Vista del Lago Fisherman Makes the Top 50 in the Nation

Daniel Baldini, Sports Copy Editor


Three-and-a-half years ago, senior Luke Johns started the Vista del Lago Bass Fishing Club. Throughout those three years, he’s won the California High School State Championship as a freshman, he was Amateur Angler of the Year for all ages during the 2015 California Tournament Trail (CTT) Pro-Am Bass Tournament Season, he was recently named to the top 50 High School Tournament Anglers in the Country, and he was named to the All State team this year. As if that wasn’t enough, in about a month he finds out if he is one of the 12 out of 69 All State anglers selected to the All American team.

If selected to the All American team, Johns will get a chance to prove he is best in the nation by winning the All American tournament in Lufkin, Texas, on the  Sam Rayburn Reservoir.

Obviously, Johns is busier than most seniors.

His start in fishing was at just 4-years-old. He first learned how to fish for trout with his Grandpa. Since then, Johns has evolved into one of the smartest, most successful high school bass fisherman in the nation. His dedication has already paid off with a large list of accomplishments.

Starting next year, Johns plans to fish at the professional level. “I want to fish at the professional level for two years, then go to a four-year [university],” Johns said. He hopes to work his way to the Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) tour and win the Forrest Wood Cup, the FLW’s championship tournament.

That being said, his ambitions don’t stop there. Johns wants to continue his goal all the way to the Bassmaster Classic. “I want to fish on the Elite Series, and obviously win the classic,” he said. His hard work and experience will give him a great chance at achieving this goal.

Spending a day on the boat with Johns shows his true potential in the sport, and on a trip to the California Delta, he displayed his experience.

Johns rose early at 4:30 in the morning, prepared his boat and left for the California Delta. He launched his boat at about 6:50, and it took him about a half hour to get to his first spot on the Delta (which stretches over 100 miles of the Sacramento valley and bay area).

This spot was a bank of tules and grass with access to deep water next to the shallow areas.

He started here throwing some of his favorite top water lures, switching back and forth between a top water frog lure and a unique lure called a Whopper Plopper.

Of course, fishing takes patience. After about an hour of nothing, Johns decided that his best bet was to move to another spot. Taking about another half hour to move, Johns arrived at about 9:00.

This area was much different from his first spot. It was a large cove of empty docs that were in the middle of construction. The bank next to the docs had rocks and underwater grass. Already having tried top water in the morning, he knew to try something a little different.

He started fishing here with a bladed jig that vibrates as you pull it through the water. Moving fast, and casting expertly, he threw his bait into the corners of each doc. The placement of each cast was a noticeable example of his experience and skill. The fishing was a grind however, as he only got one bite doing this.

Johns knew what to do next. Staying in this area, he moved to the mouth of the cove and pulled out a crankbait. This bait is great for fishing in rocks, as it bounces off of them underwater.

He used the crankbait, and at 10:10 Johns hooked into his first fish of the day. Easily fighting it, he pulled a hefty 6 pound bass into the boat. He knew this was how he needed to fish. He kept this pattern up and was able to land another big one, about 5 pounds, and catch a few more decent fish


At noon the day got a little hotter, and this pattern slowed down. He decided to call it a day at about 1:00.

The most impressive part of the day was Johns’s ability to push through a tough day of fishing. The Delta wasn’t in it’s most productive season, but he has a rare ability to read the behavior of the fish, enabling him to have success in any situation.

Not only is he a talented fisherman, but he set a California trend four years ago when he started the club. Since then, the CTT series has changed their minimum age to 15, several other clubs have popped up over the years and more new ones are sure to be inspired by Johns.

He even organizes one of the most popular high school tournaments in the area, the Folsom Lake Open, which is the only Vista High School Fishing Club-run tournament. This year’s tournament had over 50 boats competing in it.

Johns’s passion for fishing could not come at a better time. With advances in technology, like total underwater imaging and advance trolling motors which guide the boat automatically, he is jumping into the sport while it’s popularity and potential for performance is on the rise.

Johns has not only developed the capacity for success for himself in the future, but he has opened the door for many other high school anglers to succeed through club fishing.

Look for high school bass fishing to become more popular in the coming years, and look for Johns’s legacy to continue at Vista.