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How Matt Lee Chooses Drop Shot Weights

August 1, 2017 12:00:00 AM EDT

 

Former Carhartt Bassmaster College Bracket Champion Matt Lee racked up his very impressive third Top 12 finish of the Elite Series season at Lake Champlain. Lee’s fat limits were a blend of both smallmouth and largemouth, but his choice of lures centered on one primary technique – Drop Shotting.

 As you might expect – the holder of an engineering degree from Auburn takes a slightly analytical approach to choosing weights for his drop shots, and it’s a strategy that makes great sense for getting snagged less, feeling more bites, and catching more bass.

 “I use both tear drop and cylinder-shaped drop shot weights, but each is a tool best designed for a certain job, and the key is to know when to use each of the two styles,” says Lee.

 

Cylinders for weeds vs. Teardrops for rocks

 “When you’re fishing thick vegetation like I faced a lot of on Champlain, you’ve got to use a skinny cylinder-shaped weight, or you’re going to constantly be snagged in weeds,” explains Lee. “If you try to drag teardrop-shaped weight through those weeds, it’s nearly impossible to keep it clean, and you’re going to get really frustrated.”

 Conversely, Lee states that the rounder teardrop shaped weights tend to get through rocks a little better.

 Tungsten vs. Lead

 “The cylinder shaped weights I use in weeds are made of lead, and they’re much less expensive than tungsten, but when I’m fishing deeper where there’s no weed growth, and rocks typically come into play, I want the benefit of tungsten’s sensitivity to feel the rocks on the bottom – especially if I’m out there in 25 or 30-feet of water,” he explains.

 How heavy?

 Shape aside, anglers new to drop shotting often wonder how heavy their choice of weights should be, and Lee has a simple answer.

 “Use the lightest weight you possibly can, and still be able feel your drop shot,” says Lee. “But as a rule of thumb, if you’re fishing less than 15-feet deep, try starting with a 1/4 –ounce weight, and if you’re fishing those deep zones like 25 or 30 feet, it’s probably best to use a 3/8-ounce in most situations.”

 Rods, Reels, Line, Lure  

 Want to replicate Matt’s basic drop shot set-up? Try a 7’ 4” Quantum Tour KVD spinning rod, paired with a size 30 Quantum Speed Freak spinning reel that picks up an amazing 36” inches of line with every turn of the handle – which is especially helpful when fishing in deep water, or for catching up with torpedo-like Smallmouth when they bite.  He spools up with 10-pound braid tied to an 8-pound leader made of Seaguar Tatsu fluorocarbon line.

 As for lures, his favorite choice is Strike King Dream Shot rigged on a #1 size Owner circle hook. Lee says brown/purple is hard to beat for a worm color. And remember, teardrop weights made of tungsten for rocks, and lead cylinder-shaped weights for weeds. A mix of ¼ ounce and 3/8 ounce should cover most all your needs. 

 

  Alan McGuckin

 

Tags:

Posted in Resources By Lisa Adams

 The manner in which pros chose to occupy an unplanned day off, when Thursday’s competition at the Bassmaster Elite Series on Lake Champlain was cancelled due to high wind, was as wide-ranging as the waves that stirred the massive lake on the New York-Vermont border.

“I could have listed a lotta things I’d have rather done than go bowling, but when my fiancé, Abby said she wanted to go bowling, we rounded up Jesse Wiggins, David Mullins and their girlfriends and hit the lanes,” grinned former Carhartt College fishing champion Matt Lee, who has already notched two Top 12 cuts this season.

The group of six bowlers was actually more like a half-dozen All State athletes. Matt Lee was a State Champion second baseman. His fiancé, Abby was a 2-time State Champion basketball player. Jesse Wiggins was an All State Alabama small school football player. And David Mullins competed as a college golfer.

“I was within seven pins of beating Mullins yesterday, and couldn’t pull off the win,” says Lee. “Mullins is just good at everything, a straight-up athlete, who even puts spin on every ball he bowled yesterday.”

While the six co-ed bowlers from Alabama and Tennessee made memories together – highly likeable pro Shaw Grigsby found himself alone in a movie theater.

“Are you ready for this- you’ll never guess what movie I watched?” quizzed Grigsby beneath his signature mustache covered smile. “I went to see ‘Wonder Woman’ – and it actually wasn’t too bad.”

