I was looking forward to day 1 because my week of prefish was exciting!!! It was filled with days of exciting reaction fishing which included top water, spinner baits, and crank baits. It was a great break from what I love to do which is finesse fishing with plastics.
On the windy days during prefish, the spinner baits and crank baits produced the bites. On the days with calm slick water, the Rio Rico produced the big bites. It was tough to put the Rio Rico down and I fished it pretty much non stop on the calm water day after day.
Day 1 of the tournament I drew a young gun, John Weisfuss - and the weather called for calm and no wind, which meant slick water. This told me the blade and crank wasn’t going to happen - it was going to be a day of top water jubilee. We got to our 1st stop and my pro reached down for his rod with his Rico and beat me to the punch. We had a slight breeze and I always like to throw something different than my pro so I opted for the small crank bait. While my pro cast the Rio Rico, I listened to the familiar “bloop bloop” and all of a sudden you hear the top water explosion and, with the skill of a professional, he guided the monster into the net - and it was a whopper - a 3.37 largemouth.
I continued alternating with the crankbait and tried the spinner bait to no avail. Finally, I picked up the spook and no action on that - it was the day of the Rio Rico. 7 fish were put in the boat- 3 were lost. And our best 5 fish that came to the scales weighed 8.38 oz. which put us in 1st place after day 1 - and every fish that was caught and lost was on the Rio Rico.
Day 2 - I drew Justin Hanold - he proceeded to the 1st spot after a 30 minute run. We get to the first location and he put the trolling motor down - i start to deal with the “coangler cluster” of unraveling rods - I hear the all to familiar “bloop bloop kabamm” - topwater explosion - and he netted one of the big fish of the day - a 3.43 largemouth.
I started again with the crankbait - picking up a couple of short fish - and all of a sudden a topwater explosion on the Rio Rico and the nice keeper smalley goes into the livewell. All I could manage to catch was a bunch of shorts on my crankbait until I tied on the Scrounger where I proceeded to catch about 8 shorts and then all of a sudden it just loads up a nice keeper smallmouth and into the livewell it goes. We fished hard all day - both throwing the Rio Ricos jig, dropshot, and carolina rig. We caught a grand total of 35 bass - and only 3 were keepers. We came to the scales with 6.09 pounds and I ended the tournament in 5th place.
All I can say is that the Rio Rico saved the day and put big fish in the boat both days and again at the US Open it was the money bait.
The colors of the Rico were Hologram Shad, Blue Chartreuse, Lime Ice.
The blades that were working during prefish and catching some nice hefty bass was a blade by Bayou Tackle , the 1/2 and 3/4 ounce Double Willow BT Thin Shad with special blades with a white skirt.
Those 2 baits - the Rio Rico and the BT Thin Shad - were the primary weapons of bass destruction along with a little crankbait that I used pretty much all week long.
I want to thank my 2 Pros - John Weisfull and Justin Hanold - for their professionalism, skill and of course, locating the bass for us to bring to the scales.