For GYCB Pro, Roy Hawk, the 2019 Bassmaster Classic proved to be an event filled with excitement and challenges. When all was said and done, Hawk’s 11th place finish was a testimony to his immense angling skill and determination. The Inside Line caught up with the Arizona Pro as he prepared to depart for the stage four of the Bass Pro Tour at Lake Chickamauga and asked him to share his Classic experience with us. This is a glimpse into how he navigated the changing conditions that he faced over the course of the tournament.
Post-spawn bass can be tough to catch — but not all the bass in the lake spawn at the same time. Different areas of the lake warm up at different times, and there are usually several waves of spawning fish over many weeks in the spring. Bass are constantly moving in the spring and you may be fishing pre-spawn, bed fish, and post-spawn fish all on the same day, so a variety of tactics can help you put fish in the boat.
Newly-crowned Bassmaster Classic champion Ott DeFoe was forthright about some of the tips that pushed him over the top in Knoxville. While his intimate knowledge of the Tennessee River and its inhabitants was likely unsurpassed among the field, at the conclusion of Day Two fellow qualifier Keith Poche told him about an area loaded with quality bass. That spot produced four of DeFoe’s weigh fish on the final day of competition, leading him to a nearly 4-pound margin of victory.
Hosting this year’s Bassmaster Classic, Knoxville marks the beginning of the famed Tennessee River with the merger of the Holston and French Broad Rivers. An interesting juxtaposition, as this originating confluence will find three Yamamoto pro staffers concluding their B.A.S.S. careers.
Yamamoto baits excel at mimicking what fish eat, which means they aren’t just for bass — you can catch darn near anything on Yamamoto baits. Adding them to spinnerbaits and spoons as trailers is one way to add action, but it can also make the fish hold on longer, just to keep that yummy salty taste in their mouths. Often when I fish for species other than bass, the first thing I go for is a Yamamoto bait — with so many colors, sizes, and shapes, there’s a bait to tempt just about any fish.
I have been bass fishing for several decades now, and bass fishing has evolved over that time, to say the least. It isn’t just the equipment and tackle that changes with the years – the popularity of various techniques seems to wax and wane as well. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the bass themselves.