UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Grand Lake

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Sweet Home Alabama

Sweet Home Alabama
Pro Jason Johnson is off to a good start; he weighs 14-7 on day one of the FLW Tour on Lewis Smith.

Editor’s Note: The writer's opinions and observations expressed here are his own, and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views, policies or positions of FLW.

Hey everyone, I'm just getting back and caught up from the second stop of the Walmart FLW Tour at Lewis Smith Lake. The lake was fishing like never before, and all the fish have grown up quickly on those blueback herring. Now that I've been back home a week and watched all the videos and read all the articles about the top 10 anglers I can say I have zero regrets!

We were welcomed to Smith the first day of practice with a monsoon. It literally rained hard from daylight ’til dark. That kind of day can really show you where some of the biggest spotted bass in a lake live, and it did just that. My practice partner Josh Weaver and I would have weighed more than 19 pounds in a team tournament. Day two of practice arrived with bluebird high-pressure skies. It was a complete 360 from day one and a grind to get bites, yet the pattern I developed lead once again to big spotted bass. Our final day of practice was a lot like the second day, except the wind blew some and I was able to find a few more key areas where the fish were taking a jerkbait.

By the end of practice I really felt I had a solid game plan for big fish but had no clue as to when, where or how many of those bites I could get in the tournament. My other problem, as funny as it sounds, is that I had not located those better-than-average keeper spotted bass that I needed to fill out a solid limit. So I spooled up three different jerkbait rods, two drop-shot rigs, a jig and a Spook, and I was done.

Day one started with cloudy skies and a cold front on the way. I knew that as the cold front got closer the fish would get more active, but I was due in during the first flight and knew I had to capitalize on the morning bite. I started on one dock that turned out to be magical and instantly caught a 4-pound spot. That really settled me down, and I ran a ton of places. I ended up catching two more of those 4-pound spots and two squeakers for a solid 14-pound, 7-ounce opening weight that was good enough for 25th place.

Day two was a different animal. It was cold and very windy. I really felt like the weights would fall, so my goal was 13 pounds to maybe make the cut, but I felt like 10 1/2 pounds would get me paid. I started running my milk run and realized very quickly it was not gonna happen. The wind direction had my main-lake sweet spots completely blown out and nearly unfishable. I had practiced a little up Ryan Creek and had a few spots up there, but for most of the day I just fished what looked right. Again, I was fortunate to land a couple big spotted bass, one of them late in the day on my magical dock, but had only three little tiny guys to go with them. I came in with 11-15, and to my surprise the weights went up and I actually fell 12 spots to finish the tournament in 37th.

I still don't understand where I missed finding those solid fish. I’m by no means complaining – catching giant spotted bass is never a bad thing. But looking back, I fished a lot of places I felt looked right for average spotted bass, not just giant spotted bass. While others were getting 30 bites a day, I was getting 10 to 15 bites, but a few of them would be big. I needed those “in between” bites to increase my limit but never got them.

Pro Jason Johnson makes an early morning cast on day one of the FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake hoping the lunker is there waiting.

My fish came on just a few baits and setups. Here they are:

  • Jerkbait: custom-painted Megabass Vision 110+1, 8-pound-test Seaguar Tatsu fluorocarbon, 7-foot medium Daiwa Tatula casting rod, 7.1:1 Daiwa Zillion casting reel
  • Drop-shot: Aaron’s morning dawn 6-inch Roboworm Straight Tail Worm, yellow 15-pound-test Seaguar Smackdown Braid with a 6-pound-test Tatsu leader, 7-foot medium-light Daiwa Steez SVF-AGS spinning rod, 2500 Daiwa Steez EX spinning reel
  • Jig: brown and purple 1/2-ounce G-Money football jig, 10-pound-test Tatsu fluorocarbon, 7-foot, 1-inch medium-heavy Daiwa Tatula casting rod, 8.1:1 Daiwa Tatula Type-R casting reel

 

Looking Ahead

Coming up on Tour is probably my favorite lake on the schedule: Beaver Lake in Rogers, Ark. It’s got some of the clearest water available down at the dam, and muddy to stained water up the White River. It really spreads anglers out and allows for each angler to fish his strengths. Tournaments on Beaver typically aren’t won in the clear water, but a majority of consistent catches come from there. I'm expecting we will find fish in all stages of the spawn. I do not enjoy sight-fishing, but I will definitely look around for some as I try to put a pattern together for the spotted bass and smallmouths. Throw in the occasional largemouth or meanmouth and it’s just a fun place. I’ve got to carry the momentum and confidence from Smith over and keep digging out of that Toho hole!

Get out and wet a line. Fishing will be about as good as it gets the next two months. 

Until next time, good luck out there!

Tags: lewis-smith  spring  jason-johnson  blog 

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