How Amistad Was Won

KrugerFarms.com Pro Angler Andy Young has been one of the busiest guys in bass fishing the last week or so.  Fresh of his dramatic come from behind win on Lake Amistad for the Bassmaster Central Open series.

Andy Young Hoisting the Hardware!

Andy Young Hoisting the Hardware!

He was more than 10 pounds behind runaway leader Randy Allen when the last day began, which by most accounts left the rest of the field fishing for 2nd place. Then Allen weighed-in just one fish, and Young swooped in and claimed the win with his standard 13-ish sack (specifically 13-11).

His 39-06 total held off Elite Series pro Stephen Browning by a single ounce. It earned him more than $47,000 in cash and a slot in next year’s Bassmaster Classic on South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell (provided he competes in the other two events on the circuit, which he confirmed that he will).

Here’s how Andy went about it…..

Practice
Young arrived in Del Rio fairly early, he took advantage of a slow period at work and ended up with about 9 days on the water before the event.  Not all of them full days or that productive as there were many unseasonably bad weather days in that mix.

He got an early start on his first practice day and quickly caught a 4-pounder from about 15 feet of water on an umbrella rig, so he began running that pattern in different areas of the lake.

Andy didn’t get a lot of bites, but once in a while he’d catch a good one. He targeted deep flats with his umbrella rig, close to where they dropped off to deeper water. The bigger fish were usually around brush piles or trees – something for them to hold on.  He also developed a secondary game plan that involved dropshotting rocky ledges at depths ranging from 20 to 32 feet.

Tournament Days
> Day 1: 5, 12-01
> Day 2: 5, 13-11
> Day 3: 5, 13-10
> Total = 15, 39-06

Young got only six bites on day 1, and one of those was a short fish. His bag was very solid considering the conditions, but it left him nearly 6 pounds behind Allen, whose stringer was anchored by a 10-pounder.

Young managed just four bites on day 2. He’d boxed only three run-of-the-mill keepers by mid-afternoon when he connected with a 6 1/2-pounder on the umbrella rig.

On day 3, Andy had a limit by 11:30 and one of those fish was a beauty – a 7 1/2-pounder that fell for the umbrella rig. Culling two times after that and each of them was very minor – a half-ounce here and a half-ounce there. But considering the margin of victory was a single ounce, those two little upgrades were key.

Pattern Notes
Andy started each day on his deeper drop shot fish, he had 5-6 areas that he rotated through.  He started on these fish, because he felt they were more dependable and he knew getting a limit each day would be huge.  Plus having fish in the well would help him dedicate to chase bigger fish later in the day.  So once his confidence and sun were higher, he would start rotation through his three flats with the castable umbrella rig to score larger fish and he got at least one every day!

Winning_Rig

This photo taken the night before the last day of competition at the BASS Open on Lake Amistad of the actual rig Andy Young used during competition. Notice the red money jig on the center wire, one of the keys to this set up.

Depth  and retrieve was an important factor for the umbrella rig; it was most effective when retrieved within a few feet of the bottom and added a few erratic jerks along the way.  Another important factor was the color of baits and jig heads used.  Young found the fish reacted best to a mix of pearl and watermelon ghost Big Bite Cane Thumpers.  The Cane Thumpers were attached to 1/8oz Outkast Money Jigs and the center jig was one with a red head which caught most of his fish, just gave the bass a little something different to key in on and the red seemed to help them commit instead of fall the artificial bait ball.

Gear Details
> Umbrella rig gear: 7’6″ heavy-action Dobyns 766 SSM flipping stick, Lew’s BB1 casting reel (6.3:1 ratio), 65-pound PowerPro braided line, 1/8-ounce Outkast Tackle Money jigheads, 5″ Big Bite Cane Thumper swimbaits (pearl and watermelon ghost).

Dobyns_Umbrella_Rig

Dobyns Micro Savvy Flipping stick, with Cane Thumpers & Money Jigs on his umbrella rig.

> Andy prefers the Outkast heads because the 4/0, heavy-wire hooks are a little smaller than the standard U-rig offerings. “They don’t snag up on the branches and bushes as much and they hook the fish really well.”

> Dropshot gear: 7’4″ medium-action Dobyns DX743SF Champion Extreme rod, Lew’s Gold Spin 3000 spinning reel, 8-pound fluorocarbon line, 3/16-ounce lead dropshot weight (round), 1/0 Gamakatsu dropshot hook, with green pumpkin drop shot plastics.

The Extra Edge
>  “I think the biggest thing, with the weather being so bad, was me being from Minnesota and being used to it and having good Under Armour Base Layers. The cold didn’t really bother me. The other thing was having a simple game plan – I had two things that worked and I just kept doing them.”

