It's a rare BASS professional tournament that's won without the victor catching a limit. That sort of thing is nearly impossible given the level of competition. And yet, that's exactly what Mike Pharr did on Lake Texoma last week. With only nine bass, caught across three days, he managed to boat the winning weight and earn more than $42,000 in the process.
Here, in his own words, is how he did it:
(1st place — 27 pounds, 4 ounces)
This week was tough, that's for sure. One of two things was happening. Either the bass were in transition because it's halfway between summer and fall or the shad kill this year forced the bass to compete with the stripers for food. Either way, it was a tournament to remember.
I found a place that was maybe 100 acres of surface water with drops and riprap. I fished a 1/2-ounce Omega Football Head Jig (Praying Mantis) with half a green pumpkin Zoom Brush Hog as a trailer.
With the exception of one important fish, I caught most of my bass along the riprap on the jig. It was kind of crazy. The first day you had to barely move it to get anything. The bites were so light that half the time I couldn't tell if it was a fish or a rock. I only weighed in three bass.
The second day the bites were more aggressive, but I only managed to boat two bass. It was discouraging and encouraging at the same time. I made the cut for Saturday with only five bass in two days. That's not what I wanted to do, but I was averaging well over 3 pounds per fish. I knew if I could get a four- or five-fish sack on Saturday, I could win.
I managed to boat four on Saturday, with two of them going about 5 pounds each. They all were caught on the jig except for one that I caught on an H2O crankbait in purple and chartreuse. It's my LSU lure. I sometimes throw it when I need a win to come out of nowhere like Les Miles — LSU's head football coach — does when the Tigers are in real trouble.
The reason I was able to win with only nine bass was that my primary lure choice culled out the small bass and because I found a place that the stripers hadn't.
Several guys came into my area during the tournament, but they either didn't get a bite or the fish they caught were too small to do them any good. I noticed that most of them were throwing small baits. Mine was a lot bigger, with a huge profile. That made a big difference.
The striper thing helped, too. A lot of the guys were catching as many stripers as bass. I wasn't. In fact, I only caught a couple of them during the whole event. The stripers had the bass all messed up. They were skittish and hard to make bite. Of course, if you look at the size of a bass and then look at the size of a striper, you can understand why.
I fished my jig on a 7-foot, 6-inch extra-heavy Custom Angle Pro Flip Master rod. I used a Shimano Citica reel (6.3:1 gear ratio) spooled with 15-pound-test Seaguar Invizx fluorocarbon line.