Friday and Saturday was the College Bass Carhartt East Super Regional on Smith Mountain Lake. I fished it and did terribly. But, the rest of the Virginia Tech Bass Fishing Team did great (more on that soon) and the team of Justin Witten and Travis Cox from Radford walked away with a dominating win. B.A.S.S. did a great job on the tournament; it ran smoothly once it started and as always B.A.S.S. had some great on-the-water coverage. It was the first significant tournament for a lot of people and B.A.S.S. really helped first timers along by making sure they were well informed and comfortable.
As far as the actual fishing, Justin Witten and Travis Cox ran away with it while teams that limited effectively filled out the rest of the top places. Bed fishing was a factor for almost every team that fished but fish were caught a variety of ways. In my opinion low water and a cold snap combined to keep bed fishing from being the predominant bite.
I caught up with Justin Witten and asked him about his win.
Jody- What was your pattern?
Justin- I targeted main lake points and smallmouth on beds because the colder conditions don’t affect them as much and that’s how you can do well in tournaments if you have three nice smallies and two nice largemouth. We left the smaller fish alone in this tournament to not waste a lot of time on them. That is why we caught only 14 fish total over the two days of competition. We could have aught 20-30 fish each day if we would have wanted to because of how good the smaller ones have been biting over the last few weeks.
Jody- How did you prepare for the tournament?
Justin- I went and looked for smallmouth on the beds that nobody else would be able to find and then targeted largemouth on the points for the kickers. I thought a Tech team had caught one of my three pound smallmouths because they were sitting on it both mornings of the tournament, but I don’t believe they knew it was there because it was early in the morning and the fish was deep. I only went and caught a few of smallmouth each day because I figured if I had 15 pounds each day we would have a good shot at winning it. Catching 13-15 pounds this time of the year is usually fairly easy with all of the 2-3 pounders up shallow and cruising. I came down a few weeks ago just fun fishing and caught 47 keepers with the best 5 weighing 21 pounds, but a lot of the fish only weighed 2-3 pounds and only had a few big ones to make the bag. We only fished the way we would have the best chance of catching the bigger ones leaving the little ones alone in the tournament.
Jody- I assume you will be representing Radford in the National Championship. How do you feel about that? How will you prepare for it?
Justin- It is a great opportunity I can’t wait to get to go down to Arkansas and fish. I have always wanted to fish in the Classic ever since I was a little kid and I finally get a chance to fish to go to the classic. I’ll probably go down in the next few weeks to look over the areas we are going to be fishing and get an idea of what should be going on for the Championship.
Jody– Anything else you want to add?
Justin- I can’t wait for July 25th to get here it’s the start of the National Championship and my birthday.
Jody- How old will you be?
Justin- I’ll be 23.
Jody- What are your and/or Radford’s sponsors?
Justin- My personal sponsors are Daiwa rods and reels, DLW lures, Pradco fishing, and Richardsonbaits. Radford University sponsors include Tackle Warehouse and JB Custom Rods