Please make sure y’all understand this: I asked the Classic guys to pick the ONE main bait they fished most. Pretty much 100% used more than one bait, and the few guys who mentioned 2 in here did it cuz they were about 50/50 on 2 baits. So if someone says they saw a pro using a different bait than what you listed here, it’s probly true.
Thanks to all the guys for taking the time to give me the deets, and apologies if I got anything wrong.
1. Hank Cherry
Hank’s full pattern with all the deets is here on this website, but here’s just his baits:
> Megabass Vision 110+1 jerkbait (GP stain reaction OB = opaque white back, clear sides, orange belly).
> The key to that bait was changing the hooks to #5 medium-shank EWG Berkley Fusion19 hooks because it added the extra weight I wanted — so when you stopped jerking, the bait was sinking. Not like a rock. 95% of my bites was when it was sinking.
> I just had a feeling [the bait should sink from] the way the fish were acting and from fishing bridges at home. …think they see it fall by them, then when I rip it it brings it back up to where it came from. When I got those first bites and saw how good they were getting the bait, I just stuck with it.
> The 110+1 has a longer lip on it so it goes a little deeper [to] target the area where I kept seeing most fish suspended. Throughout the day they might have gotten a little higher [in the water column], but I don’t think I got one shallower than 6′ and no deeper than 10′.
> 3/8-oz Picasso signature Dock Rocket Jig (gp) with a Berkley Maxcent Power Chunk (gp, tips dipped chartreuse), 7′ 6″ H Abu Fantasista Regista Rod, Abu Revo EXD Reel (8:1), 20-lb Trilene 100% fluoro.
> 1/2-oz Z-Man Jack Hammer (Hite’s hot craw) with several grub-style trailers (gp/red flake), 7′ 4″ MH moderate Abu Veracity Rod, Abu Revo STX Reel (7.3), 20-lb Trilene 100% fluoro.
> Said he only had 1-2 keeper fish on the crank.
2. Todd Auten
> Flats in the backs of creeks, stained water, 4-5’…slight drop, scattered grass, mostly eelgrass with some milfoil.
3. Stetson Blaylock
> Norman Speed N crankbait (chili bowl — bait’s not out yet), 7′ 4″ H2O Express prototype cranking rod, H2O Express Ethos HD Reel (H2O is an Academy brand), 20-lb Seaguar InvizX fluoro.
> Pre-spawn areas in 4-7′, going into creeks and in creeks, mostly eelgrass.
[Stetson and Micah (5th) both used that Norman bait. One deal with it was they said it came through the grass well. I think the bait’s an ICAST release.]
4. Seth Feider
> 1/2-oz Z-Man Jack Hammer (clearwater shad) with a 3.25″ BioSpawn ExoSwim (Feider shad and pro blue red shad), 7′ 4″ Daiwa Tatula Glass bladed jig rod, Daiwa Tatula SV Reel (7:1), 17-lb Sufix Advance Fluoro.
> Main river bar, drop on the outside edge, strip of hydrilla in 6′. Worked down the strip of hydrilla about 10′ wide.
5. Micah Frazier
> Deeper submerged grass edges in pre-spawn areas, mouths of big bays and creeks.
6. John Crews
> 6-10′ brush or rock in creeks.
7. Brandon Lester
> 1/2-oz Strike King Red Eye Shad Tungsten 2 Tap (Rayburn red craw), 7′ 3″ MH moderate cranking rod, 7:1 reel, 30-lb Vicious No Fade Braid. Scattered eelgrass on a huge flat, back side of a main river bar, 3-5′.
8. Lee Livesay
> 1/2-oz Finch Nasty Thumper bladed jig (red/black and white) with a NetBait Little Spanky swimbait (sun perch on the red and white on the white), 7′ 3″ MH Halo TI Rod, 18-lb fluoro. Also used a HogFarmer WarPig underspin head with a NetBait Big Spanky.
