A simple bait change on day 2 helped Paul Mueller mount a historic comeback at last week's Bassmaster Classic.
He began the tournament fishing a lipless crankbait like many competitors, but a couple lost fish on day 1 prompted him to switch to a Z-Man ChatterBait, which is usually an effective option when fishing around grass as he was.
He attributes his success, including a Classic-record 32-03 five-fish limit on day 2 that helped him climb from 47th to 2nd, to his decision to switch baits.
"The difference was this: We didn't have as much wind," he said. "We had a little bit of current the second day and that's why that second day bag came through. The deal with the trap is when you're reeling it in you had to reel it so slow that it would get buried in the grass. When the wind blows, they'd be on that and you can cover more water. That's the positive. The negative is you can't fish it slow enough when the current slows down."
When fishing the ChatterBait, he'd slow-roll it and tick the top of the eelgrass beds.
"For me it was surprise looking back," he said. "If I ever get in that situation again, I'll have it tied on for the first day. That was just my inexperience fishing this type of lake. I had to learn as I went along. The thought literally came into my head on day 2 at takeoff to get some ChatterBaits ready.
"I had one tied on with a different trailer and I didn't like how it looked in the water. I put the Reins (Fat Rockvibe Shad) on it to see how it looked because I don't throw ChatterBaits much back home. I was like, 'Man that looks really good. I bet they'll eat that.' Then I caught a 4 1/2 and decided to roll with it. Thirty two pounds later …."
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