On the heels of the release of Rapala’s new Shadow Rap Shad jerkbait, the pro fishermen in Rapala’s stable took to the 2016 Bassmaster Classic with a philosophy born of necessity: they kept changing up their bait.
“On the first day of competition I caught five keepers on five different baits,” said five-time Bassmaster Classic contender Ott DeFoe. The baits in question were a Terminator Spinnerbait, a #5 and #6 Rapala Shad Rap, a Rapala DT-6 and a Terminator Pro Series Jig.
The Classic was held at Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees. The lake’s water is usually very clear, but this time around the water was actually quite muddy, which made it necessary for the fisherman to abandon their pre-made plans for what bait they would use.
They had designs on using the Shadow Rap Shad, which debuted to the public immediately prior to the event, but the bait works best when the fish can actually see the bait, which the muddy water impeded.
Just prior to the event, DeFoe said, “With the action it’s got, man I just totally expect this thing to be a big hit there at Grand Lake this year.” After things got underway and it became clear just how murky the lake was, due to near-flood-level rains that deposited enormous amounts of mud throughout the reservoir right after Christmas, DeFoe remarked, “I figured there would be some off-colored water this week, but I was not expecting as much cold, off-colored water as we had.”
Many anglers struggled to meet the tournament’s five-bass limit. With such fluctuating conditions, it helps to have an open mind—and tackle box.
“This week was just all about changing for me,” said six-time Classic contender Brandon Palaniuk, who had another top-12 finish in the tournament. It became necessary to scrap plans and evolve with the ever-changing conditions of the lake. “I changed every day,” he said.
It just goes to show that your best-laid plans can fall apart, so it’s good to always be prepared for whatever the lake—or life—sends you way.
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