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Let's Go Fishing! Week 1 Recap

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Guys, I know a lot of you have been wanting to attend the Let's Go Fishing classes at Higher Ground Church but have been unable to. I am going to be posting recap's of the classes here for everyones review.

These recaps are provided by Josh Groan of Fishing for Charities.

“Let’sGo Fishin’!“

Host: Nathan Light

3B Outdoors, Bass Pro Shops Pro Staff

Speaker: Ott DeFoe

Bass Pro Shops, Nitro Boats, Mercury Outboards, Abu Garcia,Berkley Trilene

3B Outdoors host Nathan Light kicked off the fifth annual Let’sGo Fishin’ seminar speaker series at Higher Ground Baptist Church inKingsport, TN on Wednesday, January 5, 2011 in the Crossroads StudentBuilding. The seminar series has becomea cherished event to many anglers of all ages, gender, and skill level. The anglers fought through driving snow Wednesdayto support the event and soak in knowledge from Bass Masters Elite SeriesRookie and East Tennessee native Ott Defoe.

Acting as if they were preparing for a retirement job as a greeterat Wal-Mart, Nathan and Ott met each participant with a smile and a handshake. At 6:45 pm sharp Nathan began theevening using his southern boy charm and his usual big smiling face. Nathanwould continue on to deliver a brief 10-15 minute devotional. Nathan shared a personal experience of beinglost in the fog on South Holston Reservoir and not being able to find his wayback to the ramp he had navigated to several times. He was fortunate enough to have met afisherman on the bank who gave him the advice to look to the sky, to the stars,and navigate by them because unlike the fog that had surrounded him the starswould stay steady and true and would deliver him from the fog to his rightfuldestination. Nathan would take thatadvice home with him and would later tie it in with a verse from the book ofLuke.

Immediately following the devotional it was 25 year old BASSMasters Elite Series Rookie Ott DeFoe’s turn to deliver a message of anothersort. The Bass Pro Shop’s and NitroBoats Pro gave a power point presentation entitled “Treble Hooks ofPre-spawn.” Ott focused his presentationon the time period between the end of winter fishing and the beginning of thespring spawn (March – April). Ott alsodefined the pre-spawn as the period of time when the water temperature isroughly between 47˚F and 60˚F. Hedescribed the pre-spawn as one of the best times of the year to catch bass inhigh quantities of quality bass as the fish group up in areas chasingbaitfish. Ott broke down the pre-spawnin a series of four treble hook bait choices: Jerkbaits, crankbaits, liplesscrankbaits, and top water baits.

Jerkbaits are the first group of treble hook baits that should beused in the pre-spawn as the water temperature reaches ≈ 48˚F all the waythrough ≈ 55˚. For DeFoe, one of thekeys to fishing a jerkbait successfully is water clarity or visibility. He says the water visibility should be atleast 2ft and no more than 8ft. The keyto successfully fishing a jerkbait in cool water is the baits ability tosuspend. You don’t want it to floatbecause the bait is meant to imitate a dying baitfish and when they dieinitially they will sink slowly to the substrate. He suggests when you tie on the bait to layit in the water to check its buoyancy. The ideal situation would be for the bait to sit slightly nose down andeither sitting still or sinking slowly. Defoe’s favorite examples of jerkabits include but are not limited toSmithwick Rogue in the 4” and 5” size, Pointer and Pointer deep divers, SPROMcStick, and Megabass.

When asked the question, “What line do you suggest when throwing ajerkbait,” DeFoe replied, “I throw fluorocarbon line because unlikemonofilament the fluorocarbon line will not stretch when it is jerked thereforeit will result in better action for the bait and better hook sets. I throw all Berkley Trilene Fluorocarbon, Ihave a lot of confidence in the line and it has yet to let me down.” DeFoe suggests main lake points, secondarypoints, transitional areas, and bluff ends as prime jerkbait locations.

