Davy Hite wins his eighth Bassmaster event during the Alabama Charge! Under some tough fishing conditions, Davy Hite stuck with a game plan and it paid off. With long periods between bites and catching multiple species of fish, Mr. Hite was able to keep his confidence high knowing that the few bass he would catch were going to be quality. We have all read that to win the big checks you have to fish for five quality bites, that’s exactly what happened here.
I was very fortunate to be able to ask Davy Hite a few questions about his game plan and hopefully his answers will give you some ideas for your next pre spawn to spawn bass fishing trip.
UB: I know our readers first question will be, how do you stick with a pattern and location that is only producing 1 fish per hour?
Mr. Hite: What gave me the confidence to stick with my pattern was the knowledge that it would take quality fish to win the tournament. There were lots of anglers catching 50 bass a day during this tournament, but we weigh five fish no matter how many you catch. And on a lake like Pickwick, you’ve got to have quality fish in order to win. So once I found a place and pattern that was producing those quality fish, I knew sticking with it was the right decision – even if I wasn’t pulling in lots of them.
When we read all the articles and post tournament news releases, there is never anything about the weather or water conditions? These can be vital to most patterns, we can generalize or guess but never exactly know what the conditions were that the anglers were facing, well that is unless they were extreme. So before we get into what his pattern was and how he implemented it lets cover the conditions.
According to Mr. Hite conditions were not extreme at all for the time of year, the biggest factor was the 10-20 mph wind that really made the open parts of a lake such as Pickwick tough and it played into everyone’s pattern.
Water Temperature: 57-59 degrees
Weather Pattern: Clear to partly cloudy skies throughout the event
The water temperatures were on the rise but still a little cool for the major spawn, however this tournament being the second weekend in April there was probably some spawning activity going on.
UB: Was spawning activity a factor in your game plan?
Mr. Hite: Yes, there were definitely spawning fish, and I ran the banks looking for some. But ultimately, I didn’t think it would be a pattern that could win the tournament. In my mind, sight fishing wasn’t the best strategy.
UB: Do you think that the spawning activity caused competitors to target the numbers, instead of looking for better fish?
Mr. Hite: In terms of open water, the location where I caught my fish was the most crowded fishing area of the lake, so no I don’t think anglers sight fishing played into that.
UB: Your winning bait was a Berkley Hollow Body swimbait, with either a half ounce or three quarter ounce weighted hook. These seem pretty heavy to the average angler, however I’m sure it had something to do with fishing dam tail races. What did the weight do for the bait?
Mr. Hite: Yes, the half ounce to three quarter ounce weight I used was due to the current, which was pretty extreme. Where I was fishing you had to have that much weight to keep the bait in the strike zone against that tremendous current.
UB: With so much current, how did you present your bait to the fish?
Mr. Hite: I slow-rolled my swimbait, keeping it close down to the bottom.
UB: Were strikes aggressive or difficult to detect?
Mr. Hite: Most of the bass strikes were difficult to detect. To contrast that, I caught many other species including drum, striper, white bass and catfish. Those strikes were fairly aggressive, but the bass weren’t biting like they were.
UB: What rod brand/power and reel brand/speed were you using and recommend for this technique and what are the benefits?
Mr. Hite: I used was a Pfluegar Patriarch reel with a 7 foot 4 inch All-Star swimbait rod. This rod/reel combination provided power with sensitivity. It was a great setup for the fish I was targeting and the bait I was using.
We all know that matching the hatch is a great way to start your fishing, it’s beat into us and it is proven. Mr. Hite said he was only catching a weighable fish about every hour. It’s tough for me, personally, to throw the same bait for an hour straight and not get a bite. I would have to have a couple different options available to at least try.
UB: We know you settled into a color that “matched the hatch”, but were there multiple colors or a tail dye that helped. Can we get nitty gritty here… With only boating a single bass per hour, did you change colors in your presentation trying to improve your bite?
I changed colors more frequently the first day, and eventually settled on two – Tennessee shad and gizzard shad. Once I found what worked, I stuck with it and those colors proved successful through the weekend.
Sometimes it just pays to keep it simple and stick with it. Confidence at its best. I was hoping for a secret weapon but not this time, this time it was all about keeping a bait wet and the confidence to work it properly. Same bait and slow rolling, see this is why I just right about it, that is a serious grind and a great example of what it takes to take home the big checks. Kudos’s to Mr. Hite for having the mental stamina to stick it out!!
UB: Once the current started below the dam, did you have specific casts that you knew would produce or did you have to cover water?
Mr. Hite: Yes, there was a specific cast that you had to make. It didn’t matter if the current was fast or slow, I found there was a particular way you had to do it each time to get those strikes.
UB: Some anglers find it difficult or intimidating to make such long distance travels during a tournament. What gave you the confidence to make those runs on Pickwick?
Mr. Hite: Being able to go to different locations on a lake that fit with the pattern you’re fishing is a critical part of tournament competition. When that calls for making a long run, you’ve got to have confidence in your equipment. I’ve been running an Evinrude my entire career because the performance and reliability are unmatched. On Pickwick, I could concentrate on what I needed to do to win in part because I knew I could depend on my E-TEC to get me to the fish and back.
I would like to thank Mr. Hite for taking the time to answer a few questions for us and give us some insight into what it takes to win a big event. This one was a grind for sure. Sometimes you have to stick to your guns and stay confident then capitalize on the bites you do get!
Congratulations Mr. Hite, we’re looking forward to seeing you in the Bassmaster Classic!