1. After leading Day 2, APEX Cup pro Christian Ostrander secured his second Wild West Bast Trail win by fishing prespawn locations with a Lucky Craft LV 500 lipless bait, a 5.75-inch Strike King Rage Swimmer on a 1/4-ounce swimbait head, and a Little Creeper Trash Fish swimbait.

 

Difference Maker: Patterning his fish and knowing when to fish each spot was the winning formula for Ostrander. Also, rotating his spots frequently enough to determine the most productive ones proved an essential adjustment. 

 

  1. Jason Newby caught his second-place fish on a homemade 7-inch soft pour swimbait he calls the “Newby Bait” and a Norman DD22 crankbait.

Difference Maker: Newby said he fished with great confidence in his baits because of his custom paint jobs. He dressed the swimbait in a hitch color, while accenting the crankbait’s crawfish pattern with black accents.

 

  1. Finishing in third place, APEX Cup pro John Pearl of Upper Lake got his work done with a Lucky Craft LV 500, a Strike King Redeye Shad, a G-Ratt Sneaky Pete glidebait, and a GCJ Custom Baits glidebait.

Difference Maker: For his grass fishing efforts, Pearl found that turning off his Garmin and Lowrance graphs was the key to getting bit. He was able to fish behind other boats running their electronics and get bit where others struggled.

  1. For Timothy Venkus, it took a Lucky Craft LV 500 in ghost minnow, a Trash Fish in hitch color, a Fish Lab Bio Minnow in light hitch, and a 3.3 and 3.8 Keitech Fat Swing Impact on a 3/16-ounce ball head to earn the fourth-place bites.

 

Difference Maker: Finding a large group of fish, Venkus used his Minn Kota Ultrex trolling motor to Spot Lock and afford himself and his non-boaters multiple opportunities.

  1. Finishing fifth, APEX Cup pro Travis Williams relied on a diverse array of baits. He threw a 1/2-ounce Chatterbait JackHammer in bluegill and shad colors with a Yamamoto Zako trailer (green and white), a Lucky Craft LV 500, Jackall Rerange jerkbait, and a 3/8-ounce Owner Flashy Swimmer underspin with a 4.3 Keitech Swing Impact.

 

Difference Maker: Junk fishing and making the right adjustments at the right time, Williams trusted his effort to Dobyns Rod 734 and 735 Champion Series rods and Sunline FC Sniper fluorocarbon.

  1. APEX Cup pro Wayne Breazeale took sixth place by alternating between a Lucky Craft rip bait in ghost color and a dropshot rigged with a Roboworm in margarita mutilator and a 1/4-ounce weight.

 

Difference Maker: Breazale said his Powell Rods 724 CB provided the ideal balance of effective bait action with sufficient flex to prevent pulled hooks.

  1. Jason Bradshaw caught his fish on a 1/8- and 3/8-ounce Owner Flashy Swimmer underspin with a 4-inch Keitech Swing Impact and Lucky Craft Pointer 100 in ghost minnow.

 

Difference Maker: Bradshaw threw his baits on 12-pound Seaguar Tatsu fluorocarbon, because the smaller diameter line got him more bites without sacrificing strength. Also a Dobyns 784 Extreme rod allowed him to load up the lighter baits, but retain sufficient backbone to handle big fish.

  1. For Beau Joudrey, a 6-inch Optimum Baits Fred Roumbanis’ BoomBoom swimbait did most of the work, along with a Lucky Craft LV 500 in ghost minnow and American shad.

 

Difference Maker: Keying on fish staging deep in 5-13 feet, Joudrey watched his Garmin Panoptix to find the fish rising to 1-3. He said it was hard to get bit deep, but spotting bait shallow pointed him to the feeding zone.

  1. APEX Cup pro Joe Uribe Jr. did most of his work with his customized Uribe Magic Swimmer swimbait, but he also caught key fish on a Lucky Craft LV 500 in red craw and a 1/2-ounce Z-Man ChatterBait JackHammer with a hand-poured red craw swimbait trailer.

 

Difference Maker: Uribe credited his NextGen Lithium Batteries for consistent performance that did not require a charge during the event.

  1. A 1/2- and 3/8-ounce green pumpkin Z-Man ChatterBait JackHammer with a Strike King Blade Minnow in bluegill was the main presentation for John Branch. A 1/2-ounce Hooty Hoot Juicy Jig with a craw trailer and a 13 Fishing Flatty Daddy in red craw also produced key bites.

 

Difference Maker: Fishing away from crowds, Branch used his Humminbird Solix unit’s sidescan to find his grass and wood targets and his Power Poles to hold his position.