Spencer Shuffield already has two Major League Fishing Pro Circuit tournaments under his belt for 2021, including a recent second-place finish on Smith Lake in Alabama.
Last year, he finished second in the Angler of the Year standings and is a force to be reckoned with on that circuit. He likes the remaining events on this year’s schedule and hopes to be one of the anglers who qualify to fish the Bass Pro Tour next season.
Here is how he sees the rest of the season going down on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit.
Lake Okeechobee and Smith Lake
So far this season, Shuffield has had mixed results.. He finished 101st at Lake Okeechobee and was the runner-up on Smith Lake.
His great finish at Smith Lake was largely due to his success with a drop-shot while watching his forward-facing sonar, but he found those fish using a big glide bait to locate the followers.
“I used my Hardcore Ninja Twitch’n Glider and found all of those spotted bass sitting under the docks,” he recalls. “I ended up catching my fish the last few days on a drop-shot, but the Hardcore Minnow Flat 95SP accounted for four of my five fish on the first day. With the warming trend, the jerkbait bite faded after being so good in practice and on the first day of the tournament.”
Lake Murray, SC - Apr 22 – 25
Looking ahead to Lake Murray, Shuffield thinks it will be a great tournament with hungry bass in the post-spawn phase.
“I feel like they should all be done spawning by then with how warm it has been to start the year in that part of the country,” he says. “Post-spawn fish always stay shallow and hang around for a bit, and I am guessing topwaters will be a huge factor in this one.”
“The lake is full of blueback herring and a big wakebait is always a good option on those lakes,” he adds.
Lake Eufaula, AL - May 13 – 16
As the tournament schedule progresses toward warmer events, Shuffield believes cranking will play a big role in his tournaments, especially at Lake Eufaula.
“It will definitely be a cranking deal, whether it is shallow with a squarebill or out deeper with the Hardcore Crank 3+ and 4+. I will be targeting brush and anything less than about 13-feet deep; I’ll go with the 3+ and will use the 4+ on the deeper stuff.”
Shuffield is a fan of these two deep crankbaits for their ease of use and how well they come through the cover.
“They are ready to go right out of the package and run true,” he says. “They also do a great job at deflecting off of cover and that is important when fishing brushpiles. They are fish-catchers and really don’t hang up like other crankbaits.”
Potomac River, MD - Jun 17 – 20
The famed Potomac River is another one Shuffield is looking forward to. He once again predicts that it will be a topwater event, possibly with some cranking mixed in.
“The tides are always so important there, and I like to fish a Hardcore Popper or Noi-Z over the milfoil during high tide,” he says. “When the tide is low, I’ll go with a frog. I’ve also done well there cranking docks and hard cover with a squarebill like the Hardcore Crank SR 65F during low tides.”
St. Lawrence River, NY - Jul 29 - Aug 1
Smallmouth will be the focus at this event and although Shuffield has never been here, he’s done his research.
“I’ve watched a ton of video from past tournaments here,” he says. “It will definitely be a tournament where you have to have a drop-shot and Ned Rig tied on at all times, but some guys do catch fish there on shallow flats.”
For the shallow fish, he’ll go with a Hardcore Minnow Flat 110SP jerkbait.
“I’ll have one rigged up and be ready if the sun comes out and they get up on those flats,” he says. “I’ll definitely have one ready.”
TITLE Mississippi River - La Crosse, WI - Aug 17 – 22
Shuffield will first need to qualify for this year-end championship, but he’s going to do everything he can to be here as he loves the fishery.
“That is a fun place, and I like how the fish set up there,” he says. “You can catch smallmouth around the ends of jetties or largemouth on those little cuts leading into the creeks. I also like throw a Hardcore Popper around laydowns or fish the current breaks with a crankbait; there’s just so much you can do there.”