Who is Joey Cifuentes and what business does he have winning just his 2nd Bassmaster Elite tournament…after finishing 19th at the first one? Shoot he doesn’t even live in FL! EMOJ Amazing start, congrats to him, here’s how he did it:
> “I think that was my 3rd time on the lake. The FLW Tour event there that B Lat won I did terrible. Then I fished a few tournaments with my dad – he was a co-angler and we fished some Toyota Series events. We fished [a Seminole ‘Yota] and we both made a top 10. So I learned a lot about where we fished and where I needed to be….
> “Going into this tournament I said I will focus my time on that little area in Spring Creek. I know it’s good, I know that’s where most of the big fish live. So I went in there [in practice] and picked that place apart. The weather was terrible for the fishing I was doing…I pressed it hard. I think a lot of guys shied away from it.
> “I found those fish out in the timber. I thought there’d be a lot of pre-spawn fish so I didn’t know if it would hold up…warming trend…a lot of fish were going to the bank. One of the days I caught some post-spawn fish so I had fish coming and going.
> “…I had a day in practice where I had 3-4 really big fish doing what I was doing. I decided that’s what I’m gonna do. A had a little shallow thing punching some mats…in case the weather got bad.”
> “As the tournament progressed I found by looking at my LiveScope that the bigger bass were hanging around bigger stumps. Really big cypress trees that were cut off at about 6-7′ up from the bottom. Those big fish were hanging around those…in little spots.
> “I fished between them from stump to stump because you can’t idle around [with all that wood].
> “I did the exact same thing every day. …day 2 I left and went to the little shallow spot – I just wanted to hit it one time. I only had 1 bite in there, a 3-lber and lost it. Then I went back to one of my stumps and caught a 6-lber that gave me 26 lbs. I said, ‘I’m not leaving the whole tournament.’
> “My goal was 20 lbs every day, then lay off. [He didn’t guard his spot because no one else was around.] I went off and looked at different stuff – I caught a bunch of fish but just 3-lbers. I tried to expand, but that one little area was just where the bigger fish were.
> “I really had no pressure and the locals were great.”
How he fished
> “LiveScope – everyone says I make it look easy but it’s not that hard to me. Just look for a bass and you throw it at ’em.
> “The fish I was catching, you couldn’t make long casts. There’d be 20 trees between me and each cast I made. So it was really important to make short little pitches. You couldn’t make a cast in there – you would never get a bass in.
> “It’s always best throwing at fish with LiveScope to put it as close or right on ’em as you can. Most of the time when I caught my biggest fish…as soon as it was going by them and they saw it, they would nose down on it and eat it. Some would nose down and wouldn’t eat it. I’d maybe make 3-4 pitches on ’em til they would bite, but a lot of them wouldn’t bite.
> “The dropshot felt right. I tried throwing a jig or a big straight-tail worm at ’em, and it just seemed like I needed to be more finesse. I’m not sure if it was because of pressure or what, but they were biting a dropshot real well.”
> Dropshot: Straight-tail worm (morning dawn – “I’ve been fortunate to fish in a lot of places, and I’m telling you it doesn’t matter where you go in the country, I’ll always go to that color. It’s so good. Something about that thing down there in the water…they love it.”)
> Dropshot rig: 1/0 weedless dropshot hook, 12″ leader, 1/4-oz dropshot weight, 7′ 6″ MH Abu Fantasista X Spin Rod (“instead of a regular 7′ M I wanted a big long rod because I had to power the fish up – I didn’t want them running away and pulling too far”), Abu REVO X Spinning Reel, 15-lb Berkley X5 Braid (crystal/white – “you can see the line better and watch it drop”) to 12-lb Berkley Trilene 100% Fluoro.”
> “I don’t have an electronics sponsor…I run [Humminbird] 360 and Garmin LiveScope, and Humminbird Mega Side Imaging and Lowrance Side Imaging. You can’t idle around in those trees, so the only thing I utilized this past week was the Garmin LiveScope – and that new LVS-34 [transducer], to me it’s the deal.”
> TRC Covers – “It’s a veteran-owned company that makes my rod and reel covers. They’re really great folks.”
> MillerTech batteries – “It’s owned by an Amish guy and they make some really good batteries. As much trolling around as I was doing, I had zero issues all day long…barely ran my big motor all day.”