Top 10 baits from Lewis Smith Lake - Major League Fishing

Top 10 baits from Lewis Smith Lake

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Lots of baits worked this week on Smith Lake, from finesse offerings to old-school jigs and interesting swimbaits. Photo by Cobi Pellerito. Angler: Austin Swindle.
March 27, 2023 • Erik Gaffron, Cobi Pellerito • Toyota Series

CULLMAN, Ala. – Springtime fishing often requires constant adjustments to rapidly-changing conditions, and this week was no different at Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats Central Division event on  Lewis Smith Lake. As quickly as the forecast changed, so did the fish with anglers following not far behind.

Anglers had to adapt throughout the event by modifying where, how, and what species they focused on as conditions morphed throughout the week. Anglers used a variety of tactics to make the Top 10, ranging from shaky heads to large swimbaits.

Let’s look at what tools caught the most bass this week.

1. Jordan Wiggins stuck with a trusted method for targeting Smith Lake spotted bass throughout the event, fishing his way to a 4-pound margin of victory. On Day 1, Wiggins concentrated on fish in ditches and drains that were staging in a prespawn pattern. But when conditions changed for anglers on Day 2, he began targeting spawning spotted bass on isolated chunk rock with a homemade 3/16-ounce shaky head, riding the pattern to the top spot. His worms of choice were a 6.95-inch Reaction Innovations Flirt Worm in green pumpkin and a 6-inch stick worm in green pumpkin with gold and blue flake. Wiggins’ rods of choice was a pair of 7-foot,1-inch medium heavy, extra fast St. Croix Legend Elite spinning models matched with Shimano spinning reels. Both rods were spooled with 15-pound P-Line TCB Braid (white and yellow) tied to a 12-pound Seaguar InvizX leader.

2. Emil Wagner played the forward-facing sonar game this week, targeting prespawn groups of spotted bass that were chasing herring in staging areas. Wagner’s baits of choice were 2.7- and 3.3-inch 6th Sense Divine Swimbaits in white ice color, rigged on 5/16-ounce 6th Sense finesse swimbait heads with a 1/0 hook. A couple of 7-2, medium power G. Loomis NRX+ spinning rods with 2500 Shimano Stradic spinning reels spooled with 10-pound braid tied to a 10-pound fluorocarbon leader completed the setup.

3. Wesley Sams fishes team events throughout the southeast with Wiggins, and his pattern mirrored Wiggins’ a fair amount. Targeting prespawn and spawning spotted bass with a ¼-ounce homemade shaky head, Sams was shaking either a 6.95-inch Reaction Innovations Flirt Worm in green pumpkin or a watermelon red stick bait all week.

4. Joseph Webster covered water most of the event with forward-facing sonar, casting a wacky-rigged Berkley PowerBait MaxScent The General with a 1/32-ounce nail weight in it to fish he’d see near rocks, brush and docks. A soon-to-be-released Berkley CullShad was his big fish bait, as Webster worked to replicate big herring late in the event. He slung it on a 7-3, medium-heavy Abu Garcia Fantasista X casting rod with a 7.3:1 Abu Garcia Revo STX baitcaster and 20-pound Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon.

5. Continuing the trend of utilizing multiple techniques, Austin Swindle pitched and flipped a Backwoods Custom Jig he helped design specifically for fishing the brush and laydowns he targeted, particularly on Day 2. A 5-inch Scottsboro Tackle Company Line Through Swimbait also got the nod this week for bigger bites. Both baits were rigged on 7-6, Lost Creek Custom Rods and Lew’s casting reels.

6. Johnny Patterson did his work at Lewis Smith with a shaky head as well. He went to town tossing around a 3/16-ounce Buckeye Spot Remover dressed with a junebug Zoom Trick Worm.

7. Grant “The Mississippi Muscle” Galloway moved into the Top 10 by Day 3 by employing a one-two punch of a wacky-rigged green pumpkin Berkley PowerBait The General rigged with a nail weight. His second offering was a 5-inch sexy shad-colored Osprey Talon Inline swimbait.

8. Jeremy Gordon did a ton of damage on Day 1 with a 6-inch Megabass Magdraft in albino pearl shad, boating the largest bag of the event at 18 pounds thanks in large part to the swimbait. While he continued to move fish with his swimbait presentation, Gordon had to resort to more finesse tactics late to fill his limits on Day 2 and 3, utilizing a Damiki Armor Shad in PB silver color on a 3/8-ounce Angler Tungsten Eclipse Swimbait Head to bring fish to the scales.

9. Opting to lean towards a larger presentation, Paul Marks threw around a discontinued Sebile Magic Swimmer (in a Lanier special color custom painted by Daniel Truitt) throughout the week. Marks also worked over areas with an ima Little Stik in chrome.

10. Rounding out the Top 10, Jimmy Neece Jr. spent his week on Smith finesse fishing. A 5.5-inch Damiki Armor Shad in white silver color paired with a 3/8-ounce custom head was his go-to presentation for offshore schools of fish. Around docks, Neece worked with a wacky-rigged watermelon black Damiki Stinger.