1. Tournament winner Greg Gutierrez used a lineup started with a Reaction Innovations Flirt Worm on a 3/16- to 1/4-ounce Frenzy Nail and a Carolina rig with a 1/2-ounce Woo Tungsten weight with a clacker bead and a watermelon candy Zoom Baby Brush Hog on a 1/0 offset round bend hook. He also caught fish on a Duo Realis 110 and a split shot rig with a 1/4-ounce lead weight and a watermelon red Zoom Baby Brush Hog.
Difference Maker: Gutierrez touted his MotorGuide Tour trolling motor and Bioenno lithium batteries for enabling him to fish directly in the wind to reach the winning fish.
2. Bill O’Shinn caught his second-place sack on a Lucky Craft BDS 3.5 in spring craw, a 1/2-ounce white double willow-leaf Z-Man SlingbladeZ spinnerbait with a white Z-Man Split Tail TrailerZ, a 4.8 Keitech Swim Impact Fat on a 1/4-ounce bullhead jig and a Neko-rigged Zoom Trick Worm (Junebug) with a 1/32-ounce Missile Baits Neko Weight and a dropshot with a 5-inch red Berkley Powerbait Curly Tail Worm.
Difference Maker: The exposed head of a Missile Baits Neko Weight created fish-attracting sound when it tapped across rocks.
3. Cranking played a big role for third-place Marty Lawrence, who threw a Duo Realis 6511A and a custom Wiggle Wart by Willamette Weapon Custom Lures. Lawrence also three a 1/4-ounce brown/purple jig with a green pumpkin Yamamoto Twin Tail and a 1/2-ounce War Eagle spinnerbait with double gold willow-leaf blades and a 3.3-inch Keitech Swim Impact Fat trailer.
Difference Maker: A Dobyns 745 Champion rod provided enough tip for presentation, with the backbone to get the fish out of tough areas.
4. John Pearl found the fourth-place bag by dropshotting a 4-inch Roboworm Straight Tail Worm in the red crawler color and fishing a green pumpkin orange Z-Man FattyZ on a shaky head.
Difference Maker: Pearl trusted the stealth and strength of Seaguar Tatsu fluorocarbon to deliver a competitive bag.
5. Scooter Griffith threw a white 1/2-ounce Z-Man ChatterBait Jack Hammer BHITE DELIGHT with a white Arizona Custom Baits AFG Force trailer and a Livingston Lures JerkMaster Jr. Tournament Series jerkbait.
Difference Maker: Griffith’s 7-2 medium Alpha Angler ChatterBound rod allowed him to feel the bait pulling through vegetation.
6. Matt Saavedra did most of his work with a dropshot carrying a 4-inch green pumpkin amber laminate Senko and a 3/16-ounce weight. He caught his biggest fish on a 3/4-ounce spinnerbait with double gold willow-leaf blades.
Difference Maker: Saavedra said his 7-foot Spiralite Defiant spinning outfit spooled with 10-pound P-Line TCB braid and a top shot of 8-pound P-Line Blue Label fluorocarbon facilitated the accurate casts he need to hit tight pockets in shallow weed beds.
7. Colby Pearson sacked up his weight by throwing a Duo Realis M65 8A crankbait in orange craw, a wacky-rigged 5-inch Senko (plum/emerald flake) and a 3/16-ounce Custom Bass Menu half moon jig with a green pumpkin Z-Man FattyZ.
Difference Maker: Fishing his finesse rigs on an iRod Air 722 medium spinning rod with 8-pound Seaguar Tatsu fluorocarbon line proved essential for proper presentations.
8. Jeff Michels fished a shallow diving Duo Realis jerkbait and balanced that with a Z-Man FattyZ rigged on a 1/4 Frenzy Nail and a 1/10-ounce Z-Man NedLockZ HD.
Difference: In the tournament’s windy conditions, Michels relied on the sensitivity of his Dobyns Xtasy Series spinning rod to detect light bites on his finesse baits.
9. Ken Mah dealt with murky waters by selecting a 5/8-ounce chartreuse/white spinnerbait with a white willow-leaf blade and a chartreuse Colorado blade and fitting it with the bulky profile of a Big Bite Baits Kamikaze Swimon. Mah fished his bait on a G.Loomis SWBR 904 with a Shimano Curado K 200XG reel and Sunline Xplasma Asegai braid.
Difference Maker: With fierce winds challenging boat control, Mah said the reliability of his Bioenno lithium batteries kept his Lowrance Ghost trolling motor fully powered in the rough water.
10. Juan Acosta cranked with a Duo Realis M65 and threw a 3/4-ounce chartreuse/white Strike King KVD spinnerbait with Indiana and willow-leaf blades.
Difference Maker: Acosta went to a 3/4-ounce spinnerbait because he needed to punch into a strong wind and work his bait through persistent waves. His 7-6 Phenix X13 rod, 40-pound Seaguar Smackdown Stealth Braid and 15-pound Seaguar Fluoro Premier leader facilitated the task.