NORTH EAST, Md. – At this season’s first event on the Sabine River, it was Chris Lane and the Luck-E-Strike Drop Dead Craw.
At Lake Guntersville, it was Skeet Reese and Byron Velvick and the Basstrix Swimbait.
At every Elite Series event – if you listen closely enough – you’ll pick up on a bait or technique that simply has to be added to your own bass fishing arsenal.
In Lane’s case, he won with a prototype lure that wasn’t even available on the market at the time. Reese and Velvick finished first and second, respectively, with a 10-year-old lure that had gotten lost in the shuffle as the market was flooded with similar swimbaits.
Sometimes, the revelation doesn’t even come at the very top of the standings.
At BASSfest on Kentucky Lake, third-place angler Brett Hite introduced the masses to the Neko Rig – a wacky-rigged worm fitted with an O-ring at the mid-section and a nail weight in its head for a different action and better castability. He said it was a Japanese technique that had been popular on the West Coast for years without really catching on across the rest of the country.
Hite worked hard to keep the technique a secret during the tournament, even going as far as shielding it from nearby camera boats and competitors who were fishing just a short cast away.
After the event, he acknowledged, “The cat’s outta the bag now.”
Since we believe a different cat crawls out of a different bag at every event, we’re introducing a new feature. It will appear no later than the Thursday after each Elite Series event, and it’s intended to keep you updated on what’s new, what’s hot and which Elite Series lures and techniques you need to be utilizing yourself.
We know some of you are going to read about these baits and tactics and say, “That’s not new. I’ve been doing that for years.”
If that’s the case, you’re ahead of the game.
But hopefully, some of this stuff will comes as news to you and help you improve your on-the-water game.
The first installment, from last week’s event on Chesapeake Bay, is a tiny crankbait called the “Mutt.”