UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Detroit River

5 Pros to Watch at Lewis Smith

5 Pros to Watch at Lewis Smith
Dawn is breaking and pro Jacob Wheeler gets ready for takeoff on day one of the FLW Tour on Lake Toho.

The second stop of the Walmart FLW Tour season rolls to Lewis Smith Lake – or “Smith” as most refer to it – which is located in northern Alabama. It offers a stark contrast to the first event held on Toho, as the fishery is a clear, deep impoundment with little grass to speak of.

Traditionally spotted bass have dominated this tournament due to their abundance and better average size. That will likely be the case again this week, however, largemouths may surprise some people since water temperatures are prime for them to swarm the bank.

Smith Lake is often overshadowed by its neighboring lakes of Guntersville and Wheeler but has pumped out several world-class spotted bass over the years. In fact, back in the 1970s and 1980s several world record spots were produced in Smith, and the current 8-pound, 15-ounce Alabama state record was caught from here.

Water temperatures are rising into the 60-degree range, and bass of both species are pushing shallow. Largemouths will flock to the bank quicker than the spots, which means many anglers will be targeting deep docks, main-lake points and rocky bluffs where spots are staging just behind the largemouths. The middle portion of the lake will receive most of the attention by anglers pursuing spotted bass this week. On the flip side, the shallow wood cover found in the east branch of the lake, and the Sipsey River will be a major player for largemouths. Cooler weather up in the week could hinder the shallow largemouth bite, but if someone can dial them in it could be the ticket to carry him throughout the week. Also, if the fish start to set up on beds then some solid weights could be brought to the scale.

If you haven’t finalized your FLW Fantasy Fishing team then head over to FantasyFishing.com and make your picks.

 

1. JT Kenney – The hot hand right now goes to Kenney, who started his season out with a well-deserved victory on Toho. Smith might not be the ideal lake for Kenney, but he is actually one of the most versatile anglers on Tour. It wouldn’t be surprising for him to catch all spotted bass one day and bring in a limit of largemouths the next. Whether it’s flipping bushes, sight-fishing or using a drop-shot, Kenney can do it all. He has a tendency to get on a roll and ride that momentum throughout the season, so it’s a solid bet that he won’t stumble here.

Fantasy Verdict:  For just $29 there is no reason to not have Kenney on your team, especially if you are looking for someone who can adapt to changing conditions.

 

Dave Lefebre headshot

2. Dave Lefebre – After a tough season last year, Lefebre has a new mindset and is ready to make it back to the Forrest Wood Cup. This tournament is a prime place for him to gain some valuable points to do just that. Back in 2013, Lefebre had a strong finish on Smith with a combination of spots and largemouths. This time things are shaping up better for him to target solely largemouths, which is more in his comfort zone. He is a strong shallow-water fisherman and is skilled with a crankbait – both should be big players this week. Look for Lefebre to do especially well if he can get fish going on a Rapala Shad Rap.

Fantasy Verdict: Lefebre might be slightly overpriced at $33, but with conditions shaping up the way they are it seems like he would be a strong addition to any Fantasy Fishing team.

 

Jimmy Reese headshot

3. Jimmy Reese – Lewis Smith is the perfect lake for this California rookie to show the field what he can do. Reese is a well-known angler back in his home state and knows a thing or two about catching spotted bass. Though the fish may not be out deep where graphing plays a role, Reese has years of experience targeting spots as they move toward the bank. A Californian won this tournament the last two times, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see another West Coast guy bring home the hardware. In a pre-practice trip to Smith, Reese located some better-than-average spots, and you can bet he didn’t loose track of them. This is his best chance to date to break through in a major event.

Fantasy Verdict: Reese is almost an automatic pick for just $10. He is one of the more experienced spotted bass anglers in the field for a price that is too good to be true.

 

Jacob Wheeler Headshot

4. Jacob Wheeler – Back in 2013 Wheeler barely missed the top-10 cut, finishing in 11th place. He got tuned into a largemouth pattern late in the event and couldn’t make up the ground to break into the top 10. A competitor like Wheeler won’t make that same mistake again. The former Forrest Wood Cup champion can do it all, but when the fish get shallow he is in his element. Expect to see him fish a little bit of everything and utilize his instinct to fish the moment. From fishing a jerkbait to sight-fishing, Wheeler should make things interesting in this tournament. The dock talk says junk-fishing will be the way to go, and Wheeler is one of the best.

Fantasy Verdict: He is almost at the top of the price range at $35, but Wheeler would be a great base for building your team.

 

5. Mark Daniels Jr. – Talk about a man on a mission. Daniels is determined to prove that professional fishing is where he belongs, and he is doing a standup job of it. In his first three tournaments of the year he has claimed back-to-back-to-back top-10 finishes (two Rayovac FLW Series tournaments and the Tour stop on Toho).  Daniels, who is in his second year as a pro on Tour, seems to be in that groove that anglers such as Jason Christie and Andy Morgan have experienced in the past. The best part is that he is having fun and fishing relaxed, which has shown to be the ultimate combination for success. Daniels has no issues with chasing spots but is just as likely to find largemouths in the shallows. As long as he is in the zone there is seemingly no stopping him.

Fantasy Verdict: At just $18, you better get him while his price is low because if he stays hot this could be his lowest price all season.

Tags: flw-tour  lewis-smith-lake  spotted-bass  kyle-wood  pre-tournament  2015-03-26-lewis-smith-lake 

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