2013 Elite Series Diet Mountain Dew Mississippi River Rumble presented by Power-Pole
Mississippi River - La Crosse, WI, Jun 20 - 23, 2013

Tommy Biffle and other tales from the trip to La Crosse

You often hear victorious Elite Series anglers talk about "making good decisions." This was hardly Biffle's first rodeo. It marked his 301st B.A.S.S. tournament.

"I got a little frustrated, and you could feel it slip away. That's when I thought it was time to make a move."

It was one of those "good decisions" winners always seem to mention. Over the final 45 minutes, before he had to run back up the river for the 3 p.m. check-in, Biffle boated two 4-pounders and a 3-pounder – all smallmouth.

"It was every cast," he said.

Biffle Showed Versatility

Biffle is branded as someone who primarily flips shallow cover for largemouth bass. It's undoubtedly his strength. Biffle won an Elite Series event in 2006 at New York's chock-full-o'-smallmouth Oneida Lake by going against the grain and concentrating on largemouth.

But Biffle won on the Mississippi River – where largemouth are abundant – by concentrating on smallmouth.

"I went almost the whole first day of practice without a bite," he said of his early attempt to follow his "green fish" style.

You don't last long at this level by sticking to a game plan that isn't producing. Biffle found a smallmouth spot late on that first practice day. He used it sparingly throughout the tournament, while flipping up some largemouth in Black River.

That was the source of his confidence at Sunday's start: He hadn't really mined his smallmouth hot spot yet. As it turned out, he had to find another one in the final hour to strike gold in the form of a $100,000 win Sunday and automatic 2014 Bassmaster Classic.

Biffle was using a green-pumpkin Gene Larew Biffle Bug and tipping it with orange dye to match the crawfish that smallmouth were snatching from a slight ditch in a sandy bottom that had heavy current flowing around it. The Biffle Bug was weighted with Larew's Biffle Hardhead ­– a football head/swiveling hook combination that allows the bait to move freely in the water.