Hollister resident Bryan Grier won first place in the Major League Fishing Toyota Series’ Clear Lake tournament earlier this year.
Grier took home more than $25,000 in winnings from the April 28-30 tournament by bringing five bass to the stage, weighing a total of 21 pounds, 12 ounces, says a press release from Major League Fishing. Grier’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 58 pounds, 5 ounces, earned him the victory to more than 2 pounds over second-place angler Joshua Adams.
The event launched from Redbud Park in Clearlake, Calif. It was the second tournament of the season for the MLF Toyota Series Western Division.
Grier said a key difference maker for him was targeting fish in the right stage of the spawn cycle, says the press release. He felt this improved his chances at getting quality bites that could put him at the top on the tournament’s final day.
“The big thing was fishing the prespawn fish,” Grier said. “A lot of the lake has spawning fish, some postspawn fish, but I found a pretty big group of prespawn fish, and they were just a lot heavier. It wasn’t necessarily that they were ‘bigger,’ but they weighed a lot more. They were still feeding up. They were still prespawn, and they were just moving up.”
Unlike many anglers who finished in the Clearlake top 10, Grier opted to target boulders as opposed to vegetation and spawning fish.
“I just had a very large wad of fish, they didn’t really change much,” he said. “The first day I just kind of got blown off of it. I think I could have stuck it out, but I didn’t feel safe. There were big waves coming right into where I was fishing. Today though, I had nothing to lose so I just stuck out there. It was brutal.”
Grier also noted that depth was a predominant factor as many anglers cruised the banks, he opted to target fish deeper that were less affected by windy conditions and were more likely to be in a prespawn pattern, says the press release.
“I was looking for them a little deeper,” Grier said. “I was looking for my fish in anywhere from 10 to 14 feet. Where most people were up shallow fishing the flats, I stuck out deeper trying to get those prespawn fish.”
For Grier, the come-from-behind victory is not only a culmination of 20 years of professional tournament fishing on the west coast. It’s also a proper send-off for the Hollister pro and business owner as he prepares to migrate east in the coming month.
Grier recently sold his house in Hollister and purchased a home in Texas. He is planning to move to Texas by the end of this month in order to be able to do more competitive professional fishing, he told the Free Lance. Events and tournaments are more frequent and accessible in Texas, where there is more water within a closer travel distance.
“California events just don’t get the draw,” Grier said. “There’s not as many bass fishermen in California. The big tours have come over here but it’s too hard to get the draw and get as many people involved.”
Grier has lived in Hollister for about the last five years, and is the owner and founder of Central Coast Dirtworks.
MLF is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, producing more than 250 events annually, says the press release.