As for Lee and Grigsby’s Quantum teammate Gerald Swindle, well, he didn’t do much of anything. “Hey … when B.A.S.S. told me the competition day was cancelled – and that I could have the day off – I took them seriously – I took two naps – first with the big dog, Myric – then with the little dog, Bama – before finally taking Lulu to eat at the local brewing company.”

 

  Alan McGuckin

 

Posted in Resources By Lisa Adams

Jordan Lee Previews Lake Champlain

July 26, 2017 12:00:00 AM EDT

Current Bassmaster Classic Champion Jordan Lee graciously took time in the super-refreshing 52-degree morning air on the final day of practice to preview the Bassmaster Elite at Champlain presented by Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Much of the first two days of practice were exceptionally cool and rainy, what’s been your biggest challenge so far?

 I’d say catching anything bigger than 3-pounds has been the biggest challenge so far. I’m catching lots of fish, and a fairly equal mix of smallmouth and largemouth, but just no real big ones. The smallies I’m catching are averaging a little bigger than the largemouth.

 What do you like the most so far about Lake Champlain?

 This lake is just so full of fish, so you get to set the hook a bunch.

 Last week, the Bassmaster Elite Series was held two hours west of Lake Champlain on the St. Lawrence River. It was a slugfest, with hundreds of 5-fish limits full of fat Smallmouth. How will this week on Lake Champlain compare to last week on the St. Lawrence River?

 I don’t think the weights will be as high here, because the average smallmouth just isn’t as fat here as what they were on the St. Lawrence River. Those fish on the St. Lawrence have millions of gobies to eat and get really fat on, and that’s not the case here at Champlain.

 Here at Champlain, talk always turns to how many competitors will make the long run south to the Ticonderoga area of this massive lake in search of fat largemouth. What percentage of the field do you estimate will make that roughly 80 mile run?

 I’d say about 20-percent. It’s like 80 miles from Plattsburgh down to that area, and there are just so many variables involved that can turn negative when you run that far, starting with massive waves, if the wind blows there.

 Name five lures the fans can expect to see the Elite Series throw a lot of this week.

 Drop Shot, jerkbaits, soft plastic punch baits like a Strike King Rodent on a heavy Texas rig, dragging a tube for smallmouth, and a swim jig.

 

  Alan McGuckin

 

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Posted in Resources By Lisa Adams

KVD wins St. Lawrence on Speed Freak Spinning

July 23, 2017 12:00:00 AM EDT

 

 

 

 

  Alan McGuckin

 

Posted in Resources By Lisa Adams

KVD wins his 24th B.A.S.S. tourney

July 23, 2017 12:00:00 AM EDT

 

 

 

 

  Alan McGuckin

 

Posted in Resources By Lisa Adams

 

 Life is good right now for Matt and Jordan Lee. They’ve both notched Top 12 finishes thus far in 2017 Bassmaster Elite Series tournaments, and they both recently proposed marriage to their long time girlfriends.  Jordan asked for Kristen’s hand after a fishing trip to Lake Lanier, and Matt presented his diamond to Abby on the shores of Lake Ontario.

This week they return to the St. Lawrence River in upstate New York to the scene of the Bassmaster Elite Series event where they both made the Top 50 cut during their rookie season in 2015.

 They graciously took time to share their memories and expectations along this gorgeous seaway that connects the Great Lake to the Atlantic Ocean.

 

 1.) What do you remember most about the 2015 event here?

 Matt: Fishing right next to Kevin VanDam. I was fishing a drop shot, and he was cranking away with like a Strike King Series 4, which made me second-guess myself a little bit.

Jordan: I remember struggling. I only caught 5 keepers the first day of competition, and 6 keepers on Day 2.

 2.) Your Quantum teammate Greg Hackney challenged for the win here in 2015 by focusing on largemouth, and Kevin VanDam said yesterday that largemouth should play an even bigger role this year. Can this tournament be won with largemouth on such a strong smallmouth fishery?

 Matt: No. There’s just way too many big, weighty, smallmouth swimming here.

Jordan: No. There’s no way.

 3.) Name 4 lures we’ll see used most here this week.

 Matt: Drop Shot, Tube, Soft stick bait like a Strike King Ocho, and a topwater.

Jordan: Drop Shot, Hair Jig, Tube, and a jerkbait.

  4.) What do you love most about Waddington, NY and the St. Lawrence River

 Matt: The weather -- the lack of humidity. And how big it is, which gives us plenty of room to fish around one another.

