Crankbait, Chatterbait and Swimjig key to big win! By Sean Ostruszka FLW PRESS RELEASE
Living shallow key to Cox win. (Photo: FLW)
There’s no other way to say it: John Cox is clutch.
There were times he made it look easy during the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit opener on Sam Rayburn, and there were times he was in full-blown scramble mode. But when he needed it most, Cox once again made the right call late on the final day to go wire-to-wire for the fifth Pro Circuit victory of his career.
“That call I made at the end of the day today, it just felt right,” says Cox.
The call was to make a 20-minute run further up the lake to near the 103 bridge, where Cox had a pair of trees he felt might produce one solid keeper. It was already noon when the idea hit, and he was already short on gas after an entire morning of junk-fishing his way up the lake. To go up the lake further for one fish meant risking at least an hour boat ride back and running out of gas.
Yet, Cox decided to go for it.
“I chugged a Red Bull and ran,” says Cox, who did a similar thing last year when he won at Lake Chickamauga, making a late run that produced two fish to cement his win.
The decision turned into the winning one pretty quickly. The two trees didn’t just produce one fish. They produced three 2 3/4-pounders, all three on a black-and-blue Z-Man ChatterBait with a Berkley PowerBait Grass Pig trailer. He threw it on a 7-foot, 3-inch Abu Garcia Fantasista Premier rod, Abu Garcia Revo Premier reel and 20-pound-test Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon line.
That capped what turned out to be a near-perfectly executed four days of fishing for Cox.
He took the lead on day one when he found a special one-cast spot right near the 147 bridge – a 3-foot high spot with little bit of sand and rock with hydrilla all around it right at the mouth of one of the best-known spawning creeks on Sam Rayburn.
Yet, what made the spot so unique for Cox was how he fished it – with a crankbait. A No. 5 Berkley Frittside crankbait in the lone ranger color in the morning and ghost morning dawn when the sun came up, to be more specific. He threw both on a 7-foot, 6-inch Abu Garcia Veritas Winch rod, Abu Garcia Revo EXD reel and 15-pound-test Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon line.
John Cox starts of his 2 Tour season with a bang! (Photo: FLW)
John Cox was already one of the top anglers on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and arguably the best shallow-water angler in the sport before day one at Sam Rayburn. Still, he’s always had a hole in his game in the form of fishing crankbaits. That is until today, anyway.
In what had to be an ironic sight, while Cox watched others around him beat Sam Rayburn’s shallow brush, the DeBary, Fla., pro sacked up 21 pounds, 7 ounces and take the day one lead by focusing out deeper with a crankbait to kick off the new Pro Circuit season.
“I was really struggling today fishing brush to start and didn’t know what to do around noon,” says Cox. “I only had 10 to 11 pounds and was really getting down. I was thinking the fish had to be out or something. So, I just started chunking that [crankbait] out in open water; out from where I had some bites in the bushes, and they were just smoking it.”
Now, before we anoint Cox a crankbait master, it’s worth noting that he’s executing his new crankbait prowess in classic John Cox fashion. That is, in total disarray.
Cox has only one crankbait rod – a 7-foot, 6-inch Abu Garcia Veritas Winch – which happens to be the first true crankbait rod he’s owned. He only has two crankbaits in his boat – a pair of No. 5 Berkley Frittsides – as he has lost five others this week and doesn’t have a lure retriever. And he has no pliers.
“I’m just so used to only having that one big hook to pop out,” he quips.
Yet, to say he’s managing to get dialed in on a true crankbait bite a la David Fritts is quite accurate.
“You can feel [the crankbait] come over the fish,” says Cox. “You’d reel it and it felt like a log was out there. Then one would get it.
“I think there’s some grass and maybe rock mixed in, but you know when you’re going to get bit. You feel it. You’ll make a lot of casts and feel nothing. Then you’d make a cast and feel the fish and you’d have one.”
GeigerTec Marine Products is incredibly proud to announce that Bob Izumi has joined our Pro Staff Team!! Bob needs no introduction, he is a legend in the fishing industry and we are very fortunate to have him represent our brand. For decades Bob has been a successful tournament angler as well as the host of his world famous Real Fishing Show. Bob is a fantastic brand ambassador for some of the industries premiere brands. We look forward to many years of successful partnership together as we continue to aggressively grow GeigerTec Marine Products globally.
For more information please see our Pro Staff page on our website
Knowing when to adjust proved essential for Bryan New of Belmont, N.C., who admits he employed a disjointed fishing regimen to win the Basspro.com Bassmaster Eastern Open on Florida’s Kissimmee Chain with a three-day total weight of 49 pounds, 8 ounces, cementing a spot in the 2021 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk.
