Congrats to our boy Casey Martin, with a 6th place finish at the 2013 Lake Okeechobee FLW Everstart Series.  Casey is just off the hook good.  Follow him in 2013 on the FLW Tour, he’s gonna crush it:  caseymartinfishing.com

And here is Casey at the FLW Tour, where he again took 6th place!  Can you imagine a Top 10 in your rookie event as a boater?  Sick:


Keys to Casey’s success:

Picasso Tungsten

Casey Martin Signature Series Swim Jig from Omega

Z-Man Chatter bait




Trevor Fitzgerald is lethal around grass.  He is a Florida native and gets it done around grass.  He weighed in 25 pounds this day, and gives you some insights into his gear.  Trevor and his wife operate Fitzgerald Rods and they are known as a solid, well built, quality rod, that are tested and designed (among other things) to handle heavy braided lines, big fish, and grass.

Trevor’s Tackle:

Gambler Jig Zilla

Gambler Mega Daddy (Green Pumpkin)

80 Pound Sunline FX

Fitzgerald 7’10” Big Jig/Mat Punching Rod

Keep an eye on Trevor.  He finished 2nd place in this event, and actually tied the guy weight wise, but lost the tie breaker.  I have the entire weigh in on film (most of it) and plan on sharing some highlights from the guys who were in the Top.  Okeechobee is a wonderful fishery, and it’s interesting to hear how guys catch ’em and the gear they use.  That Gambler Jig Zillais off the hook.  The jig bite on Okeechobee is there, and this just adds another dimension.   Adding your own creature/craw bait to a unskirted jig head, in the >1 ounce range.

That fish inhaled the jig. Notice the sparse reed and little pool.  That is where the fish will bed in the good areas, and the jig is an excellent bait on Okeechobee to pitch around the sparse stuff.
That fish inhaled the jig. Notice the sparse reed and little pool. That is where the fish will bed in the good areas, and the jig is an excellent bait on Okeechobee to pitch around the sparse stuff.

It was brought to my attention from a friend that I didn’t do a blog post about my Okeechobee Everstart tournament.  My mind has been busy dealing with all the things of starting back to work at a new job, finding an apartment, finding furniture (I arrived with a coffee mug, and a ton of fishing gear, of course), and just getting settled into a new life and lifestyle.  Okeechobee has been in a funky cycle, but don’t let that fool you.  I have a feeling the FLW Tour event coming up out of Clewiston is going to be another slug fest.  Okeechobee has had really high water, and crazy thick grass.  But with cooler nights and days, the grass is thinning out, mats are literally melting away, and things are changing, last I heard and last I fished.

Day One:

I have a huge open water area I’ve been fishing in the Bird Island/North Shore area that I was fishing last year, that I found a good school of fish holding in. I could not find the jig fish that were loaded on Observation Shoal last year, and the Monkey Box itself, was almost completely choked out, and the areas that were fishable, just didn’t seem to have fish like they normally do.  Not to say they aren’t there, I just didn’t find many areas with fish in practice.  So to Bird Island, I went. I wanted to throw the 3:16 Sunfish and throw the Magnum Speed Worm in this open water and I figured I could usually get one good bite a day doing it, and come up with 12-14 pounds. I knew I wasn’t on winning fish, so you just go with the best you got.  The Magnum Speed Worm, pegged with a 1/4 ounce weight, and a big 6/0 hook can be swam thru the eel grass and hydrilla, but it’s also got this great ‘power Texas Rig’ fishability where  you hop, drop, yo-yo and then swim the bait thru the grass.  I was killing them on the Magnum Speed Worm, and don’t be shocked if you hook a big one on that bait.   I was buzzing the outside edges of some pepper grass clumps with the 3:16 Sunfish, and sure enough, I got one almost 6 pounds to come out and choke the bait.  I fished loose, had fun and just made the most of my bites and weighed 14-8 or something, and was stoked to be in the Top 30.

