By David A. Brown


  1. Securing his first wire-to-wire win, APEX pro Jeff Michels did most of his work on the main lake and in the Pit River Arm. He caught his fish on a 5-inch Yamamoto Senko and a Strike King 7XD.


Difference Maker: For precision performance, particularly the smooth loading, Michels lauded his 7-6 Dobyns XTC spinning rod. He paired that road with a Daiwa Ballistic reel carrying 12-pound Power Pro braid with a 6-pound Seaguar Tatsu fluorocarbon leader.




  1. Coming off his win at the Wild West Bass Trail Pro-Am on the California Delta in Sept., APEX pro Alex Klein took second place by dropshotting a Zoom Fluke in the albino color and a Strike King KVD Perfect Plastic Dream Shot in ghost shad.


Difference Maker: With chilly conditions draping the tournament, Klein credited his Buck N’ Bass bibs and Oroville Mid Layer Jacket for keeping him warm and allowing him to focus on fishin.


  1. Putting his own bait creations to work, Joseph Orozco earned third place by throwing his Bass Union A-rig with 2.8 Keitech Swing Impact Fats in the teaser positions and 3.8 Keitech Swing Impact Fats in Tennessee shad on 1/4-ounce jig heads. He also caught fish on a 1-ounce Bass Union Finesse Football Jig in matte green pumpkin with a green pumpkin Yamamoto Double Tail trailer, and a 3/4- to 2-ounce prototype jigging spoon. Orozco complemented his company’s baits with a P-Line Laser Minnow and a Strike King Sexy Spoon.


Difference Maker: Orozco made good use of his Garmin Livescope by running two units — one displaying the forward facing view and another devoted to Garmin Livescope Perspective.



  1. In fourth place, Matthew Saavedra said he caught all of his fish on a Frenzy Nail with a 7-inch green pumpkin finesse worm.


Difference Maker: Targeting fish in 0-10 feet of water, Saavedra relied heavily on his Garmin electronics to find what he called the “sweet spot on the sweet spot.” With this underwater vision, he was able to see every bite he got.



  1. APEX pro Luke Johns caught all of his fish by dropshotting a Yamamoto Shad Shape Worm and found a Picasso Tungsten weight important for feeling his way across the bottom.


Difference Maker: Johns said he found the comfort and dryness he needed in his Buck N’ Bass rain gear.


  1. APEX pro Nick Wood started his days by throwing a River2Sea Rover to secure a couple of big bites each morning. After that, he’d finish his limit with a wacky-rigged 5-inch Yamamoto Senko and a 1/4-ounce Lost Coast Pirates Bait and Tackle underspin with a 3.3 Keitech Swing Impact Fat.


Difference Maker: Spotting big balls of bait pushed against steep rock walls was the ideal scenario for the underspin. For this, Wood found his Garmin Livescope with the new LVS34 transducer “absolutely essential” for defining the target zone.



  1. APEX pro Ish Monroe relied solely on his topwater game and caught all of the fish he weighed on a River2Sea Rover 128 in the powder color.


Difference Maker: With baitfish largely scattered, Monroe found that he could get bit consistently by locating concentrations on his Lowrance HDS 12 Live Utilizing Active Target.


  1. Chris Parks earned eighth-place finish with a 5-inch peanut butter and jelly Z-Man Fatty Z on a 1/4-ounce Frenzy Nail and a 3/4-ounce Blade Runner Spoon in a shad color.


Difference Maker: In terms of making effective presentations, Parks found that his St. Croix Legend Tournament rods were essential to getting his baits to the right depths and making the ideal presentations.




  1. APEX pro Colby Pearson earned his bites with a 4-inch Shasta Bass Baits swimbait in the shad color and a neko-rigged 4-inch Yamamoto Senko in natural shad. He fished both on 5-pound Cortland braid.


Difference Maker: Pearson found that Garmin Livescope was the key to spotting his fish and making the specific casts needed to earn the bites.




  1. Anchoring the top-10, Brandon Gee found his fish with a YUM Umbrella Flash Mob with Keitech 3.8 Swing Impact Fats in electric shad on the hooks and Keitech 2.8 Swing Impact Fats on teasers. He also threw a Megabass Vision 110+1 in a baitfish color, a dropshot with a 6-inch Roboworm in prism shad and a neko-rigged Daiwa Yamamoto Neko Fat in the 330 color.


Difference Maker: Gee found his best success when he located bait schools in shallow water. He relied on Lowrance 2D and forward facing sonar views to locate the bait and active fish.




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