UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2021 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Mead

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Mead

A wide variety of patterns was in play early on in the Costa FLW Series Western Division opener presented by Ranger Boats, but one dominant pattern developed throughout the event. Most of the top 10 finishers spent day three targeting prespawn fish in flooded cover in the Overton Arm of Lake Mead.

Unlike most other top finishers, winner Tim Klinger ran some different water and found his winning fish – 15 pounds, 4 ounces worth – doing many of the same things everyone else did. He just caught them better.

Klinger’s winning pattern

Complete results

Here’s a look at how every other top finisher approached Mead.

 

2. Olson targets submerged trees, but finds his own spot close to takeoff

While Forest Gove, Ore., pro Lane Olson did spend some time early in the tournament in Overton Arm fishing near a sizeable portion of the field, it was his day-two adjustment that resulted in a second-place finish and 30 pounds for the tournament.

“I was up in Overton the first day, and then the rest of the time I fished pretty close to Callville [takeoff ramp],” he explains. “I was just right out in front. I didn’t even have to start my big motor today [Saturday].”

He didn’t need his big motor to fish that spot, but he did use it to tow back a couple anglers from another tournament on Mead Saturday.

Olson spent the entire tournament fishing submerged trees for prespawn fish and had his best success mostly after 11 o’clock when it started warming up and the wind picked up.

“The first day that didn’t really go, and the second day that’s how I caught them," he says. "I ran that pattern pretty much every day after 11. Anywhere where there were cuts with a little deep water and trees, that was the ticket for me.”

Olson caught his fish flipping a green pumpkin and black Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver and a couple different Yamamoto Double Tail Hula Grubs (clear with black fleck and green pumpkin/copper) on a 3/0 Mustad grip-pin hook. His setup included a G Loomis 853 7-foot, 1-inch, medium-heavy rod and a Shimano Aldebaran reel with 15-pound-test Seaguar InvizX fluorocarbon. He also employed a chartreuse and white spinnerbait to catch a couple of his early tournament fish.

 

3. Byrd rips a jerkbait for his best fish

Like most of the top 10, Benjamin Byrd of Moab, Utah, spent his time in Overton Arm, but his technique was far different than we saw from most of the field.

“The jerkbait was the key,” he says. “I caught a 5-pounder the first day on the jerkbait, and I caught all my fish except one on day two on it, and both my fish Today [Saturday] were on the jerkbait.”

Byrd found prespawners staging in the last vertical cover in spawning coves. He says he found a lot of them in a 20-yard stretch in practice, but they pulled off that cover by the time the tournament started.

Byrd weighed in two fish for 4-10 on day three, but rough water necessitated running back to check-in a little earlier than he’d have otherwise wanted.

“I think I would have caught them if I would have stayed there longer,” he admits. “I got a couple bites in a 30-minute window before we had to start coming back when the sun came out and they started seeing baits better.”

Byrd relied primarily on a Megabass Ito Vision 110+1 in the Wakasagi color for his best fish, though he did toss around a Pepper Custom Baits 1/2-ounce jig in a craw color with a Missile Baits D Bomb trailer that caught some keepers as well.

 

4. Hawk burns crankbaits in Overton

Roy Hawk employed a slightly unorthodox approach to catch his fish this week. Other anglers used crankbaits, but it’s likely none of them was targeting fish suspended higher in the water column. 

“Most of the guys were fishing the brush edge, and I caught some fish on the brush edge and banks, but most of the better fish were out suspended in the trees,” he says. “I was catching a lot of them where the other boats would have been [positioned].”

Using a crankbait in 9 or 10 feet of water, Hawk’s bait was only running about 4 feet deep — in the sweet spot for those suspended prespawn fish staging out away from the visible brush edge.

Hawk’s crankbait of choice was a Duo Realis M62 5A in a shad pattern, though he did mix in one with more of a crawfish look. He also made a switch on day three and dragged around a Pepper Custom Baits 1/2-ounce jig with a Yamamoto trailer. He used the jig to target rock piles in the main lake and salvage what was looking like a rough day three for the Lake Havasu City, Ariz., pro.

 

5. Valdivia finds his own private stretch

David Valdivia bucked the trend this week and found his own little stretch of water. He spent his time in Temple Bar at an area he found in practice.

“The area that I found looks like any other bay,” he says. “The only special thing about this area was that there was bait in it. There were two loons in there. It was alive.

“I knew there was fish in there. As soon as I found it I just left. I just knew there was going to be fish in there.”

The Norwalk, Calif., pro was just happy enough with finding an area holding fish. He knew he’d figure them out, especially after a decent practice period that included finding some deep, suspended fish.

“I could see a lot of fish down in 20 feet of water, so I knew there was going to be a deep bite in the beginning,” he adds. “I didn’t think it was going to warm up as fast as it did, which let the fish to keep moving up. I was catching them even better than I did in the tournament, deep in 20 to 30 feet, and I was praying that it wasn’t going to get warm, but it did.”

While Temple Bar was good to Valdivia, he also gives some credit to his water in Overton Arm, which provided his 13 pounds, 12 ounces on day one. He admits he should have stayed at that spot longer (after having left at 11:30 on day one to conserve his fish), but hindsight is 20/20. Valdivia says he’s pleased with how he fished and how things turned out.