The 3:16 Sunfish is not weedless, but if you'll notice the sparse reeds, there is also hydrilla on the bottom, I look for 'swim lanes' and buzz the bait thru the grass in areas like this.  Not a giant, but 3-4 pounders are always good, and fun to catch, especially on braid.
The 3:16 Sunfish is not weedless, but if you’ll notice the sparse reeds, there is also hydrilla on the bottom, I look for ‘swim lanes’ and buzz the bait thru the grass in areas like this. Not a giant, but 3-4 pounders are always good, and fun to catch, especially on braid.


Day Two:

Back to Bird Island.  The bite started much slower. I had to grind to get something going.  I keep telling myself I need to fish looser in tournaments.  There is a great article Gary Dobyns once did about ‘Fishing Chicken’…google it, maybe it can be found.  Bottom line, don’t get so caught up in your area or gameplan you don’t bounce if things aren’t going right.  I made a good decision to head over to an area I knew had a few fish, and abandoned my best water for a while.  Good move.  We immediately got into some good keeper fish on the Magnum Speed Worm and I had some boils on the 3:16 Sunfish.  I filled up my limit and then bounced back to my good water.  The bite seemed to be much better later in the day, and on Day 2 I was a late flight, so had an extra hour to fish.  Well, I got a line jump bite on the Magnum Speed Worm as my bait was falling back to the bottom in the sweetest deepest section of some eel grass.  I swing, she aint moving, and I knew it was a biggun from the bite and from the hookset.  Well, finally after a good 2-3 second tug of war, my rig comes flinging back at me, and my hook is completely opened up and bent out, hook point rolled over and I knew I’d just lost to a beast.  Bummer.  I didn’t get my big bite on Day 2.  Well, I culled a few times and ultimately weighed 12-6 or something, and ended up 29th place for the event.

The Top 10

The Top 10 weigh in was cool to watch.  You always learn something when you hear how the guys who really got it done caught ’em.  The jig bite was on, just not in the areas of the lake they had bit for me last year, and I didn’t spend enough time (much shorter practice this year than in years past).  J&S was clearly an area where the big fish had moved into and the guys that slowed down and pitched jigs and senkos and creature baits in the right stretches, got some big bites.   I have never seen a weigh in where there was a tie.  Trevor Fitzgerald was looking like he would win, but homeboy pulled out a 9 pounder or something stupid as his last fish, and they tied…but since homeboy had the lead going into Day 3, that was the tie breaker. I can only imagine how Trevor felt. Ouch.   I wish the guys fishing the Tour a lot of luck out there. I think it could be an awesome event.  The fishing after the tournament was getting better and better, and since off limits, things got kinda cool and cold, and the way Okeechobee flows this time of year, a good cold snap is good because when it warms back up, the fish go nuts.  And the big ones moves in.

Shaye Baker had a 19 pound day 2, snatching chatterbaits and rattle traps on the outside grass edges in a good deep to shallow spot with that black water.
Shaye Baker had a 19 pound day 2, snatching chatterbaits and rattle traps on the outside grass edges in a good deep to shallow spot with that black water.

Shaye Baker

Want to see something cool, check out the below video.  This is Shaye Baker’s Day 2 fishing, getting it done snatching ChatterBaits in some outside grass.  I have gotten to know Shaye the last year or so, and I am impressed with his fishing and aptitude toward contributing meaningful content to the world of fishing.  Shaye is on his way to a fantastic career in the world of fishing and media, and he’s got a lot of good things brewing at both FLW and BASS, so expect to see his name often as part of the few guys who know how to cover bass fishing, and sharing information—and doing it with style and soul.  Shaye finished 11th in the event, and is a solid fisherman too, but is wise enough to realize the challenges of making a living with a rod and reel. You cannot just be good, you have to be exceptional.


