Previewing Anglers Choice Virginia Division stop #1 –

Smith Mountain Lake

March 19th

By Ben Hudson

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One of the biggest team events of the year is coming to Smith Mountain this weekend, and it just may be coming at the prime time!

A big field is expected. I’m projecting anywhere from 100-150 boats most likely in this event. With a warmer week trending, I expect a lot of 5 bass limits to be caught this weekend if the weather stays its course!

There’s a weekend every year on Smith Mountain that I refer to as “that weekend”. What this refers to is when the first big wave of fish move shallow, and more bass become available to catch. This will mean more teams will have a limit than in a normal tournament.

During “that weekend” though, just a 5 bass limit can be well below par. Last year when the big female bass came shallow in bulk, no one was safe to get paid unless they had over 20lbs. With a bigger field, it’s unpredictable to say what it will take to finish in the money this year, but my guess is that a 3lb average of 15lbs wont cut it when trying to cash a check if this happens.

Of course, this is dependent on this tournament falling during “that weekend”, which is still to be seen. Water looks to be in the low to mid 50s, but the weather over the days leading up will determine what we get. Consistent mid 50s to afternoon water temps in the high 50s could make this the feeding frenzy time!

As far as the winning weight, I can’t imagine it taking anything less than a 5lb average of 25lbs even in average conditions. The only way I could see it less than that is if the weather turned very foul unexpectedly, which isn’t in the forecast at the moment. My guess would be that it could very easily take 27-28lbs to win. As crazy as it is to think about, I wouldn’t be overly surprised by seeing that coveted 30lb bag weigh in this weekend. Anything is possible on “that weekend”!

Q&A:

Q: Do you think this event will be won shallow or deep?

A: I’m guessing it will be won shallow, but right now there should be fish in all kind of different stages. So even if it’s won shallow, that doesn’t mean all big bags will be caught that way.

Q: What baits will catch the most fish this weekend?

A: Numerous baits will be working. The ones most anglers with have tied on are jigs, crankbaits, alabama rigs, jerkbaits, shaky heads, and swimbaits.

Q: Any particular part of the lake going to better than another?

A: Personally, I don’t think so. I feel like it’s going to be more about getting on the right pattern than about being in a certain area.

Q: Final thoughts… which team will win it all this weekend?

A: Tough call, whoever wins will definitely earn it in a heavyweight slugfest.

There’s several teams to watch at the scales. Chad Green & Johnny Martin would be a safe bet I’d say. They’re as consistent as anyone at catching giant bags. Mark Winn & Mike Nichols are also coming off a 27lb bag a couple weekends ago and tend to bring the weight in big events. Greg Stallings and Ricky Grant are another team to watch for. You also can’t ever count out Ross&Ross when a big tournament with a lot of money is at stake! Maybe a team from out of town will surprise us all.

Whoever wins, they’re definitely going to deserve it. It’s a stacked field that will require a special day to take home first!

Good luck to all teams fishing this weekend. Bring them to the scales alive and well, and be safe out there in the boat traffic!

Tight lines!

Ben Hudson
Blue Collar Bassin’
@Ben_Hudson_Fishing