A big bass from what seems like ages ago (in reality, only five months!) has earned the Humminbird-Minn Kota Big Bass honors for the Bass Pro Shops PAA Tournament Series season.
BoatUS Weigh-to-Win pro Troy Morrow of Georgia thought he might score with a big early-morning bite during the Tournament Series event in mid-March. Held on Lake Lanier, the tournament was just a smidge off of the spawn but had some big girls up shallow feeding and getting ready.
Morrow’s plan was to throw a giant buzzbait, but eliminate the buzz. Instead, he retrieved it slowly to create a maddening wake that his 8.14-pound largemouth couldn’t stand.
“That was a pretty good way to start the day,” said Morrow, who lives northeast of Lanier in Toccoa, Ga. “She was the first one of the morning and anytime you can start the day off with a big fish, that’s pretty good. I retrieve it about as slowly as I can without it going under, just enough to make a big, lazy wake.”
The fish helped him to a limit weighing 20.13 and put him in the final-day cut in fourth place. That earned him a Humminbird 898c Si Combo sonar unit for the tournament honors. But the giant also held up for the season as the biggest bass weighed during the nine Tournament Series competition days, resulting in a Minn Kota Talon shallow water anchor as the season’s big bass champ.
Here’s a look at the other Tournament Series big bass winners, each of which were awarded Humminbird 898c Si Combo units.
King slams the Rock
High water from torrential late spring thunderstorms pushed Table Rock Lake to record levels, submerging shoreline brush, trees and landowner’s yards and docks.
But it was the offshore bite that proved to be the key for Nitro pro Stacey King of Missouri, who won the tournament going away and claimed big bass honors with a 6.22-pounder. That anchored his final-day catch of 22.99 pounds to secure the win.
King threw several baits but said all his limit bass were caught on a Bass Pro Shops 12-inch Squirmin’ Worm or a 13-inch straight-tail hand-pour. The big bass was caught on the second cast of the final day.
King credited some of his final day success to second-place finisher Hefty pro Mike McClelland of Arkansas.
“Normally, I like to fish that big worm fast,” King said. “But (Friday) on stage Mike said something about having to slow down to get better bites. This morning early I fished it real slow.”
A veteran on Table Rock and the Ozark Mountain lakes, the win was King’s first on the PAA Tournament Series.
Vinson flips out
Conventional wisdom says to go deep and slow in summer, especially on lakes with little to no current and high water temperatures.
NetBait pro Greg Vinson of Alabama bucked that trend on Neely Henry in the final Tournament Series event last week. He picked up on a flipping bite in shallow grass, determined on Day 2 he didn’t need current to get things going and rode that to a 17.92-pound bag on the final day.
That included a 6.03-pound largemouth, which easily took big bass honors. In a week when big bites came at a premium, that hefty bass nearly gave him the upset win over Kinami pro Steve Kennedy of Alabama. Vinson was the bridesmaid by just two-tenths of a pound.
Vinson was flipping a black neon NetBait B-Bug on a 5/16ths Jethro Baits tungsten weight in shallow water with grass. He also threw the NetBait HB2 shakey head and a Lucky Craft 2.5 crankbait in chartreuse/brown. But the B-Bug, which was tip-dipped in J.J.’s Magic garlic scent, was the ticket for the big fish.
“Saturday morning I just went straight to that pattern and ran it in several areas on the lake,” he said. “It was a day you dream about.”