BRANSON, MO. — Watching fellow Bassmaster Elite Series pro Brandon Palaniuk win the Elite Series event at Bull Shoals Lake last week gave Casey Scanlon an idea. He tried to replicate Palaniuk’s pattern this week for the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open at Table Rock Lake.
His strategy paid off as the Lenexa, Kan., pro won his first B.A.S.S. event and a berth to the 2013 Bassmaster Classic by catching 49 pounds, 4 ounces of Table Rock bass. He also took home a Triton/Yamaha rig valued at $45,000 and $6,720 in cash.
“Last week on Bull Shoals a lot of the fish were being caught on (Storm Lures) Wiggle Warts and stuff,“ Scanlon said “I caught some deep fish in practice here on a deep crankbait and everybody knows that Brandon Palaniuk kind of put us to shame with the bags he brought in on that deep crankbait. So I looked for that pattern in practice. I caught a lot of good fish doing that in practice and catching some bigger ones on the bluffs.”
He started fishing the bluffs the first day but he noticed that bite he had in practice was fading, so he switched to the deep-diving crankbait — a chartreuse sexy shad Strike King 6XD model that produced for him in the afternoon.
“I tried to target some fish offshore that not a lot of people were fishing for. I was deep cranking over brush piles and points leading into spawning pockets,” he said.
Most of his fish were holding over depths of 13 to 20 feet deep.
The second day he caught his biggest fish along a bluff on a phantom green Wiggle Wart, but the rest of his keepers were taken on the Strike King 6XD. Scanlon did a lot of running and gunning today and threw the Strike King carnkbait again to catch a 13-7 limit that clinched the victory.
Flipping Berkley Havoc baits and a 4-inch Senko produced a second-place finish for Cypress, Texas pro James Kiser, who accumulated a three-day total of 46-9. He targeted wood cover in the backs of creeks to catch his limit the first two days.
“I left those fish yesterday at about 11 o’clock with a limit thinking that I would save some for today but it didn’t work out that way,” he said. “I had one fish at noon today but I had one stop that I fished in practice and had just caught keepers there. The first fish I caught there was a 4-pounder.”
The other top five pro division anglers were Kelly Power, Cape Fair, Mo., in third place with 45-4; Brian Potter, Claremore, Okla., fourth, 44-4; and Tommy Martin, Hemphill, Texas, fifth, 43-14.
Cattle rancher Michael Kent Robinson won the co-angler division and a $35,000 Nitro/Mercury rig with 27-5. The Carter, Okla., angler caught all of his fish on a green pumpkin Zoom Trick Worm rigged on a 1/8-ounce Slider jighead. Rounding out the top five in the non-boater division were Mike Burns, Lucas, Texas, second, 27-1; Matthew Goddard, Russellville, Ark., third 24-3; Kenneth Moore, Red Oak, Texas, fourth, 23-9; and Roger Hackman, Harrison, Ark., fifth, 22-15.
Dustin Lester of Huntington, Calif., won the Luck “E” Strike Heavyweight Award for the heaviest single-day catch of the tournament in the pro division with a 21-15 sack and Mike Hoese, Crown Point, Ind., earned the award on the non-boater side with an 11-5 limit. The Carhartt Big Bass of the Tournament winner was Clayton Coppin, Wagoner, Okla., with a 7-1 largemouth.