Jordan: The weather, smallmouth and the scenery with all the islands.

 5.) It took 17 pounds a day to make the Top 12 cut here in 2015 – how much weight do you think you’ll need this year each day to the make the final day cut?

 Matt: I think it will still take around 17 a day.

Jordan: Yep, I’ll agree with 17 a day. 

 

 

  Alan McGuckin

 

Posted in Resources By Lisa Adams

 Much of the talk coming into the Bassmaster Elite on the St. Lawrence River centered on unusually high water on the massive seaway that connects the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean.

 However, Kevin VanDam says lofty water levels will only increase catches of largemouth from the 71-degree waters that create an aquatic buffet for up to 13 species of whales a couple hundred miles upriver from the Elite Series venue in Waddington, New York.

 “Smallmouth definitely dominated and got the victory the last two times we competed here, but the high water we’re facing this week has sent far more largemouth shallow than what we’ve seen in the past,” says VanDam. “So largemouth will definitely play a bigger role in what guys will bring to the scales this year.”

 Hence on the final day of practice, anglers must decide whether to focus on flippin’ and froggin’ for largemouth in the shallows, or draggin’ and droppin’ vertically for deeper water smallmouth on the main river.

 

 

As evidenced by the iconic soft plastic tube VanDam had tied to a Quantum Smoke spinning reel for dragging over deep water smallmouth, and in the other hand, a much contrasting swim jig for largemouth in the weedy shallows -- rest assured, the 7-time Bassmaster Toyota Angler of the Year will prepare for both. 

 

 

  Alan McGuckin

 

Posted in Resources By Lisa Adams

 

If life’s goodness were measured in pounds and ounces right now for young Bassmaster Classic Champion Jordan Lee, it’d be the equivalent of a monstrous 27-pound 4-ounce limit of bass.

 Since his dramatic come-from-behind Classic win on Lake Conroe, he threatened to win Bassmaster Toyota Texas Fest last month, where he eventually finished 4th.

 Away from the water, Jordan got engaged to his sweetheart of three years, Kristen, launched his own signature series Classic-winning football jig at ICAST, and discovered his new favorite fishing reel.

 

Diamond Rings

 No surprise, Jordan first became smitten with Kristen at his first-ever Bassmaster Southern Open on Lake Toho, Florida where she was working the tournament registration as a marketing assistant at Power-Pole.

 After a sweet three-year relationship that oozes cuteness each time they’re seen together, Jordan bought his bride-to-be a beautiful pear-shaped diamond engagement ring at Ed White Jewelers in his hometown of Cullman, AL.

 “We actually looked a rings a year ago, but I’m proud to say I never pressured him to get married,” says Kristen. “I wanted him to propose when he was truly ready, not because so many other people were telling him he should, or asking us when we would get married.”

Lee was logical in his approach to making a lifetime commitment, often assuring Kristen he loved her, but wanting to make sure he was financially secure and standing on stable ground in the fishing industry before he asked her to be his wife.

 His Bassmaster Classic win in March obviously brought the career stability the humble 25-year-old desired.

So on a trip home to North Georgia to see Kristen’s parents, that included a fishing trip to Lake Lanier of course, the two planned a date to a local vineyard where Jordan popped the question and presented the gorgeous diamond ring.

 Sapphire Washers

 Diamonds are not only a girl’s best friend, but are actually super tough, and at the top of the hardness scale, just above sapphire for natural gems and materials. And fresh off diamond shopping, Lee discovered a sapphire jeweled spool tension washer inside his favorite new fishing reel at ICAST.

 The new $199 Quantum Tour S3 features two super-hard sapphire washers on each side of the spool shaft, creating a smoother, harder surface for the shaft to turn against.  That leads to improved longevity and ridiculous casting distance in the reel Lee couldn’t keep his hands off during his time in the Quantum booth at ICAST.

 Football Jigs

When not in the Quantum booth, Jordan and Kristen could often be found at the Strike King booth proudly sharing the new “J Lee Comeback Jig” with media and retail dealers.

 “It’s made of round, old skool, living rubber strands as opposed to the silicone strands that most jigs are made of,” explains Lee.

 “Living rubber has more action than silicone, even when the jig is sitting still on the bottom of the lake, and I think that played a big role in getting so many quality bites that final day on Lake Conroe,” he says.

 “Living rubber just ‘breathes’ better, and big fish can’t stand not to bite it,” believes Lee. “This is a structure jig for casting in 8 to 30 feet of water, and dragging slowly across the bottom. We’re making it in 1/2, ¾ and 1-ounce.”