Casey Martin:

Oh yeah, Casey Martin….Congrats to Casey, with a 6th Place finish and a solid showing on Okeechobee.  I’m telling you, this guy is going to crush it in 2013 fishing the Tour as a rookie. In fact, FLW is going to be sending a film crew to follow Casey around and document his rookie season, the life on the road and the fishing part.  Casey is exceptional.  His ability to keep things simple, focus on his strengths, and make gameday decisions is impressive. Casey went out with his flipping and punching rods and got 7 pound bites on Day 1&2 and put them in the boat, and that is the difference between good and exceptional on tournament day.   Follow Casey at: caseymartinfishing.com






Here is additional recap and insights into the mighty pool of the Tennessee River called Lake Guntersville.   This is footage compiled from the 2012 FLW Everstart Tournament from May 3-5th 2012.    There are some subtle details in the footage above.  Suspended fish, getting caught on swimbaits.  Sometimes in the form of the castable umbrella/Alabama Rig, sometimes just a single paddle tailed tube swimbait.   Realize, that guys were able to catch 17-19 pounds per day sight fishing/bed fishing during this tournament. I had 15 pounds per day catching fish on the 8″ Triple Trout over milfoil and hydrilla in 2-6 feet of water.  So, the fish were in 1 foot of water, and all the way down in 30+ feet.  The lesson here to me was that the big fish, don’t just gradually make their way to the ledges.  They go out deep FIRST.  Really deep.  Like full summer deep, and perhaps they aren’t on the bottom, but they relate to really deep water, and will suspend 10-15 feet down, over 30 feet of water.   Justin Lucas provided some really interesting insights into what he was doing to catch 30+ pounds for 2 of the 3 days.   Based on the brim one of his fish coughed up in the livewell on Day 3, which you can see in the above footage, it really makes me wonder what a guy could do with bigbaits, out on the ledges of Guntersville.   Mark Rose’s insights, JT Kenney’s insights, and winner Alex Davis’s insights all made me realize little subtle things I found interesting, about how to find, locate and catch fish on Guntersville and the Tennessee River at large.   Look at the results here. It wasn’t a wack fest out there for the vast majority of the field.    Some schools of big fish out there, and only a handful of guys with the knowledge and ability to find and catch fish out of those schools.

Justin Lucas, his Berkley Hollow Belly Swimbait (hitch) and a 3/4 ounce head swam around schools of suspended magnums.

My friend Casey Martin was not himself all week leading up to the tournament.  He was giddy and acting ‘guilty’ and that told me he either had just robbed a bank (which isn’t likely, knowing Casey) or he was around some really big fish and knew he had a shot at winning, which was the case.   You will notice the Top 10 on Day 3 pretty much all had addresses that give them excellent access to ledges on the TN River.   You have to understand you just don’t pull out deep and get on fish Guntersville.  There are all kinds of things I am still learning, but most importantly, you need side imaging to find these deep fish, something I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t been able to afford yet.    Casey was telling me he was on schools of 4-5 pounders.  Catching all kinds of fish about the same size.  I’d seen this before the few times I’d gotten around them on Kentucky Lake.  I really believe a bigbait, not just a swimbait, would get more of those 5-7 pounders to get fired up and eat.   Casey was bummed with 23 pounds, like that was a small limit the final day.  “I caught like 20 four pounders”…. Kills me!

Lake Guntersville brim that one of Justin Lucas’ fish coughed up. Bigbaits. Big fish eating big bait.

Justin Lucas capitalized on a single, well placed, swimbait to catch 2 of the heaviest stringers weighed in, in the entire event.  Suspended fish with a swimbait, TN River style.  Very interesting.   Mark Rose and Alex Davis were using castable U-Rigs with Shadalicious swimbaits to catch suspended fish.  Casey was using the Picasso School E Rig with Shadalicious swimmers too.   Suspended fish are a common theme of the TN River, and the Alabama Rig exposed how many big ones lives in no mans land, and now there is a tool to catch them.  But as Justin Lucas showed, a well placed single swimmer can trump even the U-rig, and I wonder what an 8″ Huddleston or a larger swimmer like the Sledge Hammer swam in those same schools might do?  40 pounds?  Anyway, I found Guntersville extremely ‘interesting’ to say the least.  I learn something new every time I fish that river, and I’m finally getting my feet under me a little bit.

