Just about everyone flipped bushes in 2-4′. Some hit other wood too, many said the bushes had to be low and green, some said bushes with grass or on points/bumps were better. Bottom line was almost everyone fished the EXACT SAME WAY as everyone else, all day long. One of the most insane things I’ve ever seen in a tournament. Anyhow, here’s the bait rundown for the full field:
1: Hank Cherry
Hank’s full fishing details are in his winning pattern post here. Here’s his 2 main baits:
> Jerkbait: New Berkley Stunna (stealth shad), “straight out of the pack, you don’t need to change the hooks. I was limited on the colors I had [because the bait’s not out yet] but since I’ve had ’em I’ve just had a lot of success with that color…always a good one to throw around shad spawns.
> Jerkbait gear: 6′ 10” M mod Abu Garcia Winch Rod, Abu Garcia Zata Reel, 15-lb Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon.
> Jig: 1/2-oz Picasso Hank Cherry Straight Shooter Jig (gp magic?) with various trailers including the new/not yet out Berkley MaxScent Chigger Craw (pumpkin green flake). “I literally would put different trailers on it to make me think I was throwing a different bait.”
> Trailers were gp/blue, pumpkin/green, sometimes he added a little chartreuse on the tips – to imitate bluegills.
2: Matt Arey
> 1/2-oz prototype Matt Arey signature Titan Tungsten Jig (“it has a 3/0 Gammy jig hook and wire keeper that I love – the smaller but stout hook keeps them pinned better”), craw-style trailers (gp), 20-lb P-Line Tactical Fluorocarbon, Lew’s Pro-Ti Reel, 7′ 6″ H Lew’s Custom Pro Rod.
> Frogs: Lunkerhunt Compact Frog (white), popping-style frog (bluegill), 50-lb P-Line TCB Braid, same reel, 7′ 3″ H Lew’s Greg Hackney Frog Rod [believe it’s Academy only]. Around a variety of flooded grass in 1-2′.
3: Chris Jones
> 1/2-oz new/not out yet BOOYAH Mobster Swim Jig (white) with a YUM Spine Craw (pearl), 50-lb Vicious braid, Sixgill Hammer Reel, 7′ 3″ MH Sixgill Rod.
> YUM Christie Critter (watermelon candy), 5/0 straight shank hook, 1/2-oz Pro Tungsten weight, 25-lb Vicious fluoro, same reel, 7′ 6″ H Sixgill Rod.
4: Justin Kerr
> 3/8-oz Z-Man JackHammer Stealth Blade (gp) with a Zoom Speed Craw (gp), 20-lb EverGreen Bass Ciel line, Daiwa Tatula Reel (7.3), 7′ EverGreen Combat Stick Glass Rod.
> 1/2-oz custom hand-tied jig (brown) with brown Uncle Josh pork (“…it falls slower too which is a big deal”), same line, same reel, 7′ 11″ EverGreen Combat Stick Flip/Pitch Rod.
Yes he fished that custom-made rat!
5: Brock Mosley
> 3.75″ and 4.5″ Yamamoto Flappin Hog (“depending on the thickness of the bush”), 4/0 Vector Hooks Straight Shank Flipping Hook, 3/4-oz Woo Tungsten Punch Weight, 65-lb P-Line braid, Shimano SLX Reel (8.1), 7′ 1″ HF Ark Invoker Series Rod.
6: Scott Canterbury
> 5/8-oz Dirty Jigs Scott Canterbury Flipping Jig (magic craw red) with a Netbait Paca Chunk (Okeechobee craw), 25-lb P-Line 100% Fluoro, Ardent Apex Grand Reel (7:3), 7’ 6” XH Halo Titanium flipping stick.
7: Matt Robertson
> 3/8-oz Outkast Swim Jig (white) with a Berkley Chigger Craw (white), 50-lb Berkley X5 Braid, Abu REVO STX Reel (6.6), 6′ 8″ MH Ugly Stik Rod.
8: Chris Johnston
> Strike King Rage Bug (gp), 4/0 Gammy Heavy Cover Hook, 1/2-oz Woo Tungsten weight, 25-lb Seaguar AbrazX fluoro, Daiwa Tatula Flip Pitch Reel, 7′ 6″ signature Daiwa Tatula Elite Rod.
