Shinichi Fukae Wins Douglas Lake PAA
Fukae brought in a respectable 22.02 pounds that had him in 6th place on day 1, but that effort was greatly overshadowed by the 27- and 28-pound bags reeled in by Timmy Horton, Ott DeFoe and Brian Snowden. He got about 12 bites and thought the day-long sunshine charged up the fish after several days of cold, overcast conditions. While Horton and others struggled on day 2 and fell out of contention, he improved his weight by nearly a half pound to climb into 2nd, a little more than 4 1/2 pounds shy of DeFoe, who seemed like an even-money bet to close out the victory on his home lake. Fukae had marked about two dozen spots that he felt he could catch fish off of, but focused most of his time on five key spots that seemed to hold the bigger specimens. The common bond among the spots was they were nearby rocky points and the fish he caught came out of 5 to 15 feet of water. "Timing was a big deal this week," he said. "I had to leave my key spots at times to let them rest. The timing of when I'd leave and when I'd go back was crucial." Entering the final day, he was hoping for another sunny spell, but he had to wait until the afternoon for the clouds to break up. By then, however, he'd already done the bulk of his damage as he caught a final day-best 23.16. Meanwhile, DeFoe managed just two keepers and opened the door for Fukae. It was his first win since he claimed the Lake Champlain Eastern FLW Series tournament in 2010. He also has two FLW Tour wins to his credit, but none since April 2006 when he won at Beaver Lake. His previous-best PAA finish was 4th at Lake Norman in August 2010, a tournament he led after 2 days.
Umbrella rig gear: 7'6" extra-heavy Megabass Black Jungle casting rod, Shimano Antares HS casting reel (7.4:1 ratio), 50-pound YGK Black Dyneema braided line, 5-wire Megabass Spark Rig (Wakasagi), 1/4-ounce Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits jigheads (white), 4" Megabass Spark Shad (albino) or 4" Fish Arrow Flash J Shad (pro blue silver). He rigged 4" swimbaits on the three active jigheads and 3" versions on the two dummy wires, essentially making it a three-bait rig to comply with Tennessee regulations.
Main factor: "One of my policies about being on the water as much as I can worked out. Fishing before the cutoff gave me an advantage since the water level was lower and I could see some submerged stuff. Also, during practice last week, I was out there from sunrise to sunset all 3 days despite the miserable weather and it paid off."
Performance edge: "To cast the umbrella rig all week long, I needed very light, but strong rods such as the Megabass Black Jungle series rods. Also, casting that rig further was one of the keys for me and my Shimano reels allowed me do that without any issues."
Douglas Lake PAA Winning Pattern Bassfan 4/2/13 (Todd Ceisner)