Show and Tell, Lake Guntersville style: “Hey that spot you left at 9:30am? Yeah, we pulled in there at 10am and wacked 25 pounds quick”. Lots of Huntsville and greater Guntersville area anglers in the Top 10. JT Kenney is just that good.

My tournament involved the 8″ Triple Trout fished over milfoil mostly.  I had some opportunities at some 5-7 pound bites.  Some really nice fish came close to biting, but ultimately I weighed in 15 pounds per day, and for the first time weighed in all 10 fish in a tournament on a bigbait, which was a ‘moral’ victory.   I think if you got to the grass BEFORE the big ones had moved out deep, you could really do some damage and showcase what bigbaits could do up shallow on Guntersville.  That bite is there, no doubt.   However, it’s May and getting toward June which means even more fish will migrate to the ledges and get offshore.   The Tour heads to Kentucky Lake in June, and I’m waiting to see who embraces the bigbait mentality on the ledges, or perhaps it won’t be necessary at all?  These guys catch really big sacks on 3/4 football heads and Strike King 6XD cranks, but shoot, my limited experiences has showed me the bigbait, stroked or swam around the schools, which I rarely find, gets mega bites.   Sometimes its about finding ’em, sometimes its about catching ’em, but most times it’s a balance of the two, and the Tennessee River is proving to be another ground zero where swimbaits and bigbaits are on a collision course, in a tournament environment.

I caught all 10 fish I weighed in on the 8″ Triple Trout in Sexy Shad.  I was not on winning fish, but 15 pounds per day isn’t horrible fishing.  Lake Guntersville put out some high 20s and 30+ pound sacks last week, but if you notice, a small minority of guys (who tend to guide here year round, or live in the area) knew the ledges where the big ones pulled out first.  Only JT Kenney, who is no slouch on any lake, was the sole ‘out of towner’ in the Top 10 on the final day.

The 8″ Triple Trout, Sexy Shad was my workhorse for 2 days on Guntersville. Fishing shallow grass in 2-6 feet of water, focusing on the edges and wherever I could see it go from shallow to deep, right on the edge, wind blown or rainy, the better. I have never weighed all my fish in any FLW Outdoors event on a bigbait, so this is a step in the right direction.


The winning and Top 10 fish were deep.  Like 30 feet deep.  Most of the Top 10 guys agreed that the fish were suspended and not glued to the bottom, which made the umbrella rigs + swimbaits and the single stand alone swimmers good choices.  Justin Lucas nailed two 30 pound sacks swimming a single Hollow Belly mid water column off one spot.  The same spot Richard Peek fished.  They shared a single spot.  Casey Martin fished a couple spots and found himself sharing water with JT Kenney and Mark Rose.   Basically, the ledges of the TN River aren’t stacked with fish yet.  The big ones are clearly moved out, but there is miles and miles of ledge without fish.

Justin Lucas’ right hand and right bait. The Hollow Belly or Paddle Tail Tube or the Shadalicious…a common theme onstage on the final day. I realized I’d made a mistake to not commit more time to the mid water column, I either fished out deep and on the bottom or up shallow and over the grass. But suspended fish in a few key areas is what won, and the swimbait was the right bait.


Grass Fishing:

I committed to shallow grass fishing for the event because that was the only thing I had going. I couldn’t find the ledge bite.   I was super stoked to find fish eating the 8″ Triple Trout though.  The Sexy Shad color is just a good choice, and they really ate it well.  I caught 12 keepers on the first day, and missed one big bite right at the boat.  The rain the first day seemed to help the bite and prevent me from seeing the big follower too well, but still, I felt like any cast I could easily stick a 5-7 pounder.  I fished around North Sauty in fairly community hole type water.  In fact, I fished around guys like Tharp and McMillan, so I figured I couldn’t be too out of my head.   My co-angler partners got a kick out of me throwing that Triple Trout and getting fish on it.  I think they are now Triple Trout converts.  15 pounds per day isn’t great on Guntersville right now, but it was good enough for 38th place and a check, and helped me secure 8th place overall in the South East Division for 2012, which just for pride sakes, is cool.