9: Drew Cook
> TX-rigged 4″ Big Bite Fighting Frog (tilapia magic), 4/0 Gamakatsu G Finesse Heavy Cover Worm Hook, 3/8-oz Titan Tungsten weight, 22-lb Sunline Shooter, Dobyns Xtasy 755 Rod.
> 1/2-oz Nichols Flipping Jig (“best color ever” = half gp, half b/b), 3″ Fighting Frog (same color), 25-lb Sunline Power 2C FC, Dobyns Champion 764 FB Rod.
10: Patrick Walters
> Zoom Z-Craw (gp), 3/0 VMC Flippin Hook, 1/2-oz weight, 20-lb Sufix Advance Fluorocarbon, Daiwa Reel (I think it was a Zillion), 7′ 9″ H Daiwa Tatula Elite AGS Pitch Flip Rod.
> He mentioned using a 3/0 hook in brush because it doesn’t get hunk up as bad as a bigger hook.
11: Cory Johnston
> Strike King Rage Bug (gp), 3/0 Gammy Heavy Cover Hook, 1/2-oz Woo Tungsten weight, 25-lb Seaguar AbrazX fluoro, Daiwa Tatula Pitch/Flip Reel, 7′ 6″ Daiwa Tatula Elite Rod.
12: Ed Loughran
> Missile D Bomb (custom “Ray Bob” color = gp/watermelon with green/orange flake), 5/0 Gammy Heavy Cover Straight Shank Hook, 3/8-oz tungsten weight, 65-lb PowerPro Super8Slick, Shimano Chronarch MGL Reel (8.1), 7′ 6″ H Shimano ZPride Rod.
13: Steve Kennedy
> 3/4-oz D&L Advantage Jig (white for swimming around the shad spawn, watermelon for flipping) with matching Zoom Super Chunk (white and watermelon red), 65-lb braid to 30-lb leader, H rod for swimming and XH for flipping.
> He swam the jig around the same brush as everyone else, but flipped deeper timber (6-25′) for suspended fish.
14: Todd Auten
> Zoom Z Hog (gp/purple green flake), 1/2-oz weight, 3/0 Gammy Heavy Cover Hook, 25-lb Berkley Trilene 100% Fluoro, Shimano Curado Reel, 7′ 4″ G Loomis flip stick.
15: Matt Herren
> Reaction Innovations Spicy Beaver (gp), 3/0 Hayabusa HD STP Hook, 3/4-oz Elite Tungsten weight, 50-lb braid, Kistler Series 2 Reel, 7′ 6″ Kistler Z Bone Rod.
16: Kyle Welcher
> Missile D Bomb (gp), 4/0 Gammy G-Finesse Straight Shank Hook, 1/2-oz weight, 22-lb Sunline Shooter, Shimano Metanium Reel, 7′ 6″ HF Point Blank Rod.
> Most guys fished bushes in 1-4′ but Kyle wanted them deeper than 4′: “The lake is up 4′ so I wanted places where there was water all the time.”
17: Brandon Palaniuk
> Dropshot: 6″ XZone Deception Worm (gp blue), #1 VMC Finesse Neko Hook, 1/4-oz VMC Tungsten Teardrop Weight, Alpha Angler DSR Rod, Daiwa Exist Reel (3000), 15-lb Seaguar Flash Green Smackdown Braid to 10-lb Seaguar Gold Label fluoro. Bridge pilings in 8-15′.
> Rapala DT10 (citrus shad), 12-lb Seaguar Tatsu fluoro, Daiwa Steez A Reel (6.3), Alpha Angler Rebound Rod. Scattered rock on the inside edge of a roadbed in 8-10′.
18: Jamie Hartman
> Riot Baits Vigilante (gp), 3/0 Owner Jungle Flippin’ Hook, 3/8-oz tungsten weight, 20-lb Hi-Seas fluoro, 7′ 6” MH Cashion flipping stick.
19. Cody Bird
> Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver (gp), 5/0 Owner Rig-N-Hook, 3/8-oz tungsten weight, 65-lb SpiderWire to 25-lb Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon, Abu Garcia high-speed reel, 7′ 2″ rod.
