Menendez looking for big bites now

We rolled up on Mark Menendez just as he switched to a big-fish presentation - and he landed a good one right away.

He said he caught a quick 10-pound limit this morning, as many anglers on Lake Martin often try to do.

Right now, he’s using the same cantaloupe and red spinnerbait skirt on his lure that he used to catch the 13-pound largemouth that once held the record as the biggest ever caught in a BASS event. He doesn’t need one quite that big to cement a Top 12 performance.

BASSTrakk currently has him with 9-4, but it hasn’t updated since his most recent cull.

By the way, he says the correct name for the color of spinnerbait he’s using is “Elroy.” It’s named after former Bassmaster Classic qualifier Elroy Kruger.

Arizona fertile ground for B.A.S.S. pros

For most of us Arizona is a state known for the Grand Canyon and high country deserts. But six Bassmaster Elites have strong ties to the state and five of those guys made the top 51 cut and are fishing today in Alabama.

Roy Hawk lives at Lake Havasu, as does Dean Rojas. Brett Hite lives in Phoenix, Josh Bertrand lives in San Tan Valley, Clifford Pirch in Payson, and John Murray, the Godfather of the group, lived for many years in the state, though he now resides in Spring City, Tenn.

Why does Arizona produce so many top angler? “It’s so diverse in terms of fisheries,” said Hawk. He went on to describe Lake Havasu, Lake Powell and the Colorado River. “We have lakes where you can catch giant bass and others where 10 pounds a day will win a tournament. You can fish shallow and dirty or you can fish in gin clear water. Largemouth and smallmouth. Lake Havasu is the best
raining ground with a ton of diversity like backwater and current, underwater structure, grass and rock.”

Consider me much more educated on Arizona fishing now. I checked the weather at Havasu for today and it will be sunny and 79. It would be nice to fish there today!

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Defining stained water

It’s no secret that fishing the backs of creeks for largemouth is a key pattern this week on Lake Martin.

The textbook reason is stained water that is warmed by rising temperatures and rain runoff. Adrian Avena is one of the many anglers using a one-two punch that begins in the morning in deeper water fishing for spotted bass. As the water warms later in the day he changes his focus to the backs of the creeks to target largemouth.

“Whenever you are dealing with a winter to prespawn scenario for largemouth the best strategy is searching for the warmest water,” he told me. “Normally that type of water is going to be in the backs of the creeks, where the water gets stained, is in shallower water, and is subject to warming up the fastest from the afternoon sunshine.”

Avena, a self-proclaimed power fisherman, finds such conditions ideal for his style of fishing.

All that said, I wanted to know more than the textbook reasons why stained water is the place to be for largemouth during prespawn. We all understand the theory behind fishing stained water, but exactly what is the best stained water? I wanted to drill down more into that question and have Avena define exactly what are the best stained water conditions. Here’s what he said.

“As a power fisherman I’m trying to find water where I can see my lure running in 4, 6 or 8 inches of water. With that level of clarity the bass can use their sense of sight to find the bait. In muddier water they must rely only on their sense of sound. Plus, I can retrieve that lure faster and trigger the reaction strike that comes as a result of power fishing.”

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Spectators gathering to watch Tak

Takahiro Omori enjoys his privacy, but he’s having to deal with a bit of a crowd today.

Several boats were waiting for him to arrive at his first spot today, and about a dozen have now gathered to watch the action.

Like true fishermen, they’re staying out of the way and doing the non-intrusive golf clap every time he lands a fish.

He’s obliging them by holding up every fish.

Hawk adds third keeper

Roy Hawk just added his third keeper, a small bass in the 1 pound range. This gives him three in the livewell for about 5 pounds. 

Currently he’s fishing shallow. “I’m strongest at pattern fishing with moving baits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits and topwater,” Hawk told Bassmaster writer Mark Hicks earlier this year. “But I’ve won hundreds of thousands of dollars on a drop shot, too.”

Weather on the way

We’re appreciating every minute that it’s not raining.

The big weather band carrying moisture is sliding northeast of us for now and hopefully giving us at least the morning without rain.

But when it does start the fishing conditions will change with muddier water and more debris. 

The winning angler will likely be the guy who takes advantage of the changing conditions. 

Omori doing all of his work in a tiny spot

Photographer Thomas Allen and I just agreed that this may be the smallest spot where we’ve ever seen an Elite Series pro do this much damage in an Elite Series tournament.

Takahiro Omori, in about an hour, has now caught more than a dozen bass from a spot just a little wider than a bass boat. He’s got his outboard trimmed up, his Power-Poles down and isn’t showing any signs of leaving.

He hasn’t been perfect. He’s lost two that appeared to be decent fish right at the boat.

Omori has everything working

Here's how well things are going for Takahiro Omori: He's got bass retrieving his lost crankbaits. If you're watching Bassmaster LIVE, you saw Omori reel in a fish in a fish that had another crankbait hanging from its mouth. It wasn't just any crankbait.

"I got my crankbait back," Omori said. "This is the crankbait I lost yesterday. I broke it off on a tree. Thank you, fish, to bring my bait back."

Omori has already caught 11 bass in the first hour of the day, including a best five weighing 9-12. And he's got one more crankbait than he started the day with.