Lake Guntersville Milfoil. You typically have 6″ to 1 or 2 feet of clearance above the grass to fish your Triple Trout. Sometimes I get fouled up, but most times, I could just grind the Triple Trout over the milfoil, put a lot of stalls and pauses in the bait, and the fish would be smash it. Fun fishing, but not winning fish.


More to come on Guntersville and recapping the Everstart. I got a few inbound requests on what I did, and I’m hoping to provide some film and footage that better shows what I was doing up shallow in the grass, and what the other guys are doing out deep on the ledges to catch these bigger sacks.




Wacky Rigging.  One of my favorite things to do in a small bait, finesse, tough bite, you just need to catch 5 fish and haven’t had a bite in a while style of fishing is wacky rigging.  Wacky rigging is the canary in the coal mine to me at times.  If you can’t get a bite, wacky rigging, you are very likely not around ’em.    My 2012 FLW Everstart tournament on Santee Cooper, started by picking up my boat in Augusta, GA on the way to lake, with a fresh fiberglass patch from the damage it sustained from Seminole.  So, I only had 5 days to prepare for Santee Cooper, and in case you don’t know, Santee Cooper is 2 lakes, connected by a canal, and it HUGE.  I mean, a man could spend a lifetime learning Santee Cooper, and because it has grass in it, which even the types of grasses are constantly changing (and growing and being sprayed or eaten by introduced grass carp), Santee Cooper is a lake that changes often.  Add to that, South Carolina’s real estate on the Eastern seaboard.   South Carolina, goes from extreme mountain trout eaters  in the West, to the lowland black water swamp, palmetto tree + Spanish moss frog, swim jig, skippin’ jigs, buzzbait, 30 pound sack capable water, to Atlantic Coast beaches that people surf regularly ( I scored fun 1-2 foot peelers at Hilton Head one 4th of July circa 2006, 10 foot single fin, 80+ degree water,  and a lot of hootin’ an’a hollerin’!) in the East. Santee Cooper is big fish fishery and it didn’t disappoint.  Look at the weights from the event, lots of 11-15 pound, 3 fish sacks getting weighed in.  Guys on 4-6 pounders pretty good, just numbers hard to come by.   Santee Cooper is on a healthy cycle and it could be a sleeper for an incredible event if scheduling and weather permit.   I wished I’d had more time to practice and explore things, because a bigbait bait there is inevitable.  I threw Slammers, 3:16 Sunfish, 22nd Century Bluegills, and skipped the 6″ weedless Huddie too.   I didn’t have tons of practice, but my gameplan was mostly around catching 4-6 pounders off cypress trees, but of course trying to just go fish and find big ones coming or going or on beds.   I thought I could win with the wacky rig—if I got the bites and got them in the boat, there are just some awesome moments in tree fishing where you can get on ’em good.  I had good bites going, just not lots of them, and it was the same stuff I had done here 3 years ago when I finished 7th place.  I had the bites to win last time.  This time, I didn’t have the bites to win, but I had a shot at it, and I knew I could compete and perhaps win, just like last time, but this time, things didn’t work out quite so well, but I did jump off a big one that cost me a Top 20 or so.  5-6 pounder eats my Senko on the base of tree with sparse grass around it in about 3 feet of water, and rips line off immediately for 10 feet right under the surface just hot and full dig style and when I went to turn and stop her, she reared up and jumped mouth open wide reverse flip backside roll tail grab fakey and spits the hook.  Fudge. Whatever, I’m sitting in 7th place overall in the the SouthEast Division, and had a great tournament and finished 35th place, just solid, nothing great, but I’ll take it because Santee Cooper is tough as she is awesome at times.   I had 3 fish on Day 1 for almost 12 pounds, so fun day getting 2 bigguns onboard, and one 14.5″ keeper.  Big fish on the spinning gear around trees is just exciting and fun.  I kept working and working, and also had a grass pattern going that never panned out, so I felt like I fished pretty damn hard and smart, just didn’t have the next levels of fish I needed.   Look at how few guys caught limits both days.  See Results Here.  Ken Ellis won the tournament wacky rigging a Trick Worm on deep trees.  So, I was on the right track and had the right gameplan, I just didn’t have the trees and the knowledge of what trees.  Finding deeper trees is a key, sparse grass is key, and areas adjacent or near spawning grounds, where the fish are pulling out of their spawning areas and resting up, feeding up and hanging loose on the natural cover/structures in the lake.

