The Costa FLW Series Western Division fires up at one of the West’s premier spotted bass fisheries: Shasta Lake in northern California. The tournament ran Feb. 18-20, and the timing might be just right for a catchfest. Situated on the Sacramento River in northern California below Mount Shasta of the snow-capped Cascade Range, Shasta Lake was built in the ’40s and is home to both coldwater and warmwater fish. For tournament anglers, the star of the lake isn’t the trout fishery (mostly supported by stocking), or the incredible scenery, but the plentiful spotted bass in the mountain impoundment.
Day 1 – 11-5
Day 2 – 15-3
February 19, 2016 by Jody White
Day two of the Costa FLW Series presented by Minn Kota on Shasta Lake confronted the competitors with horrible weather and a lot of opportunity to move up, as many of the leaders faltered. In fact, half the members of the top 10 weren’t in it after day one of the Western Division 2016 inaugural. One of the replacements is Greg Gutierrez, who took over the lead with a two-day total of 27-2 and is ahead of second-place Richard Dobyns by 2 pounds, 7 ounces.
Read about Gutierrez’s leading pattern here.
February 19, 2016 by Jody White
Though Gutierrez has bounced around and covered water for his fish, one particular spot provided the kickers that powered his charge on day two.
“Yesterday I was there and I had the bites, but they were pulling the bait of and biting short,” explains the Californian pro. “Today, I stayed in one spot in the morning and just crushed them. I broke one off and lost another that just pulled off by the boat that looked like it was a five-pounder.”
If Gutierrez’s estimates are anywhere near accurate, his had the makings of a 20-pound bag on the line, something that is uncommon for Shasta. Despite not delivering on day one, practice had provided Gutierrez with a good indication of the spot’s potential.
“I rolled into that spot in practice, just a little rock pile, and worked it and caught a 3-pounder,” says Gutierrez. “Then I went back in the afternoon and made another cast and hooked one and it rolled my rod over like it was nothing, so I knew there were big ones there. Yesterday I just didn’t get bit on it, today they just ate.”
After landing his two kickers, Gutierrez put three small fish in the boat off the same spot and then headed to other water and upgraded the rest of his catch.
“I’m throwing finesse stuff for the most part, and I’ve been catching a lot of my fish on my NAIL (a shaky head designed for Frenzy Baits by Gutierrez himself), but as far as the baits go, well, we can get into that later.
“Tomorrow, I’m gonna go out and try it again,” says the upbeat pro of Saturday’s final round. “I think I can get 10 pounds from my stuff and everything else is a bonus from there.”
Day 3 – 13-5
February 20, 2016 by Jody White
Greg Gutierrez has fished Lake Shasta since he was a youngster, and the lake has molded him into one of the West’s premier finesse anglers. This week, the Red Bluff, Calif., pro earned the first Costa FLW Series win of his career on the lake just an hour from his house. Checking in with 40 pounds, 7 ounces, Gutierrez bested second-place pro Richard Dobyns by more than four pounds in the Minn Kota-presented event.
Gutierrez was the only pro to crack the 40-pound barrier. The California pro has been in the hunt before at various Costa FLW Series events without ever sealing the deal. On the last day of the Shasta tournament, however, he finally experienced what he called a “bucket list moment” and couldn’t wipe the smile from his face.
This week, while many of the top finishers worked reaction baits for their catch, Gutierrez relied solely on finesse tactics and moved from 17th to first on the second day when the reaction bite died. He then broadened his lead in the championship round.
“By the middle of last Sunday I knew I was going to be fishing slow in this tournament and I was probably going to be fishing down to 30 feet,” recalls the local pro. “By Tuesday this week I was done. My rods were ready and my head was ready; I didn’t want to even come out on Wednesday but I knew I would feel bad if I didn’t.”
Mind made up, Gutierrez went on to catch fish off a rock pile near a bridge piling as well as near bait suspending around the pilings themselves. However, his primary pattern was fishing chunk rock to gravel or gravel to clay transitions on the lee sides of points. Read the rest over on FLWFishing.com >
Greg Gutierrez caught fish on a jig and a Carolina rig, but his bread-and-butter bait was a ¼-ounce Frenzy Baits NAIL shaky head, made by his company and designed by him. He rigged it with a 4.95-inch Reaction Innovations Flirt Worm in either green pumpkin or watermelon and fished it on 15-pound-test braid with a 6-pound-test Gamma Edge leader and a 7-foot, 1-inch medium-power iRod Genesis II spinning rod.
Californian Gutierrez Wins Costa FLW Series Western Opener On Lake Shasta
February 20, 2016
REDDING, Calif. – Greg Gutierrez of Red Bluff, California, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the Costa FLW Series Western Division opener on Lake Shasta presented by Minn Kota with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 40 pounds, 7 ounces. For his win, Gutierrez earned $36,376.
“It feels really good to finally get that monkey off of my back and win an FLW event,” said Gutierrez, who earned his first career FLW Series win. “I’ve won a few different tournaments in my life, and I’ve been close here, but the win has eluded me for a few years. I had a blast this week and could not be happier right now.”
Gutierrez said that he found bigger fish on the main lake in practice and decided to concentrate his efforts throughout the week there. He looked for transition areas, either red clay or chunk rock to gravel. He said he would cover water with a Duo Realis Spinbait 90, targeting shallow points. Once he got bit, he would slow down and thoroughly work the area with a ¼-ounce Frenzy Baits NAIL, a shaky-head rig that Gutierrez designed himself, rigged with a green-pumpkin Reaction Innovations Flirt.
“I weighed in a few fish off of a dart head as well, but the majority of my keepers this week came on the Nail. The bites were very light and subtle. I used the heavy ¼-ounce weight because I wanted to maintain bottom contact as I fished the Nail slowly.
“I’ve really learned over the last few years to trust myself and my decision making,” Gutierrez went on to say. “In years past I may have gotten confused and spun out, but I’ve learned to trust my gut and my decisions and I think that is what earned me the win this week.”