Gary Yamamoto Fourth in International Bass Classic in Italy
Story & Photos by Paolo Vannini

June 6-7, 2003

2003 International Bass Classic Mercury Cup - Bolsena Lake, Bolsena, Italy

Top international bass anglers from Italy, Spain, France, Japan and the USA convened on the small village of Bolsena, Italy for the 2003 International Bass Classic Mercury Cup competition last week.

Just one hour and a half from Rome's International airport, the small village of Bolsena is full of history and tradition. Eleven hundred year old castles and historical buildings still stand there. With rolling green hills full of vineyards and olive trees, it is a perfect Italian and romantic countryside setting.

Nearby Bolsena Lake is a clear natural lake formed by a volcano thousands of years ago. There isn't much visible structure since Bolsena Lake is a volcanic crater, but dense weeds pads and aquatic vegetation rim the shore, plus rock piles and drop-offs.

"Bolsena Lake, being a volcano crater, was an interesting place to fish. There really wasn't a lot of structure. I know I would have enjoyed more than one practice day to be able to investigate the subtle contours and drop-offs," says Gary Yamamoto.

The weather conditions were wonderful, in fact too much sun for Bolsena Lake's really good fishing to shine. To avoid the high temperatures, the winning team fished for bass that were 20 feet down on a big flat, using 5 inch Senkos, 4 inch Cut Tails and other finesse plastics. Their technique was to splitshot over the spots with slow retrieves in order to get the bites from Bolsena's overheated largemouth bass.

Gary Yamamoto and his team partner finished fourth. "My partner knew the lake and we went to some grassbeds he knew that held fish during the one practice day on June 4. But by the start of the tournament on June 6, the grassbeds didn't work for us. We bounced around and filled a limit of small bass," says Gary Yamamoto.

"We came across some docked boats and I could see some bass in the shade underneath guarding fry," reveals Gary. "That's where I landed our two biggest bass of the day, throwing 4-inch smoke Senkos (color #150) weightless with a dropshot hook on 6 lb line. I just put it next to the boats and let a bass pick it up. With those two fish, we ended a little over ten pounds for day one."

"The second day got even tougher due to the heat," adds Gary.  "We had to run around to a lot of spots to catch only three fish for day two. One on a dropshot rig, and two on weightless 9S Senkos."

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