The Old South. Santee Cooper is near Charleston, a city rich in old America history, and is two lakes, connected by a canal: Lakes Marion&Moultrie, named after American Revolutionary War 1770s era Generals famous for using the swamps and natural terrain to drive the Brits out. And of course, the first shots fired in the Civil War, happened in Charleston at Fort Sumter. My journey from Atlanta to Santee Cooper literally mirrored General Sherman’s notorious “March to the Sea” campaign, that ended with the Confederate surrender of Fort Sumter and terms being served, where the first shots were fired 4 years prior.   I enjoy that kind of stuff, because I really try to understand the various regions and people of this country that are so different than my own home, and their history.   I like South Carolina for the fishing for sure. I used to do great business in nearby Columbus and I know Charleston is really cool and happening and fun, and yet you can get yourself extremely rural and off the grid in a hurry too.   Perhaps I have a soft spot for South Carolina because my personal best 14.60 largemouth came from South Carolina in 2006. But I think it’s just a killer state of mind and of fishing. The extreme Appalachian to Atlantic old timey Southern feel is highlighted with the weather. You want to talk about hot and muggy? We had low 90s and 100% humidity a couple days. Sweltering heat at times for what feels like ‘early in the year’. I believe in the summer time, Santee Cooper might be the hottest place on earth.  You just feel lowland and can sense the warm ocean offsore influencing things. But then again, as the tournament came around, cool, windy, foggy, really windy, really really windy, rain and volatile weather came, making finesse fishing around trees, a bit more challenging!  I wore my bibs all day on Day 1, that cold you get when you’ve been baked by the sun and then things cool down and you’re just cold because you aren’t baking hot.   Finesse fishing, wacky in particular, is best served up under the above weather conditions, because the smooth water allows you to make precise and long distance skips of your bait to the tree.  Wind creates surface waves which put your bait up in the tree and ruins the distance and accuracy thing horribly, but it isn’t game over, you just have to work that much harder to fish the trees properly.   The calmer, the more finesse you can get, for example, throw a Trick Worm vs. a Senko, because it falls and stalls mas bueno, which is the thing about wacky, it is about fall and stall, which becomes neutral or floating mid water column at some point, which means you can keep your bait suspended or ‘floating’ one foot down, one foot off the tree, in the shade spot on base of cypress tree better than just about anything else.       Stall + Fall = 0

