Top to bottom, just missing Swindle. Here you go:
1st: Jordan Lee
> The beeg weener found a point with a hard spot on it that for some reason had a giant school of 5-6 lbers on it. At first he cranked a Strike King 5XD (citrus shad) and fished a Strike King Bullworm (plum) on a 1/2-oz shakey head, then day 3 switched to a 1/2-oz football jig with a Strike King Rage Craw (summer craw) or Strike King Space Monkey (gp).
2nd: Steve Kennedy
> Fished wood (willows, stumps) with a 5/8-oz D&L Advantage Jig (white) with a Zoom Super Chunk (white) — lighter version of the jig he fished to finish 4th at the 2016 Wheeler Elite. Weighed one each day caught on a Dirty Jigs Swim Jig (gp) with a Zoom Super Speed Craw (gp).
3rd: Brent Ehrler
> Flipped shallow wood mostly with a Yamamoto D Shad (gp), weightless and with 1/4- and 5/16-oz weights and a 3/0 Gamakatsu Heavy Cover Flippin’ Hook with weights. Also used a weightless Senko (gp) with a 3/0 Gamakatsu EWG hook. Said rigged right, the D-Shad will slowly fall diagonally which he said was key to getting bites.
4th: James Elam
> Elam found something most didn’t: He was flipping in front of bushes, not in them. He used a 3.5″ Jackall Chunk Craw (gp) with a 3/8-oz weight and a 4/0 Owner Wide Gap Plus Hook, and a 5″ Senko (gp/black flake) with a 1/8-oz weight and 3/0 Owner Offset Shank Wide Gap Worm Hook. All on 17-lb Seaguar InvizX.
> Here’s those baits — don’t think he used the strawberry glazed Daylight Donut….
5th: Ott DeFoe
> Day 1 fished the new Storm Arashi Cover Pop popper (ghost pearl shad) around bedfish and stickups. Here’s a shot of that bait:
> Days 2 and 3: Fished riprap with a homemade swimjig (white/chartreuse) with a Bass Pro Shops Sassy Sally swimbait (light hitch), and fished stickups with a wacky-rigged BPS Fin-Eke worm (gp) with a #1 weedless VMC Neko hook (not yet released). Also caught one on a 6″ swimbait (shad) off a bed.
6th: Mike Iaconelli
> Fished deeper rocky funnel spots with a Carolina rig and shakey head. Rig: 6″ Berkley PowerBait Lizard (redbug and green pumpkin, changed on each pass), 1/2-oz barrel-shaped tungsten sinker, short leader, 3/0 VMC Ike Approved offset worm hook. Shakey: Berkley Bottom Hopper (gp), 3/16-oz VMC Rugby Jig.
> Flipped shallow wood with a Berkley Devil Spear (black/blue), 3/8-oz VMC Tungsten Flippin Weight and 4/0 VMC Flippin hook. Key was flipping with 25-lb Berkley 100% Fluorocarbon instead of braid because of the fishing pressure.
7th: Bradley Roy
> Fished road beds (primarily) and sunk brush on hard cover in 12′ with a 3/4-oz D&L football jig (bluegrass craw) and Cabin Creek Express Craw (gp).
8th: Bobby Lane
> Fished shallow flipping and dropshotting (wacky) a Berkley Havoc Pit Boss (junebug) with Flat Out Tungstens 3/8- and 5/16-oz weights, a #1 Trokar finesse worm hook (dropshot) or 4/0 and 5/0 Trokar 135 hooks. Also used a new/not yet released Yo-Zuri hard bait around the shad spawn.
9th: Jared Lintner
> Flipped shallow with a Jackall Flick Shake Worm (red/orange/green flake, a JDM-only color) two ways: dropshotted with a 3/16-oz Eco Pro Tungsten weight and 2/0 Trokar round-bend worm hook, and wacky with a 3/64-oz nail weight in one end and a 2/0 Trokar Light Wire Finesse Worm Hook.
10th: Kevin VanDam
> Jerked a Strike King KVD Deep Jerkbait (river shiner) and a regular KVD Jerkbait (crystal shad) over rocks in 8-12′. No special retrieve needed. River shiner is a custom color that Strike King painted for KVD:
11th: Edwin Evers
> Majority on 1/2-oz War Eagle spinnerbait (silver shiner, mostly double willow) around docks and sea walls. Also fished a 5/16-oz Andy’s E Series Finesse Jig (green craw) with a Zoom Little Critter Craw (gp) in the same spots.
> Caught a few Carolina-rigging a Zoom Baby Brush Hog (gp) on hard, rocky spots in 10-13′ — 3/4-oz weight, 3/0 hook.
12th: Jacob Powroznik
> Flipped bushes and beds with a V&M Flat Wild (watermelon red) with a 3/8-oz Elite tungsten weight and a 4/0 Mustad Denny Brauer Grip Pin Max Flippin’ Hook.
