Young Anglers Win Big

Outdoor Life Online Editor

Luke Clausen of Spokane Valley, Wash., is bass fishing's newest-and youngest-champion. At age 27, Clausen claimed bass fishing's most sought-after title when he won the Bassmaster Classic in February. Fighting hellish rain and wind on Florida's Lake Tohopekaliga, Clausen turned in a steady performance that resulted in a record three-day total of 15 bass weighing 56 pounds 2 ounces.

"I really battled the wind. But I just told myself I had to keep going. You don't get many chances to win the Classic," he says. Clausen had competed in only two other Classics, with his best previous finish being 26th place.

The angler outdistanced his nearest competitor by more than 5 pounds. His first-day catch of 29 pounds 6 ounces was the heaviest ever weighed in during a Classic. And his winning total was the largest 15-fish limit ever taken in the championship tournament. In rewriting the records, Clausen was also only the seventh angler to lead the event from start to finish.

Teen Takes FLW Tourney
With a two-day total of seven bass weighing 19 pounds 12 ounces at the Stren Series Western Division event on Lake Havasu, John Billheimer Jr., 16, became the youngest pro ever to win a series event. "My goal is to make pro fishing a career," says Billheimer.

Beating his closest competitor by nearly 5 pounds and winning $50,000 in cash and prizes, the teenager is certainly well on his way.