COUNCE, Tenn. – Swimbaits, vibrating jigs and drop-shots are starting to dominate most every tournament lately. This one sure showed that.
Of the Top 10 pros for the latest Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Fuel Me event on Pickwick Lake, only one (John Cox) didn’t use at least one of the three, with most pros using multiple in their arsenals.
Here’s a look at the lures that helped the Top 10 anglers.
1. While he started out power fishing shallow grass with a swim jig tipped with a Reaction Innovations Twerk and flipping a Reaction Innovations Spicy Beaver, Jon Canada made the winning call to switch up to a Reaction Innovations Flirt Worm (later replaced by a 6-inch straight tail finesse worm when he ran out) on a drop-shot, tossing it to shallow stumps on a main-river bar where bass were spawning. For colors, Canada started with green pumpkin and then went to “anything pink” for the win.
2. Despite fishing a heavily pressured area shared with a number of other top pros, Justin Lucas was able to methodically use his Humminbird MEGA 360 to pitch a Texas-rigged Berkley PowerBait Power Hawg (green pumpkin) or drop-shot with a hand-poured worm to holes in the grass, logs, stumps, or anything he felt might hold a spawning bass he couldn’t see in the dirty water.
3. Few anglers had more fun on the water this week than Mitch Crane, who had a shad-spawn pattern on isolated eel grass patches. To capitalize on his area, he alternated between a 5/8-ounce SPRO Aruku Shad (chrome shad) and 3/4-ounce Z-Man/Evergreen ChatterBait Jack Hammer (white) with a Yamamoto Zako (cream white) trailer.
4. Ron Nelson incredibly had never really thrown a vibrating jig much, but it’s all his staging fish would eat, as he tossed a Z-Man/Evergreen ChatterBait Jack Hammer with a Castaic Baits Jerky J (shad colors) on the back almost all week.
5. Nothing ever came easy for Nick Hatfield, but somehow he managed to scrape out a Top 10 by constantly shifting gears. He had a shad-spawn pattern in a marina in Yellow Creek, where he threw a Megabass Magdraft (white back shad) and a Z-Man/Evergreen ChatterBait Jack Hammer (white). But he also had an offshore deal that needed a rotation of a 3.3-inch Keitech Swing Impact FAT (electric blue and chartreuse) on a 3/8-ounce head, a drop-shot with a Hayabusa DSR132HD hook, spoon and hair jig all thrown on Doomsday Tackle rods.
6. A sneaky, shoreline gravel bar paved the way for John Hunter’s big week, as it was loaded with big smallies ready to eat his Googan Squad Flat Banger (mondo shad). He also fished the same marina as Hatfield with the same lure (Megabass Magdraft) the last two days before running around hitting wind-blown banks with a Googan Squad Hound, Googan Squad Scout, spinnerbait and a vibrating jig.
7. If there was a winning bed-fishing pattern, John Cox was hell-bent to find it in Bay Springs. Unfortunately, while he found just enough on beds to catch with either a wacky-rigged Berkley PowerBait MaxScent The General (baby bass), Berkley PowerBait Swim Jig with a Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Meaty Chunk and a new Berkley PowerBait Shape 108 (yummy craw), the bass just never committed to going shallow.
8. It seemed almost ironic. Andrew Loberg really only fished one spot all week – a shallow weed flat. But he did so with maybe more rods on his deck than anyone. Despite throwing dozens of lures at his fish, his main players were a 1st Gen TopSpin with a swimbait trailer, Lucky Craft Slender Pointer and a Lucky Craft LV RTO 150.
9. Day 2 completely turned around Nick LeBrun’s event, as he used a Megabass Magdraft (white back shad) with a No. 2 Hayabusa TBL930 hook to sack up 20 pounds of fish suspended off a rock wall. While that pattern eventually died, he had a backup pattern of flipping wood along the banks of Yellow Creek with a 1/2-ounce V&M jig (blue shadow) with V&M Flat Wild (blue shadow).
10. For two days, Troy Stokes had a shad-spawn deal going with a 1/2-ounce Eco Pro Tungsten Sick Boy swim jig tipped with a Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Craw (white) and a Z-Man/Evergreen ChatterBait Jack Hammer tipped with a Big Bite Baits Kamikaze Swimon (glow silver). However, what got him to the final day was fishing a Carolina-rigged NetBait Mad Paca (junebug) on flats near Coffee Slough.