Joseph Webster (29-0, 12th)
The Winfield, Ala., angler targeted docks with a green-pumpkin Zoom Magnum Trick worm on a 3/8ths-ounce shaky head jig. He threw a white Chatterbait in between the docks. Most of his weight came off one dock, where he caught his four biggest bass over the first two days, weighing 4 1/2, 4, 3 3/4 and 3 1/2 pounds.
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Philip Atkins (31-4, 11th)
The Columbus, Miss., angler used two lures – a Texas-rigged black Zoom Trick Worm with a 1/4-ounce pegged slip sinker and a shad-colored Strike King KVD crankbait. Atkins said he caught all of his fish in 4 feet of water or less.
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Taku Ito (31-5, 10th)
The Japanese angler, who finished fourth in the Central Opens Angler of the Year standings, caught fish on a Nories Escape Twin soft plastic lure on a ¼-ounce Cherry Rig (Tokyo rig) and a ½-ounce Nories Flachat vibrating jig with a Nories Lady Balance trailer.
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Cade Laufenberg (31-8, 9th)
The Goodview, Wis., angler used two lures on Day 1, targeting deep main lake points with a June bug-colored Zoom Magnum Trick Worm on a 3/8th-ounce swing head jig and a 3/4-ounce Dirty Jigs Tour Level football jig in Dirty 420 color with a Zoom Speed Craw Trailer
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When heavy cloud cover moved over Grand Lake on Day 2, Laufenberg went shallow with an Evergreen Shower Blows topwater lure, fishing it “real erratically, twitching it super sharp,” he said.
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Masayuki Matsushita (33-14, 8th)
The Japanese angler likes Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees. He’s fished 10 Bassmaster Central Opens since 2016 and recorded two top 10 finishes here, including third-place in 2017. Matsushita’s top lures were a Deps Sakamata Shad with a 3/16th-ounce Owner jighead (3/0 hook) and a Deps Evoke 2.0 squarebill crankbait.
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Thomas Canady (35-13, 7th)
The Collinsville, Okla., angler said he targeted “off the wall shallow brush, stuff that maybe other people were missing,” alternating between a black-and-blue Destroyer jig and a 10-inch plum Berkley Power Worm.
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Toby Hartsell (40-11, 6th)
The Afton, Okla., pro was fishing rock piles in water from 1 to 12 feet deep the first two days with a 1/2-ounce football head jig and a Gene Larew Biffle Bug on a Biffle Head swing jighead. He used a variety of trailers on the jig.
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When that pattern died on Day 3, Hartsell flipped boat docks to catch a 13-pound, 13-ounce limit. Hartsell also used an 8-inch plum-colored plastic worm and a 5/16-ounce jig on the rockpiles.
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Wes Logan (42-0, 5th)
The Springville, Ala., pro clinched Central Opens Angler of the Year with his fifth-place finish at Grand Lake. Logan primarily had a jig rod in his hands all three days, flipping either a 1/2-ounce Dirty Jigs Scott Canterbury Flippin’ Jig in shallow bushes or a 3/8-ounce jig – same manufacturer and model – on boat docks. He also caught fish on a ½-ounce white double willowleaf (gold and silver blades) War Eagle spinnerbait.
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Kenta Kimura (43-4, 4th)
The Japanese angler caught the only 20-pound bag of the tournament (20-6) on Day 1 relying primarily on a Deps magnum crankbait that Kimura designed. He was targeting rockpiles in depths up to 15 feet. “I had 18 pounds by about 8:30,” Kimura said. “I probably culled another 15 or 16 pounds the rest of the day. But the wind was blowing just like I wanted, and I knew it probably wasn’t going to be like that again.”
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Kimura also flipped docks with a Berkley Power Worm and a Berkley Creature Bait with a 5/8-ounce swing head.
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Kyle Dorsett (45-12, 3rd)
The Odenville, Ala., angler, who finished 16th and caught the big bass of the 2019 Bassmaster Classic in Knoxville, Tenn., stayed shallow – extremely shallow – at Grand Lake, as deep at 18 inches and as shallow as 8 inches, seriously. “I watched most of them get it,” Dorsett said. He was using a 1/2-ounce Dirty Jigs Scott Canterbury Flippin’ Jig with a Zoom Super Chunk trailer and a Dirty Jigs No-Jack Swim Jig with a Zoom Ultravibe Super Speed Craw trailer.
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Caleb Kuphall (48-1, 2nd)
The Mukwonago, Wis., angler, who finished third in the Central Opens Angler of the Year standings, said most of his bites came in two to three feet of water, where he was targeting tree roots, mainly on points. His main bait was a homemade ½-ounce flippin’ jig in either black-and-blue with a black Zoom Super Chunk Jr. trailer or green pumpkin with a green pumpkin trailer. He also caught fish on a white 3/8ths-ounce Lethal Weapon Swim Jig with a white NetBaits Paca Craw trailer.
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Bob Downey (48-9, 1st)
The Hudson, Wis., angler, who finished fith in the Central Opens Angler of the Year standings, had two rods in his hands all week. He concentrated on isolated bushes and willow trees just off the bank with a Texas-rigged green pumpkin Reactions Innovations Sweet Beaver (3/8th-ounce tungsten weight, 4/0 hook) and a 3/8ths-ounce green pumpkin All Terrain Tackle A.T. jig with a green pumpkin trailer.