The Citrus Slam on the Kissimmee Chain was tough, no doubt about it. Still, some anglers figured out how to put 'em in the boat. Here's how they did it.
(59 pounds, 7 ounces)
Kevin VanDam found a good, big bass bite tossing a Strike King Red Eye Shad. He fished scattered hydrilla clumps located in 7 to 10 feet of water on Lake Toho.
He allowed the bait to drop all the way to the bottom, pulled it rapidly up, and then let it fall back to the bottom again. He credits his winning bag to the unique action of the Red Eye Shad and his returning time and again to the same spot.
(57 pounds, 12 ounces)
"I caught most of my fish with patience. I was throwing a Zoom Z-Nail on shallow flats with light hydrilla growth. The trick was to let it sit to a count of 10, sometimes as long as a full 20 count. It wasn't very exciting but it caught bass and that's what I was here to do." Sedgwick says.
"And then when the wind was blowing I'd swim a worm along like a spinnerbait. I glued the head of a Zoom Ultravibe Speed Worm to the face of a Tru-Tungsten worm weight with Super Glue. That makes the front of it real smooth so it doesn't hang on the grass like it would with a peg or stopper."
(56 pounds, 7 ounces)
"I really didn't do anything special. I threw a 6-inch paddle tail worm (junebug) with a 1/4-ounce Tru-Tungsten sinker and a 6/0 hook. I was fishing an area about 50 acres in size with a good mix of all kinds of vegetation in it," Rook says. "I stayed there all four days.
"I've found that a variety of grass usually attracts fish and this area was no exception. It was between 2 and 3 feet deep with some ditches and depressions in it. I concentrated on the deeper spots and just fished that Texas rigged worm like it was a spinnerbait. I tossed it out and cranked it back. That's really all there was to it."
(54 pounds, 2 ounces)
"I fished a black Zoom Horny Toad in areas of deeper water where the bass were just beginning to move in for a late spawn. I like a black topwater bait because it silhouettes better against the sky. I think the bass can see black better," Hill explains. "And if they can see it better they're more likely to catch it.
"My biggest one — and the biggest bass of the tournament — was a 10-pound, 3-ounce giant that came off her bed. I rigged a watermelon Picasso Ish Tube with a 3/4-ounce Tru-Tungsten weight and an Ish Pro X Hook (12/0). I think they believe it's a big bream or something. Whatever it is, or whatever they think it is, bedding bass really like that tube."
(53 pounds, 3 ounces)
"Almost all my fish came off a swim jig. I use a Davis Paca Jig along with one I make myself. They're both made to swim and have cone shaped heads that help them stay up, away from the bottom and the grass," Lowen says. "That's what you need in the weeds.
"Basically I throw them in lanes inside the grass and vegetation, anywhere I'd throw a spinnerbait really. And I retrieve them just like a spinnerbait, too. But I like them better because everyone throws spinnerbaits but very few anglers swim jigs. I'm a firm believer in doing something different; giving the bass something they haven't seen a thousand times before."