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Twilight of a new generation, Bassin' Young Guns Shoot it out at Pardee (continued)

Back down the river Taylor and I were getting strikes on our jigs and we transitioned from underwater pile to pile. If you didn’t know the lake well you would have easily just blew right by all these spots, I know that I have personally done exactly that with my own boat in the past. Taylor has intimate knowledge of the lake and can easily visualize exactly where rocky honey holes are. Taylor motioned to a stretch of water and said that a lot of fish hang on the submerged ridge. In his first cast to this ridge his line started running away, there was no violent take, something just picked up his jig and started slowly swimming away with it.

TT Contributing Editor Mark Lassagne lands a smallie

Taylor set hard and instantly the fish responded the minute it was stuck. “Sometimes smallmouth does that here, they don’t flat out eat it,” Taylor said as he fought the fish. I picked up my camera and prepared to take a few pictures but was waved off as the fish started running hard. “Think we are going to need the net on this one!” I scrambled for the net as the fish broke the surface and within a few seconds we had a 6.2lb. smallie in the boat.

Pro Angler John Maes with a pair of smallies

After making sure all the fish were looking healthy in the livewell we head to the main lake and worked a few more submerged rockpiles with jigs. We caught a few more fish on hula grubs when Taylor started marking big fish on the graph. He switched from the jig to a spinning rod tied with a drop shot rig and let it go straight down alongside the front end of the boat.

Tourney Vet Tony Franceschi with a fish

I looked over to see Taylor set the hook on a fish, the rod loaded up and started vibrating violently but Taylor was unable to move the fish at all. This time it was the fish that won the tug of war as the hook popped out and his line went slack. “Oh that one felt like a monster,” Taylor sighed as he lowered the drop shot back down to the same spot. He worked the drop shot all the way until we were out of time and had to head back to the meeting point for the second session, unfortunately that particular fish never made another appearance.

2009 FLW National Guard Pro Angler of the year Zack Thompson is one of the fast rising stars in the West

When we met up with all the other pros Taylor was he only angler to boat a limit by 10:30am, and Chris Zaldain had the second most fish with four and had the most total weight with four quality smallies. Taylor and Chris were leading the pack but many of the other pros had also boated one or two quality fish.

Mid way through the day Kent organizes the field

After the writer swap I ran shotgun with Kent and we decided to work deep rockpiles in up to sixty feet of water with a 3/4 to 1oz. jigs. This type of deep water fishing is one of Kent’s strengths. This deep water fishing is something that both mystifies and shuts down many anglers that try to fish deep with finesse jigs. The heavy jigs are really necessary to get the right presentation down deep when dragging, not to mention it allows you to feel rather than guess what kind of structure is really down there.

I head out with Kent for the second session and we go looking for deep rockpiles


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