“I’ve said it all week, I haven’t been dialed in to one thing, it was junk fishing at its best,” said New, who earned $52,500 and claimed the early lead in the race for the Falcon Rods Bassmaster Opens Angler of the Year award. “I’ve fished a lot in Florida and I’ve never been able to junk fish. But you have five lakes in this chain, and I junk fished three of them (Toho, Cypress and Kissimmee).”
New kept himself in the hunt from start to finish. He caught 21-0 on Day 1 to place second and backed that up with a Day 2 limit of 13-7 that put him in third. Catching the heaviest bag of Day 3 — a five-bass limit that weighed 15-1 — pushed him across the finish line with a winning margin of 4-6.
New spent part of Day 3 working the offshore hydrilla spot in Lake Toho where he caught part of his big Day 1 catch. The first day saw him locking down to Lake Kissimmee. But when that failed to produce anything significant for him, he decided to maximize his fishing time by spending the next two days in Toho.
The junk-fishing mentality came into play when he realized his offshore spot was not going to be enough. From there, he went shallow and bounced from spot to spot in an effort to establish consistency.
New caught his bass on a Texas-rigged green pumpkin magic Damiki Stinger, a 1/2-ounce green pumpkin Z-Man ChatterBait with a green pumpkin Zoom Speed Craw and a Greenfish Tackle G2 squarebill in High Rock shad. The latter, he said, proved to be his biggest producer.
The Canadian brothers Johnston have joined Team Diawa start at the 2020 Bassmaster Classic. Both Chris and older brother Cory had amazing rookie season on the BASS Elite trail last year and continue their pursuit to greatness.
Pre-spawn bite the best By David A. Brown BASS Press Release
Hunter on key spot that is refilling with pre-spawn bass. (Photo: BASS)
Consistency was in John Hunter’s favor, as the Simpsonville, Ky., pro added 18 pounds, 13 ounces to the 18-6 he weighed on Wednesday to total 37-3 and take the Day 2 lead at the Basspro.com Bassmaster Eastern Open on Florida’s Kissimmee Chain.
Hunter attributed his success to one special spot he described as a thinner area within a large, dense grassbed in 6 to 7 feet. The spot produced his weight both days, but Hunter said the Day 2 mood was significantly different from that of Day 1.
“Yesterday, it was just average; I only caught a couple of good ones there in the morning and I went back later and caught a couple of good ones,” he said. “This morning, it was absolute chaos.
“My first two fish were 4 1/2-pounders and then I lost two 5-pounders right after that, which was heartbreaking. But they stayed fired up and I was able to catch the rest of my weight in the next 20 minutes.”
A mix of reaction baits and dragging-style baits produced Hunter’s catch, but the former carried most of the weight.
Noting that most of the fish he was catching in practice were prespawner bass, Hunter said Day 1 delivered a mix of prespawn fish and some that were thin for their size — likely postspawners. His Day 2 catch was mostly postspawners.
“That’s what I like about this spot — I have a chance of catching a fat prespawner coming in, and it’s a good stopping place for a postspawner to gang up,” he said. “This is a good place for them to set up, feel safe and feed before they go in and out (of the spawning flat)."
Hunter said he’s cautiously optimistic about returning to the magical spot on Day 3. He said he leaned on the spot hard today, but seeing it reload significantly from Day 1 was encouraging.
Alexandre Jelev of Ontario leads co-angler By David A. Brown BASS Press Release
Big fish key during tough first day. (Photo: BASS)
Fla. — Patrick Walters, a Bassmaster Elite Series pro from Summerville, S.C., had approximately eight hours on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, but he needed less than 20% of that to catch a five-bass limit of 21 pounds, 4 ounces that gave him the Day 1 lead at the Basspro.com Bassmaster Eastern Open.
Around 10:30 a.m., Walters found himself without a keeper. But once the show started, it happened quickly.
“I caught all my fish in an hour and a half, because after 12 o’clock, I didn’t catch another fish,” he said. “I started deep, bouncing around a lot. I found a bunch of fish offshore in practice because the shallow bite wasn’t really any good. They were dropping the water, it was a full moon — there was something holding those fish back a little bit.
“Yesterday afternoon, right before we came to the meeting, I found a couple more areas where it looked like the fish had pulled up on the bed. Today, when nothing was happening out deep, I ran shallow and it happened quick.”
With a 7-13 largemouth anchoring his limit, Walters said he was targeting spawning fish, but he was not sight fishing. Rather, he was making 15-yard fan casts to promising areas.
