How ’bout Buddy Gross winning his second blue trophy in 2 years? 👊 First one was in June 2020 at Eufaula, AL, now the Harris Chain – different wins fo sho, here’s how he got this’n:
Pre-fish and practice
> “I went and looked at the lake in pre-practice, and deleted like 400 waypoints from the last time I was there. They annihilated all the hydrilla…anything off the bank in Harris, Little Harris, Eustis….
> “I went around the lake trying to find any irregularity…hard spots…. I found it and started practicing on it…did no good. Practice was terrible – I was thinking 10 lbs a day and if I get lucky and get a big one I might have 13 or 14. The bank deal wasn’t real good either.
> “…hard spot, about 6′ deep, it just had some shell on it and the fish were relating to it. The last day of practice is when I found it…on Lowrance Down Imaging – I have all 3 [electronics brands] on the boat. I just happened to be idling a grass patch and saw a hard spot.”
That’s where he started day 1 of the tourney.
> “The first day of the tournament I started there and all the fish were over 3 lbs. The day before they were smaller, but I only made 2 casts. …pile of fish there, a big school. I caught 30 of them – I caught ’em as much as I could, pretty early in the day.
> “I started looking and ran into another school bigger than that. I made about 5 casts and they were 4s and a 4.5 and I caught a 5. It was a better spot than what I just left.
> “I caught them on a lipless bait – just throwing it and reeling it back. It wouldn’t make it halfway back.” 3/4-oz SPRO Aruku Shad (gold/black back), 17-lb P-Line fluoro (blue), Daiwa Tatula SV Reel (7.3), 7′ 3″ H Fitzgerald All Purpose Rod.
> “When I fished ’em I used 360 to pinpoint them. Every fish within 500 yards was right there in one little group. I’m thinking now it might have been a shad spawn.
> “Day 2 I went back to the same [1st] spot and didn’t get a bite. Then I went to the 2nd spot where the big school was and didn’t get a bite. The conditions didn’t change – the fish were just moving with whatever bait they were chasing.
> “I learned my lesson – I’ll never fish a tournament again and let a school live. I will beat it til the brakes fall off it.
> “I was running points. Some were 400 yards apart, some half a mile – all were in about a 1-mile square. All were hard bottom, no vegetation. I went to the 3rd point and caught ’em.
> How he fished the swimbait: “I’d speed it up, let it fall, speed it up, let it fall – kind of like a yo-yo.”
> “Day 3 got slower. I started on all 3 of those spots and didn’t catch any. The 4th spot I went to I caught 1.
> “Then I left the lake I was on and started fishing grass clumps, isolated stuff. I caught 3 more on a Zoom Z-Craw Worm [junebug], Texas-rigged with a 5/0 Owner Needle Point Round Bend Hook, a 1/4-oz weight, 20-lb P-Line Fluoro, and the same rod and reel.
> “I was casting at those clumps. They were submerged, about 7-8′ deep.
> “Then I had one deep piece of hydrilla that came almost to the surface. It was 10′ deep. I flipped a 1-oz Z-Craw in the middle and caught a 4-lber. So I had 14 lbs. I had looked at one on the bed, a 6 or 7 I never could get it to commit.
> “Day 4 I started on the 1st spot, no bites. Same with my 2nd-best spot – no bites. I bypassed the 3rd and 4th spot and went to a new spot…shell bed with the wind blowing in on it. I started 100 yards up the bank and was coming down the bank – no bites – when on my 360 I see 15 fish out to my right, just hanging out, off the break 12-14′ deep.
> “I Power-Poled down and tried the Aruku Shad but I couldn’t get it deep enough. So I picked up a Carolina rig, threw it out there and it hardly hit bottom when a 3.5-lber hit the bait. I drug it again, no bite, but then the next 6 casts I caught ’em.
> “…3/4-oz weight, 20-lb P-Line 100% Fluoro main line to 15-lb P-Line CXX green mono, a 5/0 Owner Round Bend Needlepoint Hook, a Zoom Z-Craw Worm (junebug), and the same exact rod and reel.
> “I switched over [later in the same spot] to a 1/2-oz TX rig – I like the hookup ratio better with a TX Rig than a Carolina rig. I culled several times with it, then picked up the swimbait and caught like a 5-lber. I caught about 20, all on that same spot.”
> “The Lord just blessed us. I give all the credit to Him.
> “I’m a [Humminbird Mega] 360 fan. I’ve got the Garmin LiveScope and I turn it on periodically, but they cross pop a little bit. I pick which one I want to use that day and leave that one on. I like my 360 – I can tell all the structure…Spot-Lock down and I can tell everything going around me. Unless I’m chasing a fish, I use the 360 more [than Live].
> “My electronics are set up really nice with BoatLogix mounts. They keep me less fatigued so I can look at them all day long.
> “That 7′ 3” H [Fitzgerald All Purpose Rod] is my favorite rod. It’s just a good all-around rod. I throw a ChatterBait on it, big ‘Traps, a spinnerbait, all my swimbaits – I probably own 20 of that rod. That H rod is not super-heavy. I use the MH on smaller stuff and the XH if I’m in real heavy grass.”