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Top 10 Patterns from Lake Eufaula

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Eufaula
Bryan Thrift started running the bank and quickly popped a decent keeper.

Bryan Thrift won the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State on Lake Eufaula by keying on isolated pieces of cover – brush piles, stumps, logs, rocks, etc. – for four days and hitting as many spots as possible during competition hours. Others in the top 10 fished a very similar program, but there were a few wild cards.

Here’s the rundown of Eufaula’s top finishers.

 

Troy Morrow shows one off for the crowd. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to hold off Bryan Thrift.

2. Morrow Made the Most of His Brush Piles

With a complete knowledge of the brush piles on Eufaula’s lower end, Troy Morrow led after days two and three. But a 12-pound, 2-ounce limit on the final day left the door open for Thrift, and Morrow slipped to second with 66-15.

Ironically, many of the pros in the top 10 at Eufaula unknowingly found many of the same brush piles on the lake’s lower end, and the fish living around those brush piles were extremely sensitive to fishing pressure. A review of their weights will reveal big day-one catches and sudden fall-offs after that, mostly because so much overlap on the piles was occurring.

“I really thought some of the piles closer to the creek channels were replenishing better than they were,” Morrow says. “The biggest mistake I made was going back down there [the lower end] on the final day. The piles had been beaten down too badly by then. I should have stayed up near Cowikee on some old piles I knew about. I had a bunch of them in that area. I came back up early and caught some out of those piles on the final day pretty quickly, and that’s when I knew I had screwed up. I should have started and ended my day right there.”

For the week Morrow fished a plum apple Zoom Magnum Ol’ Monster worm with a 1/2-ounce Eco Pro Tungsten weight on a 6/0 Gamakatsu hook tied to 20-pound-test Sunline fluorocarbon. He also used a SPRO Little John DD crankbait (citrus light) tied to 16-pound-test fluorocarbon. When things got tough he dinked around the piles with a 6-inch straight-tail worm on a drop-shot rig.

 

3. Davis Relied on a Few Key Piles that Others Missed

Clent Davis opened up the event with a 22-pound, 9-ounce limit, which made him the day-one leader. But his weights dropped each day after that, leaving him in third place with 66-01.

Like Morrow and others in the top 10, Davis fell victim to too many pros fishing the same piles during the course of the week.

“There is no doubt that the piles that produced a majority of my fish were the precious few that no one else found,” Davis says. “At the beginning of the week, I had 50 or 60 prime piles. But it’s amazing how many of us all found the same piles. I only had maybe eight or so that no one else found, and I could let them rest a couple of hours between visits, which was key.”

Davis’ primary lure on his piles was a 7-inch swimbait made by Ben Parker (soon to be available from Nichols Lures) that he fished on a homemade 1-ounce jighead and tied to 15-pound-test fluorocarbon.

 

3. Brush and Hydrilla Key for Strader

Wesley Strader made his fourth consecutive top 20 with a fourth-place showing a Eufaula. He remains the Angler of the Year leader.  

Strader’s week began with solid catches of 13-05 and 15-02 and then peaked on day three with a big 21-01 catch. He caught 13-09 on the final day to finish with 63-01.

On the first two days, Strader alternated fishing brush piles and hydrilla. On day three, he was able to get on one big brush pile that he had wanted to fish the first two days but couldn’t because another competitor stationed near the big pile kept him from fishing it.

“The other boat was not right on it, but was too close to it to infringe on him,” Strader says. “Once he got cut, I was able to fish the pile, and it was loaded. I caught most of that big limit on day three in 10 minutes.”

When Strader returned to the pile on the final day, the magic was gone, demonstrating yet again just how fragile the brush pile pattern was at Eufaula.

When fishing the hydrilla in 4 to 6 feet, Strader relied on a 1/2-ounce vibrating jig teamed with a Tennessee shad Zoom Swimmin’ Super Fluke Jr. on 16-pound-test Gamma fluorocarbon line on a Powell Max 3D 723 rod.

When fishing the brush piles he favored a red bug Zoom Mag Trick Worm rigged with a 1/4-ounce Reins tungsten weight and tied to 12-pound-test fluorocarbon. He fished it on a Powell 753 TiMax rod.

 

5. Gussy Uncovered a Bedding Bream Topwater Pattern

While most of the top 10 played the numbers game on offshore brush piles in 10 to 20 feet of water, Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson kept his boat in 5 feet of water or less and cast to the bank with a topwater for a fifth-place finish with 62 pounds, 15 ounces.

He realized in practice that big Eufaula bass were foraging on bedding bream around shallow grass and in creeks and bays. His two key lures to call them up included a Rebel P70 Pop-R and a Jackall Binksy. Gussy fished them on 30-pound-test PowerPro braid with a 20-pound-test monofilament leader.

