Flipping out, Lane’s road trip and more

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Frigid weather, shorelines rimmed with ice and sluggish bass on a highland reservoir. Not exactly the type setup for exploiting the flipping technique, correct? Not exactly, if you quiz more than a handful of anglers making the top 25 cut at the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.

Some are swinging the long rod because of the confidence factor.

“It’s what I do best,” said Jason Christie, a master of the flipping game. “You play your strengths if you want to win this world championship.”

When pressed for more Christie makes it clear a lure is not behind his logic for using the shallow technique.

“It’s not so much about the bait as finding the right stretch of shoreline.”

On this lake that means one or both of the following types of bass habitat. Inundated shoreline brushpiles or boat docks. The latter is the most likely target for Christie, who lists Grand Lake in Oklahoma as a favorite lake where docks are plentiful.

On Lake Hartwell it worked. On top of a poor performance yesterday of 7 pounds, 6 ounces Christie added 16-8 to his overall weight. His total stands at 23-14.

Other Classic finalists are following a more practical approach.

“I had a flipping rig on my deck, came up on a brushpile and tried it,” said Brandon Lester of Tennessee. “I’m flipping brushpiles in colored water.”

Lester held steady with a weight of 11 pounds yesterday and 14-6 today. Tomorrow he will compete in the top 25.

There are others using the technique that is ideal in sunny weather, even though cloudy conditions prevail thus far.

The takeaway is recognition that textbook patterns don’t always apply in bass fishing. Leave it to the world’s best pros to remind us.

Following are more notes from Day Two of the Classic.

Lane’s special guests
Ten members of the Lakeland Junior Bassmasters are being treated to a dream trip due to the efforts of qualifiers Bobby Lane and Van Soles.

Both are mentors for the club whose adult faction is historically among the largest in the B.A.S.S. Nation.

The junior club has two competitive age divisions. Those are for ages 11-14 and 15-18. Five members from each age division qualified to make the trip.

Soles coordinated a series of fund-raising tournaments while sponsors donated funds to cover transportation costs.

The high school bass fishing imitative strongly resonates with Lane.

“All of the pros should get more involved in the high school movement,” he said. “It’s the future of our sport and why I’m so involved with my junior club.”

Here are more notes from Day Two.

Browning’s little secret
Extreme cold weather deer hunter Stephen Browning claims to have a secret weapon to fight the frigid weather during Classic week. The first assumption is an apparel connection with deer hunting. The other is technical wear without bulky fabric to allow great freedom of movement for casting.

It’s neither of the above. The secret weapon is ThermaCare HeatWraps, the peel-off heat pads for providing pain relief for sore muscles.

South Carolina’s Classic karma
It’s trivial but worthy of noting there’s a Classic connection of karma brewing between leader Takahiro Omori and finalist Dean Rojas. In 2004 Omori won and Rojas finished in 4th place. Even though he didn’t win the finish set up a legacy for Rojas from which he benefits even today.

“It was the launch pad for my frog,” said Rojas of the lure so popular it copped the name “Kermit” after the character on Sesame Street.