Giant Bass On Small Water
Bass Pro Shops Grapevine was floored recently by a simple text from Matt Scotch, our very own Kayak Pro Staffer. “I just a caught a double digit fish on Marine Creek Lake during a working man’s tournament, taking first place in both the tournament and the big fish category.” The accompanying photographs were impressive, to say the least. We recently caught up with Matt to ask him a few questions regarding the details, and to find out how Matt typically approaches smaller bodies of water.
Matt, you have had a pretty stellar summer. You recently took 6th place at the Hobie Worlds Qualifier and 2nd place at the Kayak Bass Series on Kentucky Lake. A double digit bass on Marine Creek Lake, worth a dominating win in all categories, must really feel like the icing on the cake. Lets get right to it, what was your tournament strategy for the day?
I always want to get bit quickly in any tournament. I feel getting some good momentum going with a couple of quick fish helps get me settled down, and allows me to make better decisions on the water.
For that quick bite I normally throw a Bass Pro Shops Stick-O (TX-Rigged or Wacky). Most of the time I can fool a couple of small fish throwing this bait in or around cover, grass, docks, or right in the middle of open water schooling fish.
After the quick bite I look to fill my limit and use the clues I’ve learned from being on the water to try and figure out what the bigger fish might be up too.
The day of the tournament I started off on an off-shore spot that I know holds lots of fish, they weren’t home however so I decided to move on and get a limit shallow. One of the keys to catching fish on rocky lakes that don’t have a lot of timber for me is to find wood. I knew this already about Marine Creek and immediately used that knowledge to start boating fish off laydowns and stickups. I stuck with this pattern all evening and it ended up working out pretty well because all of my fish came off some kind of wooded structure: laydowns, stickups, and brush piles.
Lets talk about the big fish, specifically. What was that experience like? Without giving away any precious secrets, how did you catch her?
The Big fish came off a wind-blown main-lake point. The spot I was fishing had all the ingredients you could ask for to catch fish. There was bait, wind which created current, and structure (laydowns and brush piles).
I watched several other anglers fish that point but they fished it shallow 1-5’ maybe. After they left I pulled up and immediately went to a spot where I knew there was a big brush pile with several near-by laydowns.
It wasn’t long before I felt a tick in my line and after a solid hook-set the fight was on. Immediately I felt the head shakes and I knew if this was a bass I had a nice one. She never once jumped or came to the surface and I was slightly afraid my big fish was just another catfish surprise. I got the monster to the boat really quick, but she was far from ready to give up. A couple nail biting minutes passed by as the big fish made multiple runs under my kayak trying her best to make a fish story out of our encounter. I was having none of that however as I dug in and fought back with all I could. She finally gave in and came close enough I could get my hands on her. I didn’t have a net, and she wouldn’t open her mouth so I dropped my rod in the yak and grabbed her with both my hands and slid her over the side and into my yak!
The experience was similar to other big fish I’ve caught. They always seem to have you on the edge of your seat and your heart rate going a million miles per hour. This fish was no different and I couldn’t be happier than I am to share the experience with so many people. That’s what really makes it all so rewarding.
No secrets here – I was using a TX- Rigged Craw, dragged on the bottom. To be a little more specific it was a Reins Ring Craw, Gamakatsu wide gap hook, .5 oz. Bass Pro tungsten weight, 20lb BPS fluorocarbon, Johnny Morris reel, and a Dobyns 704c rod.
Marine Creek Lake, for our readers that aren’t familiar with the body of water, is considered to be a very small lake. Do you approach small water differently? If so, what are some of the key differences between large lakes and small lakes?
My expectations probably aren’t as high for Marine Creek as some of the other big name lakes around the state, but I don’t approach it a whole lot different than the larger bodies of water. Fish are fish and they are going to relate to the similar things from lake to lake no matter what the size of the lake is.
Like a lot of the DFW area Metro lakes, Marine Creek does get a fair amount of fishing pressure. One thing I did Thursday was downsize my bait. I feel that a smaller finesse approach will get more bites on highly pressured waters like Marine Creek. I don’t necessarily go to 6lb. test when I say finesse, I’m really just talking about the baits profile size more than anything. Small lakes can produce quality fish and I’ve always known there were at least a few big fish in Marine Creek.
Matt, thank you for taking a few minutes to answer some questions and share some of your knowledge with our readers. Bass Pro Shops Grapevine couldn’t be more pleased with your talent and leadership, and we truly feel blessed to have you on our team. Good luck with the rest of your season, and tight lines.