Pro Tactics: Gear, Lures Choices for 50th Bassmaster Classic

Berkley and Abu Garcia pros share their thoughts on what will work at Guntersville.

Pro Tactics: Gear, Lures Choices for 50th Bassmaster Classic

Hunter Shryock is looking to change up his treble hook selections to get more hook-ups in the 50th Bassmaster Classic at Lake Guntersville, Ala. (Photo by James Overstreet/B.A.S.S.)

One thing is for sure about this weekend’s 50th Bassmaster Classic at Lake Guntersville, Ala.

The world’s best bass anglers always use premium gear. The question is what will work best to win the long-standing big-money bass tournament.

But with high, dirty and cool water expected — the products of above-normal recent rainfall — it may be a challenge for pros to dial in on the lake’s famed largemouth bass this weekend.

With help from Classic qualifiers who represent Abu Garcia and Berkley, here’s a look at what the pros expect:


Bassmaster Classic Baits

John Cox: "Going to Guntersville that time of year, a lot is going to depend on the weather. Kind of cold, lots of rain — and a lot of the grass might be gone because of the current.”


Cox recently won at Sam Rayburn using the Berkley Frittside crankbait and expects to use it heavily on Lake Guntersville. If temperatures dip, he’ll go with a three-quarters-ounce Berkley Warpig lipless crankbait. "The Frittside on 15-pound-test Berkley 100-percent Fluorocarbon line is 100 percent going to be my main bait. It has the action of a balsa bait but so much more durability. These fish are likely to be slowed down some by the cooler water temperatures but the Frittside’s action is the bait to make them react.”

Hank Cherry: If he finds some clear water he expects a jerkbait bite, but the Berkley Squarebull may be his go-to Bassmaster Classic lure. If there’s a jig bite, he’ll likely go with the PowerBait MaxScent Power Chunk as a trailer. “It just makes them eat it better and it’s a great addition to a jig,” he said.

Shane Lehew: Berkley Frittside and Warpig, and possibly a 6-inch PowerBait Hollow Belly swimbait. “I definitely think the Warpig in Candy Apple Red Craw is going to be utilized around grass; if the water temperatures are cooler, a red craw pattern does really well. Plus the Warpig has great action at slower speeds. … One of my favorites, though, is the Frittside. It has a short, flat-sided wobble that goes over cover well. I expect to be using it around eel grass, hydrilla and also over rock — especially if the sun comes out and the fish start stacking up around spawning coves.”

Hunter Shryock: Berkley Frittside and Warpig. “One of the biggest players for me are going to be the Berkley Fusion19 treble hooks — I believe they are the best treble hooks I’ve ever fished. I’m going to experiment with the hooks when I get there. I’ll probably wind up with an EWG treble hook on the front and a round bend in back. This should lead to more hook-ups since there are going to be some sluggish bites if the weather doesn’t warm up between now and then.”


Mike Huff: He’ll throw a Squarebill on 8-pound flourocarbon, and possibly spinning gear for pressured bass in grass beds. “The General — I like to rig it weightless — is awesome for getting down through the grass to reach pressured fish. For the Classic, I think The General in Black Blue Fleck will be my go-to choice.”

Classic Pros

These pro bass anglers will represent Abu Garcia and/or Berkley in the 50th Bassmaster Classic. Bold-faced anglers represent both brands.

  • Brandon Card — Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Hank Cherry — Lincolnton, North Carolina
  • Brandon Cobb — Greenwood, South Carolina
  • John Cox — Debary, Florida
  • Micah Frazier — Newnan, Georgia
  • Mike Huff — Corbin, Kentucky
  • Shane Lehew — Catawba, North Carolina
  • Chad Pipkens — Lansing, Michigan
  • Hunter Shryock — New Comerstown, Ohio
  • Luke Palmer — Coalgate, Oklahoma
  • Jake Whitaker — Fairview, North Carolina
  • Jason Williamson — Wagener, South Carolina


Bassmaster Classic Gear

Cherry: If he goes with a jerkbait, he’ll throw it on a 6-10 medium Abu Garcia prototype Winch rod paired with an Abu Garcia STX baitcasting reel, which offers varying gear ratios (6.6:1 to 8.0:1). But given the predicted lake conditions, Cherry expects to spend a lot of time casting a Squarebull on a 7-0 medium-heavy Abu Garcia Veracity rod paired with an Abu Garcia STX reel.

Cox: His ultimate crankbait set-up is a 7-6 medium-heavy Abu Garcia Veritas rod paired with an Abu Garcia EXD (5.4:1) reel. “The Veritas rod can make the farthest casts I’ve ever made. The parabolic bend of the rod loads up just right and absolutely launches the bait, even the smaller Frittside crankbait."

