Bassfan.com > Day 4: 5, 15-08 (20, 57-01) Gagliardi was pleased with his outcome this week and now has back-to-back Top-10s after a 165th to open the year at Lake Okeechobee.
"I couldn't have asked for anything more really," he said. "It was a good tournament. I fished really clean today. Looking back, there's nothing I could've done differently. As a whole, I feel really good."
His day started better than the previous 2 as he boxed a decent limit of smallmouths before 9 a.m. That gave him the freedom to poke around and try to pick off a couple upgrades through the rest of the day.
"I was ecstatic because the last 2 days they'd been real slow for me up until about 11," he said. "I had all day to catch a couple big largemouth or do whatever I wanted to try to do to upgrade. I probably had 12 pounds at the time and felt like I was in super shape.
"I was doing some things to try to catch some largemouth down in the clear end and that never materialized for me down there. I abandoned that part of the lake and came back toward this end and pulled out the umbrella rig and caught two good ones in the last hour."
The first was a 5 1/2-pounder and the other was another solid upgrade.
"That (big fish) was the key to my day and key to my tournament really," he said.
Third-place finisher Anthony Gagliardi holds up his biggest bass from day four on Beaver Lake. One of the few anglers who played the smallmouth game this week was Anthony Gagliardi. He stayed true to that pattern this week without throwing much of the A-rig at all. The Chevy pro did catch two key fish on the rig today in the last 10 minutes, upgrading him to a 15-pound, 8-ounce total for the day and moving his cumulative weight up to 57-1.
“I bounced back and forth between my smallmouth places and pockets with largemouth where I could cast an Alabama rig today,” said Gagliardi, a Prosperity, S.C., resident. “I only caught seven keepers today. Two of those came at the very end of the day when I ran back near Prairie Creek to some dirtier water and caught my 5-pounder.”
Gagliardi noticed that the further towards the dam he went, the smaller the smallmouth got for him. As a result, he elected to fish between the Starkey Marine area and Rambo Creek to find the larger smallies.
“I was pretty surprised today when I found a largemouth on bed. I went up shallow just to look around a bit and there was one sitting on bed. That was the only fish I caught off bed, but it was just so windy I couldn’t stick with it today.”
Fishing with jigging spoons is one of the most productive winter patterns, especially when bass are holding in deep brush and on ledges. I’ve got spoons in all sizes and shapes, from about a half-ounce to an ounce. The brand doesn’t matter so much to me, but most of the spoons I use are either silver or white. If it’s a cloudy day, or if the water is stained, white seems to work best. The rest of the time, I stick with silver. Depending on where I’m fishing, I’ll use a larger spoon if I think there’s a good chance I’ll get on big fish, or downsize if all I’m likely to catch are 2-pounders.
Fish react to a spoon differently depending on the water temperature. If it’s early in the season, I’ll rip the spoon off the bottom 3 or 4 feet. That seems to trigger strikes better. If the water is really cold and the bass aren’t very aggressive, I just lift the spoon up and let it flutter back down on a semi-slack line. Either way, I favor a 7-foot, heavy-action rod and 14- or 15-pound-test fluorocarbon line. I’ll start out ripping the spoon. If the fish are aggressive, they’ll hit it fairly hard either on the fall or when you rip it. If I don’t get any strikes, but still think there are bass down there, I’ll go to the more subtle retrieve. Most of the time a fish in cold water won’t really slam the spoon; you’ll typically feel a weight on the line on the next uplift or the spoon. That’s when a bass has inhaled it.
----- Chevy pro Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C.
> Day 3: 5, 15-09 (15, 49-07)
Photo: FLW/Brett Carlson - Gagliardi is off to a rock-solid start this season, clinching his second Top 10 in as many Majors. Coming off a 5th-place finish at Hartwell, he’s looking to climb higher tomorrow.
“It feels really good, especially coming of a good finish at Hartwell,” he said. “You couldn’t really ask for a better start to a season. I do like this lake. It’s good to come back here and have another good tournament and make the cut and maybe a have a chance to move up. My chances to win are slim, but you never know.
“I’m fishing a way that I can catch big fish. It’s certainly possible that I could catch a big bag. I’m just going to try to move up as much as I can and make some money and add whatever points I can toward Angler of the Year.”
He’s fishing an entirely different section of the lake than when he won in ’09 and is seeking out new water every day. He is mainly sight-fishing, but has gotten most of his big bites on swimbaits.
“There are not a lot of new fish moving up because the water has been dropping a little bit each day,” he noted. “I’ve had to change areas and fish through places. You’re forced to go out and fish new water fishing the way I am because there just aren’t enough fish pulling up in these places to keep going back and catch them day after day.” Complete Story
> Day 1: 5, 15-10
> Day 2: 5, 17-12
> Day 3: 5, 15-04
> Day 4: 5, 12-07
> Total = 20, 61-01
Anthony Gagliardi compiled the vast majority of his weight from a single area. It was adjacent to a spawning flat and featured a road bed, a ditch and a rounded shoal point.
"One thing that helped me was not having to make the same cast over and over again, because something like that usually won't hold up," he said. "Those fish were constantly moving, and me moving with them allowed it to hold up."
He caught two quality fish on day 2 on a Buckeye Suspend Blade and a good one on the final day on a Little Creeper All American Trash Fish swimbait. The other 17 he weighed in came on a Buckeye Spot Remover jighead with a Senko attached.
> Shakey-head gear: 7'3" heavy-action Cashion worm rod, Lew's Tournament Series casting reel, 10-pound Gamma Edge fluorocarbon line, 1/4-ounce Buckeye Spot Remover jighead, 5" Yamamoto Senko (green-pumpkin).
> Main factor in his success – "Sticking with that one place. I always caught a decent limit pretty fast every day."
> Performance edge – "My Humminbird electronics. I wasn't looking for schools of fish, but individuals. I could move around in the area and when I saw something I thought was a bass, I could drag a bait behind me or cast to it." Read More
> Day 4: 5, 12-07 (20, 61-01)
Gagliardi moved up two places in the standings today despite weighing his lightest bag of the tournament. The high finish was welcome after a poor 2011 that saw the former AOY finish 88th in the points.
"It feels good, especially after a not-so-stellar year last year," he said. "It's nice to get off to a good start."
Unlike some of the other top finishers, he didn't bounce around a lot. He did most of his damage from a single locale.
"It was definitely tougher today. I only got four keepers off my main spot, then I had another place where I could catch keeper (spotted bass), so I went there and picked up one or two. Then I ran up the river and caught my biggest one on a swimbait, but I also lost a 5-pounder.
"My best place was real close to a shallow spawning flat, and I think today most of them had moved on in there." Complete Story