BassWestUSA - January/February, 2011, Page 16

FROM JOE TO PRO

“Every angler has a story… Herein lies the tale of one angler’s evolution from average fi shing “Joe” to Superstar Angling “Pro”

By Paul Strege

career earnings quickly approach- ing two-million dol- lars and two world championships under his belt, Luke Clausen has established himself as one of bass shing’s most un- appable big-game performers. As a one-time aspiring Crappiethon U.S.A. angler, however, it was not always so. Many of Luke’s earliest shing memo- ries were formed as a kindergartner at- tending a small elementary school just outside of Spokane, Washington. There, he and his father escaped onto the waters of Newman Lake before or after class. While Luke’s father preferred shing for bass, he commonly pursued the more abundant crappie population to sustain Luke’s fasci- nation in the sport. Luke recalls, “I thought Crappie sh- ing was the greatest thing ever. It really got me hooked on shing. I enjoyed it so much that I used to dream of competing in Crap- piethon tournaments across the country.” Tournament shing opportunities in the Paci c Northwest, however, were scarce – not only for crappie, but also for just about any other species found in the area. Eventually Luke and his father learned about and later joined a local bass club. Through contacts made within the or- ganization, they started shing a few open tournaments in addition to club events. Luke immediately thrived in competition.

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Photo by Jim Blakely • JTBPhotography.com

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January/February 2011

Luke