Ott’s Classic winning baits, Ott gave Ike a bait to beat him with?? Other top Classic baits

Well how ’bout that? Another massively awesome Classic. Next year it’ll feel a little different for sure, but it’ll still be a massively awesome Classic. TN folks and other bass-heads showed out — awesome to see, except some folks on the water, more on that below.

Had this BassBlaster well underway before my computer literally burned up, so please forgive that fact that Blaster Classic stuff will be a little slower gettin’ out this week. **If you sent me big bass or derp pics, news or anything else in the last MONTH, pls resend it — cuz I lost all my email too (doh #techsavvy). Thanks much.

Hoped to have ALL the Classic competitors’ baits done for this Blaster, but don’t have ’em — expect all of ’em by the next one. Tx much to all the pros for the info….

>> If you’re getting the BassBlaster for the first time it’s cuz a bud signed you up!

Today’s Top 5

5 questions with the new champ. 

Startin’ here: Ott said what I thought was some real insightful stuff onstage and I was curious about it. His “God makes a way” message really spoke to me, maybe you too. Plus the “God used a full bladder and Keith Poche to make a way” quote was $$$….

Seems to me like sometimes Christian athletes don’t really know how to give the glory to the Lord. I mean, it’s easy to say something, but does it mean anything to folks? I thought Ott’s words did. Asked what inspired him and he said:

> “I was actually convicted watching what Paul Mueller did [what Paul said after winning the Lanier Elite] and the way he did it. He took it all off himself. It showed me a better way to do that.”

So there you go Paul! Not sure you get the full bladder part too, but it’s still cool man hahaha! Anyhow, here’s 5 Qs with the champ.

1. How did you avoid the local jinx of knowing too much history?

> “Really our conditions helped me with that. We had such abnormal conditions — it wasn’t anything I’d ever seen before. …I’d never been out there with that much current flowing.

> “The first time I put my boat in in practice, I just put the trolling motor down…and fished, instead of running from spot to spot. I went to areas I knew were good but fished everything. When I got a bite here and a bite there, then I saw the similarities and tried to build a pattern from there based on the current conditions. Once I had a pattern, I knew places that matched up with it….

> “The Opens on Douglas…even though I haven’t had success at them, they prepared me a lot for [the Classic]. The first Open…I was still pretty new with B.A.S.S. and got some attention but nothing crazy. The first Elite…that was the first dose of a bunch of press in an event like that. Then the Elite at Cherokee kind of helped me learn how to manage expectations and responsibilities having a tournament at home.”

2. What’s the one fish you remember catching in this weekend?

> “The 6-lber the first day, my 4th fish. It was a little after 10 in the morning. I already had 3 keeper largemouths and a keeper smallmouth. I pulled up to fish this real shallow rocky point. I was fishing the outside of it — it was the prettier side, with more drop. But I was looking at it…that inside I’d always caught one on. It was flatter, had some rock.

> “I kicked the boat around and started going inside there. I hooked that fish and thought it was a carp or a drum…. When I landed that fish [a 6], I was like: I could win the Classic.

> “You don’t catch a whole lot of 6-lbers on that lake. You just don’t. So I knew a fish like that…it’s like I got to weigh in an extra fish…. It made me think of the 6-lber I caught at LaCrosse [WI] when I won [the Elite] there.”

[That fish was caught on his customized Storm Arashi Vibe lipless, pic below.]

3. Seems to me like God’s timing usually isn’t as fast as we’d like it to be. I know you just won 2 days ago, but do you see that timing yet in your win?

> “Absolutely — with the state our industry’s in [change at the top of the pro ranks] and the fact that to my knowledge this’ll be my last Classic…. I’d much rather have won the Classic before this one and every other one, but that’s the way it’s always been in my life. A lot of times it’s not when I wanted it, it’s always when it’s best for Him.