“It was on the outside a little bit, they weren’t way in there where you’d want them to be spawning,” he said. “They were a little further out on the first actual spawning cover. The water has been warming up 2 degrees every day; it was 77 today. They’re definitely making a push. I think they’ll make an even bigger push tomorrow.”
Walters took a unique approach, targeting his fish with a Tokyo rig — a setup that has a weight suspended from the eye of a hook. This allowed him to present a traditional soft plastic in a horizontal fashion and, most importantly, with strategic precision.
“I was dragging a Zoom Zlinky (stickworm) on the Tokyo rig with an 1/8-ounce weight,” he said. “I’d throw it in there and let it sit for 30 seconds.
“The Tokyo rig keeps the bait of the bottom about 2 1/2 inches. The best thing is that it will fall vertically, whereas, if you have the worm on a Texas rig, it glides. You’re casting at a hole that’s the size of a basketball. So if the bait glides, you’re already out of the spot. When the Tokyo rig lands, it goes straight down."
Bryan New of Belmont, N.C., is in second place with 21-0. Despite breaking the 20-pound mark, New described an exasperating day devoid of consistency.
Developed by Thundermist Lure Company, the Stingnose has its’ own special custom design. The Shape of
the Stingnose Jigging Spoons are so realistic and true to form, that it triggers fish’s natural instinct to
bite…even the most reluctant fish will hit the Stingnose Peanut Bunker.
The hook on the Stingnose is strategically located at the head, which means more hook ups, better hook
sets and more fish landed.
Along with its’ natural shape and realistic looking eye, the Stingnose has an enticing fall which simulates an
injured bait fish and attracts more hits. Ready for both fresh and salt water, the Stingnose Jigging Spoon is
great for all game fish and available in both gold and silver colors.
The “Stingnose Peanut Bunker” comes in sizes 3/8oz.; ½ oz.; ¾ oz.; 1 oz.., 1 ½ oz, 2oz., and 3 oz. Great for
fresh water, salt water and Ice Fishing!! Fantastic lures –extremely effective. Prices range from $4.99 - $7.99 USD.
After a 2019 Bassmaster Elite Series season that was widely regarded as one of the best ever, the entire field has decided to come back for an encore.
B.A.S.S. announced the field for the 2020 Elite Series today, and all 75 anglers from the 2019 roster are returning, along with 10 qualifiers from the Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens, two veteran anglers, who returned to the trail through Legends Exemptions, and the TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation champion.
“To have all 75 guys back from last year — plus 100% of the anglers who were invited — says a lot about the positive momentum we have with the Bassmaster Elite Series,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin. “The reaction to last season was overwhelmingly positive from sponsors and fans, and it’s great that everyone wants to continue with us on what will be another exciting journey in 2020.”
The list of returnees will include Scott Canterbury who fished a brilliant season to secure his first Bassmaster Angler of the Year title. Longtime Elite Series veterans like Drew Benton, Mark Menendez, Hank Cherry, John Crews, Micah Frazier, Matt Herren, Bill Lowen and Chris Zaldain will also be back.
A talented 2019 rookie field of anglers that included Rookie of the Year Drew Cook, Lee Livesay and Patrick Walters will now enter their sophomore campaigns with the Elites.
They will be joined by a new talented crop of rookies that includes Eastern Opens qualifiers Bryan Schmitt of Deale, Md., Destin DeMarion of Grove City, Pa., Buddy Gross of Chickamauga, Ga., Austin Felix of Eden Prairie, Minn., and Kyle Welcher of Opelika, Ala. The anglers who qualified through the Central Opens are Wes Logan of Springville, Ala., Caleb Kuphall of Mukwonago, Wis., Taku Ito of Chiba, Japan and Bob Downey of Hudson, Wis.
Cody Hollen of Beaverton, Ore., will also join the rookie class after winning the TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Championship on Lake Hartwell in November.
“Last year’s class of newcomers was obviously the biggest we’ve had since the start of the Elite Series,” said B.A.S.S. Tournament Director Trip Weldon. “That was one of things that made the season so exciting — watching all of those young guys grow into pro fishing stars.
“They put on a great show, and I know the guys who are joining us this year will do the same. I imagine that is why every one of the anglers who were invited to join the Elite Series accepted their invitation.”
John Cox of DeBary, Fla., actually earned an Elite Series invitation through both Opens divisions, finishing second in the Central Opens and fourth in the Eastern Opens points. This will be his first season on the Elite Series, but he will not be eligible for the 2020 Rookie of the Year race due to career earnings with B.A.S.S. and FLW.