JEFFERSON COUNTY, Tenn. – Alabama pro Keith Poche took a risk at the start of the Bass Pro Tour season. He downsized his on-the-water office and took an 18-foot Gator Trax aluminum boat on tour. He knew there were a handful of events on the 2023 schedule where he could benefit from running a smaller boat. The U.S. Air Force Stage Two Presented by Power-Pole was one of them.
After making the cut on Douglas Lake at Stage Two, Poche admits that he didn’t have high expectations for Cherokee Lake, the playing field for the Knockout and Championship Rounds. He was simply happy to qualify for the Knockout Round. But once he maneuvered his tin rig 1 hour, 15 minutes up the Holston River from tournament takeoff, he found untouched fish in the heavy tailrace current of a spillway below a Tennessee Valley Authority power plant. Better yet, his competitors wouldn’t be able to access that spot in their larger boats.
Listen to Poche explain how he caught both smallmouth and largemouth on Cherokee Lake, and check out the gear that he used to take home his first tour-level trophy: