GREENVILLE, S.C. — The mixed bag of weather conditions matched the equally dizzying array of techniques used by the pros to catch bass at the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.
Rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow. Sunshine and cloudy skies, with mostly the latter conditions most of the week. Single-digit temperatures delaying start of the competition on Day One. The Weather Channel even produced live segments from the shoreline due to the crazy weather.
Bobby Lane’s quote about the week sums up the wide range of techniques.
“I caught bass from 2 feet to 43 feet,” he said.
Lane caught fish by flipping and swimming jigs on shallow docks. Other finalists went deep with drop shot rigs. Jerkbaits worked for many anglers and the deep jig bite prevailed for others.
Here are other notes from Championship Sunday.
Native son gets it done
What Philadelphia is to Mike Iaconelli, then Greenville, S.C. is to Casey Ashley. Before a hometown crowd, Iaconelli won a Bassmaster Elite Series event held on the Delaware River. Iaconelli credited the boisterous hometown crowd for carrying him to the win.
Ashley felt the same karma at the Classic. His hometown of Donalds, S.C., is only 30 miles from Lake Hartwell. All week the South Carolinian received well wishes from spectators on the water and at the weigh-in.
“I’ve dreamed of this my entire life but never imagined I would do it near my hometown,” he said. “Not only did I win it, but I won it on my home lake and state.”
Hot ticket bait
The Classic is notorious for its secrecy surrounding hot lures that instantly go from obscurity into the spotlight. Rapala planned the launch of its new Shadow Rap jerkbait, yet the coincidental timing around the Classic gained the brand notable exposure.
The much-anticipated Rapala Shadow Rap moved to retail just prior to the Classic. Only a handful of anglers gained access to the lure for use during the tournament. Another irony is the lure’s design and action makes it ideal for the cold water encountered by the anglers.
“It has a slow drop and when jerked imparts a walk-the-dog action never before seen in a jerkbait,” said Ott DeFoe, one of the fortunate few to have the lure in his tacklebox.
The bait’s slower, erratic action closely emulated the movements of the blueback herring, the primary forage in Lake Hartwell.
The magic dock
Bobby Lane found a dock that turned into magic on Sunday. Arriving at one boat dock he cast a jig and retrieved it back to the boat. Twenty bass followed the jig and disappeared at the boat.
One of the bass eventually took the bait. Lane’s largemouth weighing 6 pounds, 6 ounces was the biggest caught on the championship round