Luke Clausen had some of his best areas all to himself.
Numerous anglers who competed in last week's Forrest Wood Cup at Arkansas' Lake Ouachita commented that they've never seen a body of water that was home to so many bluegill. And when that species is in shallow water, it's a given that a lot of big, hungry bass will be there, too.
Luke Clausen and Andy Morgan, the 4th- and 5th-place finishers at the Cup, both fished topwater patterns that were at least partially based around the final stages of the lengthy bluegill spawn. Following are some of the specifics.
> Day 1: 5, 13-15
Like runner-up Randall Tharp, Clausen went to Ouachita with the idea of making things happen on the surface.
"I knew I wanted to fish shallow," he said. "It was summer and the water was clear and I was pretty sure topwater would be the deal. I'm actually more comfortable doing that than anything else – if I can see them, I'm always confident that I can figure out how to catch them."
He worked several locales from the mid-lake area on up and had some of them completely to himself (although because he rarely spent more than a few minutes at each stop, he didn't know whether they were being fished during his absence).
"There were a couple places where I'd see Morgan and (10th-place finisher Jason) Christie once a day, but the rest of the time I never saw too many people."
The majority of his areas were in subtle pockets off the main lake. They featured mostly flat banks with small drains.
"I spent a lot of practice time with the trolling motor on 100, just looking for (bass). They were on bluegill beds for the most part, but there were also some wolfpacks cruising around. There are bluegill beds at that place every 100 yards."
He caught everything on cloudy, (relatively) cool day 1 on a Brian's Prop Bee #2, but that bait wasn't as effective when the sun re-emerged. He threw primarily a Megabass Dog-X or an older-style Reaction Innovations Vixen the rest of the way.
He also caught four weigh-in fish on a wacky-rigged worm.
> Topwater gear: Unnamed 6'6" medium-heavy rod, unnamed casting reel, 17-pound Gamma monofilament line, Brian's Prop Bee #2 (bull bream), Megabass Dog-X (white) or Reaction Innovations Vixen (white/gray).
Worm gear: Unnamed 6'9" medium-action rod, unnamed spinning reel, 10-pound Tuf-Line braided line with 6-foot Gamma monofilament leader (8-pound), unnamed lead-wrapped size 2 hook, wacky-rigged unnamed straight-tail worm (watermelon).
Clausen falls to fourth