> “Along with that, I feel such a great responsibility — apparently He thinks I’m ready for it right now — I feel a huge, huge responsibility to be the guy who’s going to be bridging the gap between [B.A.S.S. and MLF] this year where there’s so much change.”

4. Bass-heads want to know — is Ott short for Otter?

> “It’s actually not — it’s not really short for anything. It was my great-uncle’s nickname — his name was Arthur, his nickname was Ott. I’ve been called Otter ever since grade school. I think it matches up pretty good — river otters….”
[Sounds like…it IS short for Otter? (heehee Ott!)]

5. That’s at least 2 big wins with shoes — will you always fish wearing shoes now?

> “No, absolutely not. Only out of necessity I had to here. It really would’ve been such a handicap for the rest of the field had it been warm enough for me not to wear shoes.”

HAHAHA love it!

Should mention Aaron Martens denied to me at the Classic that he wears toe-shoes. He said they’re toe-socks. So there you go.

How Ott caught ’em. 

TONS of good deets on, here’s the bait stuff only:

> His main bait was a Storm Arashi Vibe lipless crank. Color was custom — “the factory color was rusty craw, but I took an orange, black and red Sharpie and colored the belly orange, the side and topside red, and made the back and crawdad stripes black. I caught 4 the first day, 2 the second day and 1 the third day on it.” 7′ 6″ MH Bass Pro Shops cranking stick, Johnny Morris Platinum Reel (6.8), 17-lb BPS XPS fluoro. Hooks changed to #2 VMC Hybrid trebles.
[Seigo Saito/Bassmaster shot:]
[Here’s that color undoctored:]

> Why color the bait: “I like a reddish-orange lipless crank this time of year, especially in dirty water like we had. Storm has a red craw [color], but it’s really vibrant red. I wanted something that had more orange on it. I still wanted orange and red, but didn’t want it super-vibrant red. The water was dirty but it was sunny out so I wanted something that wasn’t quite as in your face….

> “I’d sit on points and bars — sometimes as shallow as 3-3.5′, sometimes as deep as 7′ — and make casts to where you could barely see the bottom, like 1.5′. I’d hold the rod up and try to fish the bait slowly. It was almost like fishing grass…contact with the bottom and pop it off, a slow to moderate retrieve.”

> His 5th fish (4-lber) on day 1 was a Rapala DT-4 (dark brown crawdad) with #4 VMC Hybrid short shank trebles. “I picked up the rod with the Arashi Vibe on it, set it back down, and dug the DT-4 out of the rod box…that spot has a lot of real shallow stumps on it, and I felt like I’d get hung before I’d get bit on the lipless.” Fished it on a 7′ MH BPS cranking stick, same reel, 14-b XPS fluoro.
> His other bait was 3/8-oz bladed jig (chart/white) with a white minnow-style trailer. Same rod as for the Arashi, BPS CarbonLite Reel (7.5), 17-lb XPS fluoro. “Those fish were on docks.  Some were shallow pole docks in the backs of creeks, and the ones on the final day were outside the wall of a marina on the main lake. The fish were on the outside edges. Slow, steady retrieve.

> “2 things really helped me, both with my Humminbird units. One was Lakemaster mapping. I know this lake like the back of my hand, but it’d been 8-10 years since I fished down there much, and having that Lakemaster map…being able to get right back on those place I fished a long time ago was big. And the actual fishing part with the 360 — I could see how the rock was running out, so I could make targeted casts with that lipless and bounce it across the bottom.”

Get the full pattern deets on

2nd-5th Classic baits. 

2nd: Jacob Wheeler

Jacob fished 3 baits — a Storm Arashi Vibe (rusty craw), an unnamed squarebill (red craw), and a Rapala DT-6 (Ike’s demon). The Vibe was for pea gravel points and “sometimes in creeks” in 1-3′. The squarebill was fished on the flatter banks in 2-4′. And the DT-6 was for bluffs and steeper banks.

