provided by John Phillips
Brandon Cobb is a 31-year-old Mossy Oak Pro bass fisherman from Greenwood, South Carolina. One of the youngest fishermen to have competed in bass-fishing circuits as a professional, Cobb has made over $650,000 throughout his 6-year career. In early summer, he fished the Bassmaster Elite Lake Eufaula tournament, placing 4th out of 88 contestants and winning a $15,000 check. This tournament was a challenge to fish because of the weather’s drastic changes. During the practice days, there were gray skies and rain and during the tournament days, there were blue skies and hot weather. Like the other anglers, Cobb had to adjust to these conditions.
On the first day of the Lake Eufaula tournament, I placed 20th, the next day 7th, the following day 5th, and the last day 4th. During my entire practice, I probably only fished for 30 minutes. I spent almost every day of practice idling with my big motor and looking for bass with my Lowrance electronics. I marked about 200 waypoints in spots where I was certain that I could find bass during the tournament, but then during competition, I couldn’t even remember why I marked them.
One of the advantages of my Lowrance electronics was that I could estimate how big each bass was as I found schools. These schools of bass usually had several large fish while the rest were about 2-4 pounds each. I couldn't get an exact weight using my electronics, but I could tell if they were 2-pounders or 5-pounders.
The first two days of the tournament were pretty similar. I fished schools of bass on deep ledges in 12-20 feet of water. Some of these places would have 10 or fewer bass holding in them and other spots would have 100 or more. Most of the fish were 2-1/2 to 3 pounders. On the first day of competition, I caught 40 bass and kept the best five. On the second day, my best five weighed a total of 20 pounds. I caught most of these fish on a 1/2-ounce shaky head jig with a redbug-colored Zoom Mag-Tail worm, which should be available to purchase at the end of June. I also used my signature rod (the 7’ 4” Medium-Heavy Abu Garcia STX ark prototype) with 14-pound test Yo-Zuri TopKnot Natural Clear MainLine.
The following days, there was a lot of pressure on the ledges, and when this happened, the schools of bass tended to break-up and move into more shallow cover. So, I switched tactics and began fishing mid-depth brush in 6-12 feet deep water. Usually the bass would be looking for more isolated cover, like the brush piles on Lake Eufaula. I was familiar with this lake because I’d competed there in 2013. Historically, the best bass fishing had been in deep water offshore in the summertime to catch the most fish. I knew most of the bass would be holding in 8-30 foot deep water and caught about 15 bass each day.
When I started fishing the brush piles, I used a Yo-Zuri 3DS crankbait. The bait ran about 12-feet deep, and I was fishing in 6-12 feet deep water. I wanted that crankbait to plow-up the bottom and bang into the brush to trigger a reaction strike. However, Lake Eufaula has a lot of large flats about 8-12 feet deep that may run 1/4-mile without any brush on them. If I could find one tree hung-up on those flats or one manmade brush pile, the bass usually would be there.
The biggest bass that I caught during the tournament weighed 5 pounds, 7 ounces, and the rest weighed around 4-pounds each. The bass that I caught on the ledges during the first two days were very heavy and chunky. My brush pile bass were long but very skinny. I figured that the bass on the brush piles spawned late, left the bank, moved to the brush piles and finally made their way out to the ledges.