Mike Hawke is really the only guy to consistently get them on this lake that had many top FLW Pros puzzled. Lake Cumberland hosts all 3 major species of black bass, but Smallmouth usually figuring into winning bags, the trick is catching them over the 18″ min. slot limit. Here is how the Top 5 caught their fish.
1st: Mike Hawke used primarily finesse tactics to win this event. His tools included 6lb fluorocarbon line with a spinning rod. The first two days when there was sun, he relied primarily a Reaction Innovations Flirt Worm (Juicy or magic craw swirl colors) on a 1/8oz homemade jig head. On days 3 & 4 when clouds rolled in, his finesse worm failed, so he switched to a Zoom Super Fluke (Albino Shad). He also picked up one nice sight smallie on a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver .
2nd: Rusty Salewske just fished his way around in depths 8-20 feet with a Zoom Finesse Worm (green pumpkin) on a 3/16oz Spot Remover jighead. He sights his success was just a lack of finding anything else productive….
3rd: Luke Clausen scrambled around fishing subtle points in 20ft of water with a Mann’s HardNose Worm for the first 3 days, the final day he drop shot a 6-inch Roboworm (red crawler) around released fish to make a move. He used Tru-Tungsten Jigheads & dropshot weights.
4th: Sean Hoernke alternated between watermelon candy and green pumpkin hand poured worms teamed with homemade jigheads. He used these baits on second day points off of small cover in the lower-third section of Lake Cumberland.
5th: Steve Wright differed his approach in that he targeted smallmouth in the mornings and largemouth in the afternoon. He probed river ledges with Zoom Finesse Worms (green-pumpkin) on a spot remover jig head for smallies. Then he would flip flooded trees in a river bend with a Reaction Innovations Smallie Beaver on the same spot remover jig head.
Most anglers had solid patterns and game plans until the final day, where Mike Hawke was the only one to make the correct adjustments and catch a 5 bass limit.