I love the MLF Heavy Hitters idea. Qualify by catching bigger fish and then you have to catch bigger fish when you get there. And then I guess if you’re Alton Jr you want to win the deal by at least 50 lbs to show the world what an ultra-heavy hitter you are! EMOJ Here’s how he blasted his 2nd win by 59 lbs.
> “Going in I was a little bit bummed at how far ahead in the spawn things were at Caney, but I was able to find just enough fish to scratch by. I had a good first day of the tournament, but after that it was a terrible grind.
> “I did spend a day of practice at Bussey [Brake] because I’d never fished it before. I really liked it. I didn’t catch any giant ones, but just the number of bites. I had about 15 bites doing something unique…flipping that white [Geecrack] Bellows Shad around.
> “It was a bluebird day…flipping your typical creature baits and colors around. Then later in the day I picked up that white bait just to flip it a few more times and got 3-4 more bites. I thought that was kinda cool, something not many people would do.
> “I thought if I could just get to Bussey, that’s a technique and pattern I could ride to a good finish.”
As he said, he scratched his way into the Championship Round, a 1-dayer on Bussey Brake. Here’s what Bussey looked like:
> “I started out in deep willow trees [5-7′]. It was slick calm, shad were flickering and fish were blowing…. An hour in, the wind kicked up pretty bad, and from experience fishing deep willow and mesquite trees on Amistad and Falcon, I know those fish don’t like to be in those trees [when it’s windy]…they just don’t like it. I don’t know if they leave the trees, but they don’t position themselves in an aggressive manner.
> “So when the wind the started to blow in the 2nd period, I ran over to some cypress trees I got bites on in practice – it just looked like it was right for a spinnerbait.
> “I picked one up with the same white Bellows Shad on it…big trailer and the bulk it gives the bait allows me to reel the bait so much slower than a typical spinnerbait…keeps it higher in the water column at a slower speed.
> “The way the fish were positioned, I instantly went to catching them off the cypress trees and never left.
> “We had a 3-lb minimum – I had 19 scoreables but caught just as many non-scoreables that were [chunks].”
> Flippin rig: 3.8 Geecrack Bellows Shad (white), 5/0 Hayabusa Straight Shank Flipping Hook, 5/16-oz Reins Tungsten Sinker with bobber stopper, 65-lb braid, Kistler Chromium Reel (7.3), 7′ 3″ 4.5 power Kistler Helium 3 Rod.
> Spinnerbait: 1/2-oz BOOYAH Covert Spinnerbait (white, silver willow/gold CO) with a 3.8 Geecrack Bellows Shad (white), 20-lb Gamma fluoro, Kistler Chromium Reel, 7′ 3″ H Kistler Alton Jr signature Chungus Rod (“what’s special about that rod is the top 18″ is fiberglass…for reaction baits”).
> “No trailer hook. If I can get by by throwing a trailer instead of a trailer hook…I feel like it improves the hookup ratio. Having a big, bulky trailer, when they open their mouth it’s something they grab ahold of. I feel like it makes them bite more aggressively.”
Couple more deals
1. The guys didn’t fish out of their own boats, which is an even bigger now with electronics, but he said there was one benefit:
> “One of the things that was helpful, even though I did not like not being in my own equipment, was in Bussey Brake getting in and out of those trees…that 19′ Phoenix was really nice…being 2′ more nimble than I would’ve been in my bigger boat, being able to squeeze in and out of tight places.”
2. He’s a big Scoper and said he definitely missed his LiveScope.
> “The biggest shout-out has to be Kelsey, my wife. We have a 3-week-old at home. This was my first tournament since he’s been born, and saying leaving was tough would be an understatement. It was pretty emotional, tough to leave. Being a champ the way she was, while I’m chasing little fish around…she’s done an amazing job…I’m thankful for her.”