Top lures of the 2022 Classic

A look at what worked for the top 25 anglers at the Classic.

The 52nd Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk played out in both ends of the water column on Lake Hartwell. Some of the pros opted to fish deep, focusing on spotted bass and largemouth around the lake’s many islands.
Other anglers focused on prespawn, and eventually some spawning bass, by exploiting the lake’s many docks.
Jason Christie did both, alternating between docks and deep water for a Classic-winning weight of 54 pounds.
Christie pushed his B.A.S.S. earnings to more than $1.6 million with the $300,000 victory. The Classic champ, like other top finishers, chose baits adaptable for fishing in deep and shallow water, for the bass in the prespawn and spawning modes.
Greg Hackney (25th 35-14)
Greg Hackney got his biggest bites on a jig at Lake Hartwell.
A 1/2-ounce Strike King Hack Attack Select Swim Jig paired with a Strike King Baby Rage Craw trailer was Hackney’s jig of choice.
Gerald Swindle (24th 38-8)
Gerald Swindle targeted docks on Lake Hartwell.
Swindle’s weapon of choice was a Zoom Fluke Stick rigged wacky style.
The Fluke Stick was rigged on a VMC Neko Hook.
Wes Logan (23rd 38-14)
Wes Logan targeted both shallow and deep water on Lake Hartwell.
Logan started his mornings out deep with a 3/8-ounce underspin paired with a Zoom Super Fluke Jr.
Later in the day, Logan would move up shallow with a 3/8-ounce Dirty Jigs Compact Pitchin’ Jig paired with a Zoom Super Chunk trailer.
Brandon Card (22nd 39-8)
A wacky rigged stickworm was Brandon Card’s choice at Lake Hartwell.
A 5-inch Yamamoto Senko paired with No. 2 Gamakatsu G-Finesse Stinger Wacky/Neko Hook did the trick.
Brock Mosley (21st 39-13)
Brock Mosley counted on a couple of reaction baits to make it to Championship Sunday.
A 1/2-ounce Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap along with a 1/2-ounce Z-Man Jackhammer paired with a Yamamoto Zako trailer were Mosley’s two choices.
Buddy Gross (20th 40-9)
Buddy Gross went with a big swimbait at Lake Hartwell.
His swimbait of choice was a 6-inch Scottsboro Tackle Swimbait rigged on an 8/0 Owner Flashy Swimmer.
Scott Martin (19th 41-13)
Scott Martin’s mixed bag featured baits capable of working the water column, from top to bottom.
A key rig consisted of a Googan Baits Lunker Log, wacky rigged, on a Trokar TK97W Wacky Worm Hook.
For reaction bites, Martin chose a jerkbait, designed to run from 6- to 8-feet.
Nick LeBrun (18th 42-6)
In his first Classic, Nick LeBrun relied on a crankbait and a vibrating jig.
LeBrun paired a 1/2-ounce vibrating jig with a V&M J-Bug trailer.
His second choice was a Bill Lewis MR-6.
Hank Cherry (17th 42-9)
Hank Cherry fished this shoreline at mid-lake on Championship Sunday.
As we’ve become accustomed to seeing, Cherry threw a jerkbait at Lake Hartwell.
That jerkbait was the Berkley Stunna 112 that he helped design.
Caleb Sumrall (16th 43-6)
Caleb Sumrall focused on islands, along with other structure, on Championship Sunday.
Sumrall used a small swimbait to target the deep structure.
A 4-inch swimbait rigged on a 1/4-ounce Gamakatsu Round Jighead was his setup of choice.
Steve Kennedy (15th 43-12)
Steve Kennedy targeted spotted bass in this cove on Championship Sunday.
Kennedy used a pair of swimbaits at Lake Hartwell.
When the conditions allowed, Kennedy utilized a 6-inch Megabass Magdraft.
But when the bite was slow, Kennedy opted to throw a 2.8-inch Keitech Swing Impact Fat Swimbait rigged on a 3/8-ounce jighead.
Matt Arey (14th 45-3)
Matt Arey utilized a wacky rigged stickbait around docks at Lake Hartwell.
Arey rigged the stickbait on a 1/0 Gamakatsu Drop/Split Shot Hook.
Joey Nania (13th 45-6)
Joey Nania targeted boat docks on Lake Hartwell for his first Classic.
Swimbait-style fishing suited the needs of Nania.
Key baits were a 4-inch Scented Jerk ShadZ by Z-Man, rigged on a 3/16-ounce Z-Man Finesse EyeZ Jighead, featuring a 1/0 hook.
Nania also used a 5-inch Scented Jerk ShadZ by Z-Man, rigged on a 1/4-ounce Z-Man Finesse EyeZ Jighead, featuring a 3/0 hook.
Patrick Walters (12th 45-9)
Patrick Walters’ key bait was a Zoom Fluke Stick, rigged Neko style with a 1/16-ounce weight. He used a Spike-It Scented Marker, Baby Bass, to color over the Natural Shad pattern of the bait.
