opens Top lures at James River 2022 Posted on April 18, 2022 Photography by Andy Crawford Captions by Christopher Decker Warming water temperatures coupled with a late-week full moon created the perfect scenario for a springtime push to the shallows during the St. Croix Bassmaster Northern Open presented by Mossy Oak Fishing at the James River. Dissecting what stage of the spawn the bass were in and when they would bite in relation to the tide were major keys to success for the Top 10 anglers. Kenta Kimura maximized his time by staying close to takeoff at Osborne Landing and won the event with 65 pounds. Having never been to the James River before, he did not know how the tide would affect the bite at the beginning of the week. After landing more than 19 pounds on Day 1, Kimura proceeded to land 23-10 on Day 2 and 24-11 on Championship Saturday. With many of the bass pushing up, the top anglers used a variety of shallow water techniques to get key bites. These baits can be found on Basspro.com. Kyoya Fujita (10th place, 45-12)Japanese standout Kyoya Fujita made his first Top 10 cut using a rotation of three baits. Fujita moved quickly throw shallow water with a 3/8-ounce Daiwa Rapids Blade paired with a Daiwa Rapids Tail trailer. Fujita also used a 4-inch O.S.P. DoLive Beaver rigged on a 3/16-ounce direct drop shot, a Japanese rig with no leader. When he wanted to slow down, Fujita used a 4.5-inch Jackall Yammyfish stickbait on a Neko rig with a 5/64-ounce nail weight inserted in the head. TJ Milton (9th place, 45-12)Local boater TJ Milton dedicated his tournament to fishing wood targets and fished some of his favorite baits to do so. Milton pitched a 3/8-ounce Berkley MaxScent Jig paired with a Zoom Chunk trailer. He dyed the tips of the trailer chartreuse. For a different look, Milton used a Texas-rigged Zoom Baby Brush Hog in green pumpkin red paired with an Owner Cover Shot 3/0 hook and 3/16-ounce tungsten sinker. He rounded out his lineup with a 3/8-ounce black buzzbait with a black and silver Keitech swimbait trailer. Brian Post (8th place, 47-9)Brian Post used a mix of moving baits and slower presentations to catch shallow water bass. Post covered water with a 1/2-ounce Z-Man Jackhammer paired with a Z-Man RaZor ShadZ. When he needed to slow down, he turned to a wacky rigged 5-inch Berkley MaxScent General rigged on a VMC Neko Hook with no weed guard. Post also threw a Texas-rigged Strike King Rodent in green pumpkin with the tail dyed chartreuse. He used a 5/0 Mustad Grip Pin Max hook and a 5/16-ounce Woo Tungsten bullet weight and Woo Tungsten bobber stop. Bryan Schmitt (7th place, 48-14)Bassmaster Elite Series angler Bryan Schmitt used a rotation of three baits to make the Top 10. The 6.5-inch Missile Baits Quiver Worm in a special run color Bridgemaster Special was rigged with a 3/8-ounce Reins Tungsten weight and a 5/0 round bend Hayabusa hook. He also fished with a 3/8-ounce Hayabusa Bryan Schmitt Signature Series Swim Jig on the Got Five color and paired with a 4.25-inch Missile Baits Shockwave trailer in Shrapnel color. Schmitt covered water with a Spro Little John 50 crankbait in Fire Craw. Brad Leuthner (6th place, 50-6)Brad Leuthner targeted mostly prespawn bass during his time on the James River with three key baits. To cover water, Leuthner winded a Rapala OG Slim in Classic Craw around cypress knees and other shallow cover. When he wanted to slow down and bed fish, a 3/8-ounce black and blue Outkast Tackle Finesse Jig with a Strike King Rage Craw in sapphire was the choice. He also pitched a 3/8-ounce black and purple skirted Outkast Tackle Cage Feider Jig with a Strike King Rage Craw trailer in sapphire. Koby Kreiger (5th place, 55-2)Bassmaster Elite Series veteran Koby Kreiger pitched a V&M Swamp Hog Jr. rigged Texas style with a straight shank 3/0 Owner Jingle hook and a 3/16-ounce Ark Tungsten weight. On the final day, Kreiger caught his biggest bag of the week. While he normally tries to fish quickly, slowing down and utilizing his 12-foot Minn Kota Talons helped him land the large limit. Alex Wetherell (4th place, 57-1)Alex Wetherell used a one-two approach to catch a mix of prespawners and spawners. Wetherell threw a 1/2-ounce Z-Man Jackhammer in green pumpkin chartreuse paired with a Lunker City Swimming Ribster trailer in Big Fish, a green pumpkin chartreuse variation. The 1/2-ounce white and chartreuse spinnerbait with a willow, Colorado blade mix paired with a white Swimming Ribster trailer. John Soukup (3rd place, 60-0)John Soukup maintained a spot in the top fiveevery day of the tournament, but he switched things up every day of the tournament to do so. The Oklahoma pro fished a 3/8-ounce black skirted Booyah Buzzbait with a clacker over bass that were on beds. The bass either revealed themselves or were brought to the boat. Soukup followed the buzzbait up with a black and blue 5/8-ounce War Eagle Jiu-Jigsu Jig and a Yum Craw Chunk trailer. For prespawners, Soukup fished a 3/8-ounce blue and chartreuse Booyah Covert Series spinnerbait with double Indiana blades. It started out as a limit bait, but it produced several big bites as well Keith Poche (2nd place, 61-7)Keith Poche kept things simple through the week by pitching a Berkley MaxScent General on a rigged weightless Texas style on a 3/0 Owner Hook. As conditions calmed down after Day 1, Poche could see shallow cover, as well as the bass, and make precise casts. Kenta Kimura (1st place, 65-0)Kenta Kimura utilized three different baits to win his first Bassmaster event. The Japanese anglers stayed close to takeoff and made the most of the bite windows caused by the tide. A DRT Tiny Klash swimbait with a lateral tail and adjustable ABS plastic produced 50% of Kimura’s bites on Day 2 and produced a 6-pounder in the final minutes on the final day. A 3/8-ounce buzzbait paired with a red Berkley Power Flutter also produced big bites throughout the week. Deps Evoke 2.0 squarebill in a red craw or a shad pattern was also a big producer this week.Shop for the winning lure lineup, and add your personal favorites at basspro.com.