Shad spawn carried mccoy when looking faded – bassfan

“This is the style of fishing I like,” he said. “I like to sight-fish more than anything and we hit it on the tail end of fish coming in to spawn … the way it set up was right in my wheelhouse. When the shad spawn is on and you can get on the right group of trees or gator grass, you can catch ‘em.”

“I stayed on the lower lake Saturday and Sunday and saw a wave of fish coming in and they were setting up to go on beds,” he said. “I went to the upper lake on Monday and saw the same thing. I went up the river and found the shad spawn and had a good feeling that would last the week. I stayed up there and found fish in three areas. I went back to the bottom end of the lake Monday and Tuesday and saw a lot of fish without much color, which indicated those fish had just moved up.

I knew it would be a mix of the shad spawn early and spawners later in the day.”

McCoy said the best decision he made all week came on day 1 of the tournament. After catching roughly 16 pounds targeting fish keying on the shad spawn around Rimini on the upper end of Marion, he opted to leave and head down lake to fish for spawners. He wound up bagging a 9-09 and a 7-pounder off the same bed to push his weight up to 26-00 to start the event.

“I knew fish were spawning and I knew the shad spawn was going on so my decision to not lean on those fish too hard and go down lake to go looking – that was the key decision,” he said, adding he felt like he was able to manage the fish in the three areas where he’d found them keying on shad.

He said the shad would sometimes show themselves near the surface, essentially revealing the general area the bass would be in as well. He said most of the key trees had 2 to 4 feet of water around them and the presence of gator grass was also key.

“Bedding fish love it sunny and still and I think (the weather) made the shad-spawn bite better on day 3,” he added. “The shad stayed on those shallower trees longer than they normally do. The weather didn’t seem to affect those fish on the shad spawn.”

He had about 20 pounds by 10 a.m., then caught two key upgrades off other nearby cypress trees to push his day-3 total to 26-02, the only 20-pound stringer on the final day and nearly 7 pounds better than Howell’s effort. It was more than enough to deliver him the biggest win of his tournament career.

“It was amazing,” he said. “I didn’t think I had that much weight. I didn’t look at them – I didn’t want to look at them. I just kept culling and felt like I needed one more bite, but fortunately I didn’t. It was an amazing feeling. It’s the highlight of my fishing career so far.”

> Spinnerbait/Vibrating jig gear: 7’3” heavy-action and 7’2” medium-heavy action Level Performance casting rods, Lew’s Tournament Pro Speed Spool casting reels (6.4:1 ratio), 15-pound Izorline monofilament line, 1/2-oz. homemade double-willow spinnerbait (white), 1/2-oz. Z-Man Evergreen Jackhammer (white), 4.75” Black Flagg Slick Shad trailer (white).

> McCoy’s affinity to the Zoom Road Kill is tied to it being a little-used bait for sight-fishing. It’s tough to find in stores, he said (Tackle Warehouse does not carry it), but the simple design and claw action make it a favorite of his. "They catch fish," he said.

> Main factor in his success – “I had a plan going into it and I didn’t lose but one fish all week long. The strategy for leaning on that shad spawn and getting a decent limit every morning was key. It was one of those tournaments I can look back on and say I did exactly what I needed to do.”