Oct 03

Tony Lain places 6th at the 2014 WON BASS US OPEN!!

Going into the 2014 WON BASS US Open I had something to prove. In two previous US Opens, I failed to catch a five bass limit each day. I was mathematically eliminated from any chance of finishing towards the top of the leader board. My goal this year was to get a five bass limit at all three competition days. Regardless of the outcome, I wanted to prove to myself that I could catch keeper-sized bass at Lake Mead, one of the most challenging tournament lakes I ever fished.

I pre-fished for three grueling days in the extreme paralyzing heat of Lake Mead. Pre-fishing was brutal, three long days of blistering hot weather and bites were scarce. At times, I would go several hours without a bite or seeing any signs of aquatic life. I grinded out three days of pre-fishing and finally saw a good pattern of bass. Throughout my practice days, I got big bites from at least five bass in the three to four pound range. The key baits that I used while practicing and in the tournament were three different reaction style lures. I did well with a 1/2 ounce buzz bait and 1/2 ounce spinner bait, both lures made by Revenge Baits. During practice, my two biggest bites were from these two baits. I also got solid bites on top-water walking baits, a mid-depth crank bait and a Revenge football jig. After my pre-fish was done, I convinced myself to do well in the tournament by keeping my finesse gear in the rod locker and cover miles of water with reaction baits the majority of the time during the event. “Hero or Zero!”

I relied on the buzz bait in open water, casting over the top of grass beds and submerged rocks. I used a Daiwa Tatula heavy action 7’4” frogging rod paired with a Tatula Type-R 8.1:1 reel. This rod worked well for this technique because its longer length and softer tip allowed me to make extremely long cast as well as the fast reel made it easy to keep the buzz bait on top and to pick up an abundance amount of line during a hook-set. For the buzz bait, I chose 55 pound test, Bawo Finesse Braid, with 25 pound test, Polyamide Plus leader. The spinner bait was also a key bait for me. For the spinner bait, I used a Daiwa Zillion medium action 7’0” rod paired with a Zillion 6.3:1 reel. This was the perfect rod for making a long and accurate cast which allowed me to not spook those pressured bass in the clear waters of Lake Mead. I used 14 pound test, Bawo Superhard Premium Plus Hi-Grade, a fluorocarbon line when tossing the spinner bait. Most spinner bait bites would come at the end of a long cast, and the 6.3:1 speed reel and low stretch TOARY line allowed me catch up to those energetic bass that would charge right towards the boat after being hooked. When the water got slick, I went to a top water walking bait. For working the top water walkers I used a Daiwa Steez FleXlite medium heavy action 7’2” rod, paired with a Steez 7.1:1 reel. With this technique, I also used 55 pound test, Bawo Finesse Braid, with the 25 pound test, Polyamide Plus leader. The extremely light weight of my Steez combo allowed me to comfortably work the walking baits all day long with less fatigue. When conditions got really windy, I went to a mid-depth crank bait, where I was able to utilize a Daiwa Tatula medium action 7’0” rod, paired with a Zillion Crazy Cranker 4.9:1 reel. Bassmaster Elite Series and Daiwa pro-staffer Randy Howell won the Bassmaster Classic with this rod, so enough said. My cranking line was 12 pound test, Solaroam Superhard Upgrade. On the last day of the tournament the bite changed and the bass in my areas stopped biting reaction baits, so my AAA partner for that day and I switched to the football jig and put a limit of keepers in the boat. My football jig combo consisted of a Steez Compile-X 7’1” rod, paired with a Steez 6.3:1 reel. The Solaroam Superhard Upgrade, in 14 pound test, was also the perfect line for dragging football jigs on the bottom over Quagga mussel covered rocks at Lake Mead. At the end, I accomplished my goal my weighing in a five bass limit each day worth a three day total of 25.33 pounds. Blackwater TORAY fishing lines helped me get a 6th Place finish at the 2014 WON BASS US Open!