Bassmaster Open on Lake Logan Martin

Practice for the Bassmaster Open on Lake Logan Martin was dismal at best! I and my Pro-Link (also my Dad) started Monday within site of the tournament launch and proceeded to work our way north on Lake Logan Martin. We hit a lot of different cuts, backwaters, and main lake grass, docks, and rocks. We only caught two bass all day and called it quits around 2 PM. Day two we fished south and had about the same day. Concentrating on shallow grass early we caught two bass on a white Picasso quarter ounce spinnerbait. After the sun came up we moved out to some off-shore humps, points, and saddles where we found some brush piles without bass! We fished main lake docks and moved around in some pockets where we thought bass would be, and only picked up one or two more bass throughout the day. Day three of practice Dad and I went back north to the Neal Henry dam and tried to get some fish biting in the current. We picked up two bass on a white Picasso spinnerbait, again in the flooded grass, and one bass on a dock in the main river channel.

Bassmaster Open on Lake Logan Martin

Bassmaster Open Lake Logan Martin Day One

I drew Brett Pruitt from Monroe LA, former elite series pro angler and college angler champion. We were boat 132 of 138. Brett and I started about mid-lake drop shotting in fifteen feet of water without any luck. We switched to shallow points and flats in the same pocket with topwater baits also without any takers. Brett ran to some main lake docks close by and we both picked up our first keeper bass. Brett worked south the rest of the day. The third spot we fished was a riprap bank with brush and grass. Brett caught two bass here and I picked up my second and largest keeper. I culled four times on day one working my way from around five pounds up to 6-pounds 5-ounces.

Bassmaster Open Lake Logan Martin Day Two

On day two, I drew Homer Humphries from Minden LA. What a guy to fish with, I learned a ton from Homer just talking before morning blast-off. Homer was a wealth of knowledge, tips, and tactics from fishing to managing a bass fishing career. Homer was on a buzz bait bite early in the morning, however, this doesn’t leave much for a co-angler to fish. We were paralleling riprap banks and grass lines around mid-lake. Luckily for me, whenever a piece of cover opened for me to fish, I caught a bass on a shaky head. I had three bass in about 30 minutes on day two. When the sun came up the bass stopped biting. I culled one more time by about 10:30 A.M. giving me about six ounces more. Our check in time was 2:15 on day two so around 1:30 P.M. we made our run back toward the launch site and stopped at a small off-shore brush pile in about 18 feet of water. Homer turned the boat and told me to go ahead and fish the opposite end of the brush pile. If it wasn’t for that courtesy, I wouldn’t have been able to set the hook on my 3-pound 7-ounce anchor. My day two sack of 6-pounds 3-ounces pushed me into third place.

Bassmaster Open Lake Logan Martin Day Three

On the final day, I drew Keith Poche from Alabama, formerly from Natchitoches LA. Keith has his aluminum boat and is running very far back in Choccolocco Creek. I understand why he has his aluminum boat after a 29-minute run to his starting spot. Lots of rocks and really shallow water, but the bass were there and not pressured at all. Keith filled his limit in about 2 hours, but I only manage one 12” bass out of a laydown. Keith lost two big spotted bass when they jumped on the way to the boat earlier in the day, and he went back to the laydowns he lost them on and spent over an hour trying to get them to bite again. In the back of the boat, I’ve run out of things to fish, so I decided to change colors and throw out in the middle of a channel and hopefully find a brush or rock pile. I did just that and picked up an 8” short bass, and on the very next cast, I caught a 13-inch spot. When I opened my livewell I had accidentally clipped the cull clip (can’t use penetrating clips in B.A.S.S.) on the bass’s gill, and my first fish was dead. Obviously, I can’t cull a dead fish, so now I’m defeated and think I have no chance of making up the 4-ounce penalty. Around 1130 A.M. we moved back down the creek a couple of hundred yards, I got bites and missed a few bass, then broke the line on a bass. After retying my line, I’m down to about 40 yards of good line left on my spool. I threw into an eddy and felt a good thump. I set the hook and after a short fight, I swung a bass over three pounds in the boat! Now I have my limit. After this, I’m thinking I have a good shot at third or fourth place. I threw back to the eddy and broke the line on yet another bass. Now I’m down to just a little bit of line, and my main line to backing line knot is going thru my guides on every cast. I threw out as far as I could without letting the backing off and got my last “thump”, I leaned into this fish as I didn’t want to break anymore off. I immediately was on my knees with my rod tip as far into the water as I could so the fish couldn’t jump. I got her to the boat swung her in, and she was bigger than the last one! I sat down, culled my 13” live fish and ate a sandwich. Running through what just happened in my head, I knew I had a really good shot at winning. We made our way back stopping at a few off-shore brush piles on the way, but I needed a 4+ to make a difference and that didn’t happen.

Bassmaster Open on Lake Logan Martin

Bassmaster Open Lake Logan Martin Final Day Weigh In

I received a 4-ounce dead fish penalty right off the bat. I weighed 6-pounds and 11-ounces, bringing my three-day weight to 19-pounds and 3-ounces earning me my first Bassmaster Open win.

The fish I weighed the first two days of the tournament all came on a watermelon red Zoom finesse worm, paired with a quarter ounce Picasso shakedown shaky head. I used a Denali Rods Fission casting rod spooled with 14-pound Vicious Pro Elite fluorocarbon line. With dirtier water on day two I switched colors around 11 A.M. I went to a 5 Limit Fishing Prankster worm in Junebug on the same shaky head. The color change was key for me on day three. I ended up breaking off eight shaky heads on day three. Another big factor was my Aaron Martens series Solar Bat Sunglasses with Mossback lenses. These glasses protect my whole field of vision from harmful UV rays which is vital when fishing for six days straight in the heat of the summer.

Bassmaster Open on Lake Logan Martin

My support for this tournament was incredible. I had my dad with me at the final weigh-in, he even cut his day two short to come in early to see me weigh. Rudy and Justin, two very good friends I fish with back home, were texting me after the weigh in’s congratulating me, and giving words of encouragement. My home club Facebook page, Hawgherders bass club, was blowing up with words of encouragement. It’s an awesome experience and still hasn’t completely hit me. I won a Triton TrX 179 with a 115 Mercury 4 stroke and qualified for the Bassmaster Open Championship on Table Rock lake October 18-20. It’s amazing how every one of my competitors found me after to offer congratulations and shake my hand. It was very humbling how good of sportsmen and sportswomen I fish with.

Thanks for reading!
Will McNutt

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