Kayak: Top baits from Guntersville

The Tennessee River chain of lakes is well known for its healthy population of bass and Guntersville Lake is no exception. The recent Bassmaster Kayak Series event there in May presented the anglers with a post spawn experience with numerous presentations that could be used to catch giant largemouth whether in the shallows or deep water ledges. The anglers below proved that Guntersville, despite the pressure that it receives from both boat and kayak anglers, is very resilient and provides one of the nations top fisheries for bass.

Guntersville Champion-Eric Siddiqi of Ohio
Eric Siddiqi of Ohio took top honors winning his second championship Blue Trophy in a Bassmaster event. Eric’s success came from a Neko Rig and Shower Blow topwater bait. 
Barry Davis of South Carolina used a Five Bass Tackle Workhorse Jig in Red Devil with a FBT Clutch Craw trailer in Paycheck color. He also had success with the True South Custom Lures V Twin Buzzbait in Glimmer Ghost. 
The pattern that Ryan Nye of Connecticut found at Lake Guntersville was fishing the main river grass close to the deep water. He had found fish in practice on the ledges, in the grass, and around bluegill beds all in one smaller area. Once the event started, he went fishing over the grass flat in the morning with a Heddon Super Spook in bone. Once the sun came up, he used a 3/8 oz Martins Custom Baits Bladed Jig in Mean Green with a Yamamoto Zako trailer to imitate bluegill around the grass edge near deep water. 
Garrett Wade of Alabama caught most of his fish on the Strike King Sexy Dawg fishing an offshore hump. He had his entire 97.75 inch limit by 6:50 a.m. On Day 2 the eel grass blew in and he had to switch over to a snag proof Zoo Pup (not shown) to scratch out a limit. He left that spot with three 12 inch bass in his limit and went frog fishing to upgrade all three of the 12’s with 18’s. The frog he used was the Scum Frog Launch. 
Mike Fink of Ohio used his Johnny Morris Carbonlite 2.0 medium heavy with a Johnny Morris Carbonlite 2.0 high speed reel with 15 lb P-Line and a Bass Pro Shops 3/16 Tungsten weight and VMC 2/0 EWG with Reaction Innovation Sweet Beaver Bluegill Classic show color. 
His other presentation was with a Shimano 6’7” medium heavy rod with a Diawa Tatula-R loaded with 15 lb. P-Line and a Bass Pro Shops XPS Offset Round Bend Hook. On Day 1 he used the Bass Pro Shops Tournament Series Stick-O-Worm in Bue Craw and after using them all up went to the Water Front Bait and Tackle and found a Reaction Innovation Pocket Rocket 5.5 Magic Craw for Day 2 which was close in comparison to his Day 1 bait. 
Guntersville was a new fishery for Paul Armbrust of Tennessee. After doing his research on the lake he knew that grass and weeds were going to be key in finding quality fish. His “go to” reaction bait in this scenario is the Z-Man Jackhammer, but didn’t really know what color until he saw a shad spawn. He decided on a Clear Water Shad combined with a 3.5 inch Hog Farmer Spunk Shad in Blizzard Gizzard for the trailer. He sweetened up his trailer with chartreuse Dip-N-Glo on the front third of the bait. The Guntersville largemouth crushed this bait when it was ripped through the grass and weeds. All of his big fish were caught on this bait. 
The primary bait for Buddy Vance of West Virginia was a Yamamoto 5” Senko in Bama Bug color. All of his biggest fish came off an old duck blind that was about a hundred yards off the main river channel. This spot kept reloading for him as he fished the tournament. He would back off this area and ledge fish alsong the main river channel letting it reload. Once out on the ledge he would fish a ZMan Chatterbait Jackhammer in Dirty White color with a Yamamoto Zako Swimbait. Swimming it and ripping it along the grass. His key bait however, was the Senko off the old duck blind. 
Jeremy Meadows of Georgia found success with a ½ oz. ZMan Jackhammer in green pumpkin and BHite Delight trailed with a Hog Farmer Spunk Shad trailer. 
Rus Snyders who consistently cashes a check in National level tournaments focused on targeting bass that were feeding shallow on bluegill. He power fished around the bream beds and would change lures depending on what the grass looked like. In deeper grass he would fish a Lucky Craft square bill crankbait. In shallow grass he would use a ⅜ oz chatterbait and with grass that was matted to the surface he would use a Spro Frog. He also caught fish on a buzzbait, swim jig, fluke, whopper plopper and brush hog. As Rus mentioned, “It’s safe to say I was “junk fishing” for the bass. A few of the larger fish were caught on a homemade bladed jig using his signature series iRod Snyders Sniper with 40 lb. braid. 
The ZMan Goat ToadZ in redbone color paired with a 3/0 Eagle Claw Trokar Hook was the top choice for Mike Bruening of Ohio. He used his Abu Garcia Revo MGX2 8.0:1 ratio reel on an Abu Garcia 7’3” heavy fast action Veracity rod. He was using PowerPro moss green braided line in 65 lb. test which is his typical “go to” setup. He was also using a Z-man ⅜ oz. Jackhammer in green pumpkin paired with a Strike King rage craw in green pumpkin/pearl. He threw this bait on an Abu Garcia Revo MGX2 6.4:1 ratio on a 7’4” medium heavy moderate action St. Croix Legend glass rod. He was using the Berkley Trilene Big Game 15 lb. fluorocarbon line. 

Topwater baits were used within areas that had floating vegetation; such as lily pads, matted eelgrass, or water Hyacinth chunks/pads that were smaller size within shallower water 3-4’ or less with bluegills present. 

The jackhammer bait was fished in and around weed lines or along edges of the lily pads at a slow retrieve and also consisted of ripping it out of the grass and allowing it to sink once he ripped it through the grass.