The top three anglers in the first Elite Series event on the Harris Chain of Lakes caught 166 pounds, 6 ounces of largemouth bass. Here's how they did it.
(59 pounds, 2 ounces)
"Watching me fish this one was like watching paint dry," said the winner. "The hardest part for me was patience."
McClelland stumbled upon his winning pattern while prefishing with Jeff Kriet. He reports they found big spawning and postspawn bass hiding in the lily fields of Lake Harris and Lake Eustis.
His weapon of choice wasn't anything special. He Texas rigged a Zoom Trick Worm — Bama Bug in color — with a 3/16-ounce sinker and a worm hook. "I really didn't modify anything. Everything I used was standard stuff available anywhere.
"I ran both lakes and hit every lily pad field I could find. I'd cast the bait out and just let it sit. That's really all there was to it. But like I said, the important thing was to let it sit until you did that too long, then let it sit awhile longer. It really was like watching paint dry. It had to be boring for the spectators."
Brian Snowden (54-0)
"I used Zoom Ultravibe and Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver plastics," said the runner-up. "Both were black with red flakes. I really can't say how much color mattered but I think it was important."
Snowden did modify his Texas rig, however. He used a straight shank worm hook but removed the keeper clip from a Shaw Grigsby Eagle Claw hook and put it on his straight shank hook. He also uses Bass Pro Shop bobber stoppers in front of his weight.
"Those two things — Grigsby's clip and the bobber stoppers — keep everything in place in the heavy vegetation. It's impossible to fish that stuff when everything is sliding around and moving. They hold it all in place — keep it from slipping — but don't interfere with retying, not like a peg."
Bobby Lane (53-4)
"I used a lot of different plastics," said the third place finisher. "One of my most productive in the reeds, bulrushes and pads was a Berkley Bungee plastic. But the real deal for me was color. The water there is a kind of yellow and orange mix. I used chartreuse Dip-N-Dye on the back of my baits. In the open grass I had more success with standard black and blue combinations."
Plastics may have accounted for most of Lane's fish but spinnerbaits caught the biggest ones. He reported that chartreuse and white combinations, with a white trailer and gold blades got the job done.
"I don't know why, but gold blades catch more fish here. I think it's the water color, but I can't be sure. I've tried silver and some other colors but gold's the most effective, especially on bigger bass."