The Bass Pro Tour will visit several famed fisheries this season. The first three tournaments of the year are setting up to be slugfests with big bass fisheries at the right time of year. As Calfornia pro Brent Ehrler gears up for the season, he offers his preview of the first four tournaments in the 2021 season.
Bass Pro Tour Stage One - Sam Rayburn Reservoir, TX – THIS WEEK!
The kick-off to the season is on Sam Rayburn this week. Prior to official practice, Ehrler believed it could play out in several different ways.
"I think it will be a huge mix of different techniques," he said. "It could be sight fishing, or it could be a jerkbait, ChatterBait, or crankbait thing. It could also be a lipless crankbait deal."
He prefers his signature series Daiwa Tatula Elite rod for sight-fishing, a 7'3" medium-heavy that is truly an all-purpose rod
"It is so versatile and I'll use it for any sight fishing I might do," Ehrler said. "It is also a great rod to throw a Senko around and that is another technique that will probably come into play at Rayburn."
For all of his moving baits, he's a huge fan of the Daiwa Tatula Elite reels for the casting distance he gets.
"The further you cast a bait, the deeper it will get and your bait will stay in the strike zone longer," Ehrler added. "I promise you I can get a crankbait down two or three feet deeper with that reel because the casts are so long. It was designed as a distance caster and also helps with baits like a lipless crankbait. The longer it is out there, the more chances you have for a bass to get the bait in their mouth and your odds at catching fish go up."
Heavy Hitters - Falls Lake, NC - Apr 9 - 14, 2021
Next up for Ehrler and the other anglers who qualified for this big bass-focused event is Heavy Hitters.
Having been there once before, he believes it will set up perfectly for a crankbait bite.
"Unless they get flooding and we are up on the bank flipping and pitching laydowns, it will probably be a cranking tournament and possibly some casting a jig around. I look at baits like a Lucky Craft 1.5 DD or possibly a squarebill being the baits to throw."
He prefers his signature series 7'2" medium Daiwa Tatula Elite fiberglass cranking rod with a Tatula Elite Reel for his cranking. For casting a jig, he opts for the 7' heavy Skipping Rod in the same lineup.
Bass Pro Tour Stage Two - Lake Travis, TX - Apr 30 - May 5, 2021
Lake Travis outside of Austin should be another smorgasbord of techniques, according to Ehrler.
"That's an interesting one to think about because the bite should be all over the map," he said. "It could be topwater or deep diving crankbaits. It could also be offshore fishing, with a big worm or a jig. Another one that I think will be a factor is a jerkbait."
Similarly to Rayburn's plans to get his crankbaits down deeper, he says the same applies to jerkbaits when using a reel designed for casting distance like the Tatula Elite.
"You can cast a jerkbait further with the reel and keep it in the strike zone that much longer," he said. "I'll pair the reel with the 7' medium-light Randy Howell Tatula Elite rod for jerkbaits and also for my topwaters. I'll use the same reel for both but will use braided line with a short leader for the open water topwater baits."
Bass Pro Tour Stage Three - Harris Chain of Lakes, FL - May 21 - 26, 2021
Wrapping up the first three months of the season, the Bass Pro Tour will visit the Harris Chain in Florida.
Ehrler believes heavy cover techniques will be a factor, but ChatterBaits and spinnerbaits may be key if a shad spawn is happening.
"I think a ChatterBait will be a good choice and I'll use the 7'4" medium heavy Tatula Elite glass cranking rod that I designed for vibrating jigs and big squarebills like the Lucky Craft 2.5," Ehrler said.
He also plans to flip and pitch a Senko as well as a jig.
"If the bluegill are spawning, the jig could be the deal," he said. "I like to flip the jigs on Ish's 7'6" heavy Tatula Elite rod."
The first four events of the 2021 season will force anglers to be versatile and figure out the patterns during practice. Ehrler is already thinking about each stop and preparing for anything. He believes the beginning of the season offers a great chance to catch some giant bass and he's ready for it to get started.