> Strike King 6XD (chart/blue back), 12-lb Berkley Trilene 100% fluoro, Abu reel (6:1), 7′ 11″ David Fritts-designed cranking rod.
> 95% flipping, 5% cranking.
20: Paul Mueller
> 3/4-oz Strike King Hack Attack Jig (Tx craw) with a Zoom Magnum UV Speed Craw (watermelon red dipped with chart Spike-It), 50-lb Gamma Torque Braid, Lew’s Super Duty Reel (8.3), 7′ 3″ XH Dobyns Champion 736 Rod.
21: Jeff Gustafson
> Z-Man Turbo Crawz and unknown tubes he got from Chad Morgenthaler and Seth Feider. 3/0 Gammy Super Heavy Cover Hook, 3/8-oz Flat Out Tungsten Weight, 50-lb PowerPro braid, Shimano Metanium Reel, new G Loomis NRX+ 895 5-power flipping stick.
> Also caught a couple on a Z-Man spinnerbait.
22: Frank Talley
> Strike King Rodent (summer craw), 4/0 Owner Jungle Flippin’ Hook, 3/4-oz Strike King TG Tungsten weight, 50-lb Seaguar Stealth Grey Smackdown Braid, Lew’s Custom Lite Reel (7.5), 7′ 2″ H Lew’s Magnum Grass Custom Rod.
23: Clark Wendlandt
> Strike King Rage Bug (gp), 4/0 Owner Jungle Flippin’ Hook, 3/4-oz Strike King TG Tungsten weight, 60-lb Sunline FX2 braid, Bass Pro Platinum Reel (6.8), 7′ 6″ Bass Pro CarbonLite Rod.
24: Chad Pipkens
> Damiki D Pop popper (real shad), 20-lb Sunline SX1 braid to a 2′ leader of 20-lb Sunline Super Natual mono, Abu REVO MGX Reel, 6′ 10″ Swate Black Rod.
> Isolated trees in 6′, not bushes.
25: Seth Feider
> 3/8-oz Outkast Tackle Heavy Cover Swim Jig (white) with a Z-Man Turbo Crawz (white), 7′ MH Daiwa Tatula Elite Rod, Daiwa Steez CT Reel (8:1), 40-lb Sufix 131 Braid.
26: Hunter Shryock
> Berkley MaxScent Creature Hawg (gp), 4/0 Berkley Fusion19 flipping hook, 1/2-oz weight, 20-lb Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon, Abu Garcia REVO AL-F Reel (8.0), 7′ 6″ MH Abu Veracity Rod.
27: Drew Benton
> 3/8-oz Nichols Sledgehammer Swim Jig (Clent’s shad spawn), Big Bite Kamikaze Craw (white), 65-lb Seaguar Stealth Grey Smackdown Braid, high-speed reel, 7′ 7″ H Phenix MBX Rod.
> Big Bite Fighting Frog, pegged 3/8-oz tungsten weight, 4/0 Owner EWG hook, 20-lb Seaguar InvizX fluoro, 7′ 3″ XH Phenix MBX Rod.
> “Key stretches had some kind of point to it – a point of a pocket, a main-lake point, a kickout….” [Several guys said that.]
28: Luke Palmer
> YUM Christie Critter (bama magic), 4/0 straight shank worm hook, 1/2-oz weight, 60-lb Sunline FX2 braid, Abu REVO STX Reel, 7′ 3″ MH Abu Veracity Rod.
29: Clent Davis
> Mister Twister Buzz Bug (gp), 3/0 Gamakatsu Aaron Martens Punch Hook, 1/2-oz tungsten weight, 20-lb Yo-Zuri T7 Fluorocarbon, Abu REVO STX high-speed reel, 7′ 7″ H Phenix MBX rod.
30: Jordan Wiggins
> 4.20 Sweet Beaver (gp magic), 4/0 Trokar straight shank Flippin Hook, 3/4-oz Titan Tungsten weight, 20-lb Seaugar AbrazX fluoro, Quantum Smoke Reel, 7′ 4″ H St Croix Victory Series Rod.
