What’s amazing about this deal is that Will never fished Lay Lake before in his life.
Bahahaha just messin’! He knows that lake like the back of his hand, or even better than that, and his dad probably knows it even betterer. That sounds like an advantage, but as we all know at the highest level of fishing that home lake/fishing history deal can bite you.
Here’s how Will got his first blue trophy.
Going in and practice
> “Going into it I wasn’t really looking forward to this tournament because I didn’t want to expose everything my dad and I have worked for all my life – my dad showed me how to fish the lake. That being said, I’m not mad about it.
> “I spent 2 days marking brushpiles, and then after I got through with them I went back and looked at them on forward-facing sonar and threw a jerkbait out there [to] see what’s in there. I caught some big ones doing that in practice.
> “I never practiced on any place [except a couple] that helped me win that tournament. I never got inside of that dam during practice. These guys are so good, you cannot give them 1 inch.
> “…I really didn’t know…what my spots were gonna produce. I just had to run off history on that.
> “I have line-up points, and if I don’t make that right cast, I’m not gonna get bit. So it doesn’t take me long in one area. …make that exact cast, and he’s gonna bite or he ain’t. This is up there in the current….
> “…backup plan was the brushpiles….”
> “The 1st day I started on a shad spawn which was on a swimming-jig deal, and then I went to a Spook place that I had, a shallow bar. I caught some fish doing that, then I went and tried to fish for some bedding fish and caught a couple of them.
> “I wanted to have a limit before I ran up north to the dam. They were going to turn 2 turbines on at 1:00 and that day I weighed in at 4:30. I knew that was my best bet to catch ’em – it always sets up better with 2 turbines…because it pushes fish to the bank and makes them set up better.
> “I head up there and don’t get bit right away. They finally turn on the water at 1:00…took about an hour for those fish to set up right, and I caught 2 big ones and lost a big one, and then I had to run back to weigh-in.
> “The 2nd day I started on my Spook spot but never caught anything. They were schooling, but I never got a bite. I couldn’t make ’em bite.
> “So I went up to the dam and got up there about 9:30 after running some more stuff. I finally caught my first fish at 10:00. Pulled up there at a little deal at the dam…if I ever get bit there it’s a big largemouth. I threw in there and caught a 5-08 largemouth on a Davis Little Wills Shakey Head and Davis Shakey Worm.
> “Then I pulled back down on another little key area and caught me a couple big ones, and later in the day, like right before I had to come back in, I hit one more little rockpile…caught a 4.5-lb spotted bass.
> “The 3rd day I went and started up there at the dam, me and Koby Kreiger…me and him coordinated the whole time. He’s a great guy – he said, ‘Man you got a chance to win, you do whatever you need to do.’
> “I left where me and him were sitting and went over there on my on shakey-worm spot…caught 3 fish there. I left there and went down…started running some more current places that I hadn’t the first 2 days…out in the middle of the river and if I get bit there, it’s a big one. I caught a 4-lb spot…and then that was it. I only caught 5-6 fish that day….
> “The last day I started on a shad spawn where I caught some good fish in the past [but] the grass isn’t right there this year. I caught a 2.5-lb largemouth there…. Then I go to my Spook spot…they were schooling again but I couldn’t make ’em bite.
> “I ran to Cedar Creek to fish my brushpiles…I just couldn’t ever get bit…spent 45 minutes in there messing around with that. I left Cedar Creek and ran all the way up to the rockpile where I caught the big one day 3…third cast I catch a 3-lber….
> “I leave there and go up to the tailrace. I pick up the Davis Shakey Fish [scrounger-type head] and catch a couple spotted bass – I catch 1 keeper and 1 about 2.5 lbs. The next thing I know it’s 1:00 and I ain’t got but 3 decent ones and 1 baby. I’m not gonna live up here and die, so we’re gonna run and fish this 1 area I’ve been saving. If I’m gonna win this tournament, that’s what we’re gonna do….
