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Top lures at St. Clair 2020

Sixteen anglers broke the 60-pound mark after three days of fishing on Lake St. Clair. Even more amazing was that smallmouth dominated the catches. The drama and live action all played out on ESPN2 and Bassmaster.com at the YETI Bassmaster Elite at Lake St. Clair. 
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<em>All captions: Craig Lamb</em>
Sixteen anglers broke the 60-pound mark after three days of fishing on Lake St. Clair. Even more amazing was that smallmouth dominated the catches. The drama and live action all played out on ESPN2 and Bassmaster.com at the YETI Bassmaster Elite at Lake St. Clair.
 
All captions: Craig Lamb
A rookie from Japan, a B.A.S.S. Nation champion, three tournament veterans, two brothers from Canada and a well-rounded roster of top talent. And only a 5-pounder separating 10th place from the lead going into Championship Sunday. It would be one to remember.
A rookie from Japan, a B.A.S.S. Nation champion, three tournament veterans, two brothers from Canada and a well-rounded roster of top talent. And only a 5-pounder separating 10th place from the lead going into Championship Sunday. It would be one to remember.
The leaderboard endured a daylong shakeup. When it settled, the name of three-season pro Bill Weidler appeared at the top. Get rigged up with your choice of drop-shot rigs, Ned rigs and finesse baits used by the champ and his peers.
The leaderboard endured a daylong shakeup. When it settled, the name of three-season pro Bill Weidler appeared at the top. Get rigged up with your choice of drop-shot rigs, Ned rigs and finesse baits used by the champ and his peers.
<p><strong>Taku Ito (10th; 79-12)<br></strong>Taku Ito fished his third consecutive Championship Sunday, all of them dominated by catches of smallmouth. “I like smallmouth.” That’s an understatement. Ito had never caught a smallmouth until this year. He used two crankbaits and a Japanese crawfish imitator that he was reluctant to show in this gallery. His secret weapon is about to be revealed.</p>
Taku Ito (10th; 79-12)
Taku Ito fished his third consecutive Championship Sunday, all of them dominated by catches of smallmouth. “I like smallmouth.” That’s an understatement. Ito had never caught a smallmouth until this year. He used two crankbaits and a Japanese crawfish imitator that he was reluctant to show in this gallery. His secret weapon is about to be revealed.
That bait was an Ecogear 2-inch Rock Claw, rigged on a No. 1 Ryugi Talisman Neko Hook, with Ryugi Delta TG Sinker. Prevailing winds dictated the sizes of his weights. “The
craw is very detailed and matched the size of the crawfish in the lake.”
That bait was an Ecogear 2-inch Rock Claw, rigged on a No. 1 Ryugi Talisman Neko Hook, with Ryugi Delta TG Sinker. Prevailing winds dictated the sizes of his weights. “The craw is very detailed and matched the size of the crawfish in the lake.”
<p>Ito also used a Nories Shot Over 3 crankbait, using a combination of tungsten, steel and brass weights in the buoyancy chamber that maximizes its unique rolling action. Another choice was a Megabass Deep-X 300 Crankbait, capable of reaching depths of nearly 17 feet.</p><p><strong>Buy it now on Amazon</strong><br><a href=
Ito also used a Nories Shot Over 3 crankbait, using a combination of tungsten, steel and brass weights in the buoyancy chamber that maximizes its unique rolling action. Another choice was a Megabass Deep-X 300 Crankbait, capable of reaching depths of nearly 17 feet.
<p><strong>Jay Yelas (9th; 83-4)<br></strong>“I probably had more fun catching my fish than all those guys using a drop shot.” Jay Yelas did just that, rotating through three lures ideally suited for his mood.</p>
Jay Yelas (9th; 83-4)
“I probably had more fun catching my fish than all those guys using a drop shot.” Jay Yelas did just that, rotating through three lures ideally suited for his mood.
<p>A top choice was a 5/8-ounce Z Man Chatterbait, with a Yamamoto 4-inch Zako Swimbait. He also used a Duo Realis Spinbait 80 Spybait. Another choice was an MGC Custom Tackle 3/4-ounce Cobra Spinnerbait, featuring tandem chartreuse and white willowleaf blades.</p><p><strong>Buy it now on Amazon</strong><br><a href=
A top choice was a 5/8-ounce Z Man ChatterBait, with a Yamamoto 4-inch Zako Swimbait. He also used a Duo Realis Spinbait 80 Spybait. Another choice was an MGC Custom Tackle 3/4-ounce Cobra Spinnerbait, featuring tandem chartreuse and white willowleaf blades.
