UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Lake Mitchell

Going Shallow with Lawyer

Going Shallow with Lawyer
Jeremy Lawyer

With his win at Grand Lake barely in the rearview, Jeremy Lawyer is in the midst of the best season of his career. After finishing 28th in points in his first season on the FLW Tour in 2017, the Sarcoxie, Mo., pro missed the FLW Cup in 2018. However, he’s come back with a vengeance in 2019, making three top-30 cuts and sitting ninth in the Angler of the Year race with just two to go.

Heading into the sixth stop of the year on Chickamauga, which is presented by Evinrude, Lawyer says he’s looking to go easy and make sure he’s on the road to Hot Springs this August for his third shot at a Cup title. With that in mind, I was happy to hop aboard and see the shallow side of Chickamauga.

 

Jeremy Lawyer

Jeremy Lawyer

Jeremy Lawyer

Putting the boat in at Dayton around 6:30 a.m., Lawyer starts his day with a PB&J and 20 minutes of relaxation, waiting for practice to officially begin at sunrise. As he and a handful of other pros wait, most of them are talking and pulling out rods, readying for the day. Lawyer is not; he’s simply waiting.

“The first tournament of the year Brandon McMillan made fun of me for not getting any rods out,” says Lawyer with a smile. “So, now I don’t get any out if he’s around. It don’t take but a minute anyhow.”

 

Jeremy Lawyer

Finally, it’s go time. Electing to let the other pros roll out ahead of him, Lawyer trails the pack as everyone runs down the lake, branching off at various creeks and ledges along the way. Eventually, a few miles below the TN-68 bridge, Lawyer branches off himself.

 

Jeremy Lawyer

Jeremy Lawyer

Jeremy Lawyer

Lawyer starts at a little marina where he pulls out a white swim jig in hopes of capitalizing on a shad spawn. After running through a few docks and seeing no signs of shad, he hops across the pocket to the other side and pulls out a few more rods.

 

Jeremy Lawyer

Jeremy Lawyer

Jeremy Lawyer

After a handful of casts with a buzzbait, Lawyer picks up a Zoom Z Craw to drop into a laydown. In no time flat, he’s on the board in a big way.

“Well, I definitely wanted to set the hook on at least one, but I didn’t know it would be the biggest one of practice,” says Lawyer after releasing the bass. “I guess that’s all right though. It gives me confidence I can compete on the bank.”

 

Jeremy Lawyer

Jeremy Lawyer

Jeremy Lawyer

Finishing out the pocket, Lawyer pauses to drag a worm for a bit on the point, and then quickly fires his swim jig to the bank toward some shad boiling along the edge. After a quick thump, he brings a shortened jig back, re-rigs a trailer and makes a few more casts with no results.

 

Jeremy Lawyer

Jeremy Lawyer

Jeremy Lawyer

Lawyer Moves across the creek and digs out a spinning rod then begins tossing around a stick worm. He connects with a small bass fairly quickly and gets another bite flipping wood. After working along the bank until it steepens up a bit and he runs out of laydowns, Lawyer elects to run farther back.

 

Jeremy Lawyer

Jeremy Lawyer

Jeremy Lawyer

Jeremy Lawyer

Once in the back, Lawyer eases the Ranger down off plane at another stretch of laydowns and pulls out his Z Craw again. He quickly gets another bite.

“We’re fixing to get hosed here,” he says, alluding to the chance of accidentally hooking a big one. So, he pulls out a pair of clompers and cuts the hook point off to eliminate the possibility.

As we fish along, I ask why Lawyer isn’t out idling now, or why he’s not really gunning for a win. After all, he finished second on the ledges in the 2015 T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American on Kentucky Lake, so he surely knows the offshore game on the Tennessee River.

“I’m not sure if it’s the professional way to go, but I don’t want to screw up and take a chance to win and mess up the Cup,” says Lawyer. “I can screw up plenty. I’m phenomenal at that. I’m telling ya, if I can just weigh in five each day I’ll be satisfied. I just want to roll on to the Cup and try to swing big there.”

