Day on the Lake: Jacob Foutz

See young Elite Jacob Foutz fish a mystery lake in the latest Day on the Lake feature.

The young Elite Series dudes I’ve worked with recently as a Bassmaster correspondent are remarkably competent, confident and competitive — especially Jacob Foutz. As a member of the Bryan College (Tennessee) bass squad, Foutz copped a berth in the 2018 Bassmaster Classic by winning the 2017 College Series National Championship and College Classic Bracket, then qualified for the 2022 Elite Series via his second-place Angler of the Year finish in the 2021 Southern Opens. During his rookie Elite season, Foutz placed third at Chickamauga Lake and fourth at Pickwick Lake.

A lifelong Bassmaster reader, Foutz has faithfully followed the successes and struggles of other pro anglers during their Day on the Lake outings. “I’ve always dreamed of taking the DOTL challenge,” Foutz told me when scheduling his April 12, 2023, outing. Fast-forward to early that fateful day: Foutz and I are heading to remote Lake Q, an obscure puddle that has both rewarded and humbled scores of DOTL challengers over the years. As we crest a hill and the fog-shrouded mystery lake lays before him, Foutz exclaims, “Wow! This is really gonna be cool!” That may be the understatement of the decade! Trust me, you’re going to want to follow Foutz’s every cast as his epic DOTL unfolds! 

• 6:20 a.m. It’s 44 degrees and foggy when we arrive at Lake Q. “Bass should be either spawning or in their prespawn staging mode,” Foutz predicts as he readies his arsenal of Ark rods and reels. “The nights have been unseasonably cold in this region for weeks, however, so that could delay their moving up shallow.” I ask Foutz about the massive NBT Marine graph on the Nitro’s front deck. “This 21-inch unit syncs up with my console-mounted Garmin graph to give me a huge LiveScope [forward-facing sonar] display. Some might say it’s overkill, but I love it.” 


• 6:45 a.m. We launch the Nitro. Foutz checks the water: It’s 61 degrees and moderately clear. “Conditions look right for spawning, but I need to cover some water to find out what’s really going on.” 

• 6:51 a.m. Foutz runs to Lake Q’s earthen dam. “The dam is usually a safe bet on any lake early in the morning; bass are often prowling the riprap for crawfish.” He makes his initial casts with a green gizzard Megabass Vision 110 jerkbait. 

• 6:57 a.m. Foutz changes jerkbaits to a deeper-running Vision 110+1 because “I’m seeing some fish suspending 10 feet down on LiveScope.” 

• 7:03 a.m. Foutz casts a 3-inch Storm Largo Shad minnow mimic to the suspending fish and reels in a crappie. 

• 7:05 a.m. Foutz casts a 6-inch albino shad Megabass Magdraft boot-tail swimbait parallel to the dam. “This is my go-to swimbait. A lot of guys hesitate throwing the 6-inch version because they think it’s too big, but you’ll catch all sizes of bass on it.” 

• 7:08 a.m. Foutz gets a hard strike on the Magdraft, but the fish comes unbuttoned. “Whoa, that was a big fish! That’s a great sign!” 

• 7:10 a.m. Foutz casts the swimbait to the corner of the dam and gets a massive strike! He works the fish closer and grabs his first keeper bass of the day, a spectacular 6-pound, 14-ounce largemouth! “Look at the head on this beast! I bet she was spawning around these rocks. If there’s a bunch of big fish up shallow, we could be in for an awesome day!” 

• 7:13 a.m. On his next cast, another bass smacks Foutz’s swimbait! He swings aboard keeper No. 2, 3 pounds, 13 ounces. “It’s been pretty exciting so far, and I’ve still got 6 1/2 hours to go!” 

• 7:15 a.m. Another big bass strikes the Magdraft! Foutz sets the hook, but the fish surges off the riprap and rips free. 

• 7:17 a.m. A school of gizzard shad swims past the boat. “That’s one reason why those big fish are on this dam.” 

• 7:20 a.m. Having reached the end of the dam, Foutz reverses direction and makes another pass along the riprap with the Magdraft. 

