What do you do on a deep brushpile lake? Fish shallow! That’s what James Niggemeyer did, and he got 2nd at the FLW Cup on Lake Ouachita, AR. Here’s the deets.
> “To me it was more an area thing — I had 2 key areas. So much of that lake looks the same, areas of vast wasteland with no life. These 2 areas had more life going on…could only do so much in practice. So…just stayed in there and tried to keep my lure wet.
> “I was catching fish that were shallow [bank out to 3′], feeding on little bluegill and largemouth fingerlings. One of the things I noticed up there was little pin minnows….
> “I caught them on areas that were just gravel and rock, also clay. Some areas had short grass and some kind of pond weed, some areas had timber in there. That’s why it was more of an area thing than anything specific.
> “I was roaming up and down the bank. I did my research beforehand — I watched the past Cups there on YouTube. Someone always got dangerously close to winning by staying shallow.
> “I’ve had success fishing out, but I’ve had more success over my career fishing shallow. I knew there’d be long periods between bites, sometimes hours between bites. But I knew if I fished the way I like to, I’d stay confident. I’d fish through the lulls doing what I like to do and was most confident in, instead of casting to a brushpile over and over hoping that something bites. I’d rather stay shallow and power-fish.”
The first day he had 6 bites, the 2nd day he had 4 and the last day he had 5….
> Main bait: “Homemade buzzbait (1/4-oz silver blade, gp toad-style trailer) — a guy on the West Coast makes them, you can’t buy them in stores.” 7′ 4″ H St Croix Legend Elite Rod, Cabela’s Arachnid Reel (8:1), 50-lb Tufline XP braid (green).
> “…practice was throwing treble-hook-type baits, but the first day of the tournament we had rain and heavy wind so the bank grass was floating…got caught on the treble hooks…so I went to the buzzbait.”
> “Key on the final day was the decision to just say, ‘Okay, I’ve exhausted all of this, I gotta run new water’…after 4 keeper bites the 2nd day. I started fishing outside of those areas I had trails…. All the fish I caught [day 3] except for 1 were in areas I didn’t fish the previous 2 days.
> “This tournament was a huge blessing to me. The last 2 years on the Elite Series were painful. Having a good year, just making the Cup was to me quite a victory — and a shot in the arm. I thank God I could experience this. It was a lot of fun at Ouachita. I had fun again, this whole year.”