MONEY COULD NEVER spoil the love of fishing for Chris Franks. While the Marin native has drawn a partial living from deckhanding on local party boats for a decade and has seen so many stripers, halibut, salmon, lingcod and sharks that virtually nothing on the big salty blue even raises an eyebrow anymore, the 23-year-old still gets an uncanny kick out of black bass. He fishes fervently for them on his days off at Clear Lake, Berryessa and the Delta, where catching largemouths and smallmouths, admiring them a moment, and releasing them to live another day is a pastime as fine as they get.
But in the past three years his eyes have become locked on a prize beyond the fish – glory – as Franks, a Drake High grad who lives in Forest Knolls, matures into a skilled and ambitious tournament angler. In bass fishing competitions – familiar, perhaps, to boob-tubers browsing the late-night sports channels – anglers fish solo or in pairs, seated on lofty stools in specialized low-lying skiffs, and scores are tallied through the combined weight of the five largest fish landed and released in a day’s fishing. In October, Franks will competing in a 200-angler competition at Lake Oroville for a $40,000 bass fishing boat, and – if he can rustle up the $4,000 entree fee – he may be fishing for a $125,000 cash prize in the Forrest L. Wood Series tournament this September in the Delta.
Under such big-bucks circumstances, Franks says you’re fishing for one thing: to win.
“Still, competing only makes fishing more fun,” Franks said. “Bass fishing is about learning, getting better at reading the water, and getting in touch with the fish.” READ MORE >