Lassagne’s Victory With The Okuma Helios Rod And Reel At The California B.A.S.S State Qualifier

lassagne _Okuma



Mark Lassagne qualifies for B.A.S.S. Federation State Team at the California Delta.

A one-two punch claims tidal water trophy.

The decision to stick with two techniques and two areas paid off for the Yamamoto pro, as the event’s anglers found the tidal water system fishing small and tough.

Lassagne’s one-two punch included two Yamamoto presentations – a Senko in depths from 10 to 30 ft and a Flappin’ Hog for shallow punch fish.

The strategy earned Lassagne 12.8 lbs on day one, rocketing him 4 lbs above his nearest competitor. The final day he came to the scales with a limit of 11 lbs, widening his gap by nearly 5 lbs and claiming victory with a tournament total of 24.9lbs.

“It’s not often when you can win a California Delta event with 25 lbs for two days, said Lassagne. “I did it in a limited area, grinding out a limit each day.”

Lassagne tempted the deeper bass with a wacky-rigged, 5 inch, watermelon red Senko, using a Gamakatsu wide gap finesse weedless hook and a River2Sea 1/16 oz nail weight. He fished the plastic on an Okuma Helios medium-action spinning rod, paired with a Helios HX-25 spinning reel spooled with 8 lb fluorocarbon.

The punch rig consisted of a green pumpkin/red Flappin’ Hog on a Gamakatsu Super Heavy Duty 3/0 hook with a bobber stopper and a River2Sea 1 oz Trash Bomb. His punch gear was the Okuma 7.11 Heavy Matt Daddy rod, coupled with a Helios 8.1:1 reel, spooled with 65 lb braid.

Lassagne found himself in cooling temps, gin clear water and flat-calm conditions. This prompted him to head over to an out-of-the-way marina.

Although his strength is flippin’ and punchin’, Lassagne was metering fish in 20 ft on his Garmin 1040 XS and knew he had to go with a deep-water finesse presentation.

Targeting the banks was a popular choice for other contenders; but Lassagne stuck to the deeper water, fishing open slips and backs of boats.

“I was tossing the rig up, letting it sink on a slack line and then waiting for it to start swimming away,” he recalled. “Even though the bite was tough, having the right equipment played a huge role in my success. It started with my rod. The Helios is so light and sensitive, it played a big part in me being able to detect the bite.”

At 11 a.m., Lassagne had a small limit and his co-angler had two keepers, when he decided to go punching to improve his weight. With a short amount of time and a small bite window, he ran about 25 miles to a dead-end slough, fishing slow until the tide started to turn.

“The shallow fish didn’t start to bite until the tide was coming in,” he shared.

Around 12:30 p.m. he got his first shallow punch fish – a 3 ½ pounder. During the next hour, he boated another 3 lb’r. The clocked ticked down, showing only 10 minutes of fish time remaining, when he landed two more largemouth – a 2 ½ and a 3.

Day Two

Day Two

The night brought in a big northern storm with heavy rain that gave way to sunshine and windy conditions.

With a good high tide, Lassagne decided to forgo the marina bass and head straight to the shallow punch fish.

“I figured it would take a few bigger fish to seal the win,” he stated.

Making a short run from the ramp, Lassagne landed a quick 2 lb’r and gained the confidence to swing for the shallow punch bite. “My next two stops failed to produce any fish; but it didn’t deter me, I know that’s the way it is when you’re fishing for better quality fish,” he said.

The next stop put Lassagne along an inside bend used for fall to winter transition. It was a productive area, landing Lassagne four bass.

As it hit the mid-day mark, Lassagne felt he had a lock on the win with 11 lbs in the well. His co had not fared as nicely and no keepers in the boat. Lassagne returned to the marina, allowing the co three hours to fish for a limit.

Within the hour, his co was culling and ended the two-day event in 2nd place on the non-boater side.

Cody Wakefield Lands 420-Pound Blue Marlin- Solo

Check out this fantastic story from Cody Wakefield. What an awesome email to receive at our Ontario, California headquarters.

I started out in the early morning of October 1st 2015. Headed out of Oceanside Harbor solo in my 20’ Skipjack around 7:00am with only three rods on the boat. Got the killer bait: sardine, anchovies and mini-mack mix. All 4-6 inches, the prime bait for the smaller tuna/dorado that we have been catching at the time.

Thankfully, a radio call was answered or Cody Wakefield might still be somewhere off the coast of California.

