Scott's Baits and Patterns for Pickwick

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3. Scott Suggs carried a few weapons to target both the shad spawn and deeper fish. He rigged a swing-head jig (7/16, 5/8 or 3/4 ounce, depending on depth) with a Zoom Z Craw, Zoom Magnum Trick Worm or Gene Larew Biffle Bug. A Berkley Digger crankbait also produced, as did a War Eagle spinnerbait. A 7-foot, 6-inch, heavy Abu Garcia Veracity rod with an Abu Garcia Revo Premier spooled with 15-pound-test Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon was his go-to setup.

Shad spawn delivers for Suggs - Scott Suggs of Alexander, Ark., spent the week bouncing back and forth between a shad spawn in grass and shell bars out on the river channel to amass a total of 65 pounds, 1-ounce.  

Like others mentioned, Suggs says the offshore bites were very sporadic and unpredictable. Given that, he spent his mornings fishing a shad spawn in grass along a river bar in 6 to 8 feet of water. On the first day he scored big on the shad spawn, boating 21 pounds, 5 ounces. But as the tournament wore on, his shad spawn area just kicked out keepers and he had to drag along shell bars for upgrades.

When targeting the shad spawn Suggs used a ¾-ounce War Eagle Spinnerbait, a Zoom Swimmer swimbait threaded on a ½-ounce War Eagle swimbait head and a Keitech 4.8 Swing Impact FAT also on a ½-ounce swimbait head.

To drag along the shell bars, Suggs used either a Zoom Magnum Trick Worm or a Zoom Z-Craw threaded on a ¾-ounce Gene Larew Biffle HardHead.

“I used the fixed Hard Head, not the hinged one because I wanted the bait to kick up when it hit the shells,” Suggs says. “I also caught some on a new Berkley Dredger deep-diving crankbait on the shell bars, too.”

 

3rd: Suggs Made Most of It

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> Day 4: 5, 18-00 (19, 65-01) Under optimal conditions, Suggs thinks he could’ve given Gross a run for the win this week. Instead, he battled winds that blew against the current and repositioned the fish, making them a little more difficult to target. Still, he was pleased with how he started and finished the event.

“It’s above my expectations,” he said. “I really thought that going into this deal, I had a couple sweet spots and really thought that if they ran water I could’ve done what Gross did. When you look at the quality of the fish I weighed in, if they ever ran water, which would’ve put those fish where they needed to be, it could’ve been great.”

Today, he got the calm conditions he desired, similar to day 1 when he stuck three quality fish. He caught a good fish there today and then adjusted when the breeze picked up.

He alternated between a swing-head jig with a Zoom Z Craw trailer and a new deep-diving Berkley crankbait called the Dredger while mixing in a spinnerbait and swimbait.

“All of my fish came in the 10- to 12-foot range right off the bottom,” he said. “They were all off shell beds.” Read more

 

4th: Suggs All About the Shad Spawn

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>> Day 3: 5, 10-10 (14, 47-01) The shad spawn has been crucial for Suggs all week and it was again today, but it happened on different spots from where he’d been catching fish.

"I was in a struggle today,” he said. “I wound up going back trying to find the shad spawn and I found a huge one. I had some blow-ups, but only caught one keeper. I moved to another location and found another shad spawn and caught three there.”

He has one deep spot that he started on today and he plans to start there on Sunday because of the quality that he’s caught there.

“I feel like I have to start there because I’ve weighed in three around 5 and a 6 off of it,” he said. “It’s just a high shell bed on the river ledge and the shad are spawning on it. They weren’t there today or Friday so that spot may be done, but I have to go see.

“I didn’t have a great day today, but I am fishing tomorrow. They didn’t pull any water and it really stunk for me.”

Still, he’s happy to be fishing the final day for the first time since Beaver Lake in 2013.

“I had some days in practice that I felt decent about and some I felt terrible about,” he said. “To catch what I’ve caught so far, it’s been a shot in the arm. I’m pleased.” Read more

 

3rd: Wind Wrecked Suggs’ Stuff

> Day 2: 4, 15-02 (9, 36-07) Suggs knows he’s around the right quality of fish. He just needs the conditions to cooperate in order to target them effectively.

“The wind got me,” he said. “It may be calm in the morning and I might not catch anything. I got there this morning and it was rolling whitecaps and already mud. I caught a 6 off my first place, but I had to sit on it and thoroughly pound it.”

The rest of his shallow areas where he’d been catching schooling fish chasing shad to the surface were unfishable and he opted to move offshore. He adjusted his boat position and caught three more, including a 4-pounder.

“I never had an opportunity for the fifth,” he added.

He said current has been critical to the areas he’s been fishing and he’s hoping to have some moving water Saturday.

“On Thursday, they were pumping water in and letting a little out so the water was coming up and there was a little current,” he said. “I was able to fish my areas. The wind can be dead, but if I have no current, it’ll stink. It all depends on whether they run current or not.” Read more

 

4th: Suggs Got ‘Em Early

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Photo: FLW - Day 1: 5, 21-05 Much like Canterbury, Suggs caught the lion’s share of his weight before 9 a.m. He headed back toward Florence around 10:45 when the lake started to get bumpy. He caught a 4 1/2-pounder not far from the ramp to account for a key upgrade later in the day.

“It was just one of those deals where everything went perfect,” he said. “There was a little wind where I started and I caught three between 4 and 5 (pounds) in succession. That gives you the momentum and ability to settle down.”

He picked off another good fish at each of his next two spots.

“I ran around to some other stuff that was wind-protected because I wanted to check them in case I needed it tomorrow,” he added.

The shad-spawn bite was crucial for him, but he fears it’s a diminishing pattern.

“I think they’re leaving me every day,” he said. “When we got here, it was stupid (good) and it’s gotten worse each day. I think they had done a lot of spawning before we got here and while we’ve been here and we’re seeing the tail end of it wrapping up.

“I’m going to find out. I have a long day tomorrow. I’m going to chunk and wind.” Read more