13th: Brett Hite
> Day 1 he didn’t pull out the bladed jig but after that he did: a 3/8-oz “EverGreen Jack Hammer by Chatterbait” (green shad) with a Yamamoto Zako (white). Fished it around sticks and stumps in 1.5-3′.
14th: Dave LeFebre
> Fished a prototype 5/16-oz Terminator jig (rootbeer/green flake) with a matching chunk. Check out how heavy the skirt is:
> Fished specific targets (“tiny ditches” around seawalls in 2′ or less. Key was fishing the jig really slow, ticking the bottom.
15th: Tim Klinger
> Fished shoreline cover with 1/2- and 3/4-oz Phenix spinnerbaits (lightning shad, Colo/Ind blades, no trailer), and flipping a Yamamoto Flappin’ Hog and NetBait Paca Craw (gp and b/b) with a 3/8-oz Swagger Tackle weight, and 4/0 Trokar wide gap and Gamakatsu Heavy Cover hooks. 25-lb Sunline Shooter line for both techniques.
16th: Ryan Lavigne
> Flipped flooded wood (bushes and sticks) Missile Craw Father and D Bomb (both gp) with 3/16- or 1/4-oz Kajun Boss tungsten weight and 4/0 Owner and Gamakatsu hooks.
17th: Randall Tharp
> Targeted spawners around sticks (sticking out of the water) and willow bushes with a Zoom Z Hog (gp), 3/8-oz Reins tungsten sinker and 5/0 VMC Heavy Duty Flippin Hook.
18th: Drew Benton
> Flipped shoreline wood (bushes, laydowns, etc.) with a Tightlines UV Hy-Brid craw (gp) on a 3/8-oz weight and 4/0 Owner Wide Gap Plus Hook.
19th: Cliff Crochet
> Fished isolated shallow grass with a SPRO Bronzeye Frog and a black/blue creature bait on a 3/8-oz tungsten weight and 6/0 Strike King Hack Attack Heavy Cover Hook.
20th: Cliff Pirch
> Fished banks of spawning cuts with a swimbait (shad) and offshore brushpiles with 6″ straight-tail Roboworms (red shades) with a 1/4-oz weight and light wire Rebarb hook.
21st: Jason Williamson
> 1/2-oz Buckeye J-Will Heavy Cover Jig (brown) with a Zoom Super Chunk (gp), fished it around wood in 2′ or less.
22nd: Ish Monroe
> Pitched visible beds (couldn’t see the fish) with a Missile Baby D Stroyer (super bug) with a 1/4-oz weight and 3/0 River2Sea Ish Monroe New Jack Flipping Hook.
23rd: Chris Zaldain
> “Bubba-shakeyed” a Zoom Trick Worm (black/blue) on a 5/0 hook with a 1/4-oz weight, around brush on a hard bottom in 6-8′.
24th: Justin Lucas
> Bedding/spawning areas: Discontinued 4″ Berkley Power Hawg (gp), 3/8-oz Eco Pro weight, 4/0 Berkley Fusion19 hook.
> Skipping docks: Berkley Havoc Bottom Hopper (gp), 1/8-oz shakey head.
25th: Todd Faircloth
> Power-shotted shallow (1.5-2.5′) wood with a Strike King Finesse Worm (morning dawn), 1/8-oz weight and 3/0 Hayabusa FPP Straight Worm Hook. Fish usually hit it on the first pitch, sometimes he shook and dragged it a little.
26th: Aaron Martens
> Fished sticks and brushpiles on points with a homemade spinnerbait (clear/green back with gold/silver willows) in 3 sizes depending on depth: 3/8-, 3/4- and 1.25-oz.
27th: Alton Jones
> YUM Bad Mamma (green pumpkin purple) with a 3/8-oz weight and 4/0 Zoneloc Wide Gap Hook. Mostly flipped willow sticks — a few boat docks and seawalls. 2′ or less.
28th: Wesley Strader
> Fished two moving baits, first around the morning shad spawn and then shallow, then deeper brush in 8-12′: 5/8-oz signature Bango Blade spinnerbait (#5 willow, #2 Colo, chart/white) with a Zoom Split Tail trailer (white); and a white Fish Head Primal Spin (bladed jig with a spinnerbait blade underneath) with a Zoom Super Speed Craw (white).
29th: Matt Herren
> Flipped “beanie bushes” in 2′. Used a prototype Reaction Innovations creature bait with a 1/8-oz weight and 5/0 Hayabusa straight shank hook.
30th: Greg Hackney
> Fished visible cover in 2 or less with a Strike King Rage Bug (summer craw and watermelon red) with a 5/16-oz Strike King Tour Grade Tungsten Weight and 5/0 Strike King Hack Attack Heavy Cover Flipping Hook.