With just two events to go, the temptation to lay up and not risk things is definitely there for some pros. Of course, the risk is that you might do just all right and get lapped by other folks who are crushing. Lawyer doesn’t want that to happen either. 

 

Jeremy Lawyer

Moving across the lake, Lawyer ducks into a smaller pocket off the main drag at the mouth of a small creek. Flipping along, he doesn’t manage a bite, so he moves farther back into the creek.

 

Jeremy Lawyer

Jeremy Lawyer

Before coming to his next wood-studded target, Lawyer doctors up a Zoom Brush Hog by slicing up the flappers for more action and dying the tips of the tails with a shot of chartreuse. It doesn’t seem to do anything special though, and the dry stretch continues for a bit.

 

Jeremy Lawyer

Jeremy Lawyer

Jeremy Lawyer

The next stop is small indentation on his bank of choice, where Lawyer spots a stump in the middle and flips his worm over to it. In a second he hooks up with a decent Chickamauga largemouth – perhaps not one the winner will weigh, but not a bad one for sure.

A minute later, he gets another bite flipping, drops a waypoint and pulls the trolling motor.

 

Jeremy Lawyer

Jeremy Lawyer

Jeremy Lawyer

After ducking across the creek to fish a bluffy bank for a minute, Lawyer rolls out, pausing to call up Joseph Webster in a no-wake zone. He and Webster share information, and Webster had said that he was going to head to Watts Bar, though it turns out that he didn’t and is instead hunting around offshore.

Lawyer stops in a small main-lake pocket and flips a little and then tosses a shaky head at the point. Musing about the possibility of a ledge bite, Lawyer isn’t sad that he’s up shallow.

“Boy, I bet it’s busy down there scanning today,” he says. “I almost did it, but I hate to get too strung out, and I had just enough going on up here to get me interested. I know I’ve done well in the past out there on the ledges, but I don’t 100 percent enjoy it, especially when there aren’t many there.”

 

Jeremy Lawyer

Jeremy Lawyer

Moving and grooving, Lawyer makes a few quick stops, pulling into another little pocket for a minute, fishing a main-river bank and then flipping the edge of a long island. None of it is particularly productive, and he soon finds himself back to the TN-68 bridge.

 

Jeremy Lawyer

Heading back into a pocket, Lawyer uses a shaky head to pop one chasing shad on the bank, but gets only one more bite on the shaky head as he works his way back along the steep side. Once it flattens out, Lawyer picks up his flipping stick again, but puts it down and elects to leave when a quality bass blows up nearby.

 

Jeremy Lawyer

Jeremy Lawyer

Jeremy Lawyer

The next stop is on up the river in another pocket. Lawyer starts getting bit right away, flipping along from laydown to laydown. He’s gaining some confidence as he goes, but is still not overly optimistic.

“One thing about it, we haven’t seen too many people doing this today,” he says, sounding hopeful after another bite. “But, that’s probably a true testament to the size of fish we’re on.”

After another call from Webster and another bite in wood, it’s time to hit up another pocket.

 

Jeremy Lawyer

Jeremy Lawyer

Jeremy Lawyer

Lawyer cruises to another decent-sized pocket and goes back to flipping wood. He gets nearly to the back before striking gold. There, at the end of a laydown, is a 4- or 5-pounder sitting on a bed.

“That fish is very catchable,” Lawyer opines after a minute of watching it. “Let’s John Cox it for a minute and see if we see another one.”

So, Lawyer lays down his rod and kicks his trolling motor up, whisking through the back of the pocket and out the other side on high alert for possible beds. Unfortunately, it seems like that’s the only one home today.

 

Jeremy Lawyer

After finishing out the pocket, it’s nearly noon and time for me to head back. Lawyer makes the short run back to Dayton to drop me off, and then heads back out to hunt around some more. He’s still got plenty of afternoon left to ‘John Cox it’ or do something a little more up his alley.

Tags: jody-white  pre-tournament  2019-05-02-lake-chickamauga 

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