Valdivia tossed around crankbaits and jerkbaits on day three, but he did most of his damage on a Keitech Swing Impact FAT 4.3 swimbait on a 1/4-ounce ball-head that he rigged on a 7-4 custom-made Performance Tackle rod and a 6:1 gear ratio reel spooled with braid and a fluorocarbon leader. He also used a homemade jig that he built himself (because he was looking for something “more compact”) with a green pumpkin Riot Baits Fuzzy Beaver trailer. He threw that on a 7-2, medium-heavy Performance Tackle custom-made rod.

 

6. Leber finds stained water in Overton

Brett Leber loves fishing Clear Lake and the California Delta, so his approach this week was to find some stained water, which isn’t easy to come by on an ultra-clear fishery like Mead. He ended up in Overton Arm targeting submerged brush.

“Yesterday [day two] I made a mistake because I caught so many good fish up shallow the first day,” he says. “The second day I stayed with my swim jig fishing shallow, throwing up to the bushes behind them, around them and at the base of the bush, and just kept it going. I did so well that day that I think I did it too long. Today [day three] I figured out what I should have been doing.”

Leber moved out a little deeper on Saturday, targeting prespawners. He used his graph to find trees and brush in 10 to 12 feet of water and targeted them with an under-spin.

It was a matter of making adjustments for the Dixon, Calif., pro, who caught an 8-pounder and a 5-pounder during his first day or practice.

“If I catch that 8-pounder [during the event], I win this tournament,” he says.

Leber used a Strike King swim jig with a Strike King Rage Tail Craw trailer on days one and two. He switched to a 3/8- and 1/2-ounce under-spin with a 3.8 and 4.8 Keitech Swing Impact FAT on day three to catch his three fish for 9-12.

 

7. Salewske lets his fish cycle through one area

Overton Arm got a little beat up from all the fishing pressure throughout the three days of the tournament. As a result, Rusty Salewske had to be patient and let his fish continue to cycle through the area.

On day two, the Alpine, Calif., pro was catching fish he says were in much better shape than what he was catching on day one – something he believes was a result of new fish moving into the area. That area needed rest, though, so he guarded it and cycled in and out throughout the day.

Like most pros in Overton, Salewske was targeting brush in 10 feet of water or less with just a couple baits.

Salewske used a Rapala DT6 crankbait to cover water. He also flipped a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver.

 

8. Coffey gets all his fish in Overton

Sean Coffey was leading after two days, but everything went sideways on day three.

“I ran to my first spot, and I couldn’t get on them,” he admits. “I made a call to go in early to fish Callville, and when we came around Middle Point, I had some motor issues and decided to wait for somebody to get his [co-angler’s] bag in so he could win the tournament. I wanted to get back so I could spend some fishing time in Callville, and it just didn’t work out.”

That co-angler, Jesse Parks, did indeed win the tournament, so Coffey probably has some good karma coming his way. It just didn’t happen on day three, and he was left with zero fish and a long wait for Parks to return to the Echo Bay launch ramp with his trailer.

Coffey had 25 pounds, 1 ounce through two days from fishing flooded brush and tulies in under 10 feet of water. His approach was twofold:

“The spinnerbait and the Senko were getting put in the same areas,” he explains. “All my big ones except for one came on the blade. I felt like if I went through there with the spinnerbait and really started chunking up the bushes, it’d get them in there. I’d get one, or I’d get down there and start ticking the bushes, and it kicks the dirt off them. After I did that, I’d put my Senko in there and pulled it through there slow, and I’d get bit.”

Coffey’s go-to blade was a Pepper Custom Baits spinnerbait in white and chartreuse with one gold blade and one silver willow blade and a Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper trailer. He also used a weightless Yamamoto Senko on a Trokar 3/0 worm hook.

 

9. Curtiss runs out of fish on day three

Wade Curtiss simply ran out of fish. On days one and two, the Lincoln, Calif., pro found 18 pounds, 10 ounces of fish in Overton fishing in 2 to 15 feet of water. But on day three, they simply stopped cycling through in his area.

“I think what happened is they stopped coming, so they weren’t replenishing,” he says. “If we’d have had a moon and some warmer weather yesterday and today [Saturday], I think it would have changed things a bit. The other problem was there was just a lot of people in a small area.”

Like most other anglers in that area, he was targeting submerged brush and trees that were flooded when the lake came up nearly 10 feet in recent weeks.

Curtiss used a 1/2-ounce homemade vibrating jig in a blue shad color this week, as well as a Ladies Man Custom Baits spinnerbait, also in a blue shad color. He also employed a 3.8 Keitech Swing Impact FAT on a 3/8-ounce ball-head jig.

 

10. Rempe gets on the brush pattern in Overton

On day two, sitting in seventh place, it looked like Tyler Rempe’s tournament might come to a premature end. His boat broke down at the south end of the Overton Arm, and he placed a call to Costa FLW Series Tournament Director Mark McWha to let him know.

Luckily, the Sierra Vista, Ariz., pro was able to swap boats, allowing him to continue fishing and eventually make the cut.

Rempe only caught one fish for 1-3 on day three and snapped off his graph in rough water on the run back to the weigh-in ramp, but he still managed to cash a check thanks to a couple solid days fishing flooded brush in Overton.

Reaction baits were the deal for Rempe this week. He cranked Strike King and Lucky Craft crankbaits in shad patterns and also mixed it up with a green pumpkin casting jig with a Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Craw or beaver-style trailer. Rempe added spinnerbaits (with no trailer or trailer hook), custom vibrating jigs and umbrella rigs to his arsenal as well.

Tags: flw  bass-fishing  fishing-tournament  lake-mead  prespawn  largemouth  justin-onslow  post-tournament  2019-02-28-lake-mead 

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