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Humminbird® Pros Dominate Bass Pro Shops Southern Open

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Humminbird® Pros Dominate Bass Pro Shops Southern Open

ONIX™ user Chad Morgenthaler declared champ, Bobby Lane Jr. second, Gerald Swindle fourth

EUFAULA, AL. (January 15, 2015) –  Coulterville, lllinois native and Humminbird pro Chad Morgenthaler recently took top honors at the 2015 Bass Pro Shops Southern Open held in Kissimmee, Florida.

Rather than spend valuable fishing spend time locking through canals, Morgenthaler focused his efforts on Lake Tohopekaliga (aka “Toho”), where he had located bass in clumps of offshore vegetation during practice.

 Chad Morganthaler image courtesy of B.A.S.S.

Morgenthaler says he was more efficient than ever before at the Open, thanks in large to Humminbird ONIX.

“I run two ONIX10 units at the console and both an ONIX10 and ONIX8 on the bow. I rigged everything myself and it’s all networked and dialed in beautifully,” says Morgenthaler.

“The one thing that impresses me most about ONIX is the detail of the digital picture. The quality of the Side- and Down Imaging is insane. The fish cannot hide. I know exactly what I’m looking at. We thought we had it great with the 1100 Series. To be honest, if there had ever been a Humminbird deficiency, it was Down Imaging. Not anymore. With the new transducer, display and features, it is absolutely the best out there.”

According to Morgenthaler, there were two patterns that could potentially win on the Kissimmee Chain. “I knew the first would be finding offshore shellbeds and hydrilla. So I spent a considerable amount of time during practice with my nose in the ONIX, using the unit’s amazing Side Imaging clarity to examine the shellbeds in the hydrilla groves, looking for both quality and numbers. But that pattern wasn’t lining up. I couldn’t find a giant school; it was all ones or twos.”

 

 

 

 

That’s when he turned to looking for transition points. “Since the bass weren’t relating to the shellbed and hydrilla combination, I knew it would come down to finding where the fish were in transition each day, which depends on fluctuations in water temperature. I looked for pinch points where main lake fish will push up shallow when the water warms or where shallow fish will move back deeper when the temps drop, which is exactly what happened during the cold front. That pushed the shallow fish back to these pinch points. Then, when the water warmed in the afternoon sun, deeper main lake fish moved onto the pinch point, too. The key is to find the pinch point with the biggest bass population.”

To locate these areas, Morgenthaler kept a close eye on his Humminbird 2D, while glassing for emergent hydrilla in 4 to 5 feet of water.

But not just any hydrilla.  

“The best pinch points had to have mixed vegetation: either hydrilla and Kissimmee grass, hydrilla and flat reed, or hydrilla and gator vine. And they had to be isolated patches in the middle of the field. That’s where I found the numbers.”

 

On the presentation side, Morgenthaler says the devil is in the details.

“Two things: I downsized my hook from a 4/0 Gamakatsu Super Heavy Cover Flipping Hook to a 3/0. Didn’t want to burn up my 4/0’s in practice. But it turned into a blessing throughout the tournament; my bite/catch ratio soared by sticking with the 3/0. Second, I stepped down from 65 pound to 40 pound Gamma braid. This allowed the 1.5 oz. Reins tungsten, smaller hook and Missile Baits Baby D-Bomb to slide better through the hydrilla. Also gave me way more bait control.”

Morgenthaler also notes that recent improvements to trolling motor technology have made it easier than ever before to fish the heavy vegetation in waters like Florida’s Kissimmee Chain. “The Minn Kota Fortrex 112 has way more power, turns on a dime and chops serious salad. There’s also a new cable so you don’t have to worry about string breakage, which is awesome.”

Thanks to this win, Morgenthaler is guaranteed berth in the 2016 Bassmaster Classic, contingent on participation in two more Open events.

 

 Bobby Lane Jr. image courtesy of B.A.S.S.

The Fast Lane

Humminbird pro Bobby Lane Jr. weighed 15 bass over three days for an impressive 48-13 and second place behind Morgenthaler’s 52-7 three-day total.

Lane says he caught most of his fish in the last lake of the chain, Kissimmee, with the help of two Humminbird 999s – units that are being switched out to ONIX10s in preparation for the upcoming 2015 Bassmaster Classic.

“I don’t think anyone had any idea what I was doing. I was cruising around at 40 to 50 MPH keeping one eye on my Humminbird 2D sonar and LakeMaster mapping. The wonderful thing about Humminbird is it reads clearly at all speeds, especially with a glassed-in transducer. So, I was running fast in 4 to 8 feet of water, trying to find areas where the hydrilla wasn’t so thick. As soon as my 2D started indicating holes in the grass, I would stop and fish. Worked great.”

Lane also used Humminbird LakeMaster mapping during practice to eliminate dead water from the get-go.

“I had to go out with a whole new mind frame with the water up so much. First thing I did was use LakeMaster’s Water Level Offset to adjust for the fact the lake was up four feet. Next, I used Depth Highlight to label all the depths I wanted to fish in red. There were two areas I had never fished before that looked great on LakeMaster, and low and behold, the fish were there.”

 

Completing the trifecta of Humminbird pros to dominate at the Bass Pro Shops Southern Open, Gerald “G-Man” Swindle took fourth with an impressive 46-9.

Gerald Swindle image courtesy of B.A.S.S.

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