The Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour will originally scheduled their championship event, REDCREST, on Lake Palestine in Texas from February 21st through the 25th.
Currently, the event has been delayed by one day and the location has been changed.
Before the original lake went off-limits to the anglers, many took the time to visit the lake and see what they should expect when the tournament starts.
Among those making the scouting trip south was Fletcher Shryock and he liked what he saw of the lake. He shared his plan, but like many of the best-laid fishing plans… things may have changed with the location change.
"The weather is setting up perfectly on the long-range forecast and it's gonna go down," he predicts. "It has been really cold and then it will jump up into the 50s and 60s and that should get the fish moving. I think some guys will smash them."
Making the Right Plan
Shryock feels it will be important in this event to pick the right area to start the event. The lake has a reputation as being hazardous for running around and Shryock saw that first hand.
"It is full of stumps and I pretty much idled pretty much the entire time I was there," he says. "That will make your decision making even more important because if they aren't biting, you can't move around easily. It is just too hard to pick up and go somewhere else quickly."
Shryock liked how the lake is set up and says big ones live there, but he also likes it because it is such an unknown to the field.
"We don't have a history like we do at most places we go to," he says. "It is sort of a cross between Lake Conroe (Texas) and the Red River (Louisiana) and we are hitting it right in the pre-spawn. It should be a good event and I think it will change and get better as the week goes on."
Shryock expects this event to unfold with various techniques working and plans to fish his strengths: flipping and pitching. He's also hoping for some rain to raise the water levels and give him more targets to flip and pitch.
When he selects each one will depend on what he sees on the water and the water temperature.
"Fishing a five-inch Senko with a ¼-ounce weight is one of my go-to ways to fish isolated cover and I use it everywhere I go," he says. "For that dirty water, which it should be on Palestine, I like the Bruised Shin color (#996 Black and Blue Laminate) because it works so well in Texas. That is a great color of Lake Fork and that isn't too far away from there."
If he finds slightly clearer water or has a hunch that the bass are spawning, he'll opt for the Psycho Dad.
"That could really be a player if they are spawning or close to it," he says. "The action of that bait is perfect on a Texas-Rig and I like the way the claws float up off of the bottom. I'll be pitching that around to anywhere I think they could have a bed. When we were at Lake Conroe a few years ago during the same time of year, I was catching fish that I know were spawning even though I couldn't see them in the dirty water and that may happen again on Palestine if the weather cooperates."
The Flappin' Hog is a bulky bait and he'll select in when looking for the biggest fish in the area. It comes in two sizes, but he plans to go big with the larger 4.5" size.
"I don't think it is going to be a catch-fest where we put up tons of numbers of fish," he says. "The bigger fish are going to be a factor and those six, seven, and eight-pound fish could push you way up in the standings."
Besides flipping and pitching, Shryock believes a spinnerbait or vibrating jig could be the key to victory at REDCREST.
"The way the lake sets up, it could definitely be a spinnerbait bite," he says of Palestine's many pieces of submerged wood. "The other one would be a vibrating jig with a Yamamoto Zako as the trailer. That catches fish everywhere and it always seems to be a factor in our tournaments. One final lure I could see working well is a swim jig and I'll be giving it a shot."
Fletcher Shryock believes that REDCREST on Lake Palestine could be a shocker in terms of the quality of fish caught. The weather is the biggest wildcard, but he's banking on fish on the move as they transition from pre-spawn to the banks to spawn on the Texas lake.