UPCOMING EVENT: TACKLE WAREHOUSE PRO CIRCUIT - 2020 - Harris Chain of Lakes

Reel Chat with GABE BOLIVAR

Reel Chat with GABE BOLIVAR
Gabe Bolivar tied Ramie Colson Jr. for third place on day one with a limit weighing 14 pounds, 4 ounces.

- MODERATOR COMMENT -
Welcome to FLW Live Reel Chat. This week we're joined by Gabe Bolivar, the young pro out of Ramona, Calif., who won the Gain Rookie of the Year award for the 2006 Wal-Mart FLW Tour season. With three top-10 finishes and some $45,000 in winnings this year, his first-year campaign was stellar, to say the least. But now, as he gears up for the FLW Tour Championship in Birmingham, Ala., and his first crack at the sport's top prize of $500,000, he's here to take questions from you, the fans. Let's get started.

Q: Congrats on a great season and good luck in the championship! When and where do you decide to use the drop-shot, and what size line, weight and colors do you choose?
-- Kenneth Shaw (Caledonia, Miss.)
A: I like to use the drop-shot under tough fishing conditions, cold fronts, finicky bass and highly pressured situations. Line size -- I generally go with 6-pound Maxima or 8-pound fluorocarbon depending on the situation. I prefer the fluorocarbon when I'm fishing a little bit deeper because there's less line stretch, and it generally allows me to get a better hook set. As far as hooks go, I like to use Mosquito hooks when I'm not fishing around heavy cover. When I'm fishing in brush and around heavy cover, I use an Owner rig and hook. As far as rods go, I use a 6-foot, 10-inch medium-action Evola spinning rod with a Daiwa Del Sol spinning reel. Weight: I prefer a 3/16-ounce tungsten Kanji weight most of the time. If I want a really slow presentation, I'll go to an 1/8-ounce tungsten weight. Colors: It depends on the forage. If I'm fishing the summertime around the shad bite, I'll try to mimic the shad color. If I had to pick an overall color to fish day in and day out, it would probably be a watermelon-candy.

Q: What kind of adjustments have you had to make in fishing the Southeast/Eastern lakes from the Western lakes you grew up fishing?
-- John Bitting (Westminster, Calif.)
A: I think the biggest adjustments that you have to make are the changing conditions that mostly have to do with weather. Fishing on the West Coast, the conditions are generally stable and predictable. Fishing on the East Coast, you have to deal with thunderstorms, which can cause a lake to come up a lot overnight or even in a matter of an hour or two. When that happens, the lakes back East tend to seem like they're more silty, so the water can dirty really fast. When that happens, you have to be able to stay on top of the fish. They move when conditions change. Sometimes you have to make several changes during the course of a day.

Q: Gabe, congrats on the early success. With you being a West Coast angler, does it become tougher to fish as you move east, and what is your go-to bait?
-- David (Salem, Va.)
A: I don't think that it's necessarily tougher, it's just that the conditions make it different. As far as a go-to bait, it would probably have to be a shallow-running crankbait and a Shaky Head worm, no question. The Shaky Head worm has been a major player in the success that I've had this year. I've learned that under tough fishing conditions, the Shaky Head will always tend to produce bites.

Q: You have lots of success with shallow square-bill cranks around rocks. Any pointers and any recommendations on baits as well as rod selection? Thanks.
-- Chuck Kaleel (Raleigh, N.C.)
A: Rod selection: I think that a 7-foot medium glass rod is your best bet. Most small, square-billed crankbaits either have a No. 4 or No. 6 treble hooks, which can easily be pulled from a fish's mouth, especially when trying to pull the fish away from a dock, and the give in the rod definitely helps to land more fish. As far as baits go, my go-to is some sort of a flat-sided wood bait; It produces a tight wobble, and it shows the fish something that they don't see every day. During the early tournaments of the season, a Shad rap is also a key bait. I've had a lot of success this year on the No. 5 natural-shad-colored Shad rap. Being from North Carolina, you probably have experience with the Shad rap. Also, never pass up a riprap bank when you have your square bill tied on.

Q: Awesome season! A lot of professionals have been using the word "current" in the water. Where would you look second after the obvious river bed of a reservoir?
-- Derek Masters (Muncie, Ind.)
A: Anywhere that the wind can create an eddy, like on the backside of a point, between two islands, or even between a couple of rocks. The reason that guys talk about current so much is because it tends to tell them where the fish position, and it also keeps the bait and plankton moving. When there's no current in a reservoir that's used to current, the fish generally suspend and become hard to catch. In that catch, sometimes switching to a jerkbait is your best bet.

Q: I would like to know about the new jerkbaits you are using, HMKL. What sort of performance do they give?
-- Dee (Tifton, Ga.)
A: That's a new jerkbait from Japan that I've been experimenting with. It has a very realistic finish, and it has a lively side-to-side action. I like to spend time experimenting with new baits like this because I'm trying to find an edge over the competition. Sometimes the slightest change in movement or sound can trigger a bite when you're fishing behind somebody. Many of these Japanese jerkbaits aren't easy to obtain in the U.S. market. I'm actually very surprised that you know of this jerkbait.

