5XD & Cut-R Worm - Keys for Faircloth's 2nd at Cayuga
Like many Bassmaster Elite Series pros, Todd Faircloth had never been on Cayuga Lake, NY prior to the tournament. "All I knew was it had grass in it," he said.
"I went there with full intentions of just flipping grass. That's all I did the first day of practice, and I had a ton of bites flipping a Strike King Rage Tail Shellcracker in the blue craw color with a 3/4-oz weight. I really felt like that's what I was going to do throughout the tournament."
But then he found some deep fish. "I was cranking a Strike King 5XD in gizzard green shad, and when I'd catch a fish a group of bass would follow that fish back to the boat," he said. "I found my two best spots with that bait, and in both places that happened.
"Those spots were down the lake, away from the big crowd at the north end of the lake," he noted. That made him feel good about those spots, and the tournament.
When the tournament started, he camped out on those spots, though on day 2 he found out that he was sharing one of them with eventual third-place finisher Chris Zaldain. Zaldain had also found the spot in practice and fished on day 1 but late in the day after Faircloth had left.
That spot was a small-ish area – "about the size of a truck," Faircloth said – with a "good, hard, plain bottom" in 19 feet with grass that topped out in 12-15 feet. He thought that hard bottom was key.
His other spot was one section of a nearby weedline, which ran north-south down the lake. "It had real crisp, bright green milfoil and coontail mixed in with some cabbage grass," he noted.
Half his fish were caught on the 5XD, and the other half came on a 6-inch Strike King Rage Tail Cut R Worm (green pumpkin) rigged with a 3/8-oz Strike King tungsten weight and 3/0 offset hook.
"The weather and conditions dictated which I threw," he said. "The first morning we had cloudy skies and a little bit of wind, and I caught most of them on the crankbait. The second day [which was sunny], I caught most of them on the worm.
"The third day I caught my two biggest cranking, and the rest on a worm. The last day it was slick, flat [conditions] and I caught them all on the worm."
He noted, "I could always go back through after cranking, fish the worm and catch more fish." He let the worm hit the bottom, then pumped it back over the top of the grass.