California Tournament Trail (CTT), the self-proclaimed “Working Man’s Tournament Circuit”, opened its doors in January 2014 at Lake Oroville and wrapped-up a successful inaugural season at Clear Lake in June 2014. The two-day, shared-weight, pro-am circuit averaged about 46 boats per event and boasted many of the state’s top pros, as well as first-time pros and out-of-staters.
Season highlights included a monster, 21-pound bag of all largemouth at Oroville that anchored the win for Aaron Cole of Salida. He also won big fish with an 8.27-pound spot on day 2. February’s event at New Melones followed with another giant spot, a 10.48-pound giant caught by Keith Bryan of Powell Rods that propelled him to the win. The fish was later certified by the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) as a new World Record spotted bass.
Greg Gutierrez of Red Bluff finished fourth and second, respectively, at these two events and tossed in a second at Lake Shasta and fifth at Clear Lake to win Angler of the Year.
Wayne Breazeale, Terry DeVincenzi, Aaron Britt, and Chris Gosselaar rounded out the top five in the AOY chase. Chris Huff won the TOC. Brandon Burkey won the TOC on the Amateur side. His bag included a 9.10 pound Clear Lake giant. Spencer Perry was a close second.
Other Amateur winners included Charlie Delight, Richard Tuma, Joseph George, Jr., and BHQ’s own Steve Adams. Tim Nguyen ran away with Angler of the Year, his nearest competitors being Justin Bolen and Merle Nunes of Vacaville.
The schedule has already been announced for next season and growth is expected. This much advanced notice is extremely rare and is welcome among working anglers who must carefully plan to take time off to compete. Look for great lakes, at great times, and boat counts in the 70s next season.
It’ll kick off with Lake Oroville in January, a great winter spotted bass fishery with a few game-changer largemouth swimming around. The second event will feature Lake Berryessa this year, a bass factory in the Napa/Yolo/Solano County border region that supports healthy populations of smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass. The 2015 schedule will feature six events and an October TOC at Clear Lake. Here it is:
Lake Oroville- January Jan16-17 (Friday-Sat). Pre-fish will be Wednesday- Thurs.
Lake Berryessa- February 28-March 1
Clear Lake- March 28-29
New Melones- April 25-26
California Delta- May 16-17
Clear Lake-October 30-November 1
Each lake has been profiled in Bassmaster magazine’s list of top100 fisheries in the country, some of them consistently high.
CTT featured great media coverage last season, with same-day web results, professional angler event promos and recaps. This year will be even better! Sponsors included Konocti Vista Casino, Oroville Outdoors, TOP this, Frenzy Baits, Phils Props, and Amazing Outdoors/Lake El Salto, which gave away a guided bassin’ trip to Mexico.
The circuit has filled a much-needed void in a great bass region. It provides anglers of all levels and personal objectives the chance to get what they’re looking for. Anglers and potential sponsors would do well to jump on board now.
Best of luck next season! See ya out on the water.