31st: Skeet Reese
> Flipped a Berkley Havoc Pit Boss (vampire orange) on a 3/8-oz weight and 5/0 Trokar Flippin Hook, and a discontinued 5″ Berkley Hollow Belly Swimbait (Tennessee shad) on a 5/0 Trokar Swimbait Hook. Fished seawalls, shallow flooded brush and the shad spawn.
32nd: Dean Rojas
> Flipped shallow shoreline grass and rock with a Big Bite Baits Fighting Frog (watermelon red), 3/8-oz weight and 4/0 Gamakatsu Superline EWG Hook.
33rd: Jesse Wiggins
> Fished shallow spawning pockets with a wacky-rigged Zoom Magnum Shakey Head Worm (gp), and fished deep brush on points with a Zoom Trick Worm (gp) on a 3/16-oz shakey head.
34th: Jason Christie
> Fished a 1/2-oz BOOYAH Blade spinnerbait (tandem Colorados, chart/white) and flipped a YUM Christie Critter (gp purple). Fished the shad spawn early, then flipped.
35th: Keith Combs
> Focused on deeper (10-15′) brush with a Strike King 6XD (powder blue chartreuse) and a Carolina-rigged lizard (watermelon red flake).
> Day 2 he also flipped a Strike King Rage Bug (blue craw) around willows and flooded sticks in 2′ or less.
36th: Casey Ashley
> 1/2-oz jig (brown/orange) with a Zoom Big Salty Chunk (gp), skipped docks and fished seawalls and wood in 5′ or less.
37th: Charlie Hartley
> Was going to fish docks but the fish weren’t there so he flipped undercut banks and beds in 2-4′ with 3/8- and 1/2-oz D&L Advantage Jigs (gp) and a Smallie Beaver (gp) trailer.
38th: Darrell Ocamica
> Senko (blue black with large chartreuse flakes) TX-rigged with a pegged 3/16-oz weight. Pitched it in bushes, let it sink to the bottom. Said the fish crushed it but lost a bunch.
39th: Alton Jones Jr.
> Focused on shallow dock corners, seawall bulkheads, willow root systems and occasional spawners. Flipped a YUM Bad Mamma (gp purple) with a 1/4-oz tungsten weight and 4/0 Zoneloc Wide Gap Hook on 50-lb braid.
40th: Boyd Duckett
> Dropshotted shallow spawning areas with a wacky-rigged 4″ Senko (purple blue flake).
41st: Skylar Hamilton
> 3/8-oz Buckeye J-Will Swim Jig (white) with a 3.8″ Jackall Rhythm Wave swimbait (white), swam it in some grass he found in a canal. Also fished the same jig in green pumpkin with a Strike King Rage Craw (gp, tips dipped chartreuse).
> Caught the big one day 2 sight-fishing with a dropshot: wacky-rigged 4.8″ Jackall Flick Shake Worm (watermelon pepper), 1/4-oz dropshot weight, short leader, 2/0 Hayabusa flipping hook.
42nd: John Garrett
> Fished shoreline wood with a Strike King Ocho (watermelon red flake and black blue flake) with a 1/8-oz weight and 3/0 Owner Jungle Hook.
43rd: Hank Cherry
> Jerked a Livingston Cherry Picker (sexee shad) in 6-8′ down depressions leading to spawning beds. Retrieve speed cadence/didn’t matter.
44th: Andy Montgomery
> Flipped “a million docks and not a fish under them” with a 1/2-oz Strike King Skipping Jig (gp with matching chunk).
45th: Takahiro Omori
> Cranked a Lucky Craft 3.5 [not 2.5] DD (chartreuse/blue back) on rock humps in 12′. Key was hitting the rock.
46th: Randy Howell
> Skipped an unweighted wacky-rigged Senko (bubble gum) under overhanging limbs and around stickups.
47th: Bill Lowen
> 4″ Brush Hog-style bait (Cali 420) — discontinued but he had a mold made of it and:
> Fished it on a 1/4-oz Reins tungsten weight and 4/0 Mustad Round Bend Hook. Flipped “everything.”
48th: Shaw Grigsby
> Fished a Strike King Rage Swimmer (pearl flash) around docks, and fished spawners with a Rage Bug (blue craw) and 1/4-oz weight. Everything 2′ or less.
49th: Brandon Palaniuk
> Fished brushpiles and rockpiles in 12-14′ with a Rapala DT16 (Ike’s blue back herring) and a Zoom Trick Worm (gp/purple flake) on a 1/4-oz shakey head.
50th: Scott Clift
> Flipped willow bushes and other cover with a Tightlines UV Whisker Beaver (brown/red whiskers) and a Berkley Havoc Pit Boss (big Texan) with a 5/16-oz weight and a 4/0 Gamakatsu flipping hook.
51st: Will Hardy
> Fished docks and bushes with a Zoom Z Craw (South Africa special) and 3/8-oz weight, and a 1/2-oz Greenfish Tackle High Class Blade Michael Murphy Spinnerbait (willow-willow, no trailer).