Fishing California Bass with Rich Dobyns

Pro-staff Contributor: Michaela Anderson

Last week was spring break and while my friends were at the beach, I spent a day doing something much more interesting—fishing with Gary Dobyns’s son, Rich. We fished Clear Lake in California and had so much fun! It is relatively flat and is the largest natural freshwater lake in Cali.

Michaela and some of the bass she caught on Clear Lake.

Michaela and some of the bass she caught on Clear Lake.

The fish were transitioning—most had spawned out already and were in their rest period. But even though Rich told me that the fishing was slow, we still had a great time and caught some big bass! We focused our fishing on flats and around tall, thick grass. We used giant swimbaits, which I initially had reservations about because they were bigger than many fish I have caught in Minnesota lakes. We were throwing baits that were 8-inches long and Rich mentioned that he will throw 10- and 12- inch baits as well. One of the bait fish was at least two pounds! I had never seen bait that big, but Rich informed me that the bait fish, called Tulibi, were the main food source of Clear Lake bass and can get to be over five pounds. I thought this was just crazy until I saw a huge bass case a giant baitfish to the surface and proceeded to eat it. It was like watching the fish version of Jaws—definitely a sight to see!

We caught seven fish total—the smallest was five pounds and the biggest was almost seven! We also had a few huge fish follow the swimbaits to the boat but they just wouldn’t commit. We had two fish follow that Rich said were probably close to 10-pounders by how big they looked, but I would imagine they could have been even bigger.

Our time on Clear Lake gave me a much better idea about how and why huge baits work. It was such a cool experience and such a fun day on the lake with part of the Dobyns family. I am definitely planning to go back to Cali in search of a double-digit bass!!!!

Michaela Anderson is a college angler fishing the FLW, B.A.S.S. College Circuits and select FLW Walmart Tour events representing, Trigger X and the University of St. Thomas. You can follow her on Twitter (@MichaelaFishing) and like her on Facebook (


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