How I will fish Tenkiller

This week the Bassmaster Elite Series wraps up the regular season on Lake Tenkiller in eastern Oklahoma. I’m in 10th place in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings so there’s really not a ton of pressure on me to make the AOY Championship and the Classic. That’s a good feeling, so I’m just going out and fishing as hard as I can.

This is a new fishery for me, and that’s one of the aspects of fishing professionally that I love – seeing new places.  One thing that helps me get adjusted to new fisheries is to figure out fairly quickly which lake it feels like that I have some history on. Tenkiller reminds me a good bit of my home lake Tims Ford in southern middle Tennessee. Tims can be challenging in September, and how we fish it is by covering acres and acres of water. Tenkiller has been stingy so far in practice.

The best way to effectively fish miles of water in late summer is with a topwater. Long casts and a fast retrieve allow me to effectively target aggressive fish that are chasing baitfish. Walking baits and buzzbaits will get the job done this time of year.

I fish topwaters on an MHX MB842 with 15- to 17-pound Vicious fluorocarbon and always change out stock hooks to Mustad KVD Trebles. I talk a lot about Winn grips, and I personally feel like they really help with fatigue on these events where I’m covering a lot of water like this. 

The 842 is a fast-action, medium-power rod and I absolutely love it for topwaters. Every year I’ve had more and more people telling me they’re building rods, and that is really satisfying. A lot of them say it has really made them enjoy fishing more and that always makes me smile. I’ve never made a cast on the Elite Series without a rod I built myself.

I’ll make plenty of casts this week and hopefully can run into some hungry fish here on Tenkiller. This one will be a grinder, but we all love a good challenge.

Y’all stay tuned on Bassmaster and let’s see who can win this one.

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