By the insane weight — 77-15 of smallmouths over 3 days — it might seem like fish were just jumping in Seth’s boat. But he actually did fish for ’em. Here’s how he did it.
> “I found 2 mega-wads not far from each other, both on the south end of the lake.
> “…little rockpiles on side scan…stumbled onto them. I idled a bunch of that flat, marked like 100 [rockpiles] and 2 of them were loaded. I have no idea why those 2 were good, wish I did.”
Tournament: Day 1
> “Day 1 it blew 20 out of the NE — that’s really when the magic happened. I just got stupid lucky on a community hole I didn’t fish in practice.
> “I had nothing on the north end. Gussy [one of his roommates] had 1 wad of fish he found…started there in the morning. I caught 4 that weighed like 8 lbs…had to go do something else.
> “I was running by the Firecracker — there’s always like a 3-lber on that buoy, so I thought I’d slide in there and fill my limit out. I stopped a couple hundred yards short — I was going to drift by it — and fired out a crankbait. The first cast I caught a 4.5, hit Spot-Lock and banged 26-12 there.
> “I caught 10 big ones there in an hour. Stupid luck. If I’d idled 50 yards closer to the buoy, I’d never have found those fish.
> “It was a little rock flat off the current, similar to the place I was catching them down south…where the river dumps in on the north side of the lake. …11′, rocky sand stuff….”
Tourney: Days 2 and 3
> “I started day 2 of the tournament [at the buoy spot] but never had a bite.”
So he ran down to his south spots:
> “It was really close to the mouth of the river so there’s a lot of current…quite a bit shallower than any other fish I found. The other fish were in 18′, but both [his wad] spots were in 11′. Sand and rock, not grass — a bit of floating stuff….
> “…lot of bait in that area. They were puking up something pretty big [4-5”] — it was straight white but I think it was perch.
> “…lot of current…lot of stuff sucked through there. Anytime you get around that many fish they get pretty aggressive….”
> “…best wads of fish I’d ever found on St Clair. I normally fish out deeper [where you] get in an area that has them, like a half-mile square, and you catch one randomly every 20-30 minutes. These places…at one place [in practice] I caught one crankbaiting, hit Spot-Lock, cast 3 more times and got bit immediately. The other [spot] I caught one, and two 4-lbers practically came out of the water trying to get it. You don’t usually see that kind of stuff on St Clair.
> “I didn’t really know how good it was til day 3. I can honestly say I believe I caught a fish on at least 80% of my casts. It was stupid.”
> Rapala DT-10 (Helsinki shad), 12-lb Sufix Advance Fluorocarbon, 7′ 6″ MH Daiwa Tatula Elite Cody Meyer signature Search Bait Rod, Daiwa Zillion Reel (7.3). [Reminder that “DT” means “dives to” and the # is the depth.]
> Why that color: “It’s just what I started with — I had confidence in it.
> “I don’t like hitting the bottom [cranking] for smallmouths. I was a little oversized on my line, so it was running right around 9′. I was pumping it — like speed-fishing a Carolina rig: wind it down, a big long pull, reel it in [repeat]. They hit it right at the end of the pull, like a jig bite.”
> Boat position: “Honestly it didn’t matter, but it definitely seemed like they bit better when you brought the bait with the current.
> “…caught a lot fish on a dropshot too. But looking back, when it was all said and done, I weighed at least 14 on a crankbait.
> “I haven’t cranked much there in years before. You get a lot less bites but the ones you catch seem to be bigger. When you dropshot, you have to go through a lot more fish to get a big bag. Cranking fish tend to be 4+, dropshot fish like 2.5-3.5.
> “The [Humminbird] 360 was nice because I could see the rockpiles and make the perfect cast every time. Spot-Lock was everything because there was so much current and it took so much time to land them [dropshotting with light gear and cranking with trebles] that without that I’d be 100 yards form the spot every time I got one in the boat.
> “Mentally it was kind of a weird position — kind of a nothing to lose or gain tournament so just go out and have fun. That helps quite a bit. And working with my boys — Gussy, the Johnstons and Groh — worked out well. It helped a lot [this season].
> “My Bass Cat Eyra was nice for the rough stuff, My back is thankful.”