit of 10.71 pounds fishing laydowns. But on Sunday, he wasn’t having much success, and he took a cue from Marques to pick up a Senko instead. He settled on shad and green pumpkin colors and fished the rest of the day with Senkos, targeting shallow grass on the banks. Areas with heavier grass seemed more productive to Graddy than areas with less of it. He would start at a point, work into a cove, then work the other side as he made his way to the next one. “It’s fun to beat these young guys,” said Graddy. “It doesn’t happen often. They usually kick your butt.” Graddy is a member of the Valley Bass Club in Bakersfield. As the top boater at New Melones, he is the first angler to qualify for the 2018 California B.A.S.S. Nation State Team. 

Jared Harris of Oakdale is the only other angler to qualify for the State Team alongside Graddy. Harris won the nonboater side on New Melones. Harris, 23, spent his pre-fishing time determining what lures would work best across the lake. As the nonboater, he wouldn’t have the final say in where he could fish each day, but he could at least pick the best tackle that would work anywhere. He settled on a swimbait made by Johnny C’s California Reservoir Lures in casper color, in 3 or 5 inches for the first day, when he weighed in three fish for 7.18 pounds. On the second day, he used Senkos in brown with black and purple flake to bring in 6.97 pounds. “I found that rocky areas with nice grass growing nearby were the most productive spots,” said Harris, who works for Local 1245 Electrical IBEW. “I don’t regret one cast I made,” Harris added. “I felt like I was on my game.” Harris ended with 14.15 pounds, edging second place by ounces.

 On the boater side, Graddy was flanked by first-day leader Randy Pierson with 33.39 pounds and Michael Coleman in third place with 31.48 pounds. On the nonboater side, Jay Williams finished behind Harris with 14.01 pounds, followed by Louie Marques with 13.66 pounds.

 The next qualifier takes place June 3-4 on Lake Oroville in Oroville, Calif.

 Keep up with the California B.A.S.S. Nation on Facebook at www.facebook.com/californiabassnation and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/cal_bn.

 

 

The path to the Classic begins on New Melones

The path to the Classic begins on New Melones

 Darrell Ocamica of Idaho, Tim Klinger of Nevada and Ryan Lavigne of Louisiana all started by competing in B.A.S.S. Nation events in their respective state, and now they’re heading to the 2017 GEICO Bassmaster Classic later this month. Anglers in California have the opportunity to climb the same ladder beginning March 18.

 California B.A.S.S. Nation competition begins this month

 SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The path to competing in the Bassmaster Classic begins in California on New Melones Reservoir, March 18-19.

 Any angler in California — boater or nonboater — has a chance at competing against the best bass anglers in the world at the 2019 Bassmaster Classic. The road to qualify begins at any of the four California B.A.S.S. Nation tournaments scheduled for 2017, moves on to the Western Regional next spring and culminates in the 2018 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship, in which three of the nation’s best anglers earn a berth in the 2019 Classic.

 

“No angler from the California B.A.S.S. Nation has ever made it all the way to the Classic before,” said Mark “Chief” Torrez, president of the California B.A.S.S. Nation. “Our state has the best anglers in the country, and there’s no reason one of our members can’t end our streak this year and get one of our guys onto the biggest stage in bass fishing.”

 

The first tournament of the season is on New Melones Reservoir in Angels Camp, March 18-19. The top boater and top nonboater at New Melones automatically advance to the 2018 State Team, becoming the first to qualify. The rest of the 20-person State Team will qualify either by winning one of the other three tournaments this year (Oroville, Delta or Nacimiento) or by finishing in the top of the points bracket (best three out of four tournaments).

 The 2017 State Team, which qualified last year, will put their skills to the test beginning in April at Lake Shasta. The 2017 Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation Western Regional presented by Magellan will be held in our home state, April 19-21. The Western Regional is held at a different Western lake every year.

 The best boater and best nonboater from California’s 2017 State Team will qualify for the 2017 Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation Championship presented by Magellan this fall at a location to be determined. The Top 3 anglers at the championship advance to the 2018 Classic.

 In just a few weeks, you can watch three of last year’s top Nation anglers compete in the 2017 Classic, including two from the West. From March 24 to 26, on Lake Conroe in Houston, Texas, Darrell Ocamica of Idaho, Tim Klinger of Nevada and Ryan Lavigne of Louisiana will represent their states on the world stage.

 To be on track to make the 2019 Bassmaster Classic, competitors must either win a California B.A.S.S. Nation event or finish in the top of the points by the end of the season. Points are determined on a 100-point scale at each tournament, with the winner receiving 100 points, second-place receiving 99, etc. The top points winners, based on their three best tournaments, will qualify for the 2018 State Team.

 The full schedule is as follows:

 Date                                       Lake                                                       Location

March 18-19                         New Melones Reservoir                Angels Camp, CA

June 3-4                                Lake Oroville                                     Oroville, CA

July 8-9                                 California Delta                                Oakley, CA

Oct. 14-15                              Lake Nacimiento                              Paso Robles, CA

 

To register to compete at New Melones, download the entry form here: http://calbn.com/new-melones-reservoir and submit it by March 8. You must be a member of a California B.A.S.S. Nation club to be eligible to compete.

 If you have questions about tournaments or about joining a club, contact Mark Torrez at (805) 233-0883 or mark@calbn.com.

 Keep up with the California B.A.S.S. Nation at www.facebook.com/californiabassnation.