Monday, November 27, 2006


Well, there you have it. The Sonoma County Belly Boat Bass Clubs 2006 tour is now in the record books. What a tour it was for me as President for the first time in 22 years. As I sit back and can smell the Turkey cooking I can't help but to reflect back on this 2006 tour. I had never floated down the road of permits and insurance for any tournaments. Before this club started I used to hide behind the Roland Rich name and my brother would hide behind the Ted Mann name. We thought that we wouldn't be responsible in case something bad happened at one of the 9 tournament we put on before the start of the SCBBBC. As luck would have it nothing bad ever happened and a great organization came from the act of a few. I was very luck to have followed in the fine prints of all the past SCBBBC Presidents as they paved the way and had the procedures set for me to follow.

I chose to follow there path for a while before going down some new ones. I hope the members have enjoyed the new path I have taken us down and the path I plan on going if I'm lucky enough to be elected President for the 2007 tour.This years tour started off at Lake Sonoma's Yorty Creek on Feb 4th. My worst night mare became a reality as I came around the last turn into Yorty Creek only to see all the tail lights at the entry gate that was not open as the combo we had been given was bogus. Here I'm faced with 27 of California's best float tubers who have been cooped up all winter and dieing to fish a tournament looking at me for answers. This was my first challenge as the one in charge. So after sitting around for what seemed forever in my shoes, the Rangers truck finally comes around the bend. I survived this do to the fact that they too had the same combo as I did and it didn't work any better for them as it did us. So finally all of us are on the water and ready to fish. After a beautiful winter day on Yorty Creek it was one of our past Presidents and AOY who took the 1st place spot over 26 others. Todd Iwamoto once again stayed true to his nature and was catching fish all day, even at the last minute. Todd even had big fish of the tournament at 4.12. This wasn't an easy tournament as there was no limits caught from any of the 27 anglers. We only caught 19 fish for a total of 45 pounds.

Then the next stop for the 2006 tour was Lake Berriessa on Mar 4th. This one started off cold for the 26 float tubers that checked in at Capella Cove. This is where we catch smallies mixed with Spots and Largies. This has always been one of my favorite stops on the tour. Unlike Yorty Creek, we caught a lot of fish at this lake with 10 limits and just about every one else weighing in a few keepers. This time it was Mr Chevy Matt Cahills turn to bring in the largest limit of fish. Matts limit was 10.77 and he had the second biggest fish of the day at 2.83. It was Dan Chester that came in with the biggest bass of the day at 3.86. The weather cleared up here as the day went on and here was another tour stop under my belt.

The third stop on the tour was the famed California Delta, April 8th. This was our yearly team tournament. We had 12 teams of float tubers show up early at Beacon Harbor. I decided to beat the crowd and go fish an area all to myself. This was a bad idea as I was only able to catch dinks. When I came back for the weigh-in, I then realized that I should have stayed at Beacon Harbor as it seemed as if every one had nice fish. This day belonged to the team of Wendy Yeh and David Pham as they came in with a huge limit of bass that weighed 23.54 and big fish that day went to Mike Ayers with a 8.71 Bucket mouth. Mike went on to win the Bass-N-Tubes Delta region's AOY award. I guess we might start calling him Mr. Delta. Ahhh another tourney that went smooth.

Then the fourth stop took us to one of the best bass factories in the nation, Clear Lake, May 20th -21st. This tour stop mixed the two baddest float tube clubs together as this was the Bass-N-Tubes ( US Open Pro Kick boat tournament ) I always look forward to this event as it brings float tubers together from all over the state. The camping was at M-M under the tarps Friday evening as the rain came down. We had some great home made brownies from Theresa to help keep us warm on a cold night. The bite was tough for some and wide open for others as we fished a two day, two spot format. The Bass-N-Tube guys walked away with this tournament as they placed in six of the top ten spots. 56 of California's most hard core float tubers came out for this fish off and one walked away with the tittle of winner. Mr. Johnny Lake had the talent it took to win this show and beat out all the rest. Matt Cahill had a good paturn going Saturday and he went to sleep in first place, but on day two he was forced to fish a completely new area and wasn't able to catch the toads he had on day one. I'm already looking forward to next years Open.

Now its June 24th and its time to fish for my 11 pounder again at Highland Springs. This lake has always reminded me of the Lake that started this whole float tube club, Alsanjo. I thought I would keep it simple and pull out the round tube once again and leave the Bass Tech boat at home. I never missed my kick boat once while fishing this event. It was also a great feeling to see the gate wide open when I came around the bend in the road at 4:30 AM. From then on the day went great as the fish where biting for me and most of the 17 SCBBBC members that came out to try and catch my 11 pounder that is swimming in the depths of this little hidden honey hole in Lake County. When all the fins where weighed in it was Mr. Iwamoto on top again for the second time during the 2006 SCBBBC tour. It seems as if this guy can come out a show the fish who's the boss. If I remember Todd did it on very little sleep also.

