West Coast style Bass Fishing with Justin Lucas
by Craig Lamb
Yamaha Pro Justin Lucas brought West Coast style bass fishing to the East Coast to win his second Bassmaster® Elite Series event in as many years.
“The key for me was the drop shot,” said Lucas. “I don’t think the bass had seen it much on the Potomac.” That will certainly change as yet another West Coast born tactic proves a winner in the East.
The California native, who now lives on Lake Guntersville in Alabama, caught 5-bass limits over the four-day event totaling 72 pounds, 14 ounces. His wire-to-wire win was more than 4 pounds better than the second place finisher, Jason Christie.
“That’s a $100,000 dollar fish right there!,” exclaimed Lucas as he landed a largemouth weighing about 4 pounds early on the final day. That six-figure exclamation point was the total for his win.
What made the win so remarkable was Lucas unknowingly fished a popular community hole on the river. The area stands out for its location and bass habitat.
Lucas spent the entire tournament fishing along a 300-yard stretch of a parking deck extending over the river at Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant. Three key factors contributed to the overall productivity of the spot.
Those were primarily the pilings along the pier. Those provided cover and habitat for the largemouth. As the tide cycled, the fish never moved in and out from deeper water as tidal bass normally do. Instead, the bass moved vertically up and down the pilings.
Next, current from treated water coming out of the plant created cooler water. Finally, aquatic vegetation grew perpendicular to the piers at each end. That’s where Lucas found the bass during practice. He also caught key bass during the tournament on the ends of the pier.
A tidal bass fishing spot that replenishes itself with sustainable bass for a four-day tournament is unusual. Yet the spot had all the conditions and habitat needed for more bass to come into the area chosen by Lucas. Just the day prior to the Elite Series event a nighttime tournament was won on his spot with a winning catch of 20 pounds. Lucas showed up to catch daily limits weighing 20-4, 19-14 and 19-13.
Lucas primarily used a 6-inch hand-poured worm, blue and brown, rigged with a 3/16-ounce Eco Pro Tungsten weight and 1/0 hook. He fashioned those components into a drop shot rig fished along a pier, where the bass were suspended over 8 feet of water.
Alternatively, he used a 5-inch soft plastic stick bait, watermelon/red flake, rigged to a 3/0 Berkley Fusion19 extra wide gap hook. He fished the lure along grass beds perpendicular to the pier. Allowing the lure to tediously free-fall down the water column through 10 feet of water produced strikes.
Lucas insisted he found the spot by accident on the first day of competition after failing to get a bite there during practice.
He knew there was a discharge at the water treatment plant, and he was hoping it would produce a few fish early. After catching a couple of smaller fish from that area, he decided to pitch the drop shot under the dock.
“I caught two 3-pounders, and that told me the fish were there,” Lucas said. “So many things worked in my favor.”
Lucas said he was amazed the dock never received any pressure from anyone else, and he thanked the anglers from Maryland and Virginia for giving him plenty of space.
“This is not like a secret spot,” he said. “It’s the community hole of all community holes. So it still just amazes me that no one else fished it.”
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Original Source: Sportsmans Lifestyle.com