- James Hall
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MANY, La. --
Elite Series pros have thrown everything but the kitchen sink at Toledo Bend bass this week, but one bait style seems to be dominating.
Event leader Dean Rojas, Aaron Martens (fourth place), Steve Kennedy (seventh place) and Ish Monroe (12th place) are all throwing swimbaits.
"I was throwing it in practice to simply cover water," Kennedy said. "I'm fishing way south where the bass are still spawning, and when you run a swim bait over a bedding bass, it will almost always roll on it. Once you know where these fish are, you can go back and catch 'em."
However, his search tool turned into a catching tool when he found a small pocket south of Housen Creek.
"I had the hooks bent down on a Basstrix for practice while I was looking for spawners and I had a 4-pounder choke on it," the Alabama pro explained.
"The next cast, I had another 4-pounder smoke it. So, I decided the swim bait would be the bait I'd stick with," he said.
And it was a good decision. Kennedy caught 20-0, 9-0 and 21-7 the first three days. He blames his Day Two slip on not downgrading his offering soon enough.
"I was throwing a really big swimbait, trying to upgrade my catch. That was dumb, because I was catching 6-pounders on the hollow-belly."
Kennedy admits to using the Basstrix swimbait with a 6-o weighted hook. He has been swimming it over grass flats in 3 to 6 feet of water. He is also using a bigger swim bait that he will not discuss, other than to say it has been discontinued.
Interestingly enough, Rojas is fishing the same pocket as Kennedy and using a variety of small swimbaits, as well (when he's not sight fishing).
"The bass we are targeting are feeding on shad and that swim bait is just a perfect representation of the forage," Rojas said.
"There is a strong shad spawn going on right now," Monroe said, "and the smaller swim baits allow you to cover a lot of water while you are looking for the bait. Once you find the bait, the bass are nearby."
10hMichael C. Wright