Takahiro Omori claimed the Elimination Round 1 win of the 2020 Summit Cup. Photo by Garrick Dixon

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. – The 2020 Wiley X Summit Cup Presented by B&W Trailer Hitches, the final Cup event of the season, was held on Lake of the Ozarks in the fall. The first group of 10 anglers battled it out in post-frontal conditions under high winds but came away with some impressive fish catches for the conditions.

Tak Races Out to First

Like several anglers in the field, Takahiro Omori had a great deal of experience on Lake of the Ozarks, but he said it had been quite some time since he’d been there and never to the zone the field was given to fish for the day.

“It was like a new lake and because of the time of the year, I tried to figure out where the shad would be. I started about halfway back into the creek and fished everything I thought shad would be relating to,” Omori said. “I went into pockets and out on the points, but the best places were all shallow, less than five-feet deep.”

He utilized a homemade white swim jig with a matching Strike King Race Menace Grub as a trailer as well as a white Evergreen Z-Man Jack Hammer ChatterBait with a Z-Man RaZor ShadZ trailer. He also utilized a Lucky Craft 1.5 Squarebill in various shad patterns.

While Omori fished everything in front of him, he started to dial in the pattern of targeting shallow cover such as laydowns, stumps and docks.

He fished his squarebill crankbait on his signature series 7′ medium-heavy Daiwa Tatula Elite crankbait rod paired with a 9.1:1 Daiwa Zillion reel spooled with 16-pound Sunline FC Sniper fluorocarbon line. This was the same setup that he used for the vibrating jig.

For the swim jig, he utilized his other signature series rod, a 7’3″ heavy Daiwa Tatula Elite rod paired with the same reel and 20-pound FC Sniper.

Omori says he prefers the fastest reel he can find, as he believes it makes him more efficient. “It’s great for covering water and moving quickly, and you can pick up line quickly if you need to make another cast,” he shared.

One final adjustment Omori made was swapping out the stock hooks on his crankbait for Gamakatsu Round Bend trebles. “Gamakatsu has a better hook point and you don’t lose as many fish. Even on the homemade swim jigs, I make sure they’re made with Gamakatsu hooks,” added Omori.

Meyer Figures it Out

California pro Cody Meyer had never been to Lake of the Ozarks and began the day targeting bluff walls with a spinnerbait. He immediately connected on a pair of scorable bass, but then his pattern fizzled.

“I caught a couple of fish right away and then struggled,” Meyer recalled and added that he began his search further back into the creeks and in small pockets.

“There were a few pockets with water coming in and the shad were everywhere in super shallow water. They were in less than a foot of water,” Meyer said.

Meyer figured out that if he quickly reeled his lure through the shad, he could trigger a bite and he did it with a handmade crankbait and a Strike King 1.5 Squarebill in natural shad colors.

“You had to burn the bait right through the balls of shad to get bit,” he added. He ended the day with 14 bass for 20 pounds, 12 ounces, with the bulk of them coming in Period 3.

He fished the two crankbaits on 20-pound fluorocarbon spooled on a 7.1:1 Daiwa Steez A reel. Round winner Takahiro Omori fittingly designed his rod of choice, a 7-foot medium-heavy Daiwa Tatula Elite crankbait rod.