Top lures at Chesapeake Bay

A full moon pushing tides higher than normal. Scattered fish in pre-fall transition. The sheer magnitude of dialing in the bite on a massive playing field. It all added up to challenging conditions at the St. Croix Bassmaster Northern Open at Upper Chesapeake Bay presented by Mossy Oak Fishing.
“I didn’t think there was any way for this to happen; I don’t even know what to say,” JT Thompkins said of his come-from-behind victory with a winning weight of 39 pounds, 12 ounces. “This whole year, I’ve talked about dreaming of going to the Classic. It’s a dream come true.” The dream did indeed come true for the 20-year old from South Carolina.
A primary bait used by Thompkins, and that you will see throughout this gallery, is the bladed jig, also an ideal bait for locating transitioning bass during the fall. The turnover season can be challenging, so you need to have a varied selection of baits to try until dialing into the bite. Find everything you need for the season at
Kyle Patrick (9th; 24-13)
Kyle Patrick alternated between a worm and creature bait. 
A top choice was the new Missile Baits Magic Worm, rigged on a 1/0 Owner Cover Shot Hook, with a 3/16-ounce weight. 
Patrick also used a Missile Baits D Stroyer, rigged on a Gamakatsu SuperLine Offset EWG Hook, with a 1/4-ounce weight. 
Chad Pipkens (8th; 30-2)
Chad Pipkens alternated between a drop shot and shaky head rig. 
He made the shaky head with a 7″ worm, rigged on a 1/8-ounce 4×4 Bass Jigs jig head. 
For the drop shot, he used a 6″ worm, rigged on a 2/0 straight shank hook, with a 3/16-ounce Titan Tungsten Weight. 
Duke Nave (7th; 30-15)
An old school spinnerbait, crankbait and creature bait were the baits of choice for working the entire water column for Duke Nave. 
He chose a 1/2-ounce Terminator T1 Original Titanium Spinnerbait, with a Storm Largo Shad. 
For working deeper water, he used a Rapala BX Brat 6.
For heavy cover, Nave used a Strike King Rage Bug, rigged on a 3/0 VMC Ike Approved Heavy Duty Hook, with a 5/16-ounce weight. 
David Gaston (6th; 35-8)
David Gaston kept it simple with a pair of bladed jigs. 
He alternated between a 3/8- and 1/2-ounce Z-Man ChatterBait JackHammer.
Kyle Austin (5th; 35-9)
A crankbait and Texas-rigged worm did the trick for Kyle Austin. 
He made it with a Strike King Shim-E-Stick, rigged on a 4/0 offset worm hook, with a 1/4-ounce tungsten weight. 
Alternatively, he used a Strike King 1.5 Squarebill Crankbait. 
Fall is coming and with it, bass on the move throughout the water column. That means using multiple types of lures to find the bait, and the bass, during a time of year when the fish are wary to angling pressure from the summer. That means using baits rarely used, or seen by the bass. Find those baits now at
Trevor McKinney (4th; 37-0)
Trevor Mckinney’s primary bait was a Strike King Rage Bug. 
He rigged it on a 4/0 VMC Ike Approved Flippin’ Hook, with a 5/16-ounce Jigshack Tungsten Weight. 
Pete Gluszek (3rd; 37-2)
Pete Gluszek rotated through finesse, power fishing baits for flipping and a crankbait. For power fishing, he chose a Strike King Rage Bug, rigged on a 4/0 VMC Hook, with 3/8- or 1/2-ounce weights. 
For finesse fishing, he used a Yamamoto Senko, rigged on a 4/0 Hook, with a VMC Half Moon Wacky weight in the tail. 
For covering water, he used a Rapala DT Fat. 
Chris Beaudrie (2nd; 38-13) 
Chris Beaudrie rotated through a topwater frog, spinnerbait and soft plastic worm. 
An unlikely but productive choice for the Bay was a Strike King Sexy Frog. 
He also used a 3/4-ounce Picasso Lures double willowleaf spinnerbait. 
He also used a Texas rigged stickworm rigged with a 3/4-ounce weight.
JT Thompkins (1st; 39-12)
A bladed jig and wacky rig were the two primary baits used by JT Thompkins. 
The first choice was a 1/2-ounce Z-Man ChatterBait JackHammer, with a Strike King 3X ElaZTech Too. 
Alternatively, Thompkins used a weightless, wacky-rigged. Yamamoto Senko, rigged on a No. 2 hook.