Lunker Lessons: Wheeler Lake

Shaw Grigsby had a good Thursday in the Evan Williams Bourbon Dixie Duel on Wheeler Lake. Then severe weather arrived and Friday's competition was cancelled. What at first looked to be a bad break for the 11-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier turned out to be most fortunate."I was killing them on Thursday with a 1/4-ounce Strike King Red Eye Shad. I mean I was loading the boat. They were eating it like candy. But then we had the bad weather on Friday and the lake came up about 2 feet.It was really nasty on Saturday when we launched. The water was full of floating debris. Everything you can imagine was on top. It made my Red Eye Shad useless. I couldn't pull it through the water without fouling the hooks."That was frustrating. I thought the water would push the bass right up against the bank, and I really wanted to throw that bait. You don't always get what you want, though. So I went to the same bank I'd been fishing — an area about 30 yards long at the front of a creek. It was the first staging area I could find going into the creek where I thought the bass would stop."I was popping a topwater frog along fairly fast right against the bank when she came up and ate it like she hadn't eaten in a week. It was a really neat experience. I thought about what the bass would do in the rising water, picked my best spot, fished with the most efficient lure I could think of and caught a pig. It doesn't get much better than that."The lesson here is to go with what you've learned about bass behavior over the years, and pick the right tool for the job. Think before you start casting."Tackle: A Quantum Dean Rojas Tour Edition PT Signature Series Frog Rod, a Quantum Tour Edition PT Burner Reel (7:1 gear ratio) and 65-pound-text Sufix Performance Braid line.

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