The Championship 10 at the Bass Pro Tour Raleigh Stage Three share the baits that got them to the final round. Photo by Garrick Dixon
By Dave Landahl - April 2, 2019
Think “classic springtime bass fishing techniques” and you’d be spot-on when it comes to what the Top 10 pros threw to make it to the Championship Round during Stage Three of the Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour held in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Flipping and pitching, bladed jigs, soft plastics, spinnerbaits and crankbaits ruled the day. And at least one frog came out to play, too.
1. Jacob Powroznik
As detailed in our piece on wacky-worm fishing in the spring, Powroznik relied on a 5-inch green pumpkin V&M Baits Chopstick, which he dipped the tails in chartreuse dye. He wacky-rigged it with an O-ring on a Mustad No. 1 hook, flipping and casting it into small indentations in the grasslines at the mouths of pockets on Shearon Harris Reservoir.
Powroznik flipped a V&M J-Bug around Falls and Jordan lakes in the first three rounds, and also caught one of his two 8-pounders during the Knockout Round on a Livingston Shredder.
2. Jacob Wheeler
On Jordan Lake, Wheeler whacked them using a prototype Googan Baits vibrating jig in black and blue with a green pumpkin Lake Fork Magic Shad trailer. The water was up around 3 feet and the key was to fish the vibrating jig around hardwoods inside pockets.
The focus on Falls Lake was a pond where bass
Wheeler fished Shearon Harris during a warming trend, so he rigged six topwater rods and finally dialed in during the second period with a black popping frog fished on 50-pound Suffix 832 braid. The key for finding bass was not to fish the obvious spawning areas, but to fish the small turns on the main creek. These spots were overlooked by many locals and fish were not pressured.
3. Takahiro Omori
Tak used “nothing special,” (his words, not ours!) flipping a Sweet Beaver on ⅜-to ½-ounce black-and-blue colored jigs. He mixed in a T/O spinnerbait in white and chartreuse with double Colorado blades, a vibrating jig and a Lucky Craft 1.5 crankbait fished along a variety of cover like buck brush, willows, rip rap and points with rock (all fished on Daiwa rods and reels).
4. Edwin Evers
Evers’ go-to was a 4-inch black black/blue Berkley Pit Boss rigged on a 4/0 Berkley flipping hook. Evers slid a ⅜-ounce weight and 25-pound Bass Pro Shops XP fluorocarbon line. A few of his fish were also caught using a ½-ounce jig with a Meaty Chunk, all black and blue.
His flipping/pitching rig was a Bass Pro Shops 7-foot, 6-inch Platinum Flipping Rod and a 8.3:1 Platinum Reel.
5. Mark Daniels, Jr.
On Jordan Lake and Falls Lake, Daniels caught all of his fish on a green pumpkin Zman Turbo Crawz. On Shearon Harris Reservoir, everything came on bruised green pumpkin or green pumpkin colored Zman Jackhammer Chatterbaits with a Razor Shadz trailer in Hot Snakes or green pumpkin.
6. Ott DeFoe
DeFoe had three different approaches
7. Jeff Sprague
Sprague kept it simple for pitching and flipping, using a black-and-blue Gene Larew Hammer Craw, Texas-rigged with a ½-ounce Flat Out Tungsten weight. The other option he used with success was a 3/8-ounce white Strike King Thunder Cricket.
8. Alton Jones
Jones said that “precise presentation” was the key to success for him. He skipped a YUM Bad Mamma in green pumpkin with a ⅛-ounce weight into the heart of buck brush.
9. Jared Lintner
Lintner caught fish using a power-shot rig and a 6-inch Fat Martens Madness Roboworm tied to 14-pound Sunline Shooter, which was pitched in and around lay downs in pockets of the main river in 2 to 10 feet of water. He also threw a Jackall crankbait in custom shad or red craw, mostly on broken rock points and banks in 4 to 8 feet of water.
10. Russ Lane
Lane flipped a green pumpkin Big Bite Fighting Frog into bushes on Jordan Lake. He dyed the tips of the frog orange. He also pegged a ½-ounce Hawg Tech Flipping Weight on 25-pound Sunline Shooter fluorocarbon, tied to a 4/0 Heavy Duty straight-shank Gamakatsu hook.
On Falls Lake, he had two patterns. In the morning, he’d catch bass on secondary points with
On Shearon Harris, the Fighting Frog was his primary weapon flipped along reeds in one creek protected from the north wind.