The weather is scorching in the 100's and we're back at Clear lake for our first ever Sundown tournament, July 22nd. We had 25 tubers show up at County Park ready to rip some lips in the heat. We all heard and saw what the heat can do to a kick boat as a new member watched his pontoons pop one at a time in the heat. I made a huge mistake at this tournament as I paddled a long ways in the Bass Tech boat to get to my hot spot. I had a limit in 20 minutes and then the wind came up. The wind wasn't blowing in the direction I wanted it to blow so I was forced to leave my spot before having a chance to cull a single fish. For every stroke of the oars I would move 12" and the wind would blow me back 6". All along my limit of fish where being dragged in a follow me bag. The water temp on the surface was 90+ degree's. It seemed as if I was oaring for three hours straight just to get back near the area that I launched from. By then four of my five fish had passed in the heat. By the time I weighed in that night all my fish had passed and I realized then that I was done with long oar runs with follow me bags and no more tournaments in triple digit weather conditions. By the time it cooled off alittle the angler on top at the end of the heat wave was one of our young guns, Kevin Nunez. Kevin had one of the years largest limits at 24.47 and he had big fish of the event at 7.02. I was glad when this tournament was over and I was back in my air conditioned truck.

On the 7th tour stop we're back at Yorty Creek on Lake Sonoma, August 12th for our annual night team tournament. I have always struggled at this lake so I thought this evening I might be able to change the out come and catch some fish. We had 9 teams show up on this beautiful night and once again this lake kicked my bass as I wasn't able to produce one small keeper. When the last fish was weighed in it was the team of Dave Sternitzky and Phil Ragueneau that stood on the podium at midnight.At the 8th stop of the tour we're back in Lake County to find the fish in Blue Lakes, Sept 16th. I shared the upper clearer lake with big Dave and had a great day. I was lucky enough to catch the big fish of this tournament with a 6.88 bucket mouth. This fish eat a huge Fat Free Shad in bass paturn. We had 21 anglers make the drive to fish this awesome fishery. Once again the weather was great and most of the float tubers caught keeper bass to bring to the scale. This time it was the Cigar mans turn for a win. Mr Binh Phi was the guy to beat at this tournament, but no body could stop him as he had the biggest limit of fish with 13.82 This is a fun lake to bring a kid if you really want to get into some fish. Summer time here you will usually have the lower mud lake to yourself all day.

As we start to get close to the end of the season we're back at Clear Lake for the 20th SCBBBC State Classic, Oct 7th & 8th. This tournament will go into the record books as it was the first tournament that we had a special permit to transport live fish in our trucks. After nearly having the carpet pulled out from under us we landed on top with a permit we have been waiting for for the past 22 years. Now we're total legal with no more skeletons in the closet for the SCBBBC. We also set new standards for live-wells. We had 45 of California's best float tubers once again come out from their favorite fishing holes to duel it out against others who per fer a float tube over a glitter rocket. We even had the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation President come to help with the weigh-in and raffle Saturday, Andrew Syles came to check us out and was pleasantly surprised after seeing first hand what we're all about. The Department Of Fish and Game came and kept a close eye on us and after this event was completed they had nothing but great things to say about our organization and that they looked forward to working with us in the future. After we weighed in 314 fish it was Russ Stansbury who was the man with the biggest two day limits at 32.61. Runner up was Bass-N-Tubes Mitch Teaman with 32.26. Watch out for Mitch next year as I think he'll be looking for a win. Lets not forget My Mike Boggs. This guy came out of no where to take big fish each day with a 8.46 on day # 1 and a 6.99 on day # 2. Way to go Boggs, you da man. Thanks to all our great sponsors for making this a great tour event.

The last stop for the tour was close to home at Spring Lake, Nov 4th. This was our bi-annual charity event. We chose to raise food for the Redwood Empire food bank and to donate all the entry fees to help feed the communities hungry. We had 18 anglers come out to chase these green fish on waters that might have held a world record fish, maybe. The weather was perfect for a good day on the water. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to fish this event as I had dislocated my right shoulder while skateboarding with our dog two weeks before the event. I felt good enough to fish and fish I did. I put a plan together and it worked well for me. I was able to catch a limit and cull a fish. This was my first limit in my new out of the water live well. I didn't have enough to beat the likes of Mr. Dave Sternitsky, AKA The Spring Lake Dude. This is Daves lake, I even think he has his own parking spot there. LOL.

