by Apr 19, 2023News0 comments


By David A. Brown

  1. Turning in a wire-to-wire performance, Ken Mah caught a 3-day winning total of 61.54 pounds by a Bill Lewis SB-57 squarebill in Ozark craw and punching heavy cover with a Big Bite Baits Yo Mama in the confusion color and a Big Bite Baits College Craw in spicy purple on 4/0 and 3/0 Gamakatsu hooks with G-Money punch skirts and a 1- to 1 1/4-ounce weight.


Difference Maker: Mah trusted his presentations to Sunline’s dependable strength.

He threw his squarebill on a G. Loomis NRX 893 rod with a 6.2:1 Shimano Curado carrying 16-pound Sunline FC Crank fluorocarbon. His punching setup was a 7-11 G. Loomis GLX 954 and a Shimano Chronarch MGL 150 with 80-pound Sunline braid.

  1. Beau Joudrey devoted his days to finding bed fish — the visible ones and the unseen fish. He caught his fish on a Neko-rigged Zoom Trick Worm with the tail dyed chartreuse to mimic bream.


Difference Maker: Joudrey varied his Neko weight, based on the scenario. He threw a 1/8-ounce nail weight for targeting beds, while a 1/16-ounce delivered the slow fall necessary for blind casting.

  1. Finishing third, Kyle Grover caught fish winding a 1/2-ounce Ladies Man Tackle bladed jig with a Yamamoto Zako trailer and a Berkley Frittside crankbait. He also did well with Texas-rigged 5-inch Yamamoto Senko.


Difference Maker: Grover kept two bladed jigs rigged and ready — a 1/2-ounce for higher tides and a 3/8 for navigating lower water.

4 Fourth-place pro Luke Johns targeted his reaction bites with a Picasso Inviz Wire spinnerbait with tandem gold/silver willow-leaf blades and a Picasso Shock Blade (bladed jig) with a Hog Farmer Spunk Shad trailer. Johns caught his bed fish on the Yamamoto Yama Craw.


Difference Maker: Johns rigged his Yama Craw with a short leader below the bobber stopped weight. This maximized the proprietary Mega Floater Formula, which made the bait stand up like a live craw in defense mode.

  1. Mark Lassagne caught most of his fish by targeting riprap banks with an unweighted 5-inch Yamamoto Senko in the green pumpkin watermelon color.


Difference Maker: Lassagne enhanced his bait’s appeal by applying generous amounts of Liquid Mayhem scent attractant.

  1. John Pearl caught his sixth-place fish on a 1/2-ounce War Eagle spinnerbait with double willow-leaf blades (gold and silver). Switching from the 1/2-ounce size to a 3/8-ounce provided what he termed a “night-and-day” difference in his ability to slow roll the spinnerbait and tempt lethargic fish.


Difference Maker: Pearl fished his bait on a Douglas Rods DXC 745 with a 7.2:1 Shimano Tranx reel spooled with 20-pound Seaguar InvisX fluorocarbon.

  1. Seventh place Alex Klein used a one-two punch comprising a 1/2-ounce Heavy Hitter vibrating jig (alternating white, green pumpkin and black/blue) with a Yamamoto Zako trailer and a punch rig comprising a 1 1/2-ounce weight and a Big Bite Baits College Craw with a Boss Skirt on a 4/0 hook.


Difference Maker: Klein said he got the action and fish-fighting strength he needed from his St. Croix Legend Glass rod (vibrating jig) and his St. Croix Tournament Bass rod.

  1. Earl Dalton III said he found such consistent success flipping and pitching a green pumpkin Berkley Pit Boss with a 1 1/2-ounce weight that he was recycling torn baits when he rain out.


Difference Maker: Often working in heavy cover, Dalton trusted his performance to a G. Loomis rod, a Daiwa Tatula reel and 20-pound Seaguar Tatsu line.

  1. Finishing ninth, Colby Pearson caught a lot of his fish by feathering a 1/2-ounce chartreuse/white OSP High Pitcher Spinnerbait through the water column and cover. He also weighed in key fish on a Little Creeper Trash Fish.


Difference Maker: Pearson relied on Shimano reels and trusted his Garmin mapping to find key river bends and quickly replicate a pattern, while staying on top of the tides real time.

  1. Joe Uribe, Jr., devoted much of his time looking for bedding bass and caught his weight on a power shot rig comprising a 6-inch Roboworm Fat in margarita mutilator Texas-rigged on a 3/0 Roboworm Rebarb Hook with a 5/16-ounce Voss tungsten weight.


Difference Maker: Uribe delivered his power shot on a 7-2 Performance Tackle Custom Powershot rod with a Daiwa Tatula 100 reel carrying 30-pound Sunline Siglon PE-8 braid and a 12-pound Sunline FC Sniper fluorocarbon leader.

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