He fished the Vibe and the DT-6 on a 7′ 3″ MH Wheeler signature Duckett Rod [don’t think his sig series rods are out yet?], Duckett 360 RV Reel (6.3) and 17-lb Sufix fluoro (Vibe) and 14-lb Sufix fluoro (DT-6). The squarebill was on a 7′ 2 MH Wheeler signature Duckett cranking rod.

3rd: Jesse Wiggins

Jesse’s 2 main baits were crank. One was a Jackall Bling 55 (crawfish) fished “around any shoreline cover — rocks, logs, stumps, laydowns” in 2-5′. The second was a flat-sided crank (pictured) fished on shallow points with gravel or chunk rock in 5-7′.

> “Threw them both on a 6′ 10” St. Croix Legend Glass Crankbait Rod, a 6.4:1 reel and 12-lb Seaguar AbrazX fluoro.”

4th: Mike Iaconelli

> “80% of my fish came cranking. I fished 2 cranks. A Rapala DT-6 was the main bait. The first 2 days I fished ‘Caribbean shad,’ which is a faded chart/blue. The last day the water cleared up a little, like a couple inches, and they wouldn’t hit that [color] as good so I switched to the ‘smash’ color — more of a straight shad color.
> “I was fishing what I call ‘natural rock’…flat rock in 4-6’. Off the bank — the really good flat rock wasn’t right on the bank. Veins of it would run out off the bank. Flatter red clay banks…were way better than the banks where you could see it on the bank. [Bank] stuff got more pressure.

> “The other crank is a bait Rapala discontinued [this year] that Ott modifies. It’s a DT Flat 3…. Ott replaces the bill with a circuit-board bill in the nose at a different angle, and repositions the line tie so it comes out of the nose [in the pic below, the Ott bait is at the bottom]. …fished the shallow stuff…gravel bars on the main lake. In the tournament I ended up catching some largemouth there. I fished it in a color called ‘penguin,’ an Ike’s Custom Ink pattern — like a shad pattern with darker back on it. It caught some every day for me.”

> Those baits were fished on: 7′ 3″ M Abu Ike Series Delay Rod, Abu Revo Ike Reel (“6.6:1 to force myself to slow down a bit and have a little more power”), and 10- and 12-lb Berkley 100% fluoro (12-lb only for the Ott bait).
> “I also caught a few on a 1/2-oz chart/white Molix Water Slash spinnerbait, double COs, 1 silver, 1 gold, with a chart Berkley Power Grub. I fished it when I got to a laydown near a bank….

> “I caught some on a 1/2-oz black Missile Mini Flip Jig with the 2.75-inch Berkley Meaty Chunk (b/b) around docks.”

5th: Mark Daniels Jr

[Not sure who took this shot but it’s killer:]

> “I had 2 main baits. One was a 1/2-oz original Rat-L-Trap (red crawfish). The key with that bait is to change out the hooks…Owner ST 56, #4s. This time of year that’s my preferred hook of mine. That’s a short-shank hook I feel really hooks them well early, when they’re really eating the bait well.

> “That’s a classic color and it’s one of the first color ‘Traps I ever used as a child. On the California Delta [where he grew up], that particular color is a staple. I have a lot of confidence in it when the water’s off-colored like that in the springtime, when crawfish are on the menu.

> “I was fishing it on very flat, subtle transition points on the main river leading into spawning bays, in Loudon.

> “My 2nd bait was a Bill Lewis MR-6 (strawberry craw, also with the hooks changed to the Owners)…fished in the same type of places. I had a couple other areas that had more depth on them….
> “The fish in those creeks got real goofy during the tournament. My back-up stuff that was on the main river ended up becoming the main deal for me during the tournament.”