• 7:24 a.m. He spots a 4-pounder on its spawning bed and flips a wacky-rigged green pumpkin magic Zoom Fluke Stick worm to the fish. It swims off and Foutz moves on, resuming his swimbait presentations. 

• 7:30 a.m. Foutz has vacated the dam and is moving uplake along a steep channel bank with the Magdraft. “I retrieve this bait high in the water column where I can see it. It has an uncanny ability to draw bass out of thick cover into open water; they’ll often follow it straight to the boat, like they’re mesmerized by it. If you give it a little twitch or suddenly stop reeling, you can often turn those followers into strikers.” 

• 7:34 a.m. A bass bumps the Magdraft tight to the bank but doesn’t hook up. Foutz immediately pitches the Fluke Stick to the fish. “The Magdraft is a great search bait. You’ll probably see me alternating between it and a bed-fishing lure all day.” 

• 7:36 a.m. No takers here, so Foutz keeps moving down the bank. “Often on cold mornings, spawning fish won’t be locked onto the nest but will wander off the bed. So if you’re seeing what look like a lot of empty nests, mark their locations and check them again once the sun gets higher — you’ll often see fish on them then.” 

• 7:40 a.m. Foutz moves into a narrow cove, where he slow rolls the Magdraft while looking for spawning beds. 


• 7:45 a.m. Foutz expertly skips the Magdraft beneath an overhanging tree. A bass bumps it without hooking up. “This big bait skips surprisingly well. I fish it on a heavy action 7-foot, 9-inch A-rig rod with 20-pound fluorocarbon.” 

• 7:48 a.m. Foutz has reached the shallow back end of the cove, which is littered with submerged brush and laydowns. He checks for cruising fish but doesn’t see any. 

• 7:50 a.m. Foutz moves to the cove’s opposite bank with the Magdraft and catches keeper No. 3, 3 pounds, 8 ounces, off a submerged log. 

• 7:55 a.m. Foutz spots a fish bedding beneath overhanging tree branches. He pitches a white Zoom Z Craw Jr. to the bed; it’s Texas-rigged with a pegged 3/8-ounce sinker and a stout flipping hook. The bass, another 3-pounder, nips at the bait, then swims away. “Bed fishing is risky in tournaments. You can either load the boat in a hurry or waste precious time trying to coax them into biting.” 

• 7:59 a.m. Foutz presses farther down the bank and bags his fourth keeper, 3-10, on the Magdraft. 

• 8:05 a.m. Foutz spots a fish bedding on the point at the cove’s entrance. He flips the craw to the spawner and catches his fifth keeper, 3-14. “It’s still early and I’ve already caught five fish weighing almost 22 pounds. Hopefully, I can cull those four 3s and log some serious weight.” 

• 8:18 a.m. Foutz has moved into another nearby cove in search of spawners. He’s moving quickly down the bank while pitching the Magdraft around shoreline cover. “Catching big female spawners is as much about timing as it is about lure presentation. The smaller males will stick around the nest for days, but the females often show up, drop their eggs, then leave in short order. If you aren’t there during that brief window of opportunity, you won’t catch those big girls.” 

• 8:29 a.m. A 4-pounder follows the Magdraft to the boat. Foutz watches it swim back to its spawning bed, then offers it the wacky worm and craw. Nope! Not interested! 

• 8:35 a.m. Foutz is moving quickly out of the cove while retrieving the swimbait parallel to a sand bank. 


• 8:45 a.m. Foutz runs uplake to a primary point and tries a white 3/8-ounce Accent buzzbait with a matching Z-Man GOAT grub trailer replacing the skirt. 

• 8:48 a.m. Foutz rounds the point and enters a shallow tributary arm replete with docks, laydowns and submerged stumps. He swims the Magdraft parallel to a boathouse and catches a 1-12 keeper (No. 6). 

• 9 a.m. Foutz has reached the extreme upper end of the inflowing tributary. He pitches the Magdraft to a laydown and hangs it in a limb. It’s too shallow here to troll to the tree, so he uses a push pole to edge his boat close enough to retrieve the bait. 

• 9:14 a.m. Having finally retrieved this lure, Foutz push poles the boat back out into deeper water, then continues casting the Magdraft. “Whew! That’s too much like work!” 