<p><strong>Cody Hollen (8th; 84-3)</strong><br>Cody Hollen rotated through three baits at Lake St. Clair.</p>
Cody Hollen (8th; 84-3)
Cody Hollen rotated through three baits at Lake St. Clair.
A top choice was a Rapala DT10 crankbait for reaching feeding smallmouth in deeper water.
A top choice was a Rapala DT10 crankbait for reaching feeding smallmouth in deeper water.
<p>He also used a Berkley PowerBait MaxScent 4-inch Flat Worm, nose-hooked on a No. 1 hook, with 3/8-ounce TKO Tungsten weight. Alternatively, he used a Missile Baits Bomb Shot, on the same size hook and weight. </p><p><strong>Buy it now on Amazon<br></strong><a href=
He also used a Berkley PowerBait MaxScent 4-inch Flat Worm, nose-hooked on a No. 1 hook, with 3/8-ounce TKO Tungsten weight. Alternatively, he used a Missile Baits Bomb Shot, on the same size hook and weight.
<p><strong>Shane LeHew (7th; 84-11)</strong><br>Shane LeHew rigged up a drop-shot rig with what he called “smallmouth candy.”</p>
Shane LeHew (7th; 84-11)
Shane LeHew rigged up a drop-shot rig with what he called “smallmouth candy.”
The choice was the new goby-imitating Berkley PowerBait MaxScent 4-inch Flat Worm, rigged on a No. 1 Berkley Fusion 19 No. 1 Hook, with a 3/8-ounce weight.
The choice was the new goby-imitating Berkley PowerBait MaxScent 4-inch Flat Worm, rigged on a No. 1 Berkley Fusion 19 No. 1 Hook, with a 3/8-ounce weight.
<p><strong>Chris Johnston (6th; 84-13)</strong><br>Most of Lake St. Clair was off limits to the anglers due to the border closure at Canada. That didn’t matter at all to Chris Johnston, who made a run at a second title using a drop shot.</p>
Chris Johnston (6th; 84-13)
Most of Lake St. Clair was off limits to the anglers due to the border closure at Canada. That didn’t matter at all to Chris Johnston, who made a run at a second title using a drop shot.
<p>He made it with a Strike King 3X ElazTech Z Too Soft Jerkbait, rigged on a No. 1 Gamakatsu G-Finesse Stinger Hook, with 3/8-ounce Woo! Tungsten Drop Shot Weight.</p><p><strong>Buy it now on Amazon</strong><br><a href=
He made it with a Strike King 3X ElazTech Z Too Soft Jerkbait, rigged on a No. 1 Gamakatsu G-Finesse Stinger Hook, with 3/8-ounce Woo! Tungsten Drop Shot Weight.
<p><strong>Jake Whitaker (5th; 85-2)</strong><br>Jake Whitaker spent the tournament in the St. Clair River, dragging a Ned rig to get strikes. “I needed to be near the bank,” he said of his comfort zone.</p>
Jake Whitaker (5th; 85-2)
Jake Whitaker spent the tournament in the St. Clair River, dragging a Ned rig to get strikes. “I needed to be near the bank,” he said of his comfort zone.
He made the rig with a TrueSouth 1/4-ounce Ned Head, with a Bizz Baits 5.5-inch Sassy Stick. Later in the week he switched to a Bizz Baits 3.25-inch Ned Dizzy, using the same terminal tackle.
He made the rig with a TrueSouth 1/4-ounce Ned Head, with a Bizz Baits 5.5-inch Sassy Stick. Later in the week he switched to a Bizz Baits 3.25-inch Ned Dizzy, using the same terminal tackle.
<p><strong>Clark Wendlandt (4th; 85-9)</strong><br>Clark Wendlandt’s bite improved as the sun came up to make roaming smallmouth seek shady ambush cover. He alternated between a drop shot and crankbait.</p>
Clark Wendlandt (4th; 85-9)
Clark Wendlandt’s bite improved as the sun came up to make roaming smallmouth seek shady ambush cover. He alternated between a drop shot and crankbait.
That choice was a Strike King Pro Model 5XD Crankbait.
