The top lures of the Classic Bracket Posted on July 27, 2016 Photo: James Overstreet - The Bassmaster Classic Bracket on the Niagara River was primarily a drop shot tournament, especially for finalists Kevin VanDam and Brett Hite. All captions: Steve Wright Photo: James Overstreet - A single drop shot bait â the Yamamoto Shad Shape Worm â produced all the bass that Hite weighed over the four-day tournament. Photo: James Overstreet - VanDam on the other hand had two go-to patterns. In addition to the drop shot, VanDam caught a number of fish each day on various colors of Strike King KVD Jerkbaits. Photo: James Overstreet - The following provides the details of how VanDam and Hite caught their fish in the clear, heavy current of the Niagara River. Photo: James Overstreet - Kevin VanDamâs boat deck featured baitcasting rods and reels on one side and spinning rods and reels on the other. The baitcasters were for throwing Strike King KVD Jerkbaits. The spinning rods were for drop shotting Strike King Half Shells, a new lure for 2016, and Dream Shots. Photo: Steve Wright - âI used KVD jerkbaits, both shallow and deep, in several different colors,â VanDam said. âFrom Clear Water Minnow to Pro Blue to Crystal Shad. I changed the hooks to my signature No. 4 trebles to try and land everything I hooked.â Photo: James Overstreet - The remainder of VanDamâs setup for jerkbaits was a Quantum KVD signature 6-foot-10 medium action rod paired with a Quantum KVD high speed baitcasting reel and 12-pound test Bass Pro Shops XPS fluorocarbon. Photo: Jim Sexton - VanDamâs most impressive feat during the tournament was finding several fish-holding areas that he could rotate among during each day. The anglers had only one day to practice â from daylight until 2:30 p.m. Monday. Of one spot, camera boat driver and Niagara River tournament veteran Don Staczyzyk said, "I never thought in a million years that anybody would find that spot with no more practice time than they had." Photo: Steve Wright - Most of VanDamâs drop shot catches came on a Strike King Half Shell, a new soft plastic lure that KVD and Mark Zona helped design. He also used a Strike King Dream Shot and caught a few on Strike King Coffee Tube in âkickâ color. Photo: James Overstreet - "A Dream Shot is a really lively bait," VanDam said. "The Half Shell has a different tail, and it's designed to stand out horizontally. It really imitates a baitfish. The fish in this river are really feeding on shiners a lot, emerald and spot-tail shiners. These are really good imitations. When you shake the Half Shell, instead of quivering like a Dream Shot, it has more of a dart to it, almost a jerkbait type action. Both of them are very good baits, but they have a uniquely different action." Photo: Steve Bowman - Edge was VanDamâs top color on the Half Shells, followed by KVD Magic. But he threw some other colors as well, including green pumpkin. âIt was important to show them something different,â VanDam said. Photo: Steve Bowman - VanDamâs drop shot set up included Quantum KVD signature rods and spinning reels, 8-pound test Bass Pro XPS fluorocarbon line, a No. 2 Mustad drop shot hook and either 3/8- or 1/4-ounce Strike King Tour Grade Tungsten weights, depending on the current. Photo: James Overstreet - Unlike the other seven anglers in the Classic Bracket, Brett Hite found one area and concentrated on it all week â the North Grand Island Bridge pilings. There are 14 pairs of massive pilings on this bridge â one under the northbound lanes matched by one under the southbound lanes. Photo: James Overstreet - âI just picked apart each piling,â said Hite. âThere were good, good quality fish there.â The depth he fished varied from about 10 feet to 18 feet. Both the pilings holding fish and the location of those fish on the bridge pilings varied each day. âI never really caught âem on one particular piling on the exact same spot,â Hite said. Photo: Steve Wright - Hiteâs lure of choice all week was a Yamamoto Shad Shape Worm, a 4-inch soft plastic drop shot bait, Hite described as âgreen pumpkin candy with a pearl belly.â The official color on the package is âlight green pumpkin/light green purple.â Photo: James Overstreet - Hite used a 1/4-ounce Reins Tungsten weight, about 18 inches below a No. 1 drop shot hook. The weight was important. "It's almost like fly fishing," Hite said. "You want your drop shot to move at the same speed as the current. If you get it too heavy, it gets hung up and it doesn't look natural. So the trick is to cast upstream and just kind of bounce it along at close to the same speed as the current." Photo: James Overstreet - Line was also crucial. Hite used a new Sunline TX1 braid, which was introduced at ICAST this year. Itâs super slick enabling long casts. He used yellow braid on cloudy days because of its visibility and switched to green when the sun was out. Photo: James Overstreet - Hite used an Alberto knot to connect the braided line to a 7-foot-long, 7-pound test Sunline FC Sniper leader. âI like to made the leader a little longer because youâre always re-tying because of the quagga mussels,â Hite said. Photo: James Overstreet - Hiteâs rod-and-reel setup included a 7-foot, 1-inch Daiwa spinning and rod Daiwa Exist spinning reel. âI had three pretty much identical setups laying on the deck,â Hite said.