Aoki's wacky ways

Daisuke Aoki, 6th place (36-4)

Three weeks after winning the Bassmaster Southern Open on Douglas Lake, Japanese sensation Daisuke Aoki again finds himself fishing on Championship Saturday. With a stout field of top-10 finalists largely focusing on reaction-style presentations and full-size flipping packages, the pro from Minamitsuru-gun Yamanashi, Japan has relied on a finesse bait.

Generally known as the flick shake technique, Aoki’s rig comprises a 4-inch green pumpkin blue flake Yamamoto Senko on a 1/16-ounce wacky jig. Unlike a Neko rig, which uses a nail weight to pull one end of a center-hooked worm downward, the wacky jig keeps both ends of the bait wiggling independently, while bumping along the bottom with an upward posture.

Aoki said he’s making multiple casts in rapid succession and using sharp rod twitches for maximum bait motion. Covering a lot of water and fishing efficiently, he’s hoping to run into five quality fish.

With the final round’s high bright skies and light wind, Aoki’s technique will likely shine later in the day. Don’t be surprised to see him make a late-day surge.

Nania's game changing move

BassTrakk shows Joey Nania in the lead with 17 pounds, 6 ounces for the day, and a total weight of 56-14. Here is a possible reason why.

Yesterday, Nania took note of catching largemouth with lampreys attached to their side. He decided to rig up a Texas-rigged straight tail worm. His strike zone is stumps in 10 feet of water on main lake ledges. The sweet spot is a 40-yard stretch.

"It's making the difference, and so is seeing them on Garmin Panoptics LiveScope," he said.

Shad spawn a bust?

This time yesterday, Carl Jocumsen had 17 pounds in his livewell, and Joey Nania had most of his 21-11 weight by now too, including an 8 pounder. 

By the looks of BassTrakk, the very narrow shad spawn was short-lived. Two anglers, John Garrett and James Rampey, have double digit limits. Jocumsen has 3 for 7-6, and Nania has 1 small keeper. 

Andy Crawford just confirmed the shad spawn window was brief. He's at Koger Island now, where a pileup is in full swing around the island's rich growth of hydrilla. 

Will grinding it out in the grass pay off here? Or will the guys fishing far up the lake fare well? 

Foggy morning

Waiting for the fog on Pickwick Lake.

Wrecking weather

Will the incoming storms wreck the shad spawn? We are about to find out, as depicted in this latest radar image. 

The National Weather Service forecast has an 80 percent chance of thunderstorms--for today and tonight--with southwest winds around 15 mph. Precipitation amounts are up to 1/2 inch.  

Full blown shad spawn

The action is hot along the riprap shoreline at Pickwick Dam, where the shad are spawning, and the anglers are catching the bass. Some of them are catching themselves, as shown in this photo taken by Andy Crawford. 

Crawford is with top Pickwick Lake guide David Allen, who performed first aid duties and removed the treble hooks from the victim's hand. 

"This shad spawn could go on all day, with the overcast conditions," said Allen. "Today could be the big bag day of the week."