provided by John Phillips
Mossy Oak Fishing Pro Bill Lowen of Brookville, Indiana, is known by his nickname, “Dollar Bill,” because he consistently cashes checks in almost every bass tournament he fishes. In the recent Santee Cooper Bassmaster Elite Series tournament in October, 2020, Lowen fished with the top-10 anglers the last day, finished in 6th place out of 80 anglers and cashed a $15,000 check.
Although I fished several Strike King flipping-style baits, the Rodent seemed to be the best producer for me in early October at Santee Cooper. I alternated between the 4-inch and the 3-inch Rodent in the green-pumpkin color. I used two different sizes of the same bait because when the current was running, the bigger lure moved faster than I wanted it to move. Then I flipped the smaller 3-inch Rodent. But when the current wasn’t running fast, I’d flip the 4-inch Rodent.
I was fishing a 1/4- or a 5/16-ounce weight in front of the Rodent on 20 pound-test Seaguar fluorocarbon line on a 7’6” heavy action Lew’s Custom Speed Stick with a Team Lew’s Lite reel. I was flipping the same type of cover that I’d been fishing the Compact spinner bait around laydowns, logs in the water and stumps. If I fished a bank without much cover, I fished the Compact spinner bait. But when I reached a section of the bank that was nasty and gnarly with lots of structure on it, I’d start flipping the Rodent. I caught most of the bass I weighed in on the Rodent or one of the other Strike King soft-plastic flipping baits. But on the last day of the tournament, the Compact spinner bait proved to be the best bass catcher.
I probably caught 90 percent of the bass I weighed in during the week flipping soft plastics and 10 percent on the Compact spinner bait. I averaged catching a five-bass limit of about 14-15 pounds per day for a total of 58 pounds, 7 ounces. To win this event, I knew I needed one big bite. Unfortunately, I never got that one really big bite. The Santee Cooper tournament was tough. We each were lucky to get eight or nine bass bites in a day of fishing. Every day, except for the last day of the tournament, I caught every fish that took my bait. Then on the last day, I had two of the biggest bites I’d had throughout the tournament. I needed both bass for a chance to win the tournament, but I lost them both. And, that’s just bass fishing.