Terry Butcher Wins Grand Lake PAA

When Terry Butcher stepped away from fishing the Bassmaster Elite Series following the 2012 season, it wasn't meant to be a clean break from tournaments altogether. He fished the Bassmaster Central Opens this year - he finished 2nd at the Arkansas River - but that was really it. His first year away from the national touring scene wasn't all rest and relaxation like some would think. In May, his Oklahoma home was hit by an EF-1 tornado as part of the devastating system of storms that battered the region. Tending to repairs around his property occupied a fair bit of his time this summer. He did find time last week to compete at the Grand Lake PAA season finale and his strong knowledge of the lake paid off as he captured the victory with a 3-day total of 41.70 pounds. He led after day 1, then surrendered the top spot to Casey Scanlon on day 2 before closing with a 12.26-pound limit on the final day to become the lone angler in the paltry 26-boat field to have more than 40 pounds. "It means a lot," he said. "I haven't fished much this year. It makes a guy feel good again to win and still know I can do it. To do it right here at home, I enjoyed the heck out of it. I couldn't have asked for more." "Starting out, I knew pretty much what I wanted to do. I've fished it in the fall plenty of times before so I know a certain pattern that I like to run this time of year. I had that in my mind and an area of the lake that I like to do it in." He employed the shallow cranking pattern on his first day of practice and he figures he could've weighed 17 pounds fairly easily. "I didn't fish that much of it," he said. While he had success with a shallow crankbait, he also got dialed in on a spinnerbait pattern around boat docks. "I caught some real quality fish doing that," he said. "I don't normally do that a lot, but that kind of made me pay attention to it." He practiced a couple more days, expanding his strategies to different areas of the lake that featured rows of docks and chunk rock banks. "I felt pretty confident going into the tournament and the area I was going to do it in," he added.


Despite being unable to fish much of the area he wanted to because of high winds, Butcher carried over his success in practice to day 1 of the tournament as he weighed nearly 16 pounds to take the lead. "I thought I'd catch a few more big ones than what I did," he said, noting his bag was anchored by a 4-pounder. "I just had good, solid fish." He stuck to his spinnerbait-shallow cranking patterns on day 2 and boxed his first limit by 10:30 a.m. From there, it was a grind as he didn't catch any upgrades the rest of the day. "I ran a bunch of new stuff, but never backtracked anything," he said. "I just started thinking I'd catch them better on the third day." His 13.72 pounds on day 2 kept him in contention as Scanlon was able to move past him for the lead by a scant 0.13 pounds. The final day was another grind, however, as it took until nearly 11 a.m. for Butcher to finish his limit. The afternoon produced no upgrades as he went back through areas he'd already fished, thinking the bass has repositioned later in the day. "I back tracked and figured I could go back and hammer on some of that stuff and probably get another quality fish or two, but I couldn't do it," he said. "I was thinking the whole time I needed at least one more big one. It ended up being tough for everybody so it worked out good." Scanlon fell off with just three fish for 4.32 pounds, opening the door for Butcher, who wasn't sure his 12.26 sack would be enough to take the win. "I really didn't think I did," he said. "I thought Casey or one of the other guys would catch them. I really thought going in 16 pounds a day would win. I wouldn't have been shocked had it taken more, but listening to the weights it's been taking lately, it's been tougher."

Winning Pattern:

The square-bill crankbait was responsible for catching Butcher's best fish - the 3- to 4-pound specimens - while the rest came slow-rolling a spinnerbait on the sides and across the front of boat docks. "I was fishing rows of docks, but I did have one dock in particular that gave me three fish I weighed in," he said. "To be honest, I hadn't fished these docks before. There were about 10 docks there. I caught some off the other ones, but there was one that I caught a 4-pounder and a couple of 3-pounders off of." He cranked mostly around shallow, flat, rocky banks. "That's my favorite thing to do - just throw an XCalibur 100 series square-bill crankbait up shallow. I'm talking 6 inches to 4 feet and run it back out," he added. The morning bite was decidedly better than later in the day. "It seemed like all of my better bites came between 9 and 10:30. The first day I caught a 3-pounder early that made a difference. I was thinking the first 2 days that maybe I was getting out of the areas they were in, but the third day I backtracked and went back through it and still couldn't catch them. The morning was the best time frame for me, for sure."

Winning Gear:

Spinnerbait gear: 7' heavy-action Wohali casting rod, Ardent Edge casting reel (6.1:1 gear ratio), 50-pound PowerPro braided line, 1/2- and 3/4-ounce Booyah double willow blade spinnerbait (white/chartreuse). A slow retrieve with the spinnerbait was key to triggering bites around the docks.

Crankbait gear: 7' medium-heavy Wohali casting rod, same reel, 14-pound Silver Thread fluorocarbon line, XCalibur XCS 100 series square-bill silent crankbait (fire tiger and oxbow).

Main factor: "Probably knowledge of the lake and patience and being slow with the spinnerbait was the biggest key. I know some other guys tried the spinnerbait thing on the docks and couldn't get it done. The biggest key was just being slow with it. You try to cover a lot of water with it, but you had to reel it really slow down those docks."

Performance edge: "My Bass Cat and Mercury never missed a beat. Also, I used my Power-Poles when the wind was blowing pretty hard. I'd put them halfway down and it helped keep my back end from blowing around."

Grand Lake PAA Winning Pattern Bassfan 11/13/13 (Todd Ceisner)

Hard Baits by Brand

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