The typical shallow baits worked for the Harris Chain’s spawning bass during stop No. 2 of the FLW Tour event, which was presented by Lowrance. The offshore grass bite required a different approach, however. For that, pros relied on five primary tools: ChatterBaits, Speed Worms, Senkos, jerkbaits and lipless crankbaits. Here are the details.
The Ontario pro started the tournament in Lake Griffin with a prop bait, vibrating jig and Zoom UV Speed Worm, but that pattern didn’t last long. The champ caught most of his keepers on a jerkbait and a gold lipless crankbait in Lake Harris just a couple minutes from takeoff. Those fish were keying on spawning shad. When that bite died, Johnston switched to schooling fish in a shallower hydrilla bed, and fished the vibrating jig with a Jackall Rhythm Wave 4.8 swimbait trailer.
Other than a lone keeper that he caught on a prop bait the last day, John Hunter spent his tournament fishing offshore hydrilla in Little Harris with a 6th Sense Provoke jerkbait in a solid shad pattern during low-light conditions and a translucent Megabass Vision 110 in the afternoons when the sun got high. He also fished a Z-Man/Evergreen Jack Hammer ChatterBait in shallower grass.
Flipping a Copperfield-colored Gambler Ugly Otter on a 1/2-ounce Texas rig in Lake Apopka earned a top-10 finish for Glenn Browne, who caught spawning fish that he couldn’t see well enough to sight-fish.
The Georgia pro spent the tournament in Harris fishing offshore grass. His go-to baits were a Profound Outdoors Azuma Shaker Z Mime lipless crankbait (chrome), a Texas-rigged Zoom Magnum Trick Worm (junebug) and a Z-Man ChatterBait (white). Whenever he found a patch of grass to flip, Gross used a Zoom Z Craw.
Kurt Dove relied on an ima Flit 120 jerkbait in chartreuse shad at his shallower offshore grass areas in Harris. In deeper water he used a Yamamoto Senko (black blue fleck). Dove added Hayabusa TBL930 treble hooks to the jerkbait and used a Hayabusa WRM959 wide-gap hook with the Senko.
One of only two pros to fish in Lake Denham, Jared McMillan used the Z-Man/Evergreen Jack Hammer ChatterBait in green pumpkin with a Bruiser Baits Super Swimmer trailer to fish through pads and other shallow grass. When he felt that the fish had grown lethargic, he swapped the Super Swimmer for a Yamamoto Zako. He sight-fished with a Bruiser Baits Crazy Craw and Big Stick.
Former Forrest Wood Cup champ Anthony Gagliardi fished offshore grass right next to Dove using a Carolina-rigged Black Flagg Grande Worm. In the shallows for spawners and staging fish he used a Buckeye Lures J-Will Swim Jig, but switched to a white-colored Black Flagg Slikk Shadd on a drop-shot for sight-fishing. A wacky worm produced a few bites on the final day.