31: Trevor McKinney
> TX-rigged Tightlines UV Beaver (b/b), Jig Shack tungsten weight, either 25-lb Sufix Advance Fluoro or 65-lb Sufix 832 braid, Shimano Chronarch Reel (8.1), 7′ 3″ G Loomis IMX 874 Pro Rod.
> “I was also getting a few good bites in the morning with a Terminator frog. I was throwing a 7′ 4″ H G Loomis IMX Pro Frog Rod.”
32: Brandon Cobb
> Zoom Z-Craw (tilapia), 4/0 Berkley Fusion19 Heavy Cover straight shank flipping hook, 3/8-oz Ark Tungsten weight, 20-lb Yo-Zuri T7 fluoro, Abu REVO STX Reel, 7′ 5″ H Ark Cobb signature Rod.
> Says he only uses the tilapia Z-Craw, a color he helped create.
33: John Cox
> 3/8-oz Dirty Jigs Swim Jig (AL bream) with a Berkley MaxScent Chigger Craw (watermelon seed), 15-lb Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon, Abu REVO AL-F Reel, 7′ 3″ MH Abu Fantasista Premier Rod.
34: Bryan New
> Zoom Magnum Speed Craw (gp magic), 5/0 Berkley Fusion19 Heavy Cover straight shank flipping hook, 1/2-oz Reins Tungsten weight, 22-lb Sunline Shooter, Abu REVO Rocket Reel (LH), 7′ 3″ H Fitzgerald Stunner HD Rod.
35: Brandon Lester
> Creature bait (tilapia), 4/0 Mustad Grip Pin Max flipping hook, 1/2-oz weight, 20-lb Vicious fluoro, Enigma Ippon Reel (8.1), 7′ 6″ Flipping Rod.
36: Chad Morgenthaler
> 4″ no-name tube (gp/chart tail), 5/0 Gamakatsu Hybrid Hook, 5/16-oz Strike King TG Tungsten weight, 20-lb Gamma Edge fluoro, Lew’s Hyper Mag Reel, 7′ 6″ H Lew’s Hack Attack rod (academy only).
37: Jason Williamson
> 1/2-oz Buckeye Mop Jig (brown) with a Zoom Super Chunk (gp), 20-lb Gamma Edge fluoro, 7′ 6″ H Khaotic Kustom Rods rod.
38: Chris Zaldain
> 7″ prototype spoon (chrome), 50-lb Seaguar Flash Green Smackdown Braid to 30-lb Seaguar Gold Label fluoro, 300-size reel, 7′ 11″ Megabass Levante Leviathan Rod.
> Pilings and rockpiles in 12′.
39: Austin Felix
> Missile D Bomb (superbug), 4/0 Gammy Heavy Cover Hook, 3/4-oz Swagger Tungsten weight, 25-lb Seaguar InvizX fluoro, Daiwa Tatula Reel (8:1), 7′ 6″ XH Airrus Flipping Stick.
40: Brandon Card
> 1/2-oz Advantage Baits prototype swim-jig (sexy shad) with a 3″ paddletail swimbait, 20-lb Yo-Zuri T7 Fluorocarbon, Abu REVO STX Reel (8.0), 7′ MH iRod Genesis 704 Rod.
> Slightly deeper bushes, 4-5′.
41: Taku Ito
> 3/16-oz Nories Kameraba small rubber jig (gp) with a 3″ Yamamoto (I think he said “spot tail”?) Senko, 30-lb Seaguar Flash Green Smackdown Braid to a 20-lbg Seaguar Tatsu fluoro leader, Shimano Vanquish SHG Reel (2500 size), 7′ XH Nories Roadrunner Rod.
42: Masayuki Matsushita
> 3.8 Deps Bull Flat (I think? Apologies if I got it wrong — gp/chart tail) on a free rig: 4/0 Ona offset hook, 1/4-oz weight, 20-lb Sunline Shooter, Shimano Metanium XG Reel, 7′ 1″ MH Deps Gain Element Rod.
43: Bill Lowen
> 4″ Strike King Flip-N-Tube (gp), 4/0 Hayabusa hook, 5/16-oz Reins Tungsten weight, 20-lb Seaguar InvizX fluoro, Lew’s Team Lite Reel, 7′ 6″ H Lew’s Custom Speed Stick flipping rod.
