Jason Williamson: Lake Amistad
Jason Williamson won the recent OPTIMA Batteries Battle on the Border in commanding fashion with two huge sacks of Lake Amistad bass that launched him from 38th place after Day Two all the way to his first career BASS victory.
The key to his success was targeting big fish in an area that for the first two days of the tournament was "milky" in color because of the wind blowing in on it. On Days Three and Four, Williamson arrived to find his water crystal clear and then proceeded to sack 33-13 and 34-12 respectively to take the win by over 8 pounds.
"Coming to a lake like this, I can put everything behind me and just fish for big fish," Williamson said. "I spent my three days of practice just trying to figure out where the big fish are and where they were going to be. There were big females suspended in the trees and they wanted a big meal, so I threw a swimbait."
The swimbait that did all the damage for Williamson was an Osprey Heavy Talon swimbait in a light hitch color.
"I had four different colors that I was throwing in practice," Williamson said. "I ended up having three times the number of bites on the Light Hitch color, so I tied that up on all of my rods before I left the docks this morning."
He fished both the 7-inch and 6-inch models, alternating throughout the day to vary his approach for tricking Amistad's wary bass.
Williamson's retrieve for the Osprey Heavy Talon swimbait was a classic slow-and-steady approach, letting the bass visually identify the bait and then come up in the water column to eat it.
The area Williamson was fishing featured several prominent spawning flats that were dissected by a deeper ditch. The trees that he ran his swimbait next to and over were located near the ditch, where the bigger females had had been staging before and after moving up to the bank to spawn.
Just as important as the swimbait he was throwing was the rod and reel he used as a tool to get the big bass in the boat. Williamson paired an Abu Garcia Revo STX in a 6.4:1 gear ratio, with a Falcon Cara 7'6" heavy action casting rod. The rod was especially important because it had enough of a soft tip to prevent the fish from pulling off his hook.
"That Falcon rod has a good tip on it, which helps when throwing that swimbait because the treble hook can pull out easily just like a crankbait," Williamson said. "I didn't lose one big fish that would have helped me all week long, in large part thanks to that rod."
To keep the fish pegged, he paired the Osprey swimbait with a #1 Gamakatsu treble hook and rigged the whole set-up on 25-pound McCoy 100% fluorocarbon line.
"Fluorocarbon is virtually invisible, which is really important in the crystal clear water of Lake Amistad," Williamson said.
Williamson also made one key adjustment on the final day that became instrumental in his victory. When the wind slicked off and the sun came up after the early morning hours Williamson knew that he had to get his bait deeper to get the bass to commit to a slow-rolled swimbait.
"Last night, I took the deal out of the swimbait and stuck a ½-ounce mojo weight back in to help get it down deeper," Williamson said. "That really helped on the final day when the wind slacked off. I would let it sink 10 feet before I started reeling it in."