GROVE, Okla. — Swimbaits have been the "new" hot lure on the Bassmaster Elite Series circuit this season. In stops at Lake Amistad (on the Texas-Mexico border) and The Delta and Clear Lake (in California) these oversize soft- and hard-plastic lures have been the key for several pros joining "The Century Club" — catching 20 bass weighing over 100 pounds, during the course of a four-day, five-bass-limit-per-day Elite Series tournament.
The lures were invented in California, where some 20-pound largemouth bass, in lakes like Castaic, near San Diego, have gotten fat while feeding on stocked rainbow trout. Those stocked trout are typically 10- to 12-inches long.
But you figured the swimbait talk would taper off when the Elite Series moved east, where five-pound bass, rather than 10-pounders, are what you need to cash a check.However, there are a few swimbaits being thrown on Grand Lake.
"(Mike) McClelland caught a big one on a swimbait earlier this week," said Jeff Kriet, who moved to the top of the Sooner Run leaderboard with a 24-pound, 11-ounce five-bass-limit Saturday.So after he put over 20 pounds in his livewell, mostly Carolina rigging, Kreit decided to experiment with a Storm five-inch soft plastic swimbait. Making one final cast into an area he wanted to save for Sunday, Kreit caught a five-pounder on the swimbait. It allowed him to cull a three-pounder.Completely satisfied with his day at that point, Kriet checked out a couple of other places for Sunday, and caught another five-pounder on the swimbait, allowing him to cull a smaller bass again.Big gizzard shad have been mentioned over and over this week as a key to successful bass fishing on Grand Lake. But when McClelland found a "13- or 14-inch" gizzard shad in his livewell Thursday, which had been regurgitated by a six-pound bass McClelland caught, it was a sure sign that swimbaits could play a role at Grand Lake."It's hard to fish them in a tournament like this because you're not going to get many bites," said Kriet. "But when you get a bite, it's a good one."
Editor's note: ESPNOutdoors.com invited the University of Oklahoma bass fishing team to join coverage of the Sooner Run. The collegiate anglers will post a regular blog and appear on Hooked Up, the live Internet shows that air at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. ET on Sunday in advance of the live weigh-in. Bob Cobb, creator of Bassmaster Magazine and Bassmaster television, will be the special guest on Hooked Up.
Daily live weigh-ins and a realtime leaderboard will be at 4 p.m. ET. Please feel free to post comments to this blog via the ESPN Conversation feature at the bottom of this and every news page on this site.