Lee Livesay (11th 46-1)
Lee Livesay’s run-and-gun pattern involved searching for largemouth in shallow water, specifically in shady areas used by the bass as ambush points.
Key baits were a flat-sided crankbait and a jig, chosen for versatility of working various depths.
A top choice was a 7/16-ounce 6th Sense Divine Swim Jig, with a NetBait Twin Tail Trailer.
Livesay also used a War Pig Underspin, made by Hog Farmer Bait Co., with a NetBait Little Spanky trailer.
Another key bait was a 6th Sense Crush Flat 75 X.
David Mullins (10th 46-4)
David Mullins relied on a wacky rig to secure a top 10 finish.
Mullins’ wacky rig setup was a Yamamoto Senko rigged on No. 1 Owner Sniper Finesse Neko Hook.
Bryan New (9th 46-10)
Bryan New rotated through a swimbait, jig and wacky rig.
New used a Keitech FAT Swing Impact 5.8 swimbait, rigged on a homemade 1/4-ounce jighead.
Another top bait was a 3/8-ounce Greenfish Tackle BLD (Bad Little Dude) Jig, with a Zoom Z Craw Worm for a trailer.
New made a wacky rig with a Zoom Zlinky, rigged on a No. 1 Gamakatsu G-Finesse Stinger Hook. He used Bait Fuel, by American Bait Works, for the jig and wacky-rigged worm.
Taylor Smith (8th 47-13)
Taylor Smith fished a submerged roadbed on Championship Sunday.
Later in the day, Smith would move up shallow with a soft plastic jerkbait.
His choice was a Strike King Caffine Shad rigged on a 2/0 Gamakatsu Extra Wide Gap Hook. For extra weight, Smith would add a 3/32-ounce nail weight.
Taku Ito (7th 47-14)
Taku Ito mainly targeted spotted bass in deeper areas, although he also searched shallow water for cruising largemouth.
As usual, Ito used Japanese-designed and made baits, including an obscure choice, to score a top 10 finish.
A top choice was a 5-inch Deps Sakamata Shad, rigged on a 1/2-ounce Nories Skip In The Shade Jighead.
Ito made a Neko rig with a 5 1/4-inch Nories Latterie Worm, rigged on a 1/0 Ryugi Heavy Guard Talisman Weedless Wacky Hook. He added a 3/16-oune nail weight to complete the rig.
Last, but certainly not least, Ito used a 5-inch Nories Flip Gill creature bait, rigged on a 4/0 Hayabusa NSS Hook, with a 1/16-ounce weight.
Luke Palmer (6th 48-2)
A swimbait and wacky-rigged worm rounded out the key baits for Luke Palmer.
Palmer made a wacky rig with a Yum Dinger, rigged on a 1/0 hook.
He also used a 3-inch Scottsboro Tackle Co. Swimbait, rigged on a 3/8-ounce swimbait head.
Chris Johnston (5th 49-4)
Chris Johnston targeted docks with a Neko rig.
Johnston’s Neko setup consisted of a Daiwa Yamamoto Neko Fat Worm rigged on a No. 2 Gamakatsu GFinesse Tournament Grade Stinger Neko Hook.
Justin Hamner (4th 49-7)
A Damiki rig and drop shot were the three top rigs for Justin Hamner.
Hamner used a drop shot made with a No. 2 Spearpoint Performance Hook, with a 3/8-ounce Freedom Tackle Tungsten Worm Weight.
He made a Damiki rig with a 1/4-ounce Freedom Tackle jighead and soft plastic swimbait.
Stetson Blaylock (3rd 53-5)
Stetson Blaylock’s primary pattern was in shallow water, although he also fished deep around islands on Championship Sunday.
A wacky-rigged worm was a key bait for Blaylock.
He made the rig with a 5-inch Yum Dinger, adding an O-ring, and rigged with a No. 1 Gamakatsu Split Shot/Drop Shot Hook. He added an 1/32-ounce nail weight to get the bait into the strike zone quicker.
Kyle Welcher (2nd 53-11)
Kyle Welcher targeted bass in shallow water at Lake Hartwell.
A shaky head rig, jig and jerkbait made up the lure arsenal of Welcher.
Welcher made the shaky head with a 3/16-ounce Untamed Tackle Shaky Head, with a 6-inch 13 Fishing BFF (Blunt Force Finesse Worm).
For reaction strikes, he used a Spro McStick 110 Jerkbait.
For flipping and pitching targets, Welcher used a 1/2-ounce Untamed Tackle Ace Jig, with a chunk-style trailer.
Jason Christie (1st 54-0)
Jason Christie alternated between deep and shallow water patterns.
Christie won the Classic primarily using a jig and new prototype soft plastic bait to be released by YUM Baits.
For flipping and pitching, he used a War Eagle Jiu-Jigsu Jig, with a YUM Craw Chunk for a trailer.
The prototype YUM bait is expected to be called the FF Sonar Minnow (Forward Facing Sonar Minnow). Christie rigged this smoke version on a 3/16-ounce jighead.
Alternatively, he used the same jighead and bait in a white pattern.