> 12-lb Seaguar AbrazX fluoro for the MR-6, 15-lb for the ‘Trap, 6.8:1 Johnny Morris Platinum reels.
> What happened on day 3: “I don’t think much changed. I think I overly-pressured my areas — I caught everything I could on day 2 to get into the position I was in [to maybe win it]. I knew I’d have to fish new areas. It just never happened — the fish never showed up man.

> “The fish were sliding up to stage, so if those fish don’t make that move, you don’t catch them.”

Rest of the Classic patterns comin’ Thurs!

What if Ike beat Ott with Ott’s own bait?? 

Hole up, hole up — if you read Ike’s pattern above, he was fishing a bait Ott altered himself and gave to Mike. But that’s not the whole story — check it, from Ike:

> “I got this bait from Ott 3-4 years ago. I only had 2-3, and on the off day [Monday], I went over to his house and he gave me a couple more.”

Right before the Classic! Asked Mike how crazy it would’ve been to beat Ott with Ott’s own bait and he said:

> “When I went to his house [Monday]…we were hanging out shooting the breeze, and we were both like, ‘If I don’t win, I hope you do.

> “Anyone else would’ve freaked out [if Ike won on the bait], but I think Ott would’ve been totally cool with it. He’s that kind of guy.

> “It’s one of the best flat-sides ever seen in my life, a really unbelievable bait. It’s amazing.”

Misc Classic stuff…. 

Will have you more in the next Blaster but here’s a few randoms for ya:

> A dude who works for B.A.S.S.’s tourney dept — let’s call him “Chris B” (lol) — said to me one time that if local knowledge is going to hurt a guy, you usually see that the first day. Obviously it didn’t hurt Ott for reasons noted up top, but thought it was a good time to share a great observation…by Chris B…of the tourney dept…at B.A.S.S…hahaha Chris!

> Shoutin’ out these “newer” guys in the top 10 — expect great things (or more great things) outta all of ’em:

– Jacob Wheeler — Well-deserved rep for stepping up in big tourneys.

– Jesse Wiggins — If you don’t know who he is yet, you will.

– Mark Daniels Jr, aka MDJ, who rooms/runs with Wheeler — 1) He’s got something different fishing-wise, not exactly sure what it is yet but tell me if you see it; 2) Dude sneaks up on the lead — don’t count him out of anything.

– Brandon Lester — Hasn’t gotten a win yet but has a lot o’ top 10s, several of ’em last year so gitcha ready….

> Believe Dean Rojas finished his B.A.S.S. career with his 50th top 10 finish. #stout

> Seemed to me that the Rapala DT-6 (mostly in the Ike’s Ink colors), Rapala Shad Rap (Rapala gets the award for having killer colder-water cranks), Strike King KVD 1.5 and the Z-Man Jack Hammer were baits lots of guys were throwing. Also heard the the SPRO John cranks mentioned more than I ever have at a tourney — interesting. Lot of guys also mentioned the not-yet-released Berkley Fritts Side flat-side crank.

> On the waaaaaaaaay bottom end of shout-outs is the amazingly high number of reports from competitors about locals (presumed locals) fishing their spots. Several said it was the worst they’d ever seen — fishing when a pro left, before a pro got there, while a pro was fishing (right next to him), beating a pro to a spot the next morning and fishing it, not a moving off a spot when a competitor got there, catching a fish in front of a pro then holding the fish up to him and dropping it back in the water…WTHeck??!! That is BULL HOCKEY. Of course it’s public water, but come on — not fishing for 1 weekend to show these guys some manners and courtesy won’t kill you. Dang, crazy.

If you were out on the water just watching, cool — they’re not talkin’ ’bout you and props to ya!
Ya got me
Jay Kumar’s BassBlaster is a daily-ish roundup

of the best, worst and funniest in bassin’, as curated by me — Jay Kumar. I started, co-hosted Loudmouth Bass with Zona, was a B.A.S.S. senior writer and a bunch more in bassin’. The Blaster is the #2 daily read on any given day in the wide world o’ bass so thanks for readin’!

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