(Editor's note: Industry rep Alan McGuckin of Dynamic Sponsorships was on site at last week's Cherokee Lake Bassmaster Elite Series and submitted the following short feature on Terry Scroggins, who rallied from deep in the field after day 1 to finish 32nd).
As the first event of a brand new Bassmaster Elite Series season began, it was no secret the favored by top local anglers for Cherokee Lake’s finicky smallmouth was a 3-inch Damiki Armor Shad rigged on a lead “Erie head."
“People use the Damiki Shad because it has almost no action, and those fish at Cherokee are so lure-shy, they seem to like that subtle presentation,” said Scroggins. “But they weren’t liking it for me, so my roommate Britt Myers and I had to call an audible after day 1 of practice.”
The struggle forced Myers and Scroggins to lean on a lesson straight out of Bass Fishing 101 – when you can’t get a bite using a lure you think they should eat, try downsizing.
“I started thinking about lures that were even smaller than a 3-inch Damiki, and the next thing you know, I’ve spent $150 in the crappie fishing section at the Kodak (Tenn.) Bass Pro Shops. I had everything in my bag from tiny little 1/8-ounce marabou jigs to curly-tail grubs, and all shapes and weights of jigheads."
The buck-fifty wager worked in the end, but brutally strong north winds on day 1 of competition nearly caused the panfishing strategy to backfire. Wild winds simply wouldn’t allow the Florida pro to feel the bite with a big bow in his 4-pound line.
“Trying to tightline a tiny 1/8-ounce marabou jig or grub in a 20-mph wind is next to impossible. I should have gone to the shoreline and thrown crankbaits or jerkbaits to save my day."
Scroggins failed to catch a limit on day 1 and found himself in a very concerning 86thlace. But when the winds calmed on days 2 and 3, he knew he had a chance to catch Cherokee smallmouth about the same way he catches crappie on Rodman Reservoir and Crescent Lake back home.
And catch ‘em he did.
His 16-pound limit on day 2 vaulted him up 36 places to 50th – good enough for a guaranteed paycheck and a chance to compete on day 3, when he caught a 15-pound limit, leading “Big Show” to a 32nd-place finish and a $10,000 check in the pocket of his Carhartt jeans.
The Sunline Strong Performer, which focuses on the angler who makes a significant single-day move in the standings at each tour-level event, is brought to you by the great people at Sunline.