44: Brad Whatley
> Bass Assassin Skunk Ape (gp tilapia), 4/0 prototype Vector Hooks flipping hook, 3/4-oz punch weight, 40-lb PowerPro Braid, Lew’s reel, 7′ 6″ H Castaway rod.
45: Pat Schlapper
> 3/8-oz Kureiji Panic Swim Jig (pearl/chart) with a Strike King Menace (pearl), 50-lb Sunline FX2 braid, high-speed reel, 7′ 3″ MHF St Croix Victory Rod.
> Big Bite Craw Tube (tilapia), 5/0 Hayabusa EWG hook, 1/2-oz Motley Fishing tungsten bullet weight, 25-lb Sunline Shooter, high-speed reel, 7′ 4″ HF St Croix Legend Elite Rod.
46: Jake Whitaker
> Big Bite BFE (tilapia), 4/0 Trokar TK 130 Flippin’ Hook, 1/2-oz weight, 20-lb P-Line Tactical Fluoro, Abu REVO AL-F Reel, 7′ 3″ H ALX Zolo Dragger Rod.
47: David Mullins
> 1/2-oz Nichols Buzzbait (shad), 40-lb Sunline SX1 braid, 7:1 reel, 7′ 3″ MH Doomsday 47 Series Rod.
> Creature bait, 4/0 flipping hook, 1/2-oz weight, 22-lb Sunline Shooter, 8:1 reel, 7′ 6″ H Doomsday JDAM Rod.
48: Stetson Blaylock
> BOOYAH Poppin Pad Crasher (shad frog), 50-lb Seaguar Stealth Grey Smackdown Braid, H2O Xpress Tach 40 Reel (8.1), 7′ 1″ H H2O Xpress Tach 40 Rod (H2O Xpress is Academy-only).
> YUM Christie Craw (gp/green purple flake), Gamakatsu G Power Flipping Hook, 1/2- and 3/4-oz, 50-lb Seaguar Stealth Grey Smackdown Braid to a 25-lb Seaguar InvizX fluoro leader, H2O Xpress Ethos HD reel (8:1), 7′ 6″ H H2O Xpress Tach 40 Rod.
49: Keith Carson
> Berkley MaxScent Chigger Craw (b/b), 3/0 Berkley Fusion19 straight shank Flipping Hook, 1-oz weight, 50-lb Berkley X5 Braid, Abu REVO STX Reel (7.3), 7′ 6″ H Abu Fantasista Premier Rod.
50: Tommy Williams
> Creature bait (gp), 3/0 wide-gap hook, 3/16-oz weight, 20-lb Sufix Advance Fluoro, Lew’s Reel, 7′ 8″ H Douglas LRS Rod.
> Caught a couple fish on his self-designed T-Bug Spinnerbait, 1/4-oz, white, Colo/willow silver blades.
51: Micah Frazier
> YUM Bad Mamma (gp), 3/0 Gammy Heavy Cover Hook, 1/2-oz Swagger Tungsten weight, 22-lb Sunline Shooter, Abu REVO Rocket Reel, 7′ 6″ H Abu Fantasista Rod.
52: Buddy Gross
> Zoom Z-Craw (gp magic), 3/0 Owner Jungle Flippin Hook, 3/4-oz tungsten weight, 20-lb P-Line fluoro, Daiwa Tatula Reel (8:1), 7′ 3″ H Fitzgerald All Purpose Rod.
> Boogerman Buzzbait, 50-lb P-Line braid, same reel, 7′ H Fitzgerald All Purpose Rod.
53: Shane LeHew
> 4″ Berkley MaxScent Chigger Craw (gp), 4/0 Berkley Fusion19 Flipping Hook, 3/8-oz tungsten weight, 20-lb Berkley 100% Fluorocarbon, Abu REVO STX Reel (8:1), 7′ 6″ MH Abu Veritas PLX Rod.
54: Blake Sylvester
> Missile D Bomb (GP3), 4/0 Owner Jungle Flipping Hook, 3/8-oz Titan Tungsten weight, 20-lb KastKing Kovert Fluoro, KastKing Bassinator Elite Reel (8:1), 7′ 6″ H Fitzgerald All Purpose Rod.