> Shallow hydrilla (1-3′) in the first pocket in a major creek, and shell beds on the main river (3-8′).
9. Brandon Card
> Mid-creek riprap, most fish coming out of 5-7′.
10. Matt Herren
> 3 lipless baits: Yo-Zuri Rattl’n Vibe, BOOYAH One Knocker, Strike King Red Eye Shad (5/8- and 1/2-oz, red, chartreuse, chrome/blue). 7′ 3″ Kistler Feel N Reel Rod, Daiwa reel, 16-lb Gamma Edge fluoro. Mostly used the custom-Sharpied One Knocker (Rayburn red).
> Little depression, ditch ran through a flat, deepest part was about 7′ with the lip about 3′. Fish were sitting on isolated patches of coontail on that ditch…all kinds of vegetation in there.
> Also used a 1/2-oz Z-Man Jack Hammer (clearwater shad) with a Reaction Innovations Little Dipper (white trash) on the same setup and in the same areas as the lipless baits, and flipped docks with a 3/8-oz Dirty Jigs signature Flippin’ Jig (gp) with a Reaction Innovations Spicy Beaver (gp), Kistler 765 Zbone Rod, 20-lb Gamma Edge.
11. Jason Williamson
> Flat off the main river, high spots where milfoil and hydrilla mixed in with eelgrass. Boat in 7-8′, bites coming in 4-6′.
12. Skylar Hamilton
> Boat docks in a major creek, 2-5′ along an eelgrass edge.
13. David Mullins
14. Keith Combs
> Strike King 1.5 Flat Side (Rayburn red craw and TN Shad 2.0) and a few different lipless baits including a Strike King Red Eye Shad Tungsten 2 Tap (TN shad 2.0), 7′ Shimano Curado Crankbait Rod, Shimano Metanium MGL Reel, 12-lb Seaugar InvizX fluoro on the Flat and 15-lb on the lipless baits.
> Shell beds with milfoil and eelgrass in 3-5′, and riprap and natural rock banks in 6-7′.
15. Luke Palmer
16. Chris Zaldain
> Neko-rigged 6″ straight-tail worm (redbug), #2 Trokar Neko Hook, 1/16-oz weight, 6′ 11″ M Megabass Destroyer Addermine Spinning Rod, Shimano Sustain 3000 Reel, 15-lb Seaguar Smackdown Flash Green Braid, 10-lb Seaguar Tatsu fluoro leader. Drops in 12-15′, main channel, rock.
> 6″ Megabass Magdraft swimbait (albino, pre-rigged), 7′ 2″ Megabass Orochi XX Perfect Pitch Rod, 15-lb Seaguar InvizX fluoro. “When the water warmed up, the fish would be higher in the water column — 6′ or less.”
17. Bill Lowen
> 3/8-oz ProLuresOnline signature Flipping Jig (gp) with a Strike King Chunk (gp, believe this is the chunk that’s no longer made), Lew’s Custom Speed Stick flipping rod, Team Lew’s Lite Reel, 20-lb fluoro.
> Flipping main-river docks, 1-4′.
18. Clent Davis
> 1/2-oz Z-Man Jack Hammer (spring craw) with 2 trailers: Mister Twister Buzz Bug (black/red flake) and Yamamoto Zako. Phenix Recon Elite 764 Rod, Abu Revo STX Reel (6.6), 16-lb Yo-Zuri TopKnot fluoro.
> Drains and humps in 3-7’, scattered eelgrass.
19. Caleb Kuphall
> Grass in 2-5′ — mostly eelgrass, some milfoil — in the backs of creeks.
20. Grae Buck
> Mostly riprap in creek mouths, 4-8′.
21. John Cox
> Small ditch on the main river channel with eelgrass and shells, 3′.
22. Drew Cook
> Shallow ditches in 2-4′, and secondary points leading into spawning pockets.
23. Greg DiPalma
> Submerged eelgrass, very patchy, 3-4′.