That choice was a Strike King Pro Model 5XD Crankbait.
<p>He made the drop shot with a minnow-shaped bait, rigged on No. 2 1X Fine Mosquito Select Finesse Hook, with Strike King Tour Grade Tungsten Weights, in 3/8- and 1/2-ounce sizes.</p><p><strong>Buy it now on Amazon</strong><br><a href=
He made the drop shot with a minnow-shaped bait, rigged on No. 2 1X Fine Mosquito Select Finesse Hook, with Strike King Tour Grade Tungsten Weights, in 3/8- and 1/2-ounce sizes.
<p><strong>John Cox (3rd; 85-12)</strong><br>John Cox was all smiles and laughs in the St. Clair River. Cox rotated through a pair of drop-shot rigs to make the most of his week.</p>
John Cox (3rd; 85-12)
John Cox was all smiles and laughs in the St. Clair River. Cox rotated through a pair of drop-shot rigs to make the most of his week.
<p>The first choice was the Berkley PowerBait MaxScent 4-inch Flat Worm, rigged on a No. 2 Hook, with 3/8-ounce weight. He also used a Berkley PowerBait Jerk Shad, rigged on 1/0 straight shank hook, with 1/2-ounce weight.</p><p><strong>Buy it now on Amazon</strong><br><a href=
The first choice was the Berkley PowerBait MaxScent 4-inch Flat Worm, rigged on a No. 2 Hook, with 3/8-ounce weight. He also used a Berkley PowerBait Jerk Shad, rigged on 1/0 straight shank hook, with 1/2-ounce weight.
<p><strong>Cory Johnston (2nd; 85-15)</strong><br>Cory Johnston did what he does best, which is use the drop-shot tactic for offshore smallmouth. He came close to winning, even though the highly productive smallmouth waters of his homeland were off limits due to the border closure.</p>
Cory Johnston (2nd; 85-15)
Cory Johnston did what he does best, which is use the drop-shot tactic for offshore smallmouth. He came close to winning, even though the highly productive smallmouth waters of his homeland were off limits due to the border closure.
<p>He used the Berkley PowerBait MaxScent 4-inch Flat Worm, rigged on No. 1 Gamakatsu G-Finesse Stinger Hook, with 3/8-ounce Woo! Tungsten Drop Shot Weight. Using the same setup, he also used a Strike King 3X ElazTech Baby Z Too Soft Jerkbait. </p><p><strong>Buy it now on Amazon</strong><br><a href=
He used the Berkley PowerBait MaxScent 4-inch Flat Worm, rigged on No. 1 Gamakatsu G-Finesse Stinger Hook, with 3/8-ounce Woo! Tungsten Drop Shot Weight. Using the same setup, he also used a Strike King 3X ElazTech Baby Z Too Soft Jerkbait.
<p><strong>Bill Weidler (1st; 86-7)</strong><br>Bill Weidler used finesse baits on hard edges of grasslines in 15-feet of water. Key was the presence of baitfish that attracted the smallmouth. Finesse baits matching the forage size did the trick.</p>
Bill Weidler (1st; 86-7)
Bill Weidler used finesse baits on hard edges of grasslines in 15-feet of water. Key was the presence of baitfish that attracted the smallmouth. Finesse baits matching the forage size did the trick.
<p>A top choice was a Z Man 2.75-inch Finesse TRD, rigged on a 1/4-ounce Lifted Jigs Ned EWG Jig Head, designed for fishing around heavy cover without the bulkiness of a weedguard. He also used a Strike King 3X ElazTech Z Too Soft Jerkbait, rigged on No. 1 Owner AKI Hook, with 1/2-ounce weight. Alternatively, he used the same bait nose-hooked on a drop-shot rig made with a No. 1 Owner Drop Shot Hook and 3/8-ounce weight.</p><p><strong>Buy it now on Amazon</strong><br><a href=
A top choice was a Z Man 2.75-inch Finesse TRD, rigged on a 1/4-ounce Lifted Jigs Ned EWG Jig Head, designed for fishing around heavy cover without the bulkiness of a weedguard. He also used a Strike King 3X ElazTech Z Too Soft Jerkbait, rigged on No. 1 Owner AKI Hook, with 1/2-ounce weight. Alternatively, he used the same bait nose-hooked on a drop-shot rig made with a No. 1 Owner Drop Shot Hook and 3/8-ounce weight.