WB: Does that mean you are not just throwing swimbaits all the time?
Niapas: I throw whatever the fish will bite. I throw jigs a lot, and more recently, I kind of like the Float N Fly. I like to try new techniques, and I like that lately. I’ve been using the new St. Croix Float N Fly road and tying my own flies.
WB: Any mods on that Hawg Hunter? Niapas: I add a treble hook to the back.
WB: Give us the deets on your swimbait setup.
Niapas: I use the St. Croix 7’11” Mid-Swimbait Tournament Legend Rod with a 6.4:1 reel and 25-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon. That’s the St. Croix pistol grip rod called the Grasp. I like it because it puts less stress on your wrist throughout the day, and it’s a super-light rod.
WB: How many teeners have you caught, and what’s your PB?
Niapas: I’m not sure. I’ve probably caught 20 over 13-pounds. My personal best was 17-pounds, 14-ounces. It was out of Melones, and it was during the spawn.
WB: What’s the deepest and shallowest you’ve caught a double-digit from?
Niapas: The deepest was probably 45-feet at Don Pedro. The shallowest is probably 1.5- or 2-feet,
WB: Is a double-digit still exciting for you?
Niapas: Yes, it is if I am in a tournament because then it’s out of the blue. I’m not expecting it.
WB: How about that last 14-8 pounder? Did that one get your heart racing?
Niapas: Yes, because it’s been a while since I’ve caught one that big.
WB: What’s better, tournament win or 15-pounder? Niapas: Winning a tournament.
WB: What makes tournament fishing better?
Niapas: I just like the competition and camaraderie of tournaments.
WB: What does the future hold for you? Fame or fortune?
Niapas: I like fishing here, regionally on the West Coast. I just like catching the big ones.
In addition to the big bass in Niapas’ future, he has plans to partner with Clara Ricabal to launch a guide service for the Motherlode lakes and Clear Lake. Also, a competitive tournament angler, Ricabal was featured while kayak bassin’ on the cover of a previous WesternBass. com Mag issue. The pair’s guide service is to be found under the name Catch It California. •https://storage.westernbass.com/mag_wb/wb_mag_summer_2020/page1/index.html