Wow, what a year! Fishing all nine of the Bassmaster Opens this year was an unbelievable experience and I am so thankful to have qualified for the 2022 Bassmaster Elite Series.
Traveling all the way from Texas to New York and everywhere in between tested every aspect of myself and the equipment that I use, and one of the things that I never had to worry about was my Witch Doctor Tackle Rods.
I caught fish on almost every model of Witch Doctor rods this season, but there were five rods that mainly carried the weight.
1. The 7’2″ Surman 50G Medium-Heavy casting rod was a huge player for me this year. The half glass and half graphite rod met the demand for all of my moving bait needs. When I finished 10th place at the Kissimmee Chain, I caught every fish that I weighed in on this setup while throwing a Chatterbait, jerkbait, and Rattlin Vibe lipless crankbait. It was the perfect rod to rip a moving bait out of hydrilla. I also relied on it at the James River while skipping a Chatterbait around docks. The soft tip of the Surman 50G series allowed me to put my bait in places other people were not. Another tournament where the Surman 50G series got the job done for me was at the Bassmaster Open on Lake Oneida, I was using this setup paired with a bone-colored popper to target shallow hard spots for big smallmouth.
2. The Shaman 7’6″ Heavy casting rod was on my deck in almost every event, as this particular rod is very versatile. In my 4th place finish at Ross Barnett I had two of these rods out. One of them I was using to throw a Carolina rig on shell beds, while the other was rigged with 65-pound braid and a frog to target lily pads and reeds up shallow. A frog was a huge player for me this season and this is the only rod I will use while throwing it. At the Chesapeake Bay tournament, I used this setup to throw a small white frog around reeds during high tide. It was also a major player at my last event at Sam Rayburn where I was having to make extremely long casts to target small patches of scum in hydrilla.
3. The 7’9″ Extra-Heavy Hydrilla Gorilla was my go-to fishing rod this season for punching thick vegetation. When I wasn’t throwing a popper at the Lake Oneida open, I was using this rod to punch thick milfoil to catch kicker-sized largemouth. This rod also caught a few key fish at Sam Rayburn to help secure my spot in the BASS Elite series. This is the only punching rod I have ever used that doesn’t wear me out if I flip all day, and I know that there is no cover too thick for the Hydrilla Gorilla.
4. The Shaman 7’2″ Medium Spinning rod caught more fish for me this season than any other. This is the most sensitive spinning rod I have ever used, and it allowed me to detect the lightest of bites. I used this rod to throw a drop shot at Lake Oneida, Sam Rayburn, Hartwell, and the Red River. I also used it at Lake Cherokee to throw a small swimbait on a ball head jig. I believe that half the fish I weighed this season came while using this rod.
5. The Shaman 7’2″ medium-heavy casting rods also weighed in several fish for me this season, this is the rod I use for all of my flipping needs. I caught most of my fish at the Red River using this rod with a small Texas rig while flipping laydowns. The rod was additionally used while flipping thick reeds at the Chesapeake Bay. I also weighed in a couple of nice smallmouth at Oneida while using this rod with a compact football jig.
From all of us at Witch Doctor Tackle, we congratulate Cole on this huge accomplishment and look forward to seeing him on the BASS Elite Series in 2023!