• 9:18 a.m. Foutz’s boat spooks a big bass off the bank. “This is an ideal spawning area. It’s protected from the north wind and gets good sun penetration.” 

• 9:22 a.m. Continuing along the tributary bank, Foutz spots two 4-pounders on a bed. He shakes the wacky worm on the nest. No takers. 

• 9:24 a.m. It’s dead calm and warming up rapidly as the sun gets higher. Foutz exits the creek arm and runs farther up the lake to a shallow pocket where he tries the Magdraft. 

• 9:30 a.m. Foutz’s LiveScope spots a solitary stump well off the bank. He casts a morning dawn O.S.P. DoLive Crawler finesse worm on a drop-shot rig at the stump and catches his seventh keeper, 1-8. 

• 9:36 a.m. He tries a bluegill color Spro Poppin’ Frog around a snaggy bank. 


• 9:45 a.m. The water is getting muddier the farther uplake Foutz progresses, so he races back to the tributary he had just partially fished, then hits a sloping bank with the Magdraft. 

• 9:59 a.m. Foutz has spotted a big fish on a bed. He pitches the drop-shot worm to the bass and shakes it repeatedly. 

• 10:02 a.m. Foutz tries the white craw on the bed. The lunker inhales the bait; Foutz hammers back his rod and swings aboard his eighth keeper, 6-12! This giant culls his 3-8 and pumps his five-fish weight to just shy of 25 pounds. I inform Foutz that the all-time Day on the Lake weight record, a mark set back in 2009 by North Carolina pro Dustin Wilks, is 28 pounds, 15 ounces. “Really? A couple more big fish could put me over that mark!” 

• 10:17 a.m. Foutz exits the creek and runs to a series of docks on the main lake, which he attacks with the Magdraft. What’s his take on the day so far? “The fish appear to be in both spawning and immediate prespawn modes, and I’m seriously pumped after catching two heavy 6s. I’m going to keep covering shallow water with the Magdraft and hitting any bedding fish I run across with the craw and drop-shot worm — that approach has paid off great so far. If more big fish head for the banks as the sun gets higher, things could get crazy in a hurry.” 

• 10:23 a.m. Foutz slow rolls the Magdraft inside a boathouse and gets another hard strike! He races to his boat’s console and grabs his ninth keeper, another 6-12 largemouth! This brute culls his 3-10 and boosts his weight total to just over 28 pounds! 

• 10:35 a.m. Foutz bags a 3-15 off a dock on the Magdraft. His tenth keeper culls his 3-13 and inches him 2 ounces closer to the DOTL weight record! 


• 10:45 a.m. Foutz detects line abrasion above the Magdraft, pauses to retie, then slow rolls the lure through a big laydown on a secondary point. A 2-4 largemouth grabs the bait; it’s no help to his total. 

• 10:54 a.m. Foutz hangs the Magdraft in a shoreline bush. He attempts to free the lure via rod shakes, but his line breaks and the bait sinks out of sight. “I hate to lose that bait! I’ve only got one more Magdraft, and it’s in pretty gnarly condition.” 

• 11:01 a.m. Foutz ties on the chewed-up replacement Magdraft and casts it to a series of docks. 

• 11:11 a.m. He idles back to the spot where he saw the 10-pounder and makes another fruitless attempt at raising it with the Magdraft. 

• 11:16 a.m. Foutz runs to an offshore rockpile and combs it with the Magdraft. No love here. 

• 11:19 a.m. He catches a 3-pounder (keeper No. 12) off a nearby dock. 

• 11:27 a.m. Another 3-pounder follows the Magdraft off a boat ramp. 

• 11:34 a.m. Foutz proceeds downlake, combing a concrete seawall with the swimbait. 

• 11:38 a.m. Foutz gets a hard strike near a dock on the Magdraft. He plays the fish carefully and swings aboard his 13th keeper, 5 pounds, 10 ounces! This puts his five-fish limit at 29-15, 1 pound over Wilks’ record! “This is surreal!” 


• 11:45 a.m. Foutz is intent on culling his 3-15 to pad his new DOTL weight record. He proceeds down a seawall with the Magdraft. 