Crankbaits are the second group of treble hook baits to go to inpre-spawn. A good water temperature tobegin throwing crankbaits would be ≈52˚ up to ≈60 ˚. In this temperature and time range Defoetargets the less than 10ft water depth range. DeFoe targets area’s similar to those of the jerkbait when he is fishinghis crankbaits. Besides those areas flatareas and bluffs are also good location choices according to DeFoe. Homemade crankbaits, Bandits (200 series),SPRO crankbaits, and shad raps ( #5 and #7) are some examples of crankbaittypes he goes to. DeFoe explained thekey for a good crank bait bite is to always have the bait in contact with thesubstrate for the first 2/3’s of the retrieve. He says he likes the bait to run up off the substrate toward the boat inthe last 1/3 because it gives the appearance of a fleeing bait often the basswill follow it up and attack. Ottwas asked, “What colors do you choose in the springtime pre-spawn?” DeFoereplied, “I like to throw either crawdad pattern or root beer and root beerchartreuse in the early pre-spawn but as the water temperature rises in thelate stages of pre-spawn I will typically switch over to baitfish patterns likesexy shad.”

Lipless crankbaits like Rat-l-traps, Red Eye Shad, and Excaliburbaits at the third treble hook bait to reach for in the pre-spawn. They are best used in water temperaturesbetween 48˚F and 60˚F at depths less than 6ft of water. Some of the best places to fish liplesscrankbaits include: gravel flats, mud flats, and grass if the lake hasany.

The final treble hook bait Ott DeFoe discussed was top waterbaits. Top water baits are the last baitin the time line for pre-spawn because the water temperature needs to be above≈52˚. Two typical examples of top water baits that DeFoe will fish earlyin the year are Long A’s and spooks. They can be fished at a variety of depths because the sound andvibration they make on the top of the water will cause bass to rush them fromdepths of 10ft or more. These areversatile baits that can be fished in a lot of different areas but the one keyDeFoe pointed out was that a little bit of clear water will go along way withtop water.

In closing, Ott answered a variety of really good questions frommembers of the audience and read scripture from the book of John. Ott and Nathan handed out several door prizesto very gracious and appreciative audience members. Bass Pro Shops of Kodak, TN donated most ofthe prizes including hats, a tackle bag, fishing line, jigs, and other assortedfishing tackle. Fat Daddy crankbaits,ITT Blakemore Roadrunner and FLW Magazines rounded out the remainder of doorprizes that were awarded.

This is the second consecutive year Ott DeFoe has participated inthe event as a speaker. Ott graciouslysacrificed his own time without any kind of compensation to drive over an hourand a half in support of the event. Theidea is to bring sportsman together in a Christian environment to expose themto our lord and savior Jesus Christ and his ministry while at the same timeexpanding our knowledge of the sport of fishing through some of the bestanglers in the sport.

Please join us every Wednesday evening at 6:45pm to 8:15 pm atHigher Ground.

The remaining speakers include, J.R. Atkins (BassPro Shops, Red Head, River Guide, TV Host) on Extreme River Smallmouth &Proper Jet Boat Setups, Brad Burkhart (Bass Pro Shops, Mercury,Professional Angler/Owner Killer Bass Baits ) on The Versatile Jig, BrandonCoulter (FLW ProfessionalPilot-Flying J/Xinergy) on Simplified Tournament Fishing, Putting the Odds in YourFavor, Joe Lee (Tracker Marine, Kool Well, 2009 & 2010 BFLVolunteer Division Points Champion) on Fishing in a Crowd, Barry Loupe(Former New River Guide, 3B Outdoors Fishing Pro Staff ) on Cold Weather RiverSmallies, Mark Mauldin (Professional Angler, Morristown MarinePro Staff) on Jerkbaits, Ricky Shepherd (FLW Everstart and BFLAngler, Morristown Marine Pro Staff) on Structure Fishing Specifics.

Remember to keep your eyes on the sky and if ever you findyourself lost in the fog of life always look up to our lord and savior JesusChrist.

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