Just a few weeks away until the start of the 2017 Bassmaster Elite Series season. Elite Series newcomer Stetson Blaylock is ready to take his best shot at victory on this new circuit.
One thing in Blaylock's advantage is all of the years he's spent competing on the FLW Tour. Having big money on the line is the norm for this Arkansas pro.
So, when the big bucks are waiting to be won, what does Blaylock like to toss? Well, whatever works of course, but there are three techniques Stetson finds to be versatile and usable where ever bass live. Carolina rigs, shaky heads and vibrating jigs.
Stetson Blaylock (Joel Shangle/BassFIRST)
"I think a lot of anglers overlook the Carolina rig," said Blaylock. "It's really versatile and catches a lot of fish.
"I keep it really simple. I use 20-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon as my main line and monofilament for the leader to help the bait float more. I use one bead and a swivel and a ½-ounce weight, sometimes a heavier one if the bottom allows me to not get stuck in the junk.
"I usually use a green pumpkin or watermelon colored Yum Christie Critter or lizard. Fishing the rig deep or shallow."
"For me, the shaky head jig and a worm works year 'round," said Blaylock. "I've actually caught some of my biggest fish in a tournament on it. A lot of people think of it as a limit catcher, and as not good for big fish. It is good at filling limits, but it catches bigger fish too. It's very effective.
"I'll fish it deep, but I'll also power fish it along banks, and heavier visible cover like docks or laydowns too. It really works well fishing behind anglers who've been using jerkbaits or crankbaits in the spring.
"I keep my shaky head fishing simple. I usually use a 1/8-ounce jig, but I go as heavy as ¼-ounce if I'm fishing deeper. My favorite lure to fish on it is a Yum Dinger. Standard size rigged weedless. Green pumpkin and watermelon are usually what I use, but sometimes black and blue flake."
Blaylock's line choice is 20-pound braid for the mainline and a leader of 8-pound Seaguar Vis-X for the leader.
"The vibrating jig is a go-to lure anytime you're fishing weeds," said Blaylock. From fishing it in deeper water over submerged vegetation or around shallower grass, skipping it under overhead cover, etc. It really performs well.
"I use either a black and blue or green pumpkin with a similarly colored trailer, though, I will often use a green pumpkin trailer on either color. My favorite trailers are the Christie Craw with its swimming legs, and shad shaped baits as well.
"I sometimes use braid when fishing in deeper water, but 17-pound fluorocarbon is what I usually use."