• 11:53 a.m. He spots a big spawner, drops his Power-Poles and tries unsuccessfully to catch the lunker on the drop-shot worm. 

• Noon. Foutz resumes swimbaiting the seawall. A 2-pounder follows the lure to the boat. 

• 12:06 p.m. Foutz catches a 2-9 off a main-lake dock on the Magdraft. 

• 12:18 p.m. Foutz enters a cove replete with laydowns and stumps and probes it with the Magdraft. 

• 12:29 p.m. The back of the cove has scattered stumps the size of garbage can lids, but Foutz can find no bass spawning here. He vacates the cove and heads for a long tributary arm. 


• 12:45 p.m. Foutz is alternating between the Magdraft and the craw as he moves quickly down a tributary bank. The water here is 65 degrees. 

• 12:54 p.m. He gets a bump on the Magdraft. “That fish just headbutted the bait.” 

• 1:06 p.m. Foutz catches his fifteenth keeper, 2-14, off a seawall. “I’m really wanting to cull that 3-15!” 

• 1:13 p.m. Foutz moves to a rocky tributary point and immediately spots two fish on a bed. “The male looks about 3 pounds and the female could push 7.” He casts the craw to the nest and shakes it repeatedly. 

• 1:16 p.m. The smaller male bites the craw; Foutz swings and misses. “If I can get that buck off the bed, that big female will be easier to catch.” 

• 1:18 p.m. Foutz pitches the craw to the bed again, and the bigger bass immediately grabs it! He sets the hook and his line breaks! “Awww, man, I had her hooked!” He ties on another craw and resumes hammering the bed. 

• 1:19 p.m. Foutz catches the 2-6 male off the bed. “I don’t know whether his girlfriend will bite again; I stuck her pretty good.” 

• 1:21 p.m. Foutz’s time is running out, and he opts to leave the bedding female. He moves down a nearby bank with the Magdraft and catches a 3-5. 

• 1:23 p.m. Foutz skips the Magdraft under a dock. It hangs up and he’s forced to break it off. Some frantic rummaging through his lure stash yields a 6-inch jointed glidebait, brand unknown. He ties on the glider and speed-trolls to a shallow cove. 

• 1:28 p.m. Foutz chunks the glidebait around shoreline cover and gets a follow from a 6-inch bass. “That’s what I call an overachiever!” 

• 1:33 p.m. Foutz jerks the erratic glider past a submerged log and a good fish grabs it! His eighteenth keeper, 4 pounds, 11 ounces, culls his 3-15, further padding his record-setting weight! 

• 1:39 p.m. With six minutes remaining, Foutz races back to the point where he broke off the 7-pounder. He retrieves the glidebait near the bed and gets a savage strike, but the fish shakes free. 

• 1:45 p.m. Time’s up! Foutz has put on an epic display of springtime bass fishing. He’s boated 18 keeper largemouth, and his five biggest bass weigh a staggering 30 pounds, 11 ounces — a new record for this series! 


“This has been one of my most memorable fishing days ever!” Foutz told Bassmaster. “The bass were starting to move shallow and I was able to catch three over 6 pounds that were either staging or on bed, plus I got to swing at some even bigger fish. The Magdraft and glidebait accounted for 14 of my 18 keepers, including four of my five biggest bass; this proves that you shouldn’t be shy about throwing these big lures! If I were to fish here tomorrow under similar conditions, I’d expect even more bass to be moving shallow to spawn, which could mean I’d spend a lot more time bed fishing than I did today.” 


1.  6 pounds, 14 ounces; 6-inch Megabass Magdraft swimbait (albino shad); riprap at dam; 7:10 a.m. 
2.  6 pounds, 12 ounces; Zoom Z Craw Jr. (white); spawning bed; 10:02 a.m. 
3.  6 pounds, 12 ounces; same lure as No. 1; boathouse; 10:23 a.m. 
4.  5 pounds, 10 ounces; same lure as No. 1; dock; 11:38 a.m. 
5.  4 pounds, 11 ounces; 6-inch jointed glidebait (shad); submerged log in cove; 1:33 p.m.