Shallow Was The Ticket For Both Species
During the summer of 2014, prior to the release of the 2015 Elite Series schedule, Alton Jones and his son, Alton, Jr., made a trip to the St. Lawrence River for some fun fishing. As it turned out, the experience came in handy for the elder Jones last week.
Jones said he caught the bulk of his weight off some of the spots he and his son fished and the trip served a valuable learning tool.
“I learned the river a lot better and how it fishes and how to attack current and where to push the panic button and be able find largemouth, even on day 4 when they hadn’t been picked over,” Jones said. “We were here just having fun, no pressure.”
Jones established a couple patterns right away in practice. He targeted deeper areas that had a combination of grass and rock with a dropshot rig.
“If there was an eddy in the current and that intersected the grass and rock, if you could find those three coming together, that’s dynamite for smallmouth on a big river,” he said.
When he went shallow, he went down the inside weed line until he found some rock or a point.
“The fish were on those shallow rocks on the inside weed line,” he said. “I fished without hooks in practice because I felt like if I caught one shallow, I wouldn’t have caught them in the tournament.
“When I’d get a bite up shallow, I’d ease up and see them. You didn’t have to fish for them. They weren’t bedding. They were just up there gorging on gobies. When the gobies leave the shallow water, the bass will leave with them.”
With his smallmouth areas starting to fade on the final day, he targeted largemouth in order to get a limit.
“That was an inside weed line in a backwater,” he said. “It was mostly sand, but every 400 to 500 yards there’d be piles of rocks the size of a truck hood. I had seven or eight of those and there were fish on all of them.”
> Dropshot gear: 6’9” medium-heavy Kistler Helium 2 spinning rod, unnamed spinning reel, 15-pound unnamed braided main line, 8-pound Silver Thread fluorocarbon line (5-foot leader), 1/0 Gamakatsu EWG worm hook, Texas-rigged YUM Warning Shot (green-pumpkin), 1/8-, 3/16- and 1/4-oz. unnamed dropshot weights.
> Jones tried to stay as light as he could with the weight depending on the conditions – he used 1/8 oz. when shallow, 3/16 out deep and 1/4 when the wind kicked up. He wanted the most natural fall possible on his bait.
> Tube gear: Same rod, same reel, 8-pound Silver Thread fluorocarbon line, 3/16- and 1/4-oz. unnamed tube jigs, YUM tube (green-pumpkin).
> He said the key to keeping the smallmouth buttoned up was playing them out. The fish he lost seemed to throw the hook the first time they jumped. Full Story At BassFan.com
2nd: Largemouth Saved Jones
Photo BASS Gary Tramontina Like Evers, Jones has spent much of this season trying to recover from a poor showing at the Sabine River (92nd). The runner-up finish, the third of his Elite Series career, will go a long way in that effort as he’s moved into the Top 20 in AOY points.
“I’m happy with second,” he said. “When you go in with a chance to win and it doesn’t happen, it still stings a bit. It’s so hard to win out here and when you get a chance to walk through that door, you try to do everything you can.”
He felt like he’d exhausted his smallmouth areas today and targeted largemouth for a time to fill out his limit. Once he did that, he went back to drifting a dropshot and made a 2-pound upgrade with a smallmouth later in the day.
“I panicked a little around 10:30 this morning and went after largemouth,” he said. “I had to get my straight. I felt myself getting flustered, but that got me settled down.
Jones from 6th to 3rd at St. Lawrence
Jones caught 18-14 to move from sixth to third with 57-8. He said his day could have been much better if he could have landed the biggest fish that bit.
“I had a chance today to have the heaviest sack of the tournament, but I just lost fish,” Jones said. “One of them was on a jerkbait, and it was a giant. It was an honest-to-goodness 6-pound smallmouth. Then I jumped off another 4 1/2-pounder and a 4-pounder.” Read Story
Texas anglers are tops when it comes to Bassmaster Classic
Only one Bassmaster Classic has been held in Texas, but that hasn’t prevented bass fishermen from the Lone Star State from claiming more Classic titles than anglers from any other state.
Texas anglers have won eight of the 44 titles since the Classic was born in 1971. Arkansas is second with six Classic winners. Read Story
Jones' Attention Will Be Divided This Year
Alton Jones' competitive focus for 2015 will be confined to the Bassmaster Elite Series as he attempts to bounce back from a lackluster campaign that resulted in him missing this year's Classic at the venue where he won the sport's signature event 7 years ago. Nevertheless, he'll have a keen interest in all three divisions of the Bassmaster Opens.
His son, Alton Jr., plans to fish all nine Open events in a quest to qualify for the Elites. If he succeeds, the Joneses would become the second father-son duo to compete on B.A.S.S.' top circuit, joining Denny and Chad Brauer (2006).
"Little Alton," as he's been known since he started traveling the circuit with his family as a small boy, is fresh out of Baylor University with a degree in marketing. The 22-year-old has fared well in premier Texas events against stacked fields and is eager to reach the level his dad has performed at for nearly a quarter of a century.
The younger Jones will make his triple-A debut next week at Lake Toho. He departed for Florida on Monday.
"He's pumped," Jones Sr. said. "I've never seen somebody work so hard getting ready for a tournament. He wants to do it all on his own – I expected him to go into my boat and pull all my waypoints, but he didn't do it.
"He's confident he can go out and find fish." Read Full Story