I stayed in Eutawville (“Utah-Ville”) at Bells Marina and fished with my good friend Ron and his son, that I’d met here a few years ago when I was here last.   Ron helped me quickly get a feel for the lake and more specifically, the tree bite.    The best trees tend to be deeper 2.5 to 4 feet of water, and have sparse grass around them, or just be on the ‘point’ or generally favorable position to feed from in a stack of trees.  However, it’s sort of like flipping at some level, where you just have to put your head down and make hundreds of perfect presentations time and time again, and eventually you get a bite.  And where you get one bite, you usually get more bites.   Little flurries, I love you so!   I tried to find good areas of trees in practice.  Which I did. I also tried to find a grass bite, which I did with some help from my man Bobby Wood and Ron Buck.  I practiced with them a day and really did some damage on Skinny Dippers and Swim Senkos around lilly pads, gator grass, and mixed stuff.    With the cool weather we had for the tournament, my grass bite died on the vine.  You just knew they were in the grass and biting for someone, but I had trees and grass to balance, and after starting each morning in the grass and coming up empty both days, I decided my grass bite was dead and didn’t try it afternoon of Day 2, just stuck out the trees, which helped because I got my 5th fish with 10 minutes left and helped me get a paycheck.  I caught all 8 of my keepers on the wacky rig and only missed one bite, but it was a big one.  Wacky rigging is a work in progress for me, and I love doing it.  I love super finesse and super big stuff, opposing poles, positives and negatives, north vs south/ east vs west, natural attractions and relationships between the two ends of any spectrum.  I love how it points out things to my bigbait fishing, because I think my success with bigbaits in a national tournament will be somehow directly or indirectly related to a super small bait bite or understanding of fish and fishing.   For example, keeping it simple, just throw a Senko or a Trick Worm, or just throw a Triple Trout or a Huddleston or Slammer, having the right tools narrowed down for your window and using the small baits to either quickly fill a limit or be there as backup to back fill a couple big ones.

Here’s the deal with Wacky Rigging:

Rod: Shimano Cumara 7’2″ Medium Heavy (CUS72MH)

Reel:   Shimano Stradic 1000 or CI4 Stradic 1000 (small spooled reels handle 10-15 pound braid really well, that line has super small diameter and although I like big spooled spinning reels, smaller spooled small spinning reels are good too. You can throw small and light baits really well, and manage you line nicely.  It all matches up, where you don’t have super thin line on a big spool.

Line:  15# Power Pro connected to a 2.5 foot leader of  10# Yamamoto Sugoi Florocarbon

Hook:  Owner Mosquito Hook, #1 or 1/0, get the 50 packs, because you use these things a lot and you do break off at times because of the exposed nose hook, trust me, this is a good investment.  Use bigger hook size in the wind

Bait:  Yamamoto Senko 5″  Or Zoom Trick Worm (watermelon seed, green pumpkin red, black neon, black blue, or junebug)

Rigging:  Wacky O Tool and O-Rings:  I put an O-Ring around my senko and slide the hook under the ring and just fish away.  Sometimes I criss cross two rings and put the hook under the X, but I a really like the way this one fishes and rigs, it’s not perfect, but I haven’t found one that is!

Braided line + floro leader, Owner Mosquito Hook, O-Ring. I will use 2 O-Rings and criss cross them and put the hook under the X at times, but then again, I will just slip the hook under a single ring and just go fishing. I catch a lot of fish on this rig, and slight variations of it anytime I’m around shallow grass, wood, and rock. Trick worms and Senkos are blue chip baits, make sure you own plenty in various colors black to green. Get a feel for skipping, floating, dragging and stalling side rigged baits. Bait control.

Here is the deal with the Grass Bite:

Swimming Baits:  Skinny Dippers or Swim Senkos or Gambler Big EZ  (black blue, watermelon/green pumpkins)

Frogs/Terrestrials Spro  BronzeEye Frogs or Poppin Frog or Paycheck Transporter Frog or Picasso Shad Walker  (natural colors/black)

Line: 65 or 50# Power Pro

HooksOwner  Twistlock Open Gap (Swim Senko, 5/0 or 6/0 for Skinny Dipper), Owner Weighted Beast Hook (Big EZ, 6/0 w/ 1/4 oz weight)

Some really good fish were caught in the grass. You just had to have grass with bait or just fish in it.  The grass was like the trees, lots to choose from, but most does/do not hold fish and even if they do, you have to be good to catch them, especially for 2 days in a row.  Things change quickly on Santee Cooper.

Santee Cooper Wacky Rigging a Senko
I was getting 1 or 2 fish in the 4-6 pound class a day fishing the trees slowly and thoroughly with wacky rigs. Scattered grass, access to deep water, shade all helped the cause. I figured I might be able to squeak out 15 or 20 pounds a day on the right days. I almost pulled it off, but not quite. No regrets, looking forward to getting back there sometime and getting back to work.  “Fine thanks……………………you?”