 When asked to choose just two favorite colors of the new jig, he chose Peanut butter and jelly, and plain ‘ol brown. He ties the jig to 15-pound fluorocarbon, and fishes it on a 7.3:1 Quantum Tour S3 for plenty of speedy line pickup when a bass bites in deep water.

 Sapphire reel parts, diamond rings, and football jigs. Indeed, life is shining right now for Jordan Lee. 

  Alan McGuckin

 

Tags:

Posted in Resources By Lisa Adams

Lee Brothers Tulsa Grand Lake Event Promo

July 12, 2017 12:00:00 AM EDT

Gerald Swindle tells stories of days prior to turning pro 20 years ago when he’d frame houses in the unmerciful hot Alabama sun, then throw down the hammer he hated late in the day just in time to go chase summer largemouth in evening jackpot tournaments.

 Two remarkable Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year titles later, and $2 Million in career winnings since his house-framing days, Swindle still drops the hammer on summer largemouth, and he graciously shares his picks for three lures he leans on most for the start of summer.

 Deep Diving Crankbait – By ‘deep’ Swindle is talking about a diving plug like a Strike King 6XD or Rapala DT16 that will touch bottom in 10 to 15 feet of water before bass get to the mega-depths of mid to late summer.

 “You’re trying to locate where those first groups of fish are setting-up after the spawn, and a plug that will get down to 15-feet is not only a great fish catcher – but also a great ‘fish finder’ – plus it’s a lure you can cover a lot of water with,” says Swindle.

 Swindle cranks with a 5.3:1 Quantum Smoke HD reel that is geared low enough to tow these larger crankbaits, and it also has a larger spool for plenty of line capacity for the long casts he desires to make with 12-pound fluorocarbon. His rod choice is a highly-affordable new $99 7-foot long medium action stick he just designed for Quantum called a G-Force.

 Buckeye Ballin’ Out jig – “This is a lure I’ve made a lot of money on, and I really like it when the bass first finish spawning because it seems like they’re a little finicky after they’ve been pressured up shallow for the past three months. And they’re more likely to bite a smaller bait like this,” reasons Swindle.

 Swindle uses these little round-headed jigs in weights of 3/8 to ½ ounce with skirt colors typically involving several strands of brown. His favorite trailer is a Zoom Z Craw Junior in shades of green pumpkin. His line choice is 16-pound Sunline fluorocarbon.

 “I also like this little jig for its versatility,” says Swindle. “I can throw it to the edge of a grass line, drag it across a hard rocky bottom, or skip it around a shaded dock, and always feel like I’ve got a good chance of getting a bite.”

  Zoom Magnum Trick Worm – A lot of anglers know that summer and oversized Texas-rigged worms go together like beaches and sunscreen, but Swindle puts a new spin on this time-proven offering by choosing Zoom’s oversized straight tail worm instead of a ribbontail. And instead of Texas-rigging it, he uses a football-style head.

 “Buckeye Lures makes ½ to ¾ ounce jig head that’s made for a big worm like that, and unlike a Texas rig, that football head with that straight tail worm won’t twist your line,” explains Swindle.

 “It’s a little different than the Texas-rigged worms guys have been throwing since before I was born, and it seems like when the bite gets a little tough you can drag it real slow to maintain contact with the bottom to get a few extra bites,” he says.

 He uses somewhat lighter 12 to 14 pound fluorocarbon to help it get down to that 10 to 15’ zone he says is the foundation to framing-up early summer success. 

 

  Alan McGuckin

 

Posted in Resources By Lisa Adams

Gerald Swindle tells stories of days prior to turning pro 20 years ago when he’d frame houses in the unmerciful hot Alabama sun, then throw down the hammer he hated late in the day just in time to go chase summer largemouth in evening jackpot tournaments.

 Two remarkable Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year titles later, and $2 Million in career winnings since his house-framing days, Swindle still drops the hammer on summer largemouth, and he graciously shares his picks for three lures he leans on most for the start of summer.

 Deep Diving Crankbait – By ‘deep’ Swindle is talking about a diving plug like a Strike King 6XD or Rapala DT16 that will touch bottom in 10 to 15 feet of water before bass get to the mega-depths of mid to late summer.