 

6. Haynes Hit Winning Holes from 2013

Offshore specialist Randy Haynes finished sixth with a final-day rally of 15 pounds, 6 ounces. His tournament total was 60-01.

Haynes fished many of the same haunts in and around Cowikee Creek that he fished for his win in 2013, but with the event being later in the year this time around, the fish were not as cooperative to compile a dominating victory as he did before.

Haynes’ primary lures included a pale rider-colored Profound Outdoors Z-Boss 20 fished on 12-pound-test Seaguar fluorocarbon, a 6-inch swimbait fished on a 1/2-ounce jighead with 20-pound-test Seaguar and a 1-ounce Profound Swampers jig fished on 20-pound test.

“My flurries were just too few and far between this time around,” Haynes says. “Last time I had more flurries during a day of fishing. I spent the final morning riding the main river ledges looking for a glory school but never found one that would cooperate. But by doing that, I let those places around Cowikee rest a little bit, and when I returned there that final afternoon, they had grouped up a little bit better. Letting those places rest is a big key on that lake.”

 

7. Wooden Crank and Drop-Shot Worked for Fukae

Shin Fukae also fished brush piles on the lower end of Eufaula to take a seventh-place finish with 57 pounds, 12 ounces.

Fukae’s primary baits for the piles were a crankbait and heavy drop-shot. Though he would not name the crankbait, Fukae says it was made of wood, which was a big key.

“Since it is made of wood, my crankbait did not hang up in brush near as much as the crankbaits made of plastic,” Fukae explains. “It runs maybe 8 to 10 feet, and I could crank it into the brush piles, pause it and it would float off the brush without hanging. I caught most of my fish on the crankbait.”

His heavy drop-shot rig featured a 10-inch Yamamoto worm, and he fished it on casting tackle with 16-pound-test YGK fluorocarbon line. The worm was rigged weedless on a 5/0 EWG Gamakatsu hook in a red color.

“I like the red hook in this color water,” Fukae says. “It gives off a little more flash so fish will bite it.”

 

8. Birge Targeted Brush with a Worm and Crankbait

Zack Birge was part of the brush pile contingent too. He finished eighth with 57 pounds, 12 ounces.

Birge’s primary lures included a big Missile Baits Tomahawk worm on a 1/4-ounce tungsten weight tied to 16-pound-test Sunline fluorocarbon, and a 6th Sense crankbait fished in and around the piles.

“Slow-dragging the worm around and through the piles seemed to be the best way to catch them overall,” Birge says. “Some of the fish were out away from the piles and would not bite until the worm was pulled out of the pile and away from it.”

 

9. Big Spinnerbait Produced on Day One for Avena

Adrian Avena finished the week in ninth place after sacking up 20 pounds, 10 ounces on the first day. Avena ran brush piles, and like others running that program on the south end of the lake, saw his weights drop every day. He finished with 56-09.

During the week Avena relied on a bevy of baits, including Rapala DT-14 and DT-10 crankbaits, a 1-ounce spinnerbait, a 1-ounce jig, a 1-ounce swimbait, a big worm, and a drop-shot. His crankbaits were tied to 12-pound-test Hi-Seas fluorocarbon, and his 1-ounce lures were tied to 20-pound test. Avena says his best fishing was on day one when the bass would wallop the big 1-ounce spinnerbait.

“Four of the five bass I caught came on the spinnerbait,” he says.

After that, Avena had to rotate through the other lures to get bites.

“I tried to hit as many piles in a day as I could,” he says. “I would idle over them with DownScan to make sure the fish were there. If I saw ‘white dots’ in the brush, then I’d drop a buoy and fish it.”

 

10. Cox Scrambles for Final Top-10 Spot

John Cox qualified for his third top 10 of 2015, finishing 10th with 55 pounds, 6 ounces.

The Florida pro’s ability to turn nothing into something on the water is uncanny. After a horrible practice and nothing to go to on the first day, he borrowed a crankbait from a friend and fished fish attractors that were placed by state wildlife managers to catch 15-10.

“You know the attractors that have the little fish and hook drawing on them? That’s what I threw at most of the day,” Cox says. “I didn’t bring any crankbaits here, so I had to borrow one. I don’t even know what kind of crankbait it was – some kind of 8- to 10-foot runner. But it worked.”

On days two and three, the wind and clouds gave Cox more confidence in fishing the banks where he relied on a hollow-bodied frog and Yamamoto Senko in the shallow grass to keep catching mid-teen bags.

“On day three, I even caught a pair off the bed,” he says. “I caught a 6-pounder on the frog in a hole in the grass, and when I went over there to look at where it came from, there was a big bed with a 3-pound male swimming around it. I flipped in there and caught him too.”

For the crankbait, Cox used a CB-907MHX rod, and for the frog he used an MB-903MHX.

Tags: flw-tour  lake-eufaula  rob-newell  post-tournament  2015-05-14-lake-eufaula 

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