Shryock: He’ll likely throw a Warpig, Berkley’s lipless crank, as well as the Frittside, on a 7-6 medium-heavy Veritas rod paired with an Abu Garcia EXD reel.

Abu Garcia pros feel the new Revo EXD would play a major role in their presentations during the Classic. The new reel is designed to deliver significant increases in casting distances, allowing pros to keep more distance between themselves and the fish. In addition to reducing the chances of spooking fish, which always plays in a role in the Bassmaster Classic, anglers throwing baits like crankbaits can cover more water per cast, with those longer casts leading the bait to spend more time at depths where it’s more likely to induce strikes.

Lehew said he will lean toward lower gear ratios on his reels in order to slow down in the expected cooler water. “If the water is cold like I expect it to be, you need a rod that allows a fish to get the bait in its mouth a little better,” said Lehew, who prefers the 7-6 medium-heavy Abu Garcia Veracity rod to cover lots of water.

Huff: Crankbaits on a Veracity rod, with the low-geared Abu Garcia Winch reel to a slightly faster Abu Garcia STX. For a weightless General,“I’ll use a 7-0 medium Abu Garcia Fantasista rod paired with a Revo Rocket spinning reel spooled with braid for the mainline and a fluorocarbon leader.”

Compiled from press-release info from Pure Fishing, Inc.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Simms

Simms' Solarflex Ultra Cool Armor Hoody

John Frazier of Simms Fishing Products helps OSG's Lynn Burkhead understand the new features of the new Simms' Solarflex Ultra Cool Armor sun protection hoody.

Berkley

Berkley's Surge Shad

Major League Fishing pro Scott Suggs has relied on the Berkley Surge Shad lure concept for years, using similar designs to capture MLF titles and a $1 million dollar FLW Forrest Cup win. With new features in the Surge Shad, Suggs tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead that even he can find success out on the water!

Abu Garcia Virtual Rod with Bluetooth

Abu Garcia Virtual Rod with Bluetooth

Pure Fishing's Andrew Wheeler tells Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead all about the brand new Abu Garcia Virtual rod that integrates Bluetooth technology through a free ANGLR smartphone app.

Costa

Costa's Award Winning Waterwoman Sunglasses

Costa's Amanda Sabin tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead about all of the great features that made the new Waterwoman frame a big winner at the 2019 ICAST show as well as out on the water.

Trending Articles

If you haven't looked at the smaller urban lakes in your area, you are missing out on some great bass pond fishing. Bass

Bass Pond Fishing: Catch Lunkers at Small Lakes Near You

Dan Anderson

If you haven't looked at the smaller urban lakes in your area, you are missing out on some...

Unlike many game fish, catfish can be harder to catch during the spawn. Here are some strategies. Catfish

Understanding Catfish Spawning

Keith Sutton - June 06, 2006

Unlike many game fish, catfish can be harder to catch during the spawn. Here are some...

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll find the Garden State's hottest bass fishing. Destinations

7 Best Bets for New Jersey Bass

J.B. Kasper - October 04, 2010

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll find the...

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies. Panfish

Find and Fish Bluegill Beds Efficiently

Terry Madewell - May 22, 2019

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies.

See More Trending Articles

More Bass

Around the spawn is the best time of year to boat big bass. Follow these tactics for finding monsters. Bass

Target Trophy Spring Bass: Here's How

Larry Larsen - March 25, 2020

Around the spawn is the best time of year to boat big bass. Follow these tactics for finding...

They're easy to rig and they flat-out catch bass, says host Todd A. Kuhn in this episode of Beyond the Bait Powered by Streamlight. Beyond the Bait

Stay in the Bass Strike Zone with Texas & Carolina Rigs

Game & Fish Digital Staff - February 25, 2020

They're easy to rig and they flat-out catch bass, says host Todd A. Kuhn in this episode of...

‘Nothing But Net' — Why now is the time to chase record largemouths in Oklahoma. Bass

March's Madness Brings the Best Big-Bass Fishing

Lynn Burkhead - March 05, 2020

‘Nothing But Net' — Why now is the time to chase record largemouths in Oklahoma.

Texas big-bass storm continues as angler lands two Legacy Class largemouths. Bass

Double Bass: What It's Like to Catch 2 Over 13 in 22 Days

Lynn Burkhead - March 09, 2020

Texas big-bass storm continues as angler lands two Legacy Class largemouths.

See More Bass

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.