Unlike years past, sight fishing was never a role in this tournament. It was more of pre-spawn bite and it was finesse vs. power patterns. In the end finesse won out.
1st – Shinichi Fukae – Fished a 4″ Gary Yamamoto Shad-Shaped Worm & a 5″ Gary Yamamoto Kut Tail Worm (green-pumpkin or cinnamon) in standing timber. He spent all 4 days in the same area on the lower end of the lake, maneuvering his boat among the timber and working his worm through water that was 10 to 15 feet deep over a pea-gravel bottom. He caught no fewer than 13 keepers a day. He weighed in a mixed bag each day – two largemouths, two smallmouths and a spotted bass on day 1, and a largemouth, a smallmouth and three spots on days 2, 3 and 4.
2nd – Mark Rose – Focused on large smallmouths as he fished a 4″ Strike King finesse Worm, (green pumpkin) primarily on points. “They seemed to be on both sides of the points, right where the flat part dropped off into steeper walls,” he said. “Just being persistent was the key. The smallmouth and the spots would hit in little feeding frenzies, and sometimes you’d make a pass and they weren’t biting. But they were still there.”
3rd – Craig Powers – Fished staging fish that were on the brink of moving up to spawn by “waking” a bone colored Bomber Long A. He fished this lure all tournament & his pattern dwindled with the wind and bad weather on days 3 & 4.
4th – Jeffrey Thomas – Target Largemouths by focusing on ditches that adjoined spawning flats, and ambushed some good-sized females en route to the reproduction grounds. He had good success flipping a Rattleback Jig & Power Craw (green pumpkin) around docks and large brushpiles the first 2 days, but that bite went away on day 3. He caught all six of his weigh-in fish over the final 2 days on crankbaits. He used two different shad colored lipless models (Cordell Spot & Custom Lures Unlimited) and a phantom red Storm Wiggle Wart.
5th – Darrel Robertson – Achieved his third Top 10 in eight tries at Beaver by catching a mix of largemouths and spots. “My philosophy at Beaver is to fish for 10 pounds, and that means you’re not fishing for Kentuckys,” he said. “Except for very seldom, you have to have a combination to get that weight.” He caught the vast majority of his fish on a Zoom Fluke (white & watermelon). He also threw a spinnerbait, a jerkbait and a Storm Wiggle Wart.
It was obvious that were many different things working on Beaver. The power techniques dominated the first two days, but it was the finesse pattern that outlasted everyone for the win.