Confidence in his course and commitment to its completion led Rose, Oklahoma’s Curt Warren to victory in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine, with 46 pounds, 7 ounces of Grand Lake bass.
An accomplished pro with countless hours on Grand’s waters, Warren’s game plan was best summarized by a resolute statement following his 16-pound, 9-ounce day-two bag.
“I’m not fishing the bank for 13-inchers,’ he says. “I’m fishing for big fish.”
Proof of Warren’s success was evident not only in his daily weights, but also his bag count. On day one, Warren caught four fish for 14-5 and landed in sixth place. Day two also saw him miss his limit by one, but his weight was sufficient to move him into third. Adding a day-three limit of 15-9 sealed the deal.
Working mid-lake all week, Warren fished in 15 to 30 feet of water and targeted chunk rock and “green” brush piles. He plants a lot of brush in the lake and finds the fresh stuff offers multiple advantages.
“If you bring trees with green leaves on them from your house and sink them, it seems like that attracts the baitfish,” Warren explains. “Maybe they put off some kind of scent that the baitfish like and they get in there and eat it and that attracts the (bass).
“Also, it’s stuff that hasn't’ been pounded all year long. If you put in fresh brush and no one knows where it’s at, you have a better chance of catching them.”
As Warren notes, his big-bite strategy required equal doses of patience and perseverance. His is a not a numbers game, especially during day three’s post-frontal conditions.
“It’s a grind, and you have to stick with it,” he says. “At noon today, I didn’t have a fish, but I kept running through my stuff and started running back through it and they started biting. They bit from noon to 1:30; everything I caught came in that hour and a half.
“The first two days, I caught them early and then you’d go through a lull and not catch anything for a while. Then it seemed like they’d start biting late in the day. We had bluebird skies and not a lot of wind this morning and they weren’t pulling any generation at the dam, so that makes a big difference, as well.”
Warren caught most of his fish on a 3/4-ounce Bass X football jig in the kicker craw color paired with a watermelon candy Zoom Brush Hog. He also caught fish on a 1/2-ounce white spinnerbait with double willow-leaf blades.
“A lot of fish were suspended and there were a lot of fish up chasing bait at the surface, and every now and then, you’d get one to bite it,” Warren says. “If you see the fish coming up, or if you see the shad coming up, you’d throw it in there and catch one that way.”
The football head jig presentation was more of a workhorse routine. Warren described the proper pace as “counting rock” with a slow, methodical retrieve. Bites were often difficult to detect in the deeper zone, but Warren found he was able to capitalize on most of his opportunities.
“The key is having the right equipment,” he says. “The rod is a Falcon Expert 7-foot, 4-inch Amistad extra-heavy, and it is the best offshore structure rod I have ever used. I use 22-pound Sunline Shooter fluorocarbon.
“I use a high-speed reel. That way you can catch up to them when they bite it, because a lot of times, they’ll knock two feet of slack in your line when they bite it. Or, they’ll bite it and you’ll not know they have it until they get halfway to the boat and you have to reel up really quick and jerk on them.”
Top 10 pros
1. Curt Warren – Rose, Okla. – 46-7 (13) – $77,175
2. Jason Christie – Park Hill, Okla. – 45-1 (15) – $12,027
3. Toby Hartsell – Afton, Okla. – 41-15 (15) – $9,085
4. Bradley Hallman – Norman, Okla. – 40-5 (15) – $7,571
5. Cody Bird – Granbury, Texas – 39-6 (13) – $6,814
6. Jeremy Lawyer – Sarcoxie, Mo. – 36-5 (15) – $6,057
7. Marcus Sykora – Osage Beach, Mo. – 35-13 (14) – $5,300
8. Lance Crawford – Broken Bow, Okla. – 31-5 (11) – $4,542
9. Allen Head – Pryor, Okla. – 31-4 (11) – $3,785
10. Ryan Heavener – Tulsa, Okla. – 28-7 (12) – $3,028