Sunday, May 26, 2024

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 1


While Drew Benton was busy bugging bedding fish for his day-one tournament lead, several others behind him were scoring big with other fishing options on Lewis Smith Lake. Sight-fishing also played a role in the top limits produce by Tracy Adams, Scott Martin and Ish Monroe, but Clayton Batts and Zack Birge both brought in big bags with other patterns.

Click here to read about Benton’s day-one performance at the second Walmart FLW Tour event of 2015, which is presented by Evinrude. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done.


Pro Clayton Batts couldn't ask for a better way to start the FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake; he weighs 19-9.

2nd Place – Clayton Batts 2nd – 19 pounds, 9 ounces

Sight-fishing might be working for some, but today Clayton Batts didn’t have to look at fish on beds for his runner-up catch, which consisted of three largemouths and two spots.

“These were all feeding fish,” Batts reveals. “I have found a few places that have hoards of [blueback] herring all up on the banks, and the bass are just thrashing them – both largemouths and big spots.”

The Georgia pro says there is no question that his pattern is totally herring-driven.

“I can see schools of herring ripping up and down the banks,” he continues. “When the bass bust them up, herring go skipping everywhere. A couple of the bass I’ve caught have herring tails down their throats. And I’m catching them on a typical herring-imitator like they use on other herring lakes.”

The one piece of bad news on Batts’ prolific pattern is that he needs clouds, which is also consistent with the herring vibe.

“As long as it’s cloudy, it’s on,” he says. “If it gets sunny, it sort of dies, and I have to switch baits and work harder to make them bite.”


Pro Zack Birge starting stop number two of the FLW Tour on Lewis Smigh Lake the way he ended stop one on Toho - in the top-10. He weighs 18-15 and should start day two with a boatload of confidence.

3rd Place – Zack Birge – 18 pounds, 15 ounces

Fresh off a Walmart Bass Fishing League win at Grand Lake a week and a half ago, Zack Birge kept his momentum rolling right into Smith Lake, grabbing third place on day one.

Birge was one of just a few anglers who weighed in all largemouths today.

“I spent two days of practice trying to fish for spots, and the first time I went to the bank I caught a 5-pound largemouth,” Birge says. “That was my sign. That’s the way I like to fish, so I committed to that style of fishing.”

Birge revealed that he is fishing super shallow in stained “largemouth water” and has no intentions of changing.

“I believe they’re coming shallow,” he says of the largemouths. “I have three similar places. I hit two of them today and did not even touch the third. The way they are set up in these places is similar, and when I get in the right stuff I can catch two or three in a row, which is encouraging to me. I might go awhile until I hit another wad of them, but the bites definitely come all together, and I like that.”


4th Place – Tracy Adams – 18 pounds, 9 ounces

Tracy Adams relied on sight-fishing to corral his first limit on day one, but then discovered another pattern that was working within the same bedding areas.

“I ran my first set of beds and caught three largemouths and two spots sight-fishing,” Adams says. “I felt pretty good with what I had, so I started trying some other stuff and sort of ran into another pattern that allowed me to cull out a couple of my bedding fish.

“As it turns out, the other pattern seems to be better than what I originally thought,” he adds. “I think it might just be developing, so I’m pretty anxious to try it a lot more tomorrow.”


5th Place – Scott Martin  – 18 pounds, 6 ounces

Scott Martin is another pro who weighed in all largemouths for his catch today, three of which came off beds.

“I had about 15 fish marked on beds, but a lot of them were gone today,” Martin says. “I did catch a few looking at them, but the others came just casting a variety of lures around in those bedding areas. I caught a couple just fishing secondary points leading into those bedding pockets.”

Martin says he has a few spotted bass schools he is saving for the colder days forecast for later in the week.

“My plan is really to use up these largemouths while it’s warm,” Martin explains. “If I make it to days three and four, I will totally switch gears and fish for spotted bass on the weekend.”


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