By Steve Weisman
The fourth annual Yellow Bass Bonanza presented by Mason City Power Sports is scheduled for Sunday, February 14 on Clear Lake, and it promises to be bigger than ever. Clear Lake-area guides and organizers of the event, Kevan Paul and Chris Scholl have already reached the 250-team cutoff in 2016 just as they did in 2015. “Our first year went great with 195 anglers,” says Paul. “The next year we hit 236 teams and last year 250. Last year 5,429 yellow bass were brought to the scales, and this year’s slots filled faster than ever!”
The Yellow Bass Bonanza (YBB) has teamed up this year with Mason City Power Sports, and now in its fourth year, the event has grown to be one of the largest fishing tournaments in the Midwest. Paul and Scholl note that the YBB is truly an ice fishing tournament that gives everybody a chance to not only reel in a lot of fish, but to also “reel in” some really great prizes. “We have taken a regular ice fishing tournament and made it into a fun family event for all. The YBB draws both novice and skilled anglers from all over the Midwest.”
Based on 250 teams, Paul says they pay out 50 spots with payouts going to 1-25th along with random spots from 26th-250th. In addition, anglers compete for a Berkley big fish pot with a purse of cash and prizes that will go to the angler who catches the largest white bass. “We are also adding something new this year. We are going to give away a 2016 Polaris Sportsman 4-wheeler. One of the lucky teams will win this prize at the end of the weigh in.”
About the Bonanza
Cost to enter the YBB is $105 per team (on-line) with anglers allowed to weigh up to 50 yellow bass. Anglers can fish as individuals or can partner up with another angler, but they can still only weigh a combined limit of 50 yellow bass. Partners must fish within 50 feet of each other, while contestants can be no closer than within 20 feet of another team. To further encourage the most efficient weigh-in, Paul and Scholl are offering a special prize for the first limit brought to the scales.
Paul and Scholl have named the “Little Lake” and the basin of the main lake west of the thin ice signs as the legal fishing areas (The YBB reserves the right to limit the fishing area based on ice conditions). The Bonanza take-off and weigh-in area will be McIntosh Woods State Park on Clear Lake’s west end with a 9 a.m. shotgun start and the weigh-in taking place at 1 p.m. Modes of transportation include by walking, snowmobile or ATV. However, no vehicles (automobiles) will be allowed. Portable shelters may be used, but no permanent shacks. Open or flat trailers may be used.
Saturday evening Ice Bash
To kick off the Yellow Bass Bonanza, Saturday evening will feature the Ice Bash from 4-8 p.m. at the Surf Ballroom. The $105 entry fee provides each team member a ticket for the dinner catered by West River Meats. The entry fee also gives anglers a ticket for chances on a wide range of door prizes. The prizes range from Grizzly Coolers, to Vexilars and Clam fish houses along with dozens of other prizes. “It seems everyone walks away with something,” Paul notes. The evening will include the meal, a rules meeting, a yellow bass fishing seminar, product demos, multiple vendors and lots of door prizes.
Capping it off
“Chris and I really want to thank the over 30 sponsors for their great support and also all of the volunteers who will help make everything go smoothly.” As for a fishing report, Paul can only smile and say, “The fishing on Clear Lake was excellent all year, and the lake holds an incredible number of yellow bass. Our hope is to break last year’s number of fish brought to the scales!”
Rules and entry forms can be found at the YBB website: http://yellowbassbonanza.com or downloaded from the Kevan Pauls Guide Service website: www.paulsfishingguide.com. Both Paul and Scholl can be reached on their cell phones: Paul at (641) 529-2359 or Scholl at (641) 512-0165.