Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Nick Wood Wins 2024 WON Bass Lake Shasta Open

REDDING, Calif. –– Early season bass tournaments can bring challenges for everyone involved, especially when they are at Lake Shasta. However many challenges arise, the quality of the spotted bass fishery at Lake Shasta makes the challenges worth it for the anglers, spectators and for the organization hoping to put on a show.

With heavy rains, big winds and cold temperatures that turned to snow flurries, hail, colder temperatures and more rain on the final day of the 2024 WON Bass Lake Shasta Open, the fishing didn’t disappoint. Over the tree-day event, many quality spotted bass, including some eclipsing the seven pound mark and quality limits of Lake Shasta bass made for an interesting tournament and some frequent lead changes throughout the event.

Day one saw local favorite Jeff Michels of Lakehead, Calif. take the lead with 16.77 pounds, only to have Nick Wood, another pre-event favorite take the lead on day two with an 18.63-pound limit to move from fifth place to the top spot with a two-day total of 34.22 pounds. As the final day’s weigh-in came to a close, it became clear that the two area legends were more than prepared to overcome the challenges and rise to the occasion.

Michels took the lead momentarily by posting a final day 14.97-pound limit to total 45.93 pounds. However, Wood, from Yreka, Calif. posted a 13.20-pound limit to jump his three-day total to 47.42 pounds and claim the title of 2024 WON Bass Lake Shasta Open Champion.

For his efforts, Wood was rewarded with a 2024 Ranger Boats Z518 with Mercury 150 ProXS outboard presented by Bass Pro Shops, the prize boat was rigged with Power-Pole Charge and Bioenno Power Batteries valued at $55,000 and the winner’s $15,000 share, bringing the total Champion’s prize package to $70,000 in value.

Wood said that he used several different techniques to catch his fish due to the changing conditions. Most of his fish came in the upper reaches of the Sacramento River arm, specifically in Middle Salt Creek. His first day pattern involved a 7-inch Hitch colored Line Thru Osprey Swimbait thrown on a 7’6” heavy action Duckett Fishing Incite rod with a 6.2:1 Duckett Fishing reel. He also targeted deeper fish with a Float ‘n Fly rig, with a 7’2” medium light Black Ice spinning rod and 2500 size Paradigm spinning reel by Duckett Fishing. His lure of choice was an 1/8-ounce SPRO Fly in Baby Bass Color on an 8-foot leader.

As the water muddied on days two and three, Wood turned to targeting boulders with either a white and chartreuse 3/8-ounce D&M Lures Chatterbait tipped with a chartreuse 5.8 Keitech swimbait or a 1/2-ounce white and chartreuse D&M spinnerbait with double willowleaf blades. “I had to get lined up perfectly with my casts around those boulders to trigger the bites, but once I did, I was able to catch the right fish,” he said. “The last day was a little more difficult but was able to scrape enough together to pull it out; I’m really pleased it turned out this way.”

In winning, Wood beat his local rival in Michels, but also earned a trip back to the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship in 2025, something he has experienced before. “I’m a little overwhelmed, it’s not easy to beat Jeff (Michels) anywhere, especially here, and to do it in this type of an event against this type of field means a lot,” he said. “I’m also excited to be able to go back to the B.A.S.S. Nation, it was a great experience and I’m looking forward to dragging my Ranger Z520R there to compete; this is just a complete honor and it’s not quite sunk in.”

Like Wood and several other top finishers in the tournament, Michels began his event upriver in the Sacramento arm, but vacated it to main lake points on days two and three due to the water turning dirty. He used two main techniques to catch the majority of his fish during the week.

He alternated between two main lures, a Wacky Rigged 5-inch green pumpkin Yamamoto Senko thrown on 6-pound-test Seaguar Tatsu Fluorocarbon line and a 7’5” medium light fast action Dobyns XTASY rod and unnamed spinning reel. The second was a 1/2-ounce green pumpkin Bass Patrol football Jig and 5-inch Yamamoto Twin Tailed Grub in the same color. He tossed the jig on a 7’5” medium heavy fast action Dobyns XTASY casting rod rigged with 12-pound-test Seaguar Invizx Fluorocarbon. A few of his weigh fish came on 5 or 6-inch Shasta Bass Tackle swimbaits in Rainbow Trout color.

Michels leaves the event knowing he left things on the table. “I broke off a key fish each day being stupid, and you can’t have that kind of human error and win against a field like this,” he said. “I congratulate Nick (Wood) he and I go against each other regularly but losing sucks and I’ll do my best to beat him and the field next time.” Michels received $12,000 for his runner up finish.

Joe Uribe Jr. of Surprise, Ariz. brought an 18.18-pound final day limit to the scales to bring his total weight to 45.76 pounds to jump 12 places and finish in third place. He was followed by Orangevale, Calif. pro Chris Raza in fourth place with 45.28 pounds and Oroville, California’s Alex Klein rounded out the top five with 44.36 pounds for the event.

The AAA division was won by Jake Etcheverry of Hughson, Calif. with 48.46 pounds. Etcheverry opened the event in 93rd place but drew Wood on day two and posted 18.63 pounds and sixth place finishing pro Branden Mowers of Shasta Lake, Calif. on day three and brought 18.67 pounds to the scales to seal his win coming from third place to do it; Etcheverry won $6,000 for his victory.

Second place in the AAA division went to Keith W. Adams from Redding, Calif. with 42.93 pounds, third place was taken by Geoff Peterson of Huntington Beach, Calif. with 42.65 pounds, while fourth place was claimed by Day Two leader James Clayton of Prescott, Ariz. with 42.63 pounds and Chris Trumbull of Shingletown, Calif. rounded out the top five with 41.26 pounds.

In total, the 2024 WON Bass Lake Shasta Open offered a total purse of over $210,000 including the Ranger / Mercury prize boat. Along with the payout, the top five anglers in both divisions also received berths into the 2025 Bassmaster B.A.S.S. Nation Championship for a chance to qualify for the 2026 Bassmaster Classic.

The Top 10 in each division are below, for complete standings go to: