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Jeff Michels Works Key Area for WWBT Shasta Win
Category : BASS TOURNAMENT NEWS, INDUSTRY NEWS
By David A. Brown
REDDING, Calif. — When the big guns failed to deliver, APEX Cup angler Jeff Michels shifted gears and sacked up a Day-2 limit of 11.91 pounds and won the Wild West Bass Trail Superclean Showdown Pro/Am on Lake Shasta. with a two-day total of 23.45. For his effort, Michels earned a $25,000 first-place award.
The event was originally scheduled for three days, but an unforeseen complication involving local regulations postponed the start to Friday.
Hailing from Lakehead, Calif., Michels placed second on Day 1 with 11.54. Spending his tournament in the McCloud and Sacramento River arms, he fished a two-pronged game plan in which he looked for big bites early on a 10-inch Hog Hunter Magnum Trout swimbait and then finessed his spots with 5-inch Senkos in natural shad, baby bass and green pumpkin black flake colors on a 3/32-ounce finesse head.
Same as Day 1, Michels fished hard spots on muddy banks from 5 to 30 feet. After missing a few big swimbait opportunities, he caught all of his weight fish on the Senko.
Michels noted that his best action came far up the Sacramento arm where a lack of shad made crawfish and trout imitations the right call. He caught good numbers both days, but a late-day kicker on Day 2 pushed him over the finish line.
“I caught a key fish today — a 4.15 — around 3:30,” Michels said. “I was sweating it. I had a little bit of time left and I had a ton of confidence in that area. I just stuck in that one area and ground it out.
“I just got a couple key bites both days. Coming into this event, I was only catching 8 to 8 1/2 pounds a day. I found one school of fish and I just stuck with them. I had a 1/4-mile stretch of the Sacramento and I was working both sides of the channel, so it was a 1/2-mile loop.”
Michels said the warming trend that arrived right before the tournament made the fish more active. Also, recent rains helped Shasta regain some of its water level deficit (approximately 105 feet below full pool) and Michels believes this further benefitted his cause.
“When this lake starts coming up, fish start coming to the bank,” he said. “It positions them so you can catch them. That was a big key to my victory.”
Michels also lauded the impact of his recently installed Garmin Panoptix.
“That technology is amazing,” he said. “It will show you fish, so you look down at your trolling motor arrow and you know exactly where to cast and how deep the fish are. It’s a game changer.”