You might say the bass fishing went to the frogs at the 2018 Bassmaster Elite at Mississippi River presented by Go RVing. The amphibians lost ground to flood waters rising in the backwaters, and the bass had a feast.
All captions: Craig Lamb
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Ish Monroe earned a fifth B.A.S.S. career title using what is undeniably his favorite lure and technique. Check out his frog selection and others chosen by the top finishers on the upper Mississippi River.
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To finish 12th Wesley Strader used soft plastics and a bladed jig. That choice was a 3/8-ounce Z-Man Chatterbait with 3.5-inch Zoom Z Craw Jr. for a trailer. He also used a 4-inch Zoom Z Hog and 6.25-inch Zoom Fluke Stick. He rigged those to 1/4- or 3/8-ounce Reins TG Tungsten Slip Sinkers and a 5/0 TK130 Lazer Tokar Flippin Hook.
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To finish 11th Justin Lucas primarily relied on a 3/8-ounce Molix Swim Jig prototype model, rigged with 3.5-inch Berkley Havoc Grass Pig for a trailer. He also used a Berkley Bullet Pop 80.
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To finish 10th, Gary Klein primarily relied on a 7/16-ounce BOSS Gary Klein hand-tied jig, with a Berkley Havoc Skeet’s Pit Boss. The jig is a close match to his original heavy-duty jig of about 30 years ago called The Weapon.
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To finish ninth, Casey Ashley used a swim jig and Texas-rigged soft plastics. The 1/4- and 3/8-ounce Greenfish Tackle Swim Jig, rigged with 3-inch Zoom Fat Albert Grub was a top choice. So was a Texas-rigged 3.5-inch Zoom Z Craw Jr., 3/0 Mustad Denny Brauer Grip-Pin Max Flippin’ Hook, and 3/8-ounce weight.
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To finish eighth, Aaron Marten used lures of his own design by Roboworm and Picasso Lures. He used a 6-inch Roboworm Fat Straight Tail Worm, Aarons Magic, on 1/4- or 3/8-ounce Picasso Aaron Martens Rhino Head. He also fashioned a wacky rig with the same worm, rigged to 2/0 Gamakatsu G-Finesse Drop Shot Hook, and 1/8-ounce Picasso Tungsten Casting Cylinder Drop Shot Weight. Another producer was a 6-inch flutter-style spoon.
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To finish seventh Cliff Pace used three lures of his design. For reaction bites he chose a Black Label Tackle Ricochet Squarebill Crankbait. Another choice was a 7/16-ounce V&M Pacemaker Skipping Jig. He also used a 4-inch V&M Flat Wild, 4/0 Mustad Denny Brauer Grip-Pin Max Flippin’ Hook, and 1/2-ounce Elite Tungsten Flippin’ Weight.
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To finish sixth, Keith Poche used a 2.5-inch Spro Dean Rojas Bronzeye Frog.
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To finish fifth Jacob Wheeler used lures to cover the water column from top to bottom.
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For topwater action he chose a 2.5-inch Terminator Walking Frog.
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Another choice was a 5/16-ounce Accent Jacob Wheeler Game Changer Buzzbait, rigged with 3.5-inch Gene Larew Jacob Wheeler Hammer Craw for a trailer. He also used a Gene Larew Biffle Bug, 4/0 VMC Ike Approved Wide Gap Hook and 5/16-ounce VMC Tungsten Flipping Weight.
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To finish fourth, Gerald Spohrer used a topwater frog, topwater walker and soft plastic creature bait.
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That choice was a 4-inch Missile Baits D Bomb, 5/0 Strike King Hack Attack Heavy Cover Flipping Hook, and 3/8-ounce weight by Beast Coast Tungsten Tackle.
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Spohrer also used a 6th Sense Crush Dogma. He also used a Spro Dean Rojas Bronzeye Frog with a modification shared by fellow pro John Crews. “When water gets inside the frog body it modifies the action,” said Spohrer. Cutting a small hole in the rear end allows water to drain and keep the lure running true to design.
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To finish third, Randall Tharp relied on this selection of lures. A 1/2-ounce 4x4 Randall Tharp Signature Series Jig with a 3.5-inch Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Craw was a top choice. He also used a 2.5-inch Terminator Walking Frog Jr.
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To finish second, Jacob Powroznik waged guerilla warfare with largemouth feeding on frogs in newly flooded cover in backwater marshes. His primary weapon was a Livingston Freddy B Tournament, which emits actual biological sounds of a real frog.
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Monroe did battle using a weapon that he uses best. The choice was a 2.75-inch River2Sea Ish Monroe Phat Matt Daddy Frog.