24. Cody Huff
> 6-10′ shell beds in creeks with clearer water.
25. Hunter Shryock
> Flipped wood and grass with the same bait, just changed the line for wood. 2-4′ in creeks.
The rest of the guys only fished 2 days.
26. Caleb Sumrall
27. Bob Downey
> Transitions from bluffy stuff into flatter banks — when the channel swing would bump against the hard bank on either end of the bluffs…transition into flats. 2-6′.
> Also used a Chatterbait up shallow later in the day.
28. Shane Lahew
> Eeelgrass in 3-6′, mostly in creeks or mouths of creeks.
29. Drew Benton
> “I fished the mid-lake area and concentrated on drains and guts leading into spawning pockets in the 2-5′ range. The key for me to get bites was milfoil.”
30. Jake Whitaker
> 2′ or less under boat docks in creeks and pockets.
31. Jeff Gustafson
> Jackall 110 Rerange jerkbait (blue pearl shad), 4-8′ in the back ends creek where it was clear.
32. Patrick Walters
> Also a 1/2-oz Z-Man Jack Hammer (fire craw and chart/white) with a Zoom Swimmin Super Fluke Jr, and a 1/2-oz Zorro HD Booza Bug jig (barren river craw) with a Zoom Big Salty Chunk (gp). All with the 17-lb Sufix Advance Fluoro.
> “I fished the mid-lake area, from Seibold to Goose Pond. Fished hard spots with stumps and scattered eelgrass on secondary channel swings before spawning pockets.
33. Brian Snowden
> Flatter banks, pockets with laydowns and eelgrass, 2-4′.
34. Chris Johnston
35. Darold Gleason
> Irregularities in eelgrass, especially if patches of milfoil mixed in. 6-8′, points and backs of drains.
36. Jamie Hartman
> Mostly fished around high spots in creek mouths and channel bends.
37. Whitney Stephens
> 3/8-oz bladed jig (orange/red) with a Lake Fork Magic Shad (gp).
> Scottsboro Swimbait (natural light) with a 1/2-oz Blue Rock Custom Tackle Swimbait Head.
> Mid-lake, focused on drains in 3-6′.
38. Josh Busby
> Mouths of creeks on the lower end of the lake, mainly 15-20′.
39. Cliff Prince
> 2-6′ mixture of eelgrass and milfoil, some main river.
40. Brock Mosely
> 1/2-oz NetBait football jig (bama craw) with a NetBait Paca Slim (gp, orange tips), 7′ 6″ Ark Reinforcer Rod, Shimano SLX Reel, 17-lb P-Line fluoro. Staging areas 12-16′ with big rock, some funnel areas like blown-out bridges and stuff.
41. Taylor Smith
> Eelgrass in 5′.
42. Cliff Pirch
> Creeks, mix of grass, some around docks, 2-5′.
43. Matt Arey
> Secondary bar off main channel in 4-6′.
44. Ray Hanselman
> Inside grasslines in 2-4′. Current breaks behind points, anything that would break the current. Flat grassy points on the back side.
45. Mark Menendez
> Pitching and skipping docks closest to the main river, in short pockets, 2′.
46. Scott Canterbury
> Eelgrass in 3-7′. Creeks and back channel of the river.
47. Cory Johnston
> Reeled it across the top of the grass, ticking it. Day 2 he switched from fluoro to braid, “definitely helped, you could feel it ticking the grass better.” Fish in 7′.
48. Chad Pipkens
> Clean clumpy grass, 4-6′, midway back in creeks.
49. Mike Huff
> Riprap and grass in the backs of creeks. Also fished boat docks on the channel side of creeks. 5-7′.
50. Brandon Cobb
> Shallow grass in creeks, 1-3′.
51. Cody Hollen
> Rock and grass in 3-6′.
52. Paul Mueller
> Long point dumped into secondary channel.
53. Cam Sterritt
> 6-8′ eelgrass clumps in the main river and backs of creeks.