 “You’re trying to locate where those first groups of fish are setting-up after the spawn, and a plug that will get down to 15-feet is not only a great fish catcher – but also a great ‘fish finder’ – plus it’s a lure you can cover a lot of water with,” says Swindle.

 Swindle cranks with a 5.3:1 Quantum Smoke HD reel that is geared low enough to tow these larger crankbaits, and it also has a larger spool for plenty of line capacity for the long casts he desires to make with 12-pound fluorocarbon. His rod choice is a highly-affordable new $99 7-foot long medium action stick he just designed for Quantum called a G-Force.

 Buckeye Ballin’ Out jig – “This is a lure I’ve made a lot of money on, and I really like it when the bass first finish spawning because it seems like they’re a little finicky after they’ve been pressured up shallow for the past three months. And they’re more likely to bite a smaller bait like this,” reasons Swindle.

 Swindle uses these little round-headed jigs in weights of 3/8 to ½ ounce with skirt colors typically involving several strands of brown. His favorite trailer is a Zoom Z Craw Junior in shades of green pumpkin. His line choice is 16-pound Sunline fluorocarbon.

 “I also like this little jig for its versatility,” says Swindle. “I can throw it to the edge of a grass line, drag it across a hard rocky bottom, or skip it around a shaded dock, and always feel like I’ve got a good chance of getting a bite.”

  Zoom Magnum Trick Worm – A lot of anglers know that summer and oversized Texas-rigged worms go together like beaches and sunscreen, but Swindle puts a new spin on this time-proven offering by choosing Zoom’s oversized straight tail worm instead of a ribbontail. And instead of Texas-rigging it, he uses a football-style head.

 “Buckeye Lures makes ½ to ¾ ounce jig head that’s made for a big worm like that, and unlike a Texas rig, that football head with that straight tail worm won’t twist your line,” explains Swindle.

 “It’s a little different than the Texas-rigged worms guys have been throwing since before I was born, and it seems like when the bite gets a little tough you can drag it real slow to maintain contact with the bottom to get a few extra bites,” he says.

 He uses somewhat lighter 12 to 14 pound fluorocarbon to help it get down to that 10 to 15’ zone he says is the foundation to framing-up early summer success. 

 

  Alan McGuckin

 

Posted in Resources By Lisa Adams

Greg Hackney finished 3rd the last time the Bassmaster Elites were at Lake Dardanelle in May of 2014, and Swindle finished 2nd – losing by four heartbreaking ounces to winner Jason Christie.

 Together, Swindle and Hackney hauled home $45,000 from that event three years ago, and both of the Quantum pros seemed optimistically focused at Thursday afternoon’s angler registration meeting where they were gracious enough to share their thoughts on what will take place this week at the muddier-than-normal Arkansas River fishery.

 Q: With so much of the main river ‘blown out’ with high and muddy water, can this event be won on the main river, or do you think fishing the backwaters for the coveted blue Elite Series trophy is a must.

Hackney: I’d say it’s 50/50 to be honest with you.

Swindle: Backwater. No question.

  Q: How much weight per day will you have to average in order to qualify for the Top 12 cut on Monday?

Hackney: 14 pounds per day

Swindle: 13 ½ pounds per day

 Q: It’s a bit of a strange Elite Series schedule this week, because appropriately, we took time-out to honor Memorial Day on Monday. What was your best memory from the recent Memorial Day weekend?

Hackney: Family time! My wife and kids and I spent the weekend with my parents in Star City, Arkansas about two hours southeast of here.

Swindle: Just grillin and chillin with Lulu here at the campground.

 Q: Name four lures you think we’ll see the Elite Series field use the most here this week.

Hackney: Square bill crankbait, a frog, a Texas-rigged plastic to pitch with, and a spinnerbait.

Swindle: A black and blue jig, a shallow 1.5 crankbait, a double Colorado bladed spinnerbait, and a Texas-rigged craw or beaver style bait to pitch with.

 Q: You’ve been here several times. What do you like best about Lake Dardanelle and city of Russellville, Arkansas?

Hackney: It’s just laid back, and it’s a fishin’ town.

Swindle: Lake Dardanelle State Park here where we have the weigh-in is pretty awesome. It’s got great camping, good boat ramps, it’s peaceful, and it’s just really laid out well. 

 

  Alan McGuckin

 

Posted in Resources By Lisa Adams

DAY 1 DARDANELLE

June 2, 2017 12:00:00 AM EDT

 

  Alan McGuckin

 

Posted in Resources By Lisa Adams

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