Home > BASS, Lure Chats > Smith Mountain Lake Lure Chat with Skeet Reese

Smith Mountain Lake Lure Chat with Skeet Reese

Skeet power fished when others finessed to win at SML. ( Photo: Seigo Saito / BASS)

Skeet Reese won the 2010 Blue Ridge Brawl on Smith Mountain Lake with a four day catch of 78-01.  He beat his nearest competitor by 15-09 lbs…A win like that in NASCAR that is called lapping the competition.

I caught up with Skeet as he he dodged tornadoes on his way to Florence, AL for the Alabama Charge on Lake Pickwick.

Bo Crawford (bocraw): Heading in to Smith Mountain Lake (SML), you had just lost a tournament by one solitary ounce [which is bad], but also had a commanding lead in the Toyota AOY Race [which is good].  How were you mentally heading in to the SML tournament?

Skeet Reese (Reese): The points lead doesn’t mean anything this early in the season–all you are trying to do is keep yourself in contention for the end of the season.  So going in to Smith Mountain Lake my goal was to have a good performance and a Top 10 finish.  I knew going in the potential of SML—having a history on that lake gave me understanding that allowed me to catch 20 lb bags that I wouldn’t have been able to do before.

Skeet used the Berkley Sinkworm to catch smaller fish off the beds.

bocraw:  Reading this BassFan Article about your win, it looks like you were site fishing like everyone else at the beginning of the tournament.  What were you using to site fish with?

Reese: I caught several of the fish I weighed, as far as the little males and stuff, on a Berkley Heavy Weight Sink Worm, Watermelon Color.  But you are talking about catching little 2 to 2 1/2 lb males—those aren’t the ones that stood out in my head…it was the 5 lbers that stood out.

bocraw: And how did you catch the 5 lbers?

Reese: I caught the big ones on the swimbait.  [ Rago SKT Swimmer, Light Hitch Color].

bocraw: How were you fishing the swimbait?

Reese: I just varied the retrieve.  In the mornings I fished the bait a little bit faster, and as the day progressed I would slow it down a little bit more…A swimbait is no different that a spinnerbait or crankbait or every other reaction bait—you have to vary the retrieve and play with it [until you find out what the fish want].

bocraw: Were you using the swimbait while it was calm on the first two days?

Reese: I did, but I didn’t catch as many on it.  I mean, I caught a 5 lber in the last five minutes of the first day…but mainly I was trying to take advantage of the morning bite with it on the first two days.  When the wind picked up on the last two days is when I fully committed to it.

bocraw: Two Elite series tournaments in a row have been won on a Jerry Rago swimbait…coast to coast no less.  That is pretty strong.

Rago swimbaits have won back-to-back Elite Series tournaments.

Reese:  You think?  Jerry is pretty happy right now.  He can’t make what is ordered, so that is good problem for him to have.  Jerry has the reputation for being one of the best swimbait designers we’ve seen out there [out West] in the swimbait industry.  He has had a lot of successes.

bocraw: Living here back East, I had never heard of Jerry Rago until Byron told me about him after Clear Lake.  I’ll bet there are many other fishermen east of the Mississippi who haven’t heard of him either—until now at least.

Reese: I imagine a lot of people are looking at him now….winning at Clear Lake with a big bait really didn’t surprise anybody, but winning at SML with a swimbait will probably open a lot of eyes.  You know, the SKT Swimmer is just the perfect sized bait—it is not a big bait—it is only a 6’’ bait.  When you think about it, you will throw a 6’’ worm all day long—the SKT Swimmer just has a little bigger profile to it.

bocraw: It is “light hitch” color, but does that bait resemble a hitch?

Reese: I think it just resembles a lot of stuff…I don’t know why the fish like that color but they do—you can’t argue with it’s success.  As far as the size of the SKT Swimmer, it is just a good size for fishing all across the country.  If you have a lake with 3, 4 or 5 lb fish in it, they will hit this lure with no problem.

bocraw: I’m looking at an article that Pete Robbins wrote for InsideLine, in it he says that you commented, “SML is a classic power fishing lake.”  With the super-clear water, most of us back East would consider SML a finesse lake.  What makes you say it is a power fishing lake?

Rago SKT Swimmer

Reese: You’ve got big fish and you’ve got plenty of cover—as long as it is not dead slick calm, you have plenty of ways to catch them on bigger baits and reaction baits.  There is a lot of finesse fishing that goes on there—and they catch a lot of fish—but as long as the conditions are right there is no reason why you can’t catch them power fishing.

bocraw: Did you have to do anything special to the swimbait, like use a stinger hook?

Reese: No.  If I am using a sliding system I don’t like stingers.

bocraw:  Are we going to see the swimbait on Lake Pickwick?

Reese:  I’ll have some rigged up, but I don’t know what to expect out here yet.  I have no preconceived notions out here.

bocraw: I obviously don’t know jack about fishing swimbaits.  Are there any questions I should be asking you about this that I am not?

Reese:  One of the most important things is that you have to have the right rod to throw them, like the swimbait rod in my Skeet Reese series.  [ Wright & McGill signature Tessera swimbait/Carolina rig rod ].   You can’t just throw a swimbait on any rod…you have to have a rod that loads up well and cast well.  Florocarbon is usually the best way to go for fishing most swimbaits.  Outside of that, you just have to get off your butt and go use them.

bocraw: Byron said that a lot of people fish them too fast…

Reese: Like I said, swimbait fishing is no different that a crankbait or spinnerbait.  There is always a certain presentation that works better for the conditions…the colder the water is, you fish them slower…reel it a little faster with warmer water.  There is no one way to fish a swimbait.  You just have to be open minded when you go and change your presentations.

bocraw: Changing subjects, I will ask one bonus question…Western anglers seem to do really well once they come back east to compete.  Do you think BASS should provide an avenue for more anglers out west to qualify for the Elites?

Reese: Yes, I am still disappointed that BASS isn’t out there with Western Opens.  Do we have the numbers of anglers to have 200 boats at every tournament? –No.  But some of the best anglers in the country are from the West Coast…To represent the whole country except the West by not having Opens, like they have done for the past four of five years, kind-of sucks…But hopefully they will get back out there one day and get some fresh talent and some new superstars from the West Coast.

–End Interview–

Tackle Experts will donate one Rago SKT Swimming in Light Hitch color to our Fantasy Fishing Elite Series Prize Pack.

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  1. nedneck 1
    March 16, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    what pound test u use with that swim bait

  2. nedneck 1
    March 17, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    do u ever fish at buggs island

  1. October 4, 2010 at 9:04 am
  2. May 16, 2011 at 11:47 pm

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