May 13, 2012
By Mike Suchan, OutdoorChannel.com
Kicker fish are critical to success on the Bassmaster Elite Series. To a man, the pros will tell you it’s about figuring out how to get the big ones to chew.
In most events, it’s getting five large for the 100 large, but other times one big bite can do wonders.
The biggest fish weighed so far in 2012 was Greg Hackney’s 10-pound, 9-ounce on the first day of the first event, the St. Johns River Showdown. Hackney stood second with 23-14, two ounces behind J Todd Tucker.
If Hackney had not caught the lunker and weighed a fish similar to the average of his other four, he would have fallen near 20th on Day One. With only 8-1 on Day Two, he might have missed the cut if not for that Carhartt Big Bass, which earned him an additional $750 bonus check.
That big fish essentially helped him finish eighth and earn important points in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings and qualifying for the 2013 Bassmaster Classic.
On the other end of the spectrum, Alton Jones sandwiched decent bags around the Berkley Heavyweight bag of 28-7 to win the Showdown. With that bag full of kickers averaging nearly 6 pounds, Jones took a close victory over the thoroughly consistent Todd Faircloth.
In the second event, 30-pound bags from Ish Monroe and Chris Lane dominated the story line of the Power-Pole Slam on Lake Okeechobee.
In the TroKar Quest on Bull Shoals, Brandon Palaniuk’s deep cranking success of larger transitioning fish gave him a wire-to-wire win, and Jeremy Starks long-lined a come-from-behind win in the Douglas Lake Challenge.
Now midway through the eight-event 2012 circuit, we present the images of the big fish that have made the difference through the first four Bassmaster Elite Series events.
Check out the images: