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Bill Lowen Fishes Various Lures at Santee Cooper Bassmaster Tournament

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. 

Bill Lowen bass tournament

I’ve learned that when I fish my style of bassing, I usually can place in the money in a tournament. In this Santee Cooper tournament, I ran up the river and fished channel swings and current breaks with three or four types of lures. My number-one bait was a Compact spinner bait made by Lure Parts Online, and then I flipped the Strike King’s Rodent, Structure Bug and Craw Worm. When I’m fishing lakes that receive plenty of fishing pressure like Santee Cooper, I like to fish this 1/4-ounce spinner bait, that’s a smaller, compact version of a traditional spinner bait. I had one Indiana and one Colorado gold blade and a white skirt on the Compact lure. This size spinner bait is one of my favorites because it gets a lot of bites, and traditionally will receive some big bites, especially when bass fishing is tough. 

The water temperatures on Santee Cooper during the tournament were 71 degrees to 75 degrees with an air temp of mid-70s to low-80s. This weather was the traditional type of South Carolina weather in the early fall, with an occasional cold front moving through, depending on where you were fishing. 

I like to fish a Compact spinner bait, too, on lakes that receive lots of fishing pressure because the bass have seen about every blade and skirt color of bigger spinner baits all year long. Typically in October the bait the bass are feeding on is smaller bluegills and shad, which is usually the hatch from earlier in the year. The water up the river at Santee Cooper was stained and off-color, and that’s why I chose the two different styles of blades to fish on the spinner bait. The white color imitated a smaller shad. My line was 20-pound-test Seaguar fluorocarbon. I fished the spinner bait with a Team Lew’s Lite Reel and a Lew’s 7” medium heavy Custom Speed Stick rod. I primarily fished this Compact spinner bait around laydowns, logs, stumps or any other structures in the water. I alternated casts between the spinner bait and the Strike King flipping baits. 

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