“It was crazy, dude. It was one of the coolest tournaments of my life, for sure.”
Brady Storrs got the 2022 Hobie Bass Open Series Tournament of Champions started with a bang. In the first 15 minutes of Day 1 he caught a 23.50-inch bass that would stand as the biggest of the entire tournament. He upgraded in the literal last minute of the final day to collect an additional $7,500 and place 2nd.
Storrs rode the big bite to an opening round lead. Brian Nelli would overtake that lead on Day 2 and never look back, but Storrs placed runner-up in the final standings after 3 days of competition.
“Obviously, you want to win,” said Storrs, “but considering what (Nelli) was doing and how he ran away with it, I did as much as I could do without him slipping. I put myself in position if he would have slipped some on the last day. I’m really happy with what I did, happy with the end result.”
As did most of the top finishers, Storrs camped in the huge, productive grass flat on the Texas side of Caddo Lake that far out-fished the rest of the lake’s 26,000-plus acres. “Every day I would get on the same stretch that I caught most of my big ones off of, but I had to supplement my limit all 3 days in some other areas that were close by.
“The areas we were all fishing were just the perfect little spots for the fish to go because across most of that part of the lake its just a 3-to-4-foot flat and there’s an old channel that runs along there and along that channel there are lots of stumps and a few shell beds and a lot of grass right on the top of it. So, you’ve got wood, hard spots and sand and that deep water next to shallow water. There were 2 different sweet spots on the flat, 2 curves in the channel. I sat on one curve and Brian and (4th place Nolan Minor) sat on the other. We could watch each other catch fish.
“There were fish all along that channel, but shad would definitely get down in those deep spots and come up on the flat and get destroyed by the big bass.”
Storrs said electronics, and he specifically mentioned Livescope, played a huge role for many of the top finishers. They didn’t necessarily use the technology the spot individual fish, but more so to find the contours that held them in the grass-laden flats.
“The way I use it in that scenario,” shared Storrs, “it’s hard to differentiate a fish from the grass and whatnot because you’ve only got like, 3 feet to work with in shallow water, so you can find the areas where they are. I wasn’t necessarily scoping them and watching them eat, which I did do that with a few of them, but I was mainly going to the edge and looking up or down that ledge and you could make out that mass of fish sitting up on the ledge and be able to put your bait in the school instead of just randomly casting around out there. I wasn’t just targeting individual fish, but I did on a few select fish.”
As for lure selection, “I know I was throwing some different stuff. The big fish, I was throwing a homemade white chatterbait. The second day I caught my first fish on the Chatterbait, and it was the first cold morning, and she came up by the boat and barely grabbed it and I could tell, with all the pressure and all the noise from all the Rat-L-Traps and Chatterbaits going around that flat that a few other competitors were throwing as well, it was kind of messing them up. And the cold weather didn’t help.
“I had to get off of there and grind around with the Chatterbait to get a limit in other places. The third day, I figured with everybody ripping traps and throwing chatters, how noisy it is and the water is fairly clean, if I do get bit it’s going to be short strikes and hard to catch them so I didn’t throw the chattaerbait at all. I pulled out the jerkbait right away.
“The third day the jerkbait was absolutely key.”
“I caught a really good limit on the jerkbait using Livescope and then the last 3 fish of the day, I was using a fluke.”
The switch to a fluke and its big, single hook is a story in itself. Another bit of good luck came courtesy of Ewing Minor, another top finisher. “At the end of the day, I roll back into the area that Ewing was in that was only a few hundred yards away from my flat and he was telling me how he’d had a phenomenal day back in there. He called it the day before that they were going to move back in there and he was like ‘be ready because they’ve been coming up right by the shore and busting’. I’m scoping around with my jerkbait and I’ve got about 15 minutes left to get that one big bite that I’m sure I need to move up into the top 3. I see them following and they’re just not committing to it.
“I look down at my depth finder and its 2:58 and I pick up the fluke. If I get a bite, I can’t be messing around with it. I’ve got to get it in and throw it on the board. I’ve been in the same exact situation before. I caught a 22-and-three-quarter at the end of a tournament that didn’t count because I got the picture in too late.
“I pulled out that fluke and one blew up there by the shore and I launched my fluke out there as far as I could possibly cast it and I twitched it once and she came up and smoked it. I reeled down and set it as hard as I could, and I’m using fluoro line so I knew there would be a lot of stretch in the hookset. I whipped her in as fast as I could and boat flipped her, threw her on the board. Nineteen-and-a-half. Two-and-a-quarter inch upgrade.
“It was the difference between getting 4th and winning 7,500 bucks and moving up to 2nd place and winning $15,000. And Ewing was a big part of that. He let me on to know what was going on in there. Gotta shout him out for sure.”
“My friend Matt from Alabama makes the chatterbait I was throwing. For a chatterbait rod, I like the Jason Christie Cara Head Turner made by Falcon Rods. A 6’10” heavy, moderate-fast action. I use that for my chatters and spinnerbaits. I’m a big spinnerbait guy. I don’t throw a chatter as much as a spinnerbait. This week I threw the chatterbait because of how much grass there was. Throwing that on 20-lb Sunline FC Sniper fluorocarbon. FC Sniper is what I use for everything.
“For the jerkbait I use a Phoenix Feather 6’10” medium-heavy, moderate fast tip. Phoenix has a different taper in their rods than a lot of other companies, a little tip, but a decent backbone. It’s a shorter rod. I like those shorter rods, being that I’m a littler guy and fishing out of the kayak, I’m making a bunch of short little pitches and casts.”
The reel for the jerkbait and the chatterbait is a Shimano Curado MGL K.
Line for the jerkbait was 14lb FC Sniper.
“I was throwing my fluke, which was a 4-inch Strike King Caffeine Shad on an Owner Twistlock 4/0 weightless hook. The rod was a Phoenix Maxim 7’3″ heavy, fast action; the camo-butted series. I love that rod for jigs, flukes and anything I’m jacking a fish with. It’s got a lot of backbone and then its got a lot softer tip than a lot of other jig rods. Reel was a Curado 201 K with a faster gear ratio, 8.1:1 so I could pick up the line really fast on that fluke. When they eat it you’ve got to pick up line and set the hook really fast. I had 20lb Sunline on that.”