Q: There is an angler profile that states your weakness as being sight-fishing. What suggestions do you have for anglers to improve on their weaknesses that you have done to improve yours? Also, what suggestions do you have for people that are fishing as a co-angler on new water, for both you and the boater?
-- Derek Masters (Muncie, Ind.)
A: That's a good question because I've had to overcome several weaknesses to have success on the FLW Tour. My best advice is to discover your weakness and continue to work on it until you feel comfortable. For example, last year during the summer months, I went fishing with one of my partners -- actually my roommate, Brent Ehrler -- and we were fishing deep, 30 to 50 feet, catching fish directly off of our electronics. He absolutely outfished me because he could read his graph better than me. So I went to the lake for two weeks in the middle of the summer, 110-degree heat, and fished all day until I felt 100-percent confortable with the technique. If you're a co-angler on new water, you need to fish what you feel confortable with. Right now, for me, the Shaky Head worm is the most consistent bait in an unfamiliar situation, and you have to find which bait that is for you, and use it. As the day starts to develop, the pieces of the puzzle will start to fit together. Your instincts will tell you what to do from there.

Q (MODERATOR): Another issue you've had this year, admittedly, is an occasional inability to string two solid days together in tournaments. You'll pop them one day and bomb the next. How have you dealt with that issue?
A: That issue is hard to correct during practice. It has to be fixed during the tournament, and I think that with a year of fishing out East under my belt, I'll find a better groove next year. The reason that the second days have been hard is because the conditions are never the same two days in a row. Every time that I caught them really well the first day this year, I either couldn't fish the spot the next day because of boat traffic and fishing pressure or because of changing weather conditions. Next year I'll adjust my practice to try and find a better pattern instead of a good spot.

Q: Hey, Gabe, how do you fish for bass in grass lakes, where there is a lot of fishing pressure, and you are on an outside weedline that is 10 to 14 feet deep in the hot summer?
-- Cory Berner (Averill Park, N.Y.)
A: If you're fishing on the outside of the grass edge, there's a lot of fishing pressure and the cover will allow you to throw a drop-shot, you can most definitely go behind guys and catch fish. I would also try swimming a shad-colored jig. The new Strike King swimming jig in white with a white Zoom ultra-vibe chunk should work very well.

Q: When summertime fish are suspending over, and holding in, thick, submerged grass and moss, what techniques would you choose?
-- Kenneth Shaw (Caledonia, Miss.)
A: A frog, no question. The S-pro Dean Rojas frog or the River 2 Sea frog. Make sure you use a heavy-action rod and at least 50-pound braided line. You will also want to try a Zoom Horny toad with a 1/16-ounce Gambler screw-lock weight screwed into the head with a 4-ought Owner rig and hook. The summer bass have a high metabolism and should have no problem coming through the thick summer grass to grab those baits.

Q: How are you going to prepare for the championship tourney in August? Are you going to do anything differently than you have been for past tournaments?
-- Kelly Konicek (Plano, Ill.)
A: I think that, for the championship, I'm extremely excited. I hope that extra excitement will make me dig deeper during practice to find what it takes to carry me to the win. I've worked hard all year, but I've never fished in a tournament of this magnitude, so I think that could be the difference to push me over the top. Thank you for the question.

Q: Congrats on an outstanding season, Gabe! What is your motivation and passion for fishing, and who would you thank for the success you have seen this year?
-- Kody (Lancaster, Mich.)
A: That's a good question. My motivation for fishing is the competition and a strong will to succeed at something that most people say can't be done. My passion for fishing started at a young age when my dad introduced me to it, and that passion involves every aspect of being outside in the outdoors, fishing for bass. Obviously, I want to thank my dad for getting me started in fishing, but none of this would be possible without Tylenol Rapid Release Gels, Ranger Boats, Owner Hooks, Maxima fishing line, Bait Breath U.S.A., Kaenon sunglasses, and Keith Tripp, the West Coast Ranger rep, for teaching me how to become business savvy. And let's not forget my mom, who's my biggest fan.

Q: What was the significance of winning the inaugural Gain Rookie of the Year award this year?
-- Peter J. (Scranton, Pa.)
A: That was really special for me because it's something that I can take with me for the rest of my life to remember what a fun season I had. When I started this year, I just wanted to make it to the championship. I had no idea that I would win an award amongst the best fishermen in the country. Every time I look at it on my mantle, I'll remember the long, hard days that I spent practicing and the dedictaion that it takes to succeed on the FLW Tour.

Q (MODERATOR): Gabe, thanks for your time and for joining us today on FLW Live Reel Chat. Good luck on your upcoming matchup against Gary Yamamoto at the championship in Birmingham. Any final comments or insights before you take off for the biggest tournament of your career to date?
A: Thanks, I appreciate the opportunity and I also appreciate all the fans' questions. I hope I was able to help you catch more fish on your home waters. Thanks again. Gabe.

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