Seems like every time you start hearing guys talk about how professional bass fishing has become a young man’s game, then we have a weekend like this last weekend. Tommy Biffle lays down a convincing win at Wheeler and Guido Hibdon use his wisdom to top a 200 boat field at Lake Eufala. While these guys are not competing for AOY titles anymore, they still prove at any given tournament they are a threat to not only make final cuts, but bring it all home! The most exciting part of this, is that you may have a lot longer then you think to chase down your dream as a professional tournament angler.
Over the past few years, Denny Brauer, Guido Hibdon, Paul Elias, Tommy Biffle & David Fritts have all won tour events, some of these guys have won multiple times. This definitely is one of the many things that makes bass fishing exciting to follow and what a lot of avid bass anglers can relate to. One thing that seems apparent, is that when these guys do win, they seem to do it when conditions line up to their strengths. These guys don’t seem to win tournaments anymore by junk fishing and flying by the seat of their pants like they may have done in the past. Brauer’s victory on Champlain came courtesty of a strong bite flipping his signature jig, Elias claimed the all time heavy weight record at Falcon with the Kneel & Reel, and Fritt’s victories came largely on his DT Series crankbaits.
This past weekend on Wheeler, Biffle found a flooded creek to himself and flipped his key area to death with 3 primary baits:
> A 3/8 oz Lunker Lure Rattleback jig (black/blue) tipped with a Gene Larew Super Salt Biffle craw (black/blue w/ sapphire-blue claws)
> An 8.5″ Gene Larew Biffle-O lizard (black-neon), which is a hollow-body & hollow-tail lizard. He Texas-rigged it with the same weight & pegging system, but upsized to a 5/0 Owner hook. Find Gene Larew Salt Craws & Biffle-O Lizards @ Basspro.com
Photo courtesty of BassFan.com
Guido Hibdon is a great finesse fisherman, but also an all time grinder, ecspecially when targeting post-spawn fish. He ended up targeting some small areas and had to wait the fish out, sometime making 30-40 casts to the same rock before igniting the bite. Here are the 3 techniques & baits that Guido relied on:
> Crankbait gear: 7′ medium-action JB Custom jig rod, Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris Signature Series baticaster (6.3:1 ratio), 17- & 20-lb Berkley Trilene XT, Lucky Craft RC 2.5 (BPS exclusive) or C Flash 22 Cal. crankbait (chartreuse/black). Noted the bigger fish would not bite crankbaits with rattles in them.
> Jig gear: Same rod & reel, Berkley Trilene 100% fluorocarbon line, 1/4 oz Luck “E” Strike jig (brown-red), Luck “E” Strike Guido Bug trailer (brown/purple flake).
> Carolina rig gear: Same rod and reel, 20 lb Berkley Trilene 100% fluorocarbon line, 3/4 oz bullet weight, 3 glass beads, small barrel swivel, 14 lb Berkley Trilene 100% fluorocarbon leader (18″), 3/0 Gamakatsu EWG hook, Luck “E” Strike Shakey Tail worm (chartreuse/green-pumpkin). – Find Luck “E” Strike lures @ Basspro.com
Moral of the story, you can still learn plenty from the old timers of the sport and don’t take them for granted, because they can still flat catch’em!