With a 9-pound lead going in, Brandon Perkins caught 24 pounds, 4 ounces on the final day to secure the second NPFL victory of his career, both on Pickwick Lake. Perkins started out with 24-09 on Day 1, added 17-06 on Day 2 and with high winds on Friday, he scrapped together a fivebass limit giving him a three-day total of 66-10.
Perkins spent the majority of the first two days fishing down the river and targeted shallow bars with key isolated irregularities. On Day 3, with high winds projected, he knew the run was more than he wanted to deal with, and started close by the takeoff. It didn't take long to realize the current flow had been cut back, and he made a key adjustment as the day progressed to locate some bigger quality smallmouth, rounding out his limit and giving him a 13-10 margin of victory on his home body of water.
“Today was testy, man,” said Perkins. "I know this end of the lake but it is not my comfortable zone. I checked these areas (by the dam) in practice and both days of the tournament without any luck. I ran into Mike Corbishley and he had just run back up the river and told me how rough it was – it was an easy decision to stay. Once I figured out the 20- to 30-yard stretch where they were sitting it was hotter than a fire cracker all day.”
Throughout the event, Perkins fished a mix of reaction baits to target fish staging on the river channel. By the dam, he rotated through a few others to get those bigger smallmouths to bite.
“I fished a whole lot of Bill Lewis this week – a Ra-tL-Trap, MR6 and MR12 – and when I moved around, I swapped to a swimbait and a Buckeye Lures Jig. I threw everything on Rockohl Rods, different models, and today was about the 8-foot cranking rod.
“I came back to the NPFL for this event and the increased payouts. I have had some really tough times this time of year and those days helped prepare me for events like this.”
Timmy Reams overcame a slow Day 1 to finish the event in second place with 52-06.
Reams had his best days of practice fishing in Wilson Lake, and decided on Day 1 to sample an area near the tailrace where he had gotten a big bite – a decision that saved his event.
“This is a good start to the season, for sure,” said Reams. "Day 1 was a struggle, but opting out of the lock and staying close by was a big blessing due to the issues others had. I found a little seam and was able to catch some good weights on the next two days.”
Corbishley ended up 3rd with 45-13. He located a key area at the end of the first day and went to work early and often the next two days.
“I lost two other good fish on Day 1 that hurt me, but finding that load of fish saved my event,” said Corbishley. “I went back on Day 2 and caught them super quick and then caught a 6-pounder later in the day.”
Day three was more of the same. He could locate the packs of smallmouth roaming the shallow bars with two Lowrance Active Target 2 transducers, one in scout mode, and one in forward. The precise casts with a swimbait were key to getting them to bite.
“The C-Mapping from Lowrance and HDS Pro units allowed me to pull up and find those sweet spots and catching them early on was key,” he added. "Today, the wind blew my area out in two hours and I never relocated those fish.”