Most people probably don’t equate Lake Chickamauga to spinning rods and finesse techniques, but both were prevalent during the FLW Tour event presented by Evinrude on Chick.
Plenty of pros threw swimbaits, jigs and crankbaits, but the common thread among most of the top 10 is the use of a stick bait (usually wacky- or Texas-rigged) to target bedding or postspawn fish still hanging in the shallows.
Here’s a look at what the top 10 pros used to catch their fish at Chickamauga.
1. When John Cox was trying to tempt bedding bass to bite, he did it with a wacky-rigged 6-inch Berkley PowerBait MaxScent The General in the baby bass color. He also caught some key fish on a white Dirty Jigs Swim Jig with a white Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Meaty Chunk trailer.
2. Buddy Gross relied on a handful of moving baits to land his best fish at Chickamauga. He employed Scottsboro Tackle 5-inch and 6-inch swimbaits as well as a Zoom Swimmer and a Lucky Craft SKT MR crankbait. He rigged the 5-inch Scottsboro on an Owner Flashy Swimmer (1/2 ounce) and the 6-inch on a Scottsboro 1-ounce head. He changed out the hooks on his crankbait to Owner treble hooks.
3. Ron Nelson relied heavily on a Yamamoto Senko to do his damage. He rigged it both wacky-style and Texas-rigged (with a 1/32-ounce weight in the wind) and used black and blue, black, and green pumpkin colors. He also used a Jewel Bait football jig with a Strike King Rage Tail Craw trailer and a 3/4-ounce XCalibur rattle bait (silver and black).
4. Matt Greenblatt only used two baits on his one spot all week: a 5-inch Yamamoto Senko and a 5-inch Zoom Speed Worm, both in watermelon red with the tails dipped in Spike-It worm dye. He rigged the Senko weightless and wacky-style on a VMC No. 2 hook with a weedguard. The Speed Worm was Texas-rigged with a 1/8-ounce weight.
5. David Dudley relied on two baits the first three days of the tournament: a wacky-rigged green pumpkin stick bait and a Texas-rigged Zoom Brush Hog (also green pumpkin) with a 1/4-ounce weight. On day four, he caught his entire bag on an OSP Blitz square-bill crankbait.
6. Ramie Colson Jr. flipped all four days with a Texas-rigged Zoom Z-Crawin the California 420 color. He used a pegged 1/4-ounce weight on that setup on 20-pound-test Sunline Super FC Sniperfluorocarbon. Colson culled out his entire bag on day three with a 1/2-ounce Accentgizzard shad and chartreuse double-willow-blade spinnerbait with a Zoom Split Tail Trailer(pearl white).
7. Alex Davis relied on a homemade 3/4-ounce hair jig for some of his fish and some Scottsboro Tackle swimbaits and jigheads for the rest. He used a 5-inch line-through (internally weighted), another Scottsboro swimbait on a 1-ounce head and yet another on a 1-ounce Scottsboro scrounger head.
8. Jared McMillan caught 17 of the 20 fish he weighed in on a Strike King Rage Tail Craw (black and blue), Texas-rigged with a pegged 1/4-ounce weight. He had that rigged on a 7-foot, 2-inch, medium-heavy Lew’s Custom Speed Stick and a Lew’s Pro-Ti 7.5:1 reel spooled with 20-pound-test Gamma Edge fluorocarbon. He caught the other three he weighed in on a 4-inch wacky-rigged Strike King KVD Perfect Plastic Ocho stick bait (green pumpkin), which produced two key fish on day four.
9. David Williams tied on a white 7/16-ounce TrueSouth Custom Lures jig with a Zoom Z-Craw trailer for his early morning shad spawn bite. He then switched to a 1/2-ounce Queen Tackle jig with a green pumpkin Z-Craw trailer. Williams also mixed in a TrueSouth V-Twin buzzbait and a Duo Realis 120 jerkbait as a follow-up bait.