opens Top lures at Ross Barnett 2022 Posted on May 2, 2022 Photography by Andy Crawford Staff Captions by Craig Lamb Staff Call it a case of postspawn funk, or high fishing pressure. The largemouth population was in a state of flux at the St. Croix Rods Bassmaster Central Open on Ross Barnett Reservoir presented by Mossy Oak Fishing. Lee Livesay found a subtle difference in an otherwise overcrowded community hole. The winner intercepted transitioning postspawn largemouth migrating through a ditch bordered by vegetation growing on a wide flat. His winning weight of 48 pounds, 11 ounces, came on a lure lineup capable of covering water, while slowing down to catch bass holding to denser vegetation. Fishing pressure was high at Ross Barnett, with springtime tournaments and recreational anglers making the bass tough to catch. Throughout this lure gallery you will see proven lures that work in those situations. Find the tackle you need at basspro.com. Neil Gilmore (10th; 32-14)Keeping his bait lineup subtle and simple was Neil Gilmore’s tactic for the highly pressured bass on Ross Barnett. To the point, Gilmore used a skirt-less 1/4-ounce Boogerman Buzzbait with paddle-tail swimbait trailer. He also used a 1/2-ounce spinnerbait with double willowleaf blades. Alfred Williams (9th; 38-12)Former Bassmaster tour-level pro Alfred Williams also used tactics on his home lake that are proven for catching pressured bass during spring. Williams caught most of his bass on a Texas-rigged and weightless 5-inch Yamamoto Senko, with a 3/0 hook. He made long casts, adding subtle twitches of the rod tip, while allowing the wind to add more natural action. Beginning in March, Williams said he always has a frog rigged and ready for action in Ross Barnett’s varied vegetation. His choice is the Snag Proof Bobby’s Perfect Frog. Williams chose a Z-Man ChatterBait with a Strike King Rage Twin Tail Menace Grub, choosing that trailer to mimic the shad spawning in his fishing areas. Jeff Avery (8th; 39-9)Jeff Avery used a duo of soft plastic rigs that were ideal for heavy cover and finesse fishing. For a bulky rig he used a PowerBait Pit Boss, on a 4/0 Gamakatsu Superline Extra Wide Gap Hook, with a 3/8-ounce weight. For a more subtle approach, Avery chose an 8-inch Zoom Lizard, rigged on the same model and size hook, with a 1/4-ounce weight. Nathan Donnell (7th; 40-14)Nathan Donnell paired a finesse rig for slowly working spawning bass, with a soft plastic frog for reaction bits. Donnell chose a Terminator Popping Frog for the reaction bites. He also used a Texas-rigged and weightless 5-inch Yamamoto Senko, rigged on the all-new 5/0 Owner Haymaker Hook. David Gaston (6th; 42-2)A swim jig setup proved productive for David Gaston. Gaston alternated between 1/4- and 3/8-ounce models, depending on depth and wind. He used a Zoom Super Speed Craw as a trailer for both jigs. Power and finesse lures are ideal for catching pressured bass during the spawning cycle. Find the tackle you need at basspro.com. Jimmy Washam (5th; 44-12)Jimmy Washam used a Klone Plastics Ringo Worm, adding Craw-Cane to the bags. The fish attractant is granular and designed to be added to resealable bags of soft plastics. Cole Sands (4th; 45-1)Cole Sands used a diversified lineup of lures for covering the entire water column, and for targeting spawning bass in varies stages. For a subtle approach, Sands used a Texas-rigged, 5-inch Yamamoto Senko on a 4/0 Hayabusa FPP Straight Worm Hook, with 1/8-ounce weight. For topwater action he used an unnamed hollow-body frog. For intercepting migrating postspawners he used a Carolina-rigged Zoom Baby Brush Hog, rigged on a 3/0 hook, with a 1/2-ounce weight. Trevor McKinney (3rd; 45-9)Trevor McKinney used a jig for swimming through reeds and grass, and a frog for catching bass during a shad spawn. A key bait was a 1/2-ounce Terminator Jig, rigged with a Strike King Rage Twin Tail Menace Grub. He dipped the tails in chartreuse dye and sprayed them with garlic for added strike appeal in stained water. McKinney’s other top choice during the morning shad spawn was a Terminator Popping Frog. Nick LeBrun (2nd; 47-11)Nick LeBrun fished where he suspected a late wave of spawners were staged in specific shoreline cover. He covered muddy water to find unseen bass using a bladed jig, Texas rig and frog. LeBrun used this 3/8-ounce bladed jig with a V&M J-Bug, fished on a Fitzgerald Fishing 7-foot Stunner HD Series Rod. LeBrun also used a V&M Chopstick, rigged on a 3/0 Hayabusa 959 Hook, and fished on a Fitzgerald Fishing 7-foot All Purpose Composite Series Rod. Lee Livesay (1st; 48-11)A box of frogs and Texas- and Carolina-rigged soft plastics scored the win for Lee Livesay. The Bassmaster Elite Series pro covered water with the frog and Carolina rig, while fishing dense vegetation with the Texas rig. A Snag Proof Bobby’s Frog did the trick for fishing across surface vegetation on a flat. Livesay made the Carolina rig with a 6-inch NetBait Lizard, rigged on 4/0 Gamakatsu Superline Extra Wide Gap Hook, with a 1/2-ounce weight. Livesay made the Texas rig with a NetBait 11-inch C-Mac Worm, rigged on the same model and size hook, with a 1/4-ounce weight. For both soft plastic rigs he added American Bait Works Bait Fuel for strike appeal.