Three whole derbies into his Elite Series career, Wesley Strader won one. Not too dang bad! Here’s how he did it — which seems a little complicated because it changed for him every day.
> “The first day I started out in a cove on a shad-spawn deal and it wasn’t very productive. So then I switched and fished main-lake docks.
> “I had a good limit by 10:30 so I went and practiced. A lot of stuff I usually catch them off, I never had a bite in practice. I tried again and never had a bite in 3 hours, so I ruled that out and I think that helped me.
> “On the docks were main-lake spawners — fish that don’t go to the coves. I could tell they were spawning…I caught a 6 and a 3 off one dock in the same spot.”
> He fished a PH Custom Lures crank that’s not out yet, called a “W’s Secret” in a shad color called “something special:” white sides, chart on throat, glimmer blue and black back, #4 Trokar TK315 trebles. 7′ 5″ Powell 755 Endurance composite cranking rod, Lew’s Magnesium Reel (6.4, “wind fast”), 16-lb Gamma Edge fluoro.
> Also flipped a Texas-rigged 6″ Big Bite Baits Trick Stick (gp) with a 5/0 Trokar TK130 hook and 1/8-oz Reins Sinker, and culled out 3 later in the day on a SPRO Popping Frog (midnight walker) on 50-lb Gamma Torque braid. “It was a late-afternoon bite on that frog — trees and bushes in pockets.” (Also caught one on it day 3.)
> First he flipped main lake docks, then went to the pockets with the crankbait.
> “I fished the shad spawn in pockets. They were spawning around rocks — it was weird. They didn’t really spawn around trees, it had to be rock-oriented.”
> Fished the crank and a 5/8-oz Zorro Wesley Strader Bango Blade spinnerbait (chart/white) with a Zoom Split Tail trailer (white pearl), same rod, reel and line as for cranking.
> Also caught a couple flipping.
> “I fished pocket docks — I never went to the main channel docks again after day 1.
> “The fish [bass] were underneath the walkways on day 3, not out on the floats. I was casting the crankbait under the walkways.
> “I caught one fish on the spinnerbait. I flipped and never had a bite.”
> “I caught a limit on the spinnerbait and buzzbait in the morning, then when the sun got up the flipping bite was back on again. I was flipping brush in areas I’d never made a cast before in my life.
> “I didn’t catch one on the crankbait. After the sun got good and bright then I ended up catching them on a Zoom Z Craw (white) and a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver (tramp stamp). 5/0 Trokar TK 130 hook, 5/16-oz Reins sinker, 7′ 9″ Powell Endurance 795 Rod, Lew’s Magnesium Reel (7.5), flipping rod, 20-lb Gamma Edge fluoro.
> Fish were in 7′ or less.