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Bob Downey: Smith Lake Recap

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Bob Downey gives a recap on the Smith Lake Elite Series event.

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Everyone, Bob Downey here just back from the Seven Stop, the Elite Series on Smith Lake. I just want to clean up the boat here quick and want to give you a little bit of an idea of what I was doing down there, share my program with you. I had, you know, several rods on the deck, I'd say four to six on an average day. Pretty much rigged up the same way. I was chasing suspended spotted bass like a lot of guys were in the field and I'd have a couple different jig head sizes and a couple different mineral sizes ready to go. Depending on what those fish were telling me, I was kind of in that 80 to 120 foot range right out in the main river channel. If that main river channel happened to butt up against a 60 to 80 foot flat out there that seemed to be a little bit better. There was usually a tree line along those flats and the bait seemed to hang there and some of the better quality spotted bass would be, you know, around those trees but definitely above them for the most part. So my first setup, three eighth ounce all-trained tackle, scope T.G. head. This is a free loader on the back, it's a little bit bigger profile. I was using that three eighth ounce for the fish that were a little bit deeper in that 30 to 40 foot range. These fish never stopped moving. They were not just sitting ducks and easy to cast it. They're constantly moving up and down, side to side so that three eighth ounce head allowed me to hit them efficiently. You cast in front of them, it gets down to them quick and they haven't moved off into a new direction yet. At times I noticed that that almost deterred them from biting is like dropping too quick on their head at times. And if I noticed that, if I throw at three, four, five different fish and they just ignored it or saw it and then ran away from it, that's when I'd pick up this quarter ounce head. This one another scope T.G. quarter ounce. This is a smaller profile, the Moochmano here. You got to make a more accurate cast with that because it's falling slower. You got to hit that fish just perfectly. If it's moving in this direction, you got to get it so that it falls right on its nose to be able to get bitten. It's harder to do with the lighter head but sometimes that lighter head does a better job of hovering above that fish and just looking a little bit more natural. If I was running into fish that were not aggressive, that quarter ounce head was super key to generating some bite. So the three eighth ounce head did a great job if I ran across fish that were active and rated a bite. They're just aggressive. They see it, they fly up and eat it and it's kind of a done deal. But there were times I 'd get into those zones where those fish were, they weren't having it. They didn't want something aggressive. So I had to float that head above them a little bit more. And that seemed to be in areas with a little more pressure. A big key for me this week was getting away from other boats. You could tell if you're in a zone with three, four, or five other boats that have been thrown at these fish for the last hour, these fish got educated quick. And that's when I pick up that lighter head to generate some bites. But if I could get into a zone where I was by myself or if I saw an area where there was a bunch of boats, I'd literally turn and go the other way and try and find fish that hadn't been messed with much. And that was a big key, especially if they 're a little bit deeper fish, those ones seem to be a little bit better quality. You're two and a half to three pounders which were gold this last weekend. Smith, there's a lot of 1.75s to two pound ers out there. If you could get that two and a half to three pound bite, that really separated you. And I found that I could do that easier when I was in a zone where there weren't as many people. So I set up for the three eighth ounce was a legend tournament bass from St. Croix, the seven foot three medium extra fast power in action. A little bit beefier rod. I liked that for this bigger jig head bigger profile bait. And the scope TGS, more of a medium gauge hook, I would say. And so I'm hitting those fish pretty hard on a hook set. So I want something with a good backbone on it. This isn't a light ease into them hooks that like you often do with a drop shot. For example, I'm hitting those fish pretty hard. 10 pound braid to 10 pound fluorocarbon. And then the lighter setup was a St. Croix avid seven foot medium action in power. And so a little bit softer rod, but a good backbone enough to drive that medium gauge hook. Once again, 10 pound braid to 10 pound fluorocarbon. So those were my key programs. I want to give a nod to a couple other pieces of equipment, my minco to quest in my battery setup. I'm running three 12 volt pro guide lithiums for my cholamotar. And then that quest. If you guys haven't had a chance to use it yet, it's pretty incredible. The speed on it, the power on it is very impressive. And I was on, you know, eight to 10 speed, 90% of this tournament. So I'm covering a crazy amount of water in a day to try and find these fish. And they're not related to a rock pile or a point or a brush pile. They're out in the abyss, chasing bait, and they move constantly. So you need to move fast to to find them and locate them. Never once burned up my system, even on 14, 15 hour practice days. And you know , tournament days are, you know, 10 to 10 hours. So I definitely didn't burn up on a practice, you know, tournament days and practice days either. So super impressed with that system. You know, I was on that thing hard all week and it helped me locate fish efficiently. And just super impressed with that setup. Could be happier. So that was my program. I was super happy with a 14th place finished down there on Smith. And looking forward to being back home here for a little over a month and then get back to New York, start chasing from small mob and wrap up the season.