Andy_Young_KrugerFarms

Andy with rugged shores of Lake Amistad behind him.

Andy Young is a krugerfarms.com pro angler, fishing the Bassmaster Open tournaments. You can like him on Facebook here for updates on his fishing experience.

Lake Okeechobee FLW Tour recap 2014

Pro-staff Contributor: Jeff Gustafson

The 2014 FLW Tour got fired up last week at Florida’s Lake Okeechobee.  I was excited to get down to the Big O to start the year off for the third year in a row.  In 2012 I had my best FLW Tour finish in my first event, followed by my worst in 2013, so I was looking to get back there for some redemption.  The cool thing about Okeechobee is that you never know what you’ll connect with on any cast so it keeps you motivated to pay attention and fish hard.

I started out my practice checking out some areas where I’ve had good luck in the past on Okeechobee to try to get a feel for what the fish were doing.  I caught a number of fish that first day of practice, but most were not of the quality that I would need to do well in the tournament.  Over the next couple of days I covered as much water as I could looking for big bass, looking in some of the way back pockets as well as near the main lake.  My problem was I was catching some fish “in” and some “out”, but I was never able to get a solid pattern together on where I was getting to most quality bites.

A nice fish that fell for a Texas-rigged worm.  The new SPY "Gussy" sunglasses were great for being able to see the isolated clumps of grass that these fish were hanging around.

A nice fish that fell for a Texas-rigged worm. The new SPY “Gussy” sunglasses were great for being able to see the isolated clumps of grass that these fish were hanging around.

When the tournament started I spent my time fishing in the areas where I was getting the most bites during practice, basically hoping for a little luck that I would get some big bites.  This was a bad plan because I ended up catching a five fish limit weighing 10-03 on day one.  Not exactly how I wanted to start the season, buried in 130th place.  On day two I fished some different areas and did slightly better, bringing in 12-11, to end up with a 115th place finish.  Though I didn’t totally bury myself for a chance at making the Forrest Wood Cup, I did dig myself a nice hole to get out of.

As it turned out, I totally missed out on the hot bite going on last week at Okeechobee.  Many of the guys that did well in the tournament caught their fish in offshore hydrilla and eelgrass beds.  I got close to a few of these types of places but in the limited amount of time I spent fishing around them I never got lucky to connect with a good fish to kind of show me what was out there.

Big fish do live in Okeechobee, you just have to be fishing in the right places!

Big fish do live in Okeechobee, you just have to be fishing in the right places!

I spent five days fishing at Okeechobee after the tournament and finally dialed in what was going on.  The past few days have been some of the best days of fishing of my life, catching both big fish and numbers of fish so it feels good to leave on a good note.

Gussy with some big fish caught throwing a vibrating jig after the tournament on Okeechobee.  My setup for throwing these jigs is a G. Loomis NRX 7'3" medium heavy (NRX 873C), Shimano Core 100MG (6.3:1), 20lb. Sunline Sniper FC fluorocarbon.

Gussy with some big fish caught throwing a vibrating jig after the tournament on Okeechobee. My setup for throwing these jigs is a G. Loomis NRX 7’3″ medium heavy (NRX 873C), Shimano Chronarch CI4+ (6.2:1), 20lb. Sunline Sniper FC fluorocarbon.
GoPro Photo

Knowing what some of these guys were doing to catch their fish after the tournament I started covering some water with vibrating jig (chatterbait) type lures.  They go through the grass pretty good and work great for triggering strikes in the slightly stained water.  Once we found fish with the vibrating jigs we could slow down in that area with Texas-rigged worms and pluck a few more fish.

Wyatt Swartz of International Comfort Products (one of my sponsors) with a couple of Okeechobee pigs that he caught.

Wyatt Swartz of International Comfort Products (one of my sponsors) with a couple of Okeechobee pigs that he caught.

It felt good to leave Okeechobee with some confidence that I can catch fish out there and hopefully the next time we go there I’ll be a little more open-minded to cover all the options on where these fish will be.  It’s so easy to fish all the emergent vegetation there because there is so much of it, but when the weather is as good as it was for us last week, you have to know that there are going to be a lot of fish biting somewhere because the lake is full of them!

Next week I’m headed to the Bassmaster Classic in Birmingham.  I have never attended this event before so I’m looking forward to seeing the big show, then it’s on to Lake Hartwell, South Carolina for the second stop on the FLW Tour.

Stay warm!

Jeff Gustafson is a professional angler living in Kenora, Ontario on the shores of Lake of the Woods. Outdoor writer, fishing promoter and host of “Fishing with Gussy.” You’ll see him fishing the Walmart FLW Tour representing krugerfarms.com and Lund boats among others. You can follow him on Twitter (@GussyOutdoors) and like him on Facebook (facebook.com/gussyoutdoors).