UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Reel Chat with DAVID FRITTS

Reel Chat with DAVID FRITTS
Tums pro David Fritts is second at the Chevy Open on Lake Guntersville with 25 pounds, 11 ounces.

-- MODERATOR COMMENT --
Welcome to FLW Live Reel Chat. Today we're joined by FLW Tour pro David Fritts of Lexington, N.C. With nearly $1.2 million in career earnings at FLW Outdoors events, Fritts has used his veteran angling ability and dominating deepwater fishing techniques over the past few seasons to remain one of the true elites on the professional bass-fishing circuit. Recording an amazing 18 top-10 finishes at FLW Outdoors events over the course of his career, Fritts also boasts five FLW Tour titles - including his latest win at Lake Guntersville.

-- MODERATOR COMMENT --
Today, David Fritts is here to take questions from you, the fans. So, without further delay, let's get started.

Q: How does your win at Lake Guntersville compare to your past victories?
-- Joey Marino (Union, N.J.)
A: Come-from-behind wins are always special. I won on Kentucky Lake back in '97 in a comeback win. Those tournaments are really exciting. This last victory, coming from sixth place, I knew I had to play catch up. I lost two fish on the final day - a big one on a jig and another on a crankbait. That sort of played with me. But overall, the Lake Guntersville win was really special - especially being the Chevy Open, one of the biggest events of the year.

Q: What advice can you give to anglers who want to become better with crankbaits?
-- Jon Stebbins (San Diego, Calf.)
A: It takes a lot of patience and a lot of on-the-water experience. I guess the bottom line is learning the movements that your crankbait makes and being able to feel that movement. The movement, or wobbling, is by far the most important part of fishing crankbaits. A lot of that has to do with your equipment also.

Q: Hi David, you mentioned at Guntersville that you used a reel that was not anti-reverse and that you can feel the fish better when you are cranking with this reel. I always thought that the better reels had the anti-reverse mechanisms because there is no play when you wind up the line. Could you go into detail about what you meant about feeling the fish and how that plays out when you're retrieving the crankbait?
-- Dan Carlson (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.)
A: What happens with reels with anti-reverse is they have clutches that tighten down on the spool to keep it from going backwards. But that pressure that those reels have take away the feel you have when you're retrieving. The reels without the anti-reverse mechanism have a lot more feel to them when you retrieve your baits. It's not so much of a factor with worms or jigs but with crankbaits it is key. I would not even consider fishing a crankbait without that type of a reel. Unfortunately, the David Fritts cranking reel is the only reel made with the anti-reverse feature - unless you go way back to the older reels that are 15- and 20-years-old.

Q: How confident were you coming into the Guntersville tournament? Did you really think you were going to win it?
-- Luke (Nashville, Tenn.)
A: Actually, Lake Guntersville has always been a great lake for me. But I probably had the worst practice I've ever had there. Before the tournament started I didn't even know if I would be able to catch enough fish to make the top 50. But I got on a little pattern and it just sort of evolved during the tournament to be honest with you. I kept building confidence every day. The cranking bite got a lot better the last day as well. The current was just right and it was nice and sunny the last day which helped as well.

Q: How do you know what crankbait to use with so many different types on the market today? Also, in your opinion, when is the best time to use a crankbait?
-- Kevin Dye (Seneca, S.C.)
A: It's a lot of trial and error. But when you've been around as long as I have you start to understand the seasonal patterns. I have a good idea as to what depth I want to start with. I also look at what action and rattle the fish want the crankbait to have. My signature crankbaits are the Rapala DTs and they are all modified baits. It's not an ordinary crankbait. They're already modified when you take them out of the package. Most of the time, no matter where I go, one of the DT baits is going to work. You have to figure out the right depth and the right color though. I've never had a situation where some type of DT wasn't working. A lot of times I like to use a bait that the fish don't see a lot of. I like going to lakes where the locals say that crankbaits really don't work. As far as colors go, there are basically three or four colors per season. The chartreuse and shad colors work just about any time of the year. But there are a lot of colors out there. I pay close attention to how hard the fish hit my bait, if they're hitting the front hook, etc. If they're doing that, they're probably wanting the color that I'm throwing.

Q: Congrats on the win. How did you know to sit there and throw at the same rock 30 times in a row?
-- C Davis (Montevallo, Ala.)
A: I probably threw at some spots 50 or 60 times in a row to get a bite. But that's just about having confidence in what you're doing. You just have to figure out what that fish wants - what entices that fish to bite. An isolated piece of cover is one of the best things to fish because there are almost always fish there.

Q: Hello David! I own your secrets to crankbait fishing video and absolutely love it - it's very, very informative. But my question is this: I was wondering if you still modify (drilling, loading with lead, etc.) your crankbaits?
-- Paul Ruhe (Lawrenceburg, Ind.)
A: The new Rapala DTs are already modified and there is only one change that I make to them - I'll downsize the hooks on occassion. Size 4 hooks come on a lot of the baits and I usually downsize it to a No. 6. But basically, I don't need to modify them anymore because the DTs are designed to the specifications I need.

Q: Did you catch fish in the North Sautey area with a crankbait during the Chevy Open at Guntersville?
-- Timothy Blevins (Section, Ala.)
A: Yes. I caught probably 98 percent of them the last day and about 50 percent of my fish there the first three days of the tournament.

