Dock Talk: Mississippi River

Welcome to the final 2022 edition of Dock Talk, where we interview the anglers following their three days of practice, and on the eve of the first competition day.
We are at the 2022 Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Mississippi River. We report, and you decide if it’s just “dock talk,” or true facts about what is to come.
Greg Hackney
“There are lots of fish; it’s hard to catch big ones and the water is lower than it’s ever been since I’ve been coming here.”
“The place is super healthy with bait and bass, but that three-pound bite that you need is hard to come by now. You can catch 100 a day,” Hackney said.
“Today I just went fishing and practiced on my hookset (laughs).”
Lee Livesay
“I’m already in the Classic and practically double qualified, so I went frogging the whole time. It’s not the same world-class frogging as we’ve had in the past. I did have nine bites in one mat, but that’s few and far between.”
“I really want to be in Pool 7 but the Corps is not giving us a schedule. They are biting. Everyone is catching fish in the Black River, main river, the backwaters,” Livesay said.
“I think 14- to 17-pounds per day will have you in the Top 10 on Sunday to be in contention to win.”
Jeff Gustafson
“The fishing has been better than I thought it would be, based on the low water. I’ve been catching largemouth, smallmouth, with consistent bite.”
“I’m rigged up with standard Mississippi River tackle. Straight braid on casting tackle, a spinning rig.”
“I’m just going through the numbers to fill a limit.”
Brock Mosley
“It’s different from years past with the water lower. Maneuvering and navigating has always been risky, but now it’s even more so, and you have to take that into consideration with running times.”
“You can catch a lot of fish but the size is inconsistently small. You are struggling to catch 5 keepers out of 20 fish caught,” Mosley said.
“Usually this is the place where you have to find the right quality in your bite. Now, it’s going through the numbers to get what you need, and that’s time consuming.”
Chad Pipkens
“It’s more difficult than normal. The fish are smaller and I’m not catching as many keepers as I have in the past.”
“Typically, you can go out and catch 20-something keepers and just keeping culling up by the ounces, but I haven’t been able to do that here,” Pipkens said.
“I feel like if you catch 6 or 8 keepers that you will have what you need, regardless of how big they are. That’s based on a limit of 2 1/2 pounders or more in size.”
Taku Ito
“Very bad practice. I’m no good with shallow water, heavy cover, or grass fishing. I like to smallmouth fish in deeper water. I tried doing that.”
“I caught a few smallmouth. Enough to try finesse fishing in shallow water,” Ito said.
“There are a lot of smallmouth here. I hope I can make a pattern out of it. Taku no like grass. Or largemouth.”
Frank Talley
“The bass for the most part are up shallow, in 6 inches of water, and there are also largemouth and smallmouth chasing bait on sand flats in 3 feet of water out on the river.”
“Bass are everywhere throughout the water column, and there is a lot of bait out there and it’s hard to fool them,” Talley said.
“I’m thinking 10 1/2 to 11 pounds will make the first cut, and 15 pounds a day for the win.”
Brandon Lester
“There are a lot of things going on. Undoubtedly there will be a lot of fish caught out of the grass. I’ve got a possible pattern going with that, but I’m probably going to focus on manmade cover.”
“You have a lot of options here. I just never got into an area where I could capitalize on those fish,” Lester said.
“I feel like a lot of people are going to have 12 pounds a day, with more like 14 pounds to be inside the cut.”
Cory Johnston
“It’s interesting out there because you can catch them doing anything that you want to do. You can catch them flipping, frogging, cranking, anything.”
“The bites and patterns are going to be very diverse,” Johnston said.
“I think the guy who is going to win is going to find a big group of fish, probably schooling or something similar.”
Kenta Kimura
“All I’m trying to do is maintain my Classic qualification; I’m in good shape. I’d like to make the first cut and be good.”
“I don’t know what happened to smallmouth, because I wanted to catch them. I had to target largemouth, and hopefully I have a small pattern.”
“I feel like the bass are going into the fall transition. At least that is how I will fish for them.”