Story by Russ “Bassdozer” Comeau
Hunting, Home Improvement and Sponsors keep PAA Pro busy
Luke Clausen grew up in Spokane, Washington. Once tournament season’s over, he always finds it’s good to get back there in the fall, to be with friends and family and live a little bit more of a normal lifestyle in that he’s not traveling all the time.
When he’s home, he enjoys doing everything away from fishing itself. The 2004 FLW Forrest Wood Cup champ and 2006 Bassmaster Classic champ says, “I get away from the actual on-the-water fishing and spend a lot more time hunting and doing other things I love, such as taking care of my homes. I have a lake house in upstate Idaho that I’m refinishing and refurbishing and I am working on remodeling my primary residence in Spokane too.”
He also spends a considerable amount of time working with his sponsors, promotional stuff, a day or two a week during the off-season just because that’s when he has the most free-time to catch up on creating more value for his sponsors.
A Passion for Hunting and the Outdoors
The outdoors is just an amazing resource in Washington State. There are so many big wide open spaces, and the hunting opportunities seem limitless there.
Clausen hunts all fall and into early January, right up until the time he’ll need to trek back east to start tournament fishing again.
In Washington, Clausen bowhunts for deer and elk, and he does a lot of upland bird hunting for pheasant, quail and chukars plus waterfowl hunting for ducks and geese.
He’ll also make a couple of fun out-of-state hunting trips every fall. This year, he went to Illinois for 10 days to hunt for whitetails and hopes to make it down to Arkansas to go duck hunting with George Cochran and Larry Nixon next.
This is the first year in a few years that Luke hasn’t been antelope hunting back in the Dakotas. That’s usually something he’ll do with his Dad.
Clausen also enjoys making pack-in trips for elk in the high country in Idaho early in the fall before there’s snow there yet.
Indeed they do get a lot of snow every winter where Luke lives in eastern Washington, and hunting in the snow is something he grew up doing. “That’s always a neat thing, enjoyable to me. The serenity of being outdoors when everything is just white and covered in snow is pretty impressive,” he says.
Clausen enjoys cooking and eating most of the game he bags, sharing the bounty with family and friends. When he has extra, he donates some meat to the homeless shelters.
He says he can cook well, either on the grill or in the oven. With his vast experience at preparing a variety of game dishes, he usually improvises recipes as he goes along. He doesn’t have any profound recipes written down that he can share with readers.
The Satisfaction of Home Improvement Projects
Just like any good thing, you can do it too much, so Luke tries to break up his passion for hunting with home improvement projects and vice versa. Between his north Idaho lake home and main home, he always has some sort of home improvement project he’s working on that will take several days or longer, and that helps to break up his off-season schedule.
Luke laughingly admits that when it comes to home improvement, “I can’t do everything. Although I try to do as much as I can, there are definitely some things I can’t do. Sometimes I’m in over my head.”
Still, he enjoys the challenges of do-it-yourself learning experiences. “I look on the Internet when I need to try to figure out how to do some stuff…yet some of it proves just a little too complex for me and I’ll have to bring in an expert who has experience,” he laughs.
Off-season’s also an ideal time for Clausen to do as much as he can on the business side of fishing in terms of negotiating sponsor contracts for next season and doing promotions.
Fall and winter are the outdoor show season, and there’s TV footage to be shot, videos to be made, press stories, in-store appearances and much PR to do.
On average, sponsor contracts and promotions may require a couple days per week of Clausen’s time (including travel time) during the off-season.
Researching New Products and Techniques
There are a lot of innovations that come out every year, and Luke actually does quite a bit of research into new gear during the off-season.
As far as researching tournament lakes and that kind of stuff, Clausen doesn’t; but for any kind of new techniques or products, he tries to keep himself abreast of what’s emerging because he says, “It seems like the latest cutting edge types of innovations will usually pay off at some point throughout the year.”
He’ll talk by phone to several other pro anglers about new baits once or twice a week, and bounce ideas back and forth. Then he’ll spend an hour each evening looking on the Internet for new product news, looking for stories here and there on innovative techniques and seeing new baits. A lot of it, he may hear about from other people, and he’ll start to research it from there. Some of it is just Clausen’s own independent ideas he comes up with. He says, “I may start wondering if there’s a better frog out there, and I’ll just start searching Japanese sites for uniquely different frogs for instance.”
A Fresh Outlook on the New Year
Luke Clausen says, “If I had to keep bass fishing all fall and winter, concentrating on how I’m going to catch fish year-round, to me it’s almost like a sensory overload. The other projects that I work on away from fishing, the hunting and being outdoors with Mother Nature all fall and winter, it’s kind of like a cleansing of the soul that reinvigorates me. It lets me come back to tournament fishing with a fresh outlook for the upcoming season.”