Thankfully, a radio call was answered or Cody Wakefield might still be somewhere off the coast of California.

My mind was set on a wahoo. Landed a nice 70#-80# fish two days prior, so i set out with my mind on a wahoo…

Cruised for 25 to 30 miles or about three hours for nothing. Then finally, I ran into two nice kelps about 50-yards apart from each other, so i pulled right in the middle of the two and tossed a few live baits in the water and instantly watched fish boiling on my bait.

Tossed one on a hook and landed a nice 12-15lb dorado, On the second bait that hit the water I landed a 8lb yellowfin tuna. The 3rd bait, another yellowfin tuna- 4th bait yellowfin tuna- 5th, 6th, 7th, every bait that hit the water was inhaled within seconds of hitting the water. Had the tuna wide open in the corner….
Started having fun throwing bait in the corner watching them do what they do and act like piranhas. At this time two big 10 or 12 foot hammerheads are chasing tuna, doing circles around my boat. I’m still chumming the tuna, watching this show in front of my eyes unfold and just enjoying every minute of it. In the meantime I’m rigging up a shark leader, hoping a wahoo is gonna swim through here next and I might just try and bait a wahoo….. DREAMING BIG!
So I get done Rigging a 9/0 hook on a 175# steal shark leader. Tied the shark liter onto a clip swivel to straight 125-pound Spectra with only about 250-yards of line. Tied that onto the heaviest rod I had on the boat, a 5’5” Sabre Stroker Lite, 20-50lb weight with my Okuma Titus TG-15 two-speed.

At that point the two hammer dogs were gone so I proceed to keep chumming the fish in the corner and get them all stirred up and they were still there. I pinned on a bait to catch another tuna to hopefully pin onto my shark rig and hopefully a wahoo would swim by and eat it.. still dreaming big.

My bait is in the water about 10 seconds and not bit. Within the blink of an eye the craziest thing happens. The tuna ball up under the boat and act like a frightened bait ball and swim really fast all bunched up in different directions. Here comes swimming through a massive blue marlin all lit up and colorful under my boat chasing tuna. I wind in my bait the marlin gives it a look as he is now chasing my chum and hanging out around my boat giving me a full show of his magnificent colors. I honestly did not want anything to do with this giant creature, but then again I am a fisherman at heart and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity in front of my eyes….
I pinned on a fresh yellowfin tuna from my fish box that was still freshly colored. I was not gaffing the fish so there wasn’t much blood or a wound on them. I then dropped the tuna straight back under the boat and watched it flutter down with a beautiful shine.  It didn’t get 30 feet under the boat when i see the Blue come cruising through with his mouth wide-open and the tuna disappeared into his belly. I let him eat it for 10-15 seconds and put the reel in gear and set the hook with all i got and it was GAME ON!!!!!

Fish finder lit up with some major fish.

Fish finder lit up with some major fish.

First thoughts that went through my head were “OH SHEEP, HERE WE GO,” I’m in for a long battle. I fought this fish and drove down on him for the next 30-minutes while we fought each other for our lives. At this point It was to hard to drive down and reel on him at the same time. I figured that I had heavy line and a big hook so I pinned the drag down on that Okuma as tight as she would go and let him tow me around.

Titus Gold two-speed getting run out of line by the big blue.

Titus Gold two-speed getting run out of line by the big blue.

It was a battle of a lifetime. I had this fish hooked in the belly and injured him pretty good within the first hour of the battle. He was about 50 feet under the boat doing giant death circles which was a little scary going from one side of the boat to the other. I didn’t have any idea how i was gonna get the fish on the boat so I eased up on the fish and got on the radio on Channel 72 where all the local skiff guys talk. Got Some help from another guy, Kevin Stewart, and about 30-minutes later he boarded my boat.

It's bittersweet when a billfish dies, but the young man won this sea battle.

It’s bittersweet when a billfish dies, but the young man won this sea battle.

I fought the marlin another hour or so and finally reeled him to the surface where he floated upside down and we stuck two gaffs in him, tail wrapped him and tried to get him on the boat but we couldn’t. Kevin Mattson and one of his buddies jumped on my boat and helped us get the fish on.

Adrenaline was through the roof at that point. I literally laid on that fish kissing and hugging thanking it for giving its life… But the fisherman won this battle. 

Blue Marlin

Cody Wakefield weighs his 420-pound blue marlin that died during the fight.