If you sat down one day and started to search for a place to catch trophy Spotted Bass, where would you start? That’s probably an easy answer for most Alabama anglers. We all have our favorite fishery in the state that we’re certain will produce the next record-breaker. We’re blessed. For other avid anglers across the country it’s not that easy. So, for all of you from outside the “Spot Belt,” I would suggest taking Shaw Grigsby’s approach and find a local who knows the rivers of Alabama like the back of their hand. A little while back he reached out and found Dustin Connell. Dustin isn’t a guide, but he cut his teeth on the Coosa. He also fished for 4 years at the University of Alabama, graduating with a marketing degree last December. His time at Alabama allowed him to sharpen his skills, and he has (literally) put hundreds of trophy class spots in the boat during that time. When Shaw called, he knew just the place to take him. Now he’s not handing out waypoints, but he did offer to show us his favorite lures for fooling giant Spots.
1) Football Jig: The football jig is definitely my favorite big Spot lure. I typically throw a 1/2 or 3/4oz, depending on depth, Strike King Football jig in Okechobee Craw. I’ll pair that with a full Strike King Rage Craw trailer dipped with JJ’s Magic. It’s big and bulky, but it will definitely get you a big bite. During the winter and spring, when the water is stained and flowing hard, I usually just let it wash. Just let the current swing it around boulders, points, and down bluff walls. I’ve been fortunate enough to put 4 Spots over 7lbs. in the boat over the last couple years, and all of them have come off of this setup.
2) Spinnerbait: A heavy spinnerbait is another really good lure for big Spots on deep walls and points. I like to throw a 3/4oz Strike King Pro Model in white and chartreuse patterns. 20lb. Seaguar Fluorocarbon spooled on a Lew’s high speed reel is my typical setup. The fluorocarbon helps you keep it down there where it needs to be.
3) Swimbait: I throw a lot of swimbaits, and they have also helped me to boat quite a few big spots. There’s a lot of times when I see other anglers in tailraces casting A-rigs and not catching many. That’s when I get out a Shadalicious with a heavy lead head. It allows you to get down there and bang into rocks that you would just get hung up on with an A-rig. It’s one of my favorite lures for fishing below dams.
If you want to see some amazing Spot fishing, check out One Last Cast With Shaw Grigsby on the Sportsman Channel this Monday. Shaw and Dustin lay the wood to some “Big Ole Pigs” on the Warrior River. I’ve already got it set to record!
- J. Taylor