> “I go into a creek and pull in there at about 1:20, and find fish on a bed…can’t make her bite. She’s only about 2 lbs but I needed her. She was just flaring it, barely grabbing at it…. I finally end up foul-hooking her and it was a blessing because I went on…another little creek.
> “…there’s a 4-lber that just pulled in there to spawn. When threw in there, she acted like a scaredy cat…fishing for her for like 15 minutes. Its 1:30 now.
> “I put on a [Bomber] Long A jerkbait. I put that on, and about 7 casts later she sucks it in. …while I’m getting her in, the back hook comes out and gets into my thumb. I looked at Jake, my cameraman…’Do you know how to get this out?’ he said, ‘No but I can watch YouTube.’ I said, ‘Oh no.’
> “It was an EWG short-shank Gamakatsu so there was no way I could get the line and pop it backwards. So we put ice on it, then I pushed it through my thumb. I didn’t have a pair of cutters with me….
> “…gotta go find somebody because I can’t fish like this. I had 4 good ones and one 12-incher. Coming back out, I look and there’s a 3-4 lber sitting there…I gotta hurry up.
> “…10 minutes getting out of [the creek to the mouth] so now it’s like 1:50…and I had to leave at 2:25. I get out to the mouth of the river and this guy has been following me…local guy, he wanted me to do good. He was rooting me on…. I said, ‘You have a pair of cutters?’ He said, ‘I do.’ He threw them in the boat. I cut it out, pushed it back through….
> “I go right back in there, put a new Gamatasku EWG on there…about the third cast I catch a 3-lber and by this time it’s about 2:05-2:10. And that’s what sealed the deal.
> “It was a God-sent thing that that man was out there. It was a blessing man.”
> Bed fish: Big Bite Fighting Frog (white), 4/0 Gamakatsu Superline Worm Hook, 1/4-oz lead weight (“that’s all I had – sometimes I’m old school”), 20-lb Seaguar Red Label fluoro, Daiwa Tatula Reel (7.3), 7′ 1″ H MMA Rod.
> 3/8-oz Davis Beast Swim Jig (blue glimmer) with a Fighting Frog (white) or Zoom Z Craw Jr (pearl white), 65-lb Seaguar Smackdown Braid, Daiwa Tatula SV Reel (8.1), 7′ 4″ H MMA Rod. Water willows and dollar pads in 2′.
> Davis Baits The Original Shakey Worm (gp) on a 3/16-oz Davis Little Wills Shakey Head, 15-lb Seaguar Red Label fluoro, Daiwa Tatula SV Reel (7.1), 7′ 1″ H MMA Rod (H because he was fishing “in the current [and] I had to get them out of the rocks”).
> Davis XSwim Fat Minnow (baitfish) on a 1/2-oz Davis Shakey Fish [scrounger-style head], 15-lb Seaguar Red Label fluoro, Daiwa Tatula SV Reel (7.3), 7′ 3″ MH MMA Superman Rod. “More big current breaks, bigger boulders…in the swifter current.”
> Does he often fish a jerkbait for bedding fish: “Yes especially this time of year when they’re suspended. When they first pull up to a bed, most times they’re sitting up in the water column. When you throw a dropshot, shakey head, a Fighting Frog or one of our wood jigs, they won’t hardly acknowledge it. That’s when I throw a Long A in there. It’s a floater, so when you jerk it it gets eye level with them and then floats up. It’s a bad mammy jammy.” The color was listed as “charteuse foil” which in the video looks like it might be “silver flash chartreuse back.” He put #4 Gamakatsu short shank trebles on it.
> Why Seaguar Red Label: “It just has never let me down and it’s hard to change.”
Forward-facing sonar did not play for him in the tournament:
> “The other big thing about that deal is that 112 Ultrex held me in that current and the Powerhouse Lithiums. I run 120 amp hours…2 16v trolling motor batteries. So I can sit up in that current all day long and not have to worry about it.”
> “My dad for sure, 100%. Because he’s the one who got me here, where I’m at. The sacrifice and all those long years and long nights with that bait business of his, to get me here. Now it’s time for me to put him up on the pedestal.”