Started the year with a win in the Toyotas, now he got a win in the Invitationals (Pro Circuit) so that’s one a month! Will he move up yet another level? Can he keep it going? We’ll find out! How he won at Clarks Hill, GA:
> “The biggest challenge for me at Clarks Hill was a lot of stuff was going on there – a lot of ways to catch fish. And guys were catching good ones.
> “I kinda bounced around a lot in practice. I caught some shallow that were nice, I caught some deep that were nice. I was trying to decide where and when to be – that was the biggest challenge.”
> “The 1st morning I started off offshore in a drain or ditch-type area where there was a lot of fish. I caught a quick nice limit of 15 lbs, spotted bass and largemouths…Strike King Baby Z Too on a Damiki rig.
> “After I got around 15 lbs I went up and started working my way toward some dirtier water. I hit a stretch of docks where I shook some nice fish off in practice. I caught a 5-lber on wacky-rigged Ocho [Strike King stick worm] and then made my move on up to even dirtier water. I started throwing around a bladed jig at isolated wood targets, and that’s where I caught the back to back 6-lbers and several other nice fish. [He ended up with almost 24 lbs.]
> “Day 2 I started the same way but I didn’t catch ’em. I left there and went up shallow for a while but I wasn’t catching them up there either. I caught a couple keepers here and there – think I had 9 lbs….
> “Then I backed off. I had marked a bunch of brush and started running brush in that mid range, like the 9-10′ range. That’s where I caught an 8-lber on a Strike King shakey head. That bumped me up to around 16.
> “I ran some more brush but didn’t have any luck. Then I ran back down to cleaner water, another drain/ditch area, and the fish were really biting. I culled out everything I had, all spotted bass, with the shakey head.
> “Day 3 I went straight up the lake. It was windy, cloudy, kinda raining – it really felt like the shallow fish would be active and biting. I started running everything I knew to run – laydowns, isolated wood targets, all of that. Aside from a random 4-lber under a dock on a wacky rig, I really hadn’t caught much.
> “I had probably 10 lbs with a 4-lber, and I knew that probably would not be enough even though I had a substantial lead. I knew the conditions were right for guys to catch ’em.
> “I ran back down the lake, got into cleaner water, and caught spotted bass on secondary points, brush and drains. I culled up to 14lbs and my smallest one at this point is like 2.5. I was running out of time. Most of these spotted bass were 2.5s – nice ones but I needed something different.
> “I started running shallow brush in that area. With 15 minutes left to go, I caught that 4-lber. It was a 2-lb cull – that’s what won it for me.”
> Shakey head: 5″ Strike King Ocho (KVD magic), 3/16-oz Strike King Tour Grade Shakey Head, 12-lb fluoro, Lew’s HyperMag Reel (7.5), 7′ MH Lew’s Elite Rod.
> Why the Ocho instead of a finesse worm? “I don’t know, it’s just something I’ve done for a long time. It probably falls different, glides…. I don’t keep a lotta trick worms in the boat.”
> Damiki-type rig: Strike King Baby Z Too (blue glimmer), 3/16-oz Damiki style jighead, 15-lb braid to 8-lb fluoro, Lew’s Custom Lite HyperMag Reel, 6′ 8″ ML Lew’s Elite Rod.
> “I’m always using [forward-facing sonar] even when I’m not catching fish with it. My Garmin LiveScope definitely was a key player – just being able to see bait, see fish, know I’m around productive water, see the brushpiles, all of that.
> “I was able to use the Garmin mapping as well – it’s great mapping. Clarks Hill really was a pattern lake. I ran a lot of water on that lake that I’d never fished…was able to look at the map, run to those areas I’d never been to, put my trolling motor down and use LiveScope to break it down effectively and efficiently. It’s a good all-around system.”