Mr. No Shoulders

By Pete Robbins

I’ve never been to Winyah Bay nor have I never talked to any locals about it. While I’ve discussed it with a few Elite Series pros who ventured there before it went off limits, none of them gave me any details, nor did I have any meaningful expectation that the 110 best sandbaggers in the world would do so.

Despite my lack of knowledge – or perhaps because of it – this is the Elite event that intrigues me the most this year. Over the course of the next few days we’ll unlock a lot of information about the place. Some seasons will be made. Others will be broken. Because there’s so little intelligence out there, I’ve been scouring social media looking for small clues of how it’ll play out.

So far I’ve learned one thing…


I’ve been to waterways with plenty of slithery critters, like the Chickahominy here in Virginia or the Red in Louisiana, and the Winyah ecosystem looks to have those beat. It looks like every nook, cranny and branch should have moccasins and cottonmouths and other living things I do not care for ready to eat unwary anglers. It’s like a giant living can of that fake peanut brittle that causes you to wet your drawers when you pull off the top and the springy things pop out.

Based on no firsthand knowledge, little research and a pretty good understanding of the Elite pros’ mentality, my guess is that this tournament will be won on some combination of the following: a spinnerbait/chatterbait/swim jig; a square bill crankbait; or a flipping lure like a tube, a jig or a creature bait. With that said, if I was going there I’d pack a truckload of 10 and 12 inch worms. Flip ‘em, pitch ‘em, swim ‘em, cast ‘em, but no matter how you fish ‘em you’ll surely be matching the hatch.