Larry Nixon - Win $200,000 in One Weekend

Win $200,000 in One Weekend

Editor's Note: In four days of fishing in 2001, Larry Nixon of Bee Branch, Arkansas, won $200,000 in the Forest L. Woods (FLW) Open on Lake St. Claire near Detroit, Michigan. This professional bass fisherman also broke the $1 million barrier for winnings on the B.A.S.S. circuit before any other professional angler. In 24 years of tournament fishing, Nixon won the BASS Masters Classic and the BASS Champs Tournament as well as the Angler-of-the-Year title on the B.A.S.S. circuit in 1980 and 1982. This Strike King Pro Team Member won the MegaBucks Tournament four times.

Larry NixonHow does a man win $200,000 in one weekend? According to Larry Nixon, "I had to switch tactics and strategies throughout that tournament as weather conditions and water conditions changed. Many bass fishermen change baits and locations too quickly, or they hold on to comfortable bass-fishing methods for too long."

One-hundred-seventy-five professional fishermen and 175 amateurs competed in the FLW tournament on Lake St. Claire. During the first two qualifying days, Nixon faced the problem of locating bass other anglers hadn't found and areas where other anglers didn't want to fish. "Everybody knew that the big bass would move out of the spawning bays toward the channel into the current," Nixon explains. "So, most of the anglers fished on the edge of that deep water next to the spawning bays."

Strike King LuresNixon discovered a small gravelled area that ran from the channel back into a spawning bay about 200 yards from the lip of the break where many of the other anglers fished. "I fished on this little channel where the fish swam out of the spawning flats into the deeper water further out in the bay," Nixon says.

Making short, flipping-type casts, Nixon caught bass on a 4-inch watermelon-colored jig with metal flakes in it with a 1/4-ounce jig head. "To catch these bass, I flipped the tube jig out, let it fall to the bottom of the lake and allowed it to lay still on the bottom for about 10 or 15 seconds," Nixon recalls. "Most anglers fish a tube jig on the fall, or they'll hop it up off the bottom and expect the bass to strike when the jig falls back. But in this place and on this day, the bass wanted the bait to lie still on the bottom."

Larry NixonNixon believed that because so many anglers fished the area, the bass had become spooked by the moving lures. But, these same bass felt confident enough to bite when big baits fell and sat still on the bottom. "After letting the bait attached to my 10-pound-test Vanish line stay on the bottom of the lake briefly, then I'd hop it approximately a foot and lay down the bait on the bottom for another 10 or 15 seconds," Nixon reports. If the bass didn't take the bait after the second time he moved it, Nixon would reel the bait in and make another cast. Then on the second day, other fishermen moved into Nixon's area. Although most anglers would return to the spots where they'd caught bass the day before and slug it out with the competition, Nixon decided to change his fishing location and tactics.

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