Shin Fukae Wins PAA Opener on Douglas Lake

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Proving why he’s one of the greats in this sport, Shin Fukae triumphed over many of the best PAA, FLW and BASS pros in the business, taking first place and $45,000 in cash and prizes at the Bass Pro Shops PAA Tournament Series opener on Douglas Lake in Dandridge Tennessee. Over three days, Shin weighed 15 bass weighing 67.73 lbs for which Shin earned a Nitro Z-8/225 Mercury Pro XS Prize Package (valued at $40,000) and $5,000 cash.

To seal the deal on the final day, Shin kept moving between 4 or 5 spots on the lower end of Douglas Lake. He stuck with a Megabass Spark Rig, throwing it on a Megabass fishing pole called the Jungle Stick. “It’s not just a fishing pole, it’s a stick – a heavy one that was made for big swimbaits but I use the Spark Rig with it too,” said Shin. Fukae favors YOZ-AMI 55 lb black braided line from Japan. He had tried using bigger size Megabass Spark Shads as lures on the Spark Rig, but found the fish didn’t want it because the bass were keying on small shad. Switching to smaller Spark Shads about 4″ long proved to be perfect to “match the hatch.”

Shin feels it is difficult for anglers to throw umbrella rigs throughout an entire tournament due to the toll it takes on one’s arms and shoulders. “It’s hard work but rewarding,” said the new PAA Douglas Lake champion.

Because the FLW Tour schedule has been pared down to just 6 tournaments in 2013, Shin has plenty of time to enjoy fishing the PAA this year – and he’s off to a great start!

In second place with 66.65 lbs, Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tennessee ran around mid-lake and was no different than most everybody else who made the Top 15 cut in that he ended up catching most of his better bass on an umbrella rig. The first day, Morgan caught 20.46 pounds on a jig but after seeing the staggering results of other anglers on Day 1, Morgan realized he couldn’t win unless he too threw the umbrella rig. So the last two days, he caught everything he weighed on the umbrella rig. “It seems to be at its best when the water’s cold in the 40’s or low 50’s and the fish are suspended and coming in to the spawning bays. Basically, it’s when they’re feeding on bait – shad, blueback or whatever you’ve got in your lake. When the bass are suspended and chasing that bait, that’s when the umbrella rig shines. Best of all, the bigger fish bite it,” explained Morgan. Morgan throws one that a friend of his makes. “Where it’s legal and you can throw it, you’re foolish if you don’t when the water’s cold.”

Andy Morgan finished strong with 66.65 for 3 days and 2nd place.

Morgan’s an FLW Tour pro and currently 5th in the BassFan.com World Rankings. He’s one of four hosts along with Bassmaster Elite pro Gerald Swindle of Moultrie’s The Hit List in its third year on the Outdoor Channel Tuesday nights. They travel around the country hunting whitetails most of the time and every now and then, mule deer or elk.

In third place with 61.77 lbs, Palaniuk spent about half of each day hammering some dependable spots he’d found, and he’d run new water during the other half day, staying mostly from mid-lake to the lower end. He He tapped all kinds of different stuff ranging from shallow to deep, bluff banks, long cliff points and every once in a while he’d randomly catch one although most of his fish came off the dependable spots he had where he knew fish were. Palaniuk mostly stuck with the umbrella rig. He said, “When they’re eating that rig, you have to throw it to be competitive, so that’s what I stuck with.”

David Mullins of Mt. Carmel, Tennessee moved up into 4th place with a strong final day, totaling 58.15 for all three days.

Fifth went to Randy Haynes of Counce, Tennessee with 57.11, followed closely by Blake Nick of Adger, Alabama in 6th place with 57.09. Nick likes the bladed Yellow Hammer Rig made in Alabama. For fishing shallow water, he throws the short arm rig because it’s easier and more accurate to throw at shallow cover. When he gets out in deeper water, Nick throws the regular bladed rig with a little longer arms because the arms serve to make it kind of buoyant and the arms keep the bait running kind of level, giving it a slower rate of fall that’s ideal when the fish are suspended. “Success with the umbrella rig is tied to the shad coming up in the water column. You can see that on your electronics, which often happens later in the afternoon on sunnier, milder days in early spring,” acknowledged Nick.

Local PAA and Bassmaster Elite pro Ott DeFoe of Knoxville, Tennessee held the lead on Day 2 and finished in 7th place.

DeFoe said, “I’m really proud of Douglas Lake this week. It showed its true potential. Shin and Andy weighed in the upper 60’s for 3 days; that’s pretty strong for any lake in this part of the country. We’ve caught a lot of four and five pound bass here this week, a good number of sixes, several sevens and Timmy Horton even caught one close to 9; then there’s Mark Rose’s 52-3/4 striper. It’s been an incredible week and really, really special to me to have Jefferson County and the PAA hold a major tournament where I get to fish at home,” said DeFoe. “It was a great time of year to be here too, because when the water’s cold, the average size of fish you’ll catch is always bigger.”

Timmy Horton’s Yumbrella rig earned him the Humminbird Big Bass Award for an 8.81 lbs lunker largemouth.

Timmy Horton took home the Humminbird Big Bass honors and a Humminbird 898C SI unit (valued at $1,500) for weighing the largest fish during the event, an 8.81 lbs largemouth. Horton also had the heaviest daily bag of the event with 28.04 lbs on Day 1. He caught his big bass on the Yumbrella Flash Mob and Flash Mob Jr.

Horton said, “That day was one of those special days you just don’t forget. When you have an 8.81 largemouth and a smallmouth that pushes 7 lbs, there aren’t many places you can do that. Douglas Lake is a special place.”

Dave Mansue, President of the Professional Anglers Association said, “What a stellar field of pro and co-anglers came to Douglas Lake to compete in the PAA’s season opener. We sure appreciate all the fans that came to the weigh-ins even in the rain. We thank Adele Sensing, Director of Tourism, and all the great people of Jefferson County for bringing the PAA here for this great event. We’ve seen some really big fish caught in this event, and we’re just happy to be here. The weather wasn’t always the greatest for everybody but the fish sure bit and were they big! Douglas Lake and Jefferson County are a great venue. We were happy to be here and hopefully we’ll get back here someday.”

About our Sponsors

This event was sponsored by the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and the city of Dandridge, Tennessee on “The Lakeside of the Smokies.” For more info on the area, attractions and activities, visit the website of http://www.jefferson-tn-chamber.org/.

2013 PAA Tournament Series Premier Sponsors: Bass Pro Shops, Nitro Boats, Mercury

2013 PAA Tournament Series Associate Sponsors: Pursuit Channel, Game and Fish Magazine, Sign Designs of Tennessee, South Eastern Pond Management, Humminbird, Minn Kota, Yamaha and Missile Baits.

About the 2013 Bass Pro Shops PAA Tournament Series

Event Fishery Location Official Practice Competition
#1

Douglas Lake Dandridge, TN March 25-27 March 28-30
#2

Ft. Loudon/Tellico Knoxville, TN May 20-22 May 23-25
#3

Table Rock Lake Branson, MO Sept. 2-4 Sept. 5-7

Format – Pro Angler/Co-Angler, random draw pairings

Registration – Our events are open registration. PAA membership is required to fish. New anglers can purchase required membership upon registration for event(s) or by calling the PAA Office at (270) 527-2030. Pro Anglers must possess a $400 Tour level or a Legends level membership. Co-Anglers must possess a $50 General or $150 Advantage level membership. Students, ages 16-22, may fish as a Co-Angler with a $25 Affinity membership – proof of age must be provided upon registration.