Lures for Winning the 2020 Lake Guntersville Classic
provided by John Phillips
Drew Benton from Blakeley, Georgia, is fishing his third Bassmasters Classic. He is the newest member of the Mossy Oak Fishing Team.
I finished 9th in the Angler of the Year points race last year, and that’s how I qualified for the Classic. I am 31 years old and have been fishing at the Tour Level since 2015. I fished two seasons before that on the Bassmaster Open Circuit. I have also fished the FLW Costa series. I won a Tour Level event in 2017 on FLW and was also Rookie of the Year for FLW. In 2018, I won the Toyota Texas event and was Rookie of the Year for Bassmaster in 2016.
I’ve fished Lake Guntersville three or four times during the spring of the year, and one time I weighed in one of my biggest stringers at Guntersville (29 pounds) for one day’s fishing. I feel very comfortable coming into the 2020 Bassmaster Classic. I know where the bass should be, and where they should be setting up. Guntersville is always considered to be a grass lake. I know what I should be looking for, but Lake Guntersville is a really vast area. If I can find the type of cover and bottom I’m searching for, I think I can have a good tournament. I believe the bass will be in pre-spawn mode. We’ll be fishing really close to the time when the bass will be spawning, so if Guntersville has a warming trend during that week, many more bass will be in that shallow water, trying to spawn.
One thing I know about Guntersville is that numbers of bass live in shallow water there year-round. I really believe that the angler who wins this tournament will catch his bass in water that is 8-feet deep or less. I feel like shallow fishing with crankbaits and swimming a jig will be highly productive. A bladed jig will catch a lot of fish too, and swimbaits may produce a giant bag of bass. An angler who fishes a big swimbait all day long and only expects to have five bites may do really well at Guntersville during March.
One of the reasons the Classic is so much different than any other Bassmaster tournament is that none of the anglers will be fishing for points or for second place. This tournament is one you can gamble on, if you’re a contestant. Most of us look at the Classic as though it’s a win-or-lose tournament. So, you’ll see fishermen using the baits and techniques that will be required to win.
One lure I left out was the lipless crankbait. I’m convinced numbers of fish will be caught on that lure. However, everybody knows that you can catch bass on a lipless crankbait all year long. So, my philosophy is to try and fish the lures that the bass have seen the least. I think one of the lipless crankbaits that may play a major role in this year’s Classic is a silent running one. The majority of the contestants I believe will be fishing rattling, lipless crankbaits. I think the contestant who finds various ways to catch bass with different lures definitely will have an advantage.