Chattin’ with FLW Pro’s

Or it could be called the Rattlin’ Bait Festival…. If that opening line didn’t grab your attention then I apologize, now that I look at it, it’s rather bland. This is the second part of…

Or it could be called the Rattlin’ Bait Festival…. If that opening line didn’t grab your attention then I apologize, now that I look at it, it’s rather bland. This is the second part of my coverage of the FLW Chevy Open, its a long read but I hope you enjoy it. I was excited to get the chance to interview the pro’s and I look forward to the next opportunity.

I arrived to the Outdoor Show and Family Fun Zone around 1-1:30pm. I took one of my friends and his wife as she had never been to a big indoor event like this. While they were walking around looking at displays I went looking for Pro’s to talk with.

The first stop I made was at the Evinrude display and spoke with Andy Morgan. Morgan who hails from Dayton, TN was on my fantasy fishing top 10 so I was really rooting for him, but I’ve been a fan of his for a while now so this was exciting for me to talk with him.

I asked Andy how he felt coming into this tournament and seeing that his close proximity to the lake helped him any. “I don’t think it gave me an advantage as we are usually so busy that I haven’t had time to fish it (Guntersville) like I have in the past.” Andy advised that he fished Mid-Lake and some of the feeder creeks but just couldn’t nail down a pattern to make the cut. “I fished some different water but never could get on the big bite” Morgan finished 19th with a two day total of 37-7.

Next I walked by the Yamaha and Castrol booths and stopped at the Dunkin’ Donuts display. There I spoke with Michael Bennett. This was Bennett’s first trip to Guntersville, “I love this lake and it was my first trip to the lake” Bennet said that he primarily fished hydrilla but with the lake covered in aquatic vegetation it was hard to nail down a pattern. “I’m looking forward to coming back to Guntersville and the Tenn. River, I think two more weeks and the fishing will really be turned on” That was music to my ears.

After dreaming of a big box of Dunkin Donuts I strolled around the show and spoke with several more anglers. I was curious to see what they had to say about how the weather went south as compared to practice when it was nice and starting to warm, then the cold font came thru on Monday. Dave Lefebre answered: “When the conditions change you have to adjust, you can see who adjusted and who didn’t”

The attendance at the event was rather large and there was a lot of pro’s and fans mingling. So I made my way back to the Media Center and got ready for the weigh in. After the weigh in I spoke with the top ten anglers on stage.

Sam Newby said this was his second tournament on Guntersville, his pattern included fishing with crank baits and jigs with a Chigger Craw trailer. “I caught most of my fish on the crank bait but biggest came off a jig”

When I spoke with Mike Surman he compared Guntersville to fishing in Florida “Grass is everywhere, Being from Florida I am used to fishing vegetation”. This was his first tournament on Guntersville but had fished Wheeler Lake which is the next lake on the Tenn. River system ;”I locked thru in that tournament and fished in Guntersville”.

I wanted to speak with the two top ten anglers who live closest to the lake. Those anglers were Craig Dowling and Scott Canterbury. Dowling was possibly the closest to the water as he lives in Grant, AL and is just across from the lake.

While Canterbury lives in Springville,AL he doesn’t consider himself a local on Guntersville, “My home lake is Logan Martin” This was the first time Canterbury had fished a Tournament on Guntersville this time of year (Feb.). Canterbury was catching his fish on Rat-L-Traps and Xcaliber rattle baits. ” I was fishing an area about 100 yards long and caught all of my fish out of that one area, I culled 4 pounders on that spot” Canturbury fished the North Sauty area all week.

The other local Dowling said too that this was his first time to fish the lake in this weather. “I have fished the lake in this weather but first tournament and it showed” Dowling said that his bait of choice was a Rayburn Red XR-50. “I fished the Jones Creek area and the main river but just couldn’t find the bite the past couple days” As with any sporting even the victor is always mobbed by media, fans and family. I wanted to speak with David Fritts but he was surrounded by the latter.

You could tell Fritts was really excited with the win and was all smiles. “I feel so good and my mind is blank right now.” Fritts said that he caught his fish on a DT-10 in Hot Mustard and Chartreuse and Brown Shad. Speaking of the Sure Set Hooks, “those hooks saved me in this tournament more than once. I fished the North Sauty area and was in a zone till I pulled up on this spot. I made about 30 casts and didn’t get a bite but when I did it was a big one.” The funniest part was when Fritts was talking to Charlie Evans and he talked about pulling into North Sauty; “I was fishing close to the bridge and there was a guy that was fishing off the bridge, when I got close to the bridge the person asked for some free samples.” Fritts said ” I don’t have but a small bag full of crank baits on me”. The angler on the bridge said “Not crank baits, some TUMS…”

All in all the Chevy Open was a great event and I really enjoyed covering the final days activities. In speaking with the anglers I would have to say that the bait of choice in this tournament was the Rattling Bait/Lipless Crank bait/rat-l-trap/you get the picture. All the anglers had nothing but praise for the spectator boats that kept there distance and how they respected the anglers while they were fishing.

So in closing I will take a line from Dowling, This was my first time to cover a tournament and it shows, I hope you were entertained and hopefully informed with my writings. I look forward to covering more events for Ultimate Bass. See ya on the Forums!!!!

Eric Couch

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