After a long year of angling one angler stood out above all the rest as he was the Sonoma County Belly Boat Bass Clubs Angler Of The Year. Mike Ayers stayed a step ahead of all the guys and gals that came out to fish our 2006 tour. There where no through-outs included for the first time this year. This guy came and played his ( A) game all year. He didn't care if it was raining cats and dogs or if it was 10000000 degree's out. Shallow or clear water didn't faze this California angler as he seemed to always catch fish. Mike did all this while weighing in all the fish at all the years events. He also rounded up our trophies for every tournament while posting all the events stats and pictures on our award winning web page. So may we all tip our hat to Mike Ayers for putting his name in the record books along with all the AOY's from the past. Mike also found time this year to fish with the Bass-N-Tubes Delta region. He didn't just do it for fun, he did it to win and win he did. Mike was also the Angler Of The Year on the Bass-N-Tubes Delta Region. I bet the Shasta and Central Region are glad he didn't fish those tournaments. Who knows what he would have done there? You are the Man Mike. Thanks for all you have done for our club.

The last event is finally hear, Nov 18th & 19th. The Tournament Of Champions ( TOC ) The ten best SCBBBC angler are invited to come to Lake County one last time to show off they're skills. This year we voted on Highland Springs on day # 1, and Clear Lakes Library park for day # 2. I wasn't able to qualify this year again. So I decided to make the trip and do my last President duties. So once again I'm pleasantly surprised to see the gate opened on time at Highland Springs. I blast all 10 anglers off at 5:30 AM and then I decided to go float tube Clear Lake. So I'm off in the round tube and just loving life. I caught a few nice Clear lake fish and then went back to the room and crashed for a few hours before going back to Highland Springs for the weigh-in. After day # 1 it was Mr Cigar, Binh Phi in first place with a 12.25 limit. After weighing all the fish in and playing Tournament Director we handed out keys to all ten angler so they could enjoy a night at the Konocti Casino's new hotel.We then treated every one and there families to the annual pizza dinner so they had plenty of energy to compete on day # 2.Day # 2 all anglers checked in at Library park and received their permits for transporting live game fish. History is once again being made for this club. After blasting all the anglers off I jumped into Russ Stansbury's 21' Ranger and went out into the fog to retrace Russ's winning paturn from the day before. Russ was still on cloud nine as he had just came in first place on Saturday during an Anglers Choice tournament. We slayed several toads throughout the day. We didn't want to stop fishing, but we had no choice. So we cruse back to Library park to weigh-in all the toads caught by the top ten float tubers in the state. Almost all the anglers came in with limits. There could only be one winner and this years 2006 TOC winner was non other then Deren Kozenko. Deren won with a 28.50 limit. Big fish of the tournament went to Mike Ayers with a 6.75 lunker. Thanks again goes out to Mr. Stansbury for letting the SCBBBC use his 21' Ranger as a release boat. This was also a first for our club. I wish I had taken a picture of Russ's boat as it pulled away from the dock with four anglers and there live-well sitting on the deck. Ahhhhh its over finallyAfter going all the way through for my first time as President and getting the permits and proof of insurance for all 11 events. Jumping through DFG and the Regional Parks Department hoops I'm ready for it all over again. I never knew what these Presidents went through over the years and now I look at the club with a different pair of eyes. If I'm lucky enough to be re-elected for the 2007 tour I promise to take it a notch up with even more surprises.

Next season we'll have the SCBBBC Winners Shoot-out. This will take all the winners from the 2007 tour including the SCBBBC 07' Angler Of The Year and the Bass-N-Tubes 07' Angler Of The Year and invite them to a no-entry fee tournament. This tournament will be held during the 2008 season. First place will be well worth it big time as I promise to take this sport to the next level. We will also have a Bucksbag incentive program for winners fishing in a Bucksbag float tube or kick boat throughout the 07' season.We will also put on a B.A.S.S. Casting Kids Contest at the Santa Rosa Sport and Boat show at the Fair Grounds. There will also be another four hour turkey shoot at Lake Sonoma before working with the Army Corps Of Engineers and helping with the Water Fair at the fish hatchery. This is when we put our boats on display and help educate the public on Catch & Release and selective harvesting and the sport of float tubing. Thats just a few of the new things to come in 2007.

Here are a few stats from the 2006 tour.TotalsTournament entries = 284 Anglers.Total # of fish weighed in = 1379 Fish.Total weight all year = 2899.79 LB'S.Largest tournament = B-N-T OPEN, 56 Anglers.Smallest tournament = 17 Anglers, Highland S.Most weight for a tournament = State Classic = 789.71 LB'S.Least weight for a tournament = Lake Sonoma, 45.81 LB'S.Most fish for a tournament = B-N-T Open, 457 Fish.Least fish for a tournament = Lake Sonoma, 19 Fish.Biggest fish all year = 8.71, Mike Ayers, Delta.Smallest big fish all year = 2.83, Matt Cahill, Berriessa.Thanks to all the SCBBBC Officers and members and to the B-N-T crew for a great year in the float tubing sport. See ya all next season. Until then, Happy Holidazzzze.

Rich Caro

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