Q: What was the difference between day three and day four on Guntersville? On day three you caught only three keepers and the next day you caught a bunch.
-- Luke (Nashville, Tenn.)
A: I think the main key was that the wind turned out of the north. We also had a little bit of current. I basically fished the same way I did on day three but on day three I only had four bites all day. I had about 18 to 20 bites on day four. I really got in a zone on that last day as well. It was just one of those deals.

Q: Hello David. I lived in Alabama for 16 years and loved the fishing there. However, I've recently moved to Arkansas near Lake Dardanelle. My question to you is what, if anything, should I do differently here to help me start catching fish consistently like I did in Alabama?
-- Mike Delmonte (Casa, Ark.)
A: Lake Dardanelle is a fantastic lake. With Dardanelle you want to move everything up. Most of the fish stay fairly shallow - 10 feet or less. But it's still a great crankbait lake. Also, pay attention to the water color. If the visibility is pretty good in an area, I have no problem fishing it all day. If it's muddy, I'll try to find the cleanest water I can. The fish are also a litle more aggressive when they're shallow. I like to throw a Rapala DT Fat 3 or a DT6, something that has a lot of action and a lot of flash - even in dirtier water.

Q: How many rods do you recommend a seasonal angler carry in general when fishing for bass?
-- Connor (Burlington, Ontario)
A: I generally carry about 10 rods in my boat, six on the deck and four in the lock box. A lot of times the reason I have that many is that I have a bunch of different line sizes on each of the rods. I use about six glass rods and four graphite rods.

Q: Congrats on a great effort at Lake Guntersville. What type of areas did you target with your football jig and how did you retrieve that bait?
-- Joe Johnson (Cullman, Ala.)
A: I was actually throwing a 3/4-ounce football head and fishing it really slowly on the bottom. I was trying to find scattered grass and rocks.

Q: David, what's next for you? It seems like you are unstoppable -- two great wins back to back. How did you became so good with the crankbait?
-- Montae (Lynchburg, S.C.)
A: I've fished crankbaits all my life and that's what I know best. The more you use a bait, the better off you get with it. As far as Table Rock is concerned, the next FLW event, I think it's going to be a very similar tournament. I think the patterns are going to be the same but we're going to have a lot more standing timber. Depending on where the fish are, I think I'm going to have a lot of confidence heading into this event. We're really getting away from the finesse type of fishing this year - there's a lot more opportunities for power fishing.

Q: Do you like your chances at Table Rock and who is your strongest compeition going to be?
-- Holly Brinkley (Bradford, Ark.)
A: Table Rock is one of those lakes where a lot of people can be contenders. Anybody in this tournament can win if you get on the right area and pattern. I feel good about my chances though; everything is starting to click for me. But somebody like Stacey King will be a contender as well.

Q: With one win already under your belt, what do you think your chances are at winning the 2009 FLW Tour Angler of the Year title?
-- Titus Song (Minneapolis, Minn.)
A: Well, believe it or not, I've looked at the schedule pretty hard. I'm going to have to be fortunate in some of the sight-fishing tournaments we have coming up. It's going to depend on how the spawn is going. But I still feel like I have an outside shot at the title. The year I won three FLW Tour events I still didn't win the AOY title - so it's not easy. But the key tournaments for me are going to be Lake Norman and Beaver Lake. If I do well at those two I should have a decent chance. I think those are the two lakes that are going to determine where I end up in the standings. But then again, anything can happen on any of these lakes.

Q: I'm 40 years old and have been fishing tournaments since 1992. Right now I have a profle page on FLW Outdoors and all I think about is fishing. Basically, I was wondering if it's too late to think of a career in fishing?
-- Kevin Dye (Seneca, S.C.)
A: I don't think so. I'm 52 years old myself and I was 40 years old when I won the Forrest Wood Cup. So it's never too late. That's the good thing about fishing. Physically it gets a little harder as you get older. I can't jump out of my seat the same way when I was 25 years old but nobody can. I think you don't make the same crisp decisions that you were able to make when you're younger as well.

Q: Do you look for anything different when cranking timber as opposed to rock?
-- Archie (Knoxville, Tenn.)
A: Timber is a little harder to crank than rock because you have to be able to keep your bait from getting hung up. Figuring out where the fish are when fishing timber is also key - are they up top or down on the bottom? So it gets quite a bit more tricky than fishing rock. A lot of times angles come into play when trying to get your bait in the right place when fishing timber.

Q: What is your favorite color when fishing the DT in the spring on clear-water lakes?
-- C Davis (Montevallo, Ala.)
A: My absolute favorite is the brown crawdad color. I prefer it in a 10-foot depth model or a 6-foot depth model.

Q: Who is the second-best crankbait fisherman in the sport?
-- Mike (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
A: That's a tough question. I'm not sure of the order but Paul Elias is a great crankbait fisherman. Rick Clunn is another one. Kevin VanDam is a great crankbait fisherman as well. There are some locals like David Wright and Gerald Beck and Jerry Lore. Most of those guys are a lot more versatile than I am. At any given point in time, these guys can win events with a crankbait.

-- MODERATOR COMMENT --
Bass-fishing fans, unfortunately, that's all the time we have for David Fritts as of right now. We appreciate the tremendous volume of questions for David and wish there was time for him to answer them all. However, FLWOutdoors.com will continue to provide as many installments of the FLW Live Reel Chat series as possible as we head deeper into the 2009 season. Again, thanks to David Fritts for giving us his valuable time. And a very special thanks to all of the fans who participated in today's Reel Chat special on FLWOutdoors.com.

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