This Week in Bass Fishing

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Lews Fishing
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Atlas Jack Plate
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by Dan O’Sullivan

John Murray with a Nice Smallmouth - photo by Dan O'Sullivan

John Murray with a Nice Smallmouth – photo by Dan O’Sullivan

The sports news the past few weeks have been dominated by controversy.  Aaron Hernandez, Alex Rodriguez, Biogenesis, Riley Cooper and Johnny Manziel.  We suppose the sports world’s equivalent of “if it bleeds it leads,” would have to become “if it ain’t a crime, it ain’t gonna get no airtime.”

Enough already.  Bass fishing has enough good stuff going on this week that we can break away from the sludge that is being reported over the airwaves.

The Elite Series is starting day one of what could be the most exciting event of the 2013 season on the St. Lawrence River in New York, and looming even larger is the fact that one week from today, FLW will be sending the anglers who qualified for the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup into the waters of the Red River in Shreveport / Bossier City, La.

We thought we would take a quick look at the Elite event, and then get some information from a tour angler with experience on the water that would help us have a better handle on what to expect at the Forrest Wood Cup.

Elite Stop Number 7
The St. Lawrence River in upstate New York should have earned a reputation as one of the best fisheries in the country by the time Sunday rolls around.   The first reason will likely be because of the quality of smallmouth bass that the fishery produces, but the second factor will be because there will be fish caught in a variety of way, and at all different depths.

The truth is that this event could play into anyone’s hands.  Power fishermen are going to have ample opportunity to run  around and pick off quality

Clark Reehm on Stage - photo courtesy Clark Reehm

Clark Reehm on Stage – photo courtesy Clark Reehm

fish, and those more skilled in offshore tactics will have plenty of chances at doing what they want to do as well.

Following the pre-practice scouting that went on prior to ICAST, Advanced Angler pro Staffer John Murray said that he felt that the St Lawrence may be the best fishery around when it comes to catching quality smallmouth.  He said that there were others that were better for sheer numbers, but he though the weights for this week could become big.

It will certainly be an interesting week in New York to say the least.  Watch each of the weigh-ins starting tomorrow at 3:00 EST today at www.bassmaster.com.

Red River – Forrest Wood Cup

Randall Tharp at the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup - photo by Dan O'Sullivan

Randall Tharp at the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup – photo by Dan O’Sullivan

Because of the two fairly recent Bassmaster Classic events held at the Red River in 2009 and 2012, we all have a perspective on what we believe will be the basic storylines coming out of the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup.  However, because most of the high profile events held on the Red River are in the spring or closer to the fall, we thought we would let an expert tell us what he thought.

Clark Reehm is a Bassmaster Elite Series pro originally from Russellville, Ark. who relocated to East Texas.  This Huntsville, Tex. based angler has worlds of experience on the Red River, and gave us his perspective on the event.

Reehm said that he thinks there are two distinct ways to fish the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup.  The first way is to put together a backwater pattern revolving around grass and floating Water Hyacinth.  The other way is to target main river fish that will be holding on rocks and current breaks.

Reehm said that focusing on one or the other each has risks.  “The most consistent bite will be the main river bite, but it’s not likely that the main channel bite will produce the winning weight on its own,” he said.  “The better quality fish are going to come out of backwater areas, but the trick there is going to be whether a guy can make the backwaters produce enough to last the entire four days.”  His conclusion is that the winner is going to have

Ish Monroe FLW Stage - photo by FLW Outdoors - Gary Mortenson

Ish Monroe FLW Stage – photo by FLW Outdoors – Gary Mortenson

to catch most of his weight from the backwaters, but be able to fill in with some fish from the main river areas.

Reehm said that backwater techniques will be focused on floating hollow-bodied frogs and buzzing toads as well as Flippin’ the floating Hyacinth pads.  Main River anglers; he opined, will be using a mixture of crankbaits, spinnerbaits and possibly even finesse worms on shaky heads.

He predicts that it will take a 12 1/2-pound average to win the four-day event.  “There will be a lot of 7 1/2 to 9 pound limits weighed in during this event,” he said.  “A two-pound fish is going to be the money fish here.  A limit of true, two pounders is going to keep an angler in the hunt.  I also think the guys who wins will have at least one fish between four and five

pounds, but we won’t see too many of those weighed in at all.”

Jason Christie on the 2013 Bassmaster Classic Stage - photo by Dan O'Sullivan

Jason Christie on the 2013 Bassmaster Classic Stage – photo by Dan O’Sullivan

With everything factored, Reehm said that he can comfortably pick three anglers that should factor into the final day heavily.  He said that he expects Randall Tharp, Ish Monroe and Jason Christie are all anglers that he expects to perform well.  “Tharp had a great Bassmaster Open there and is one of the best grass anglers around, Ish can do anything and Jason is obviously the hottest angler on tour right now, with the skillsets to match the Red River,” said Reehm.

He also speculated that the tournament would be won out of pools four or five.  “I don’t think that anglers can waste the time running and locking through to pool 3,” he said.  “They’ll lose the most critical time of the day – the morning bite.”

He said there is precedent for the morning bite being so critical.  “I believe it was Dion Hibdon’s Cup win that he caught the bulk of his fish each day during a 15 to 20 minute window in the morning,” he said.  “If an angler wastes too much time getting to his fish, he misses the most important time of the day.”

Advanced Angler will be at the Forrest Wood Cup to bring you our FW Cup Raw coverage from Shreveport / Bossier City, La. beginning Wednesday the 14th with interviews from the registration and pairings meeting.  Watch the weigh-in at www.flwoutdoors.com, then check back here to hear what the anglers have to say about each competition day.