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Bassmaster Classic 2010 Interview with SEBILE Pro-Staffer Jeff Kriet, Second Place Finisher

Bassmaster Classic 2010 Interview with SEBILE Pro-Staffer Jeff Kriet ~
Second Place Finisher

Some call it the world championship. Others say it's the Super Bowl of bass
fishing. Bar none, it's the most prestigious and respected title to win in
our sport. The 40th Bassmaster Classic tournament took place on Lay Lake in
Birmingham, Alabama over the weekend of February 19-21, 2010 with 51 of the
world's foremost anglers in contention.

SEBILE pro-staffers Jeff Kriet and Todd Faircloth, both using the SEBILE
Flatt Shad, were in the top three for all three days, fighting fish-by-fish
for the championship crown with the #1 world-ranked Kevin VanDam. Adding to
the suspense, all three anglers staked out their turf, practically within
shouting distance of each other for the entire three days within Beeswax
Creek, a side creek arm just a few minutes from the tournament launch ramp.

This was a wonderful world championship, with not very easy fishing and a
lot of suspense between the top three players who distanced themselves from
the rest of the Classic field right from the start. The 2010 Classic proved
to be largely a three man competition. The duel between the three only
served to make this Classic even more exciting than many past ones. It's
true there were other hopefuls like the indomitable Mike Iaconelli and local
expert Russ Lane hot on their heels, ready to overtake the top three if any
one of them stumbled, but Kriet, Faircloth and VanDam never did.

Here now is the Classic story of SEBILE pro-staffer Jeff Kriet from Ardmore,
Oklahoma. Jeff fought hard for the crown, moving from third place on day
one, taking over first place on day two and ending in second place in the
most important tournament of Kriet's twelve plus years fishing as a
Bassmaster pro, including 6 times qualifying for the Classic.

As the tournament commenced, most of the Classic field was aware that
successful fishing would require the use of lipless vibration baits as the
bass were pretty lethargic with the unseasonably cold weather in Alabama.
Water temps ranged from the low 40's at the start of the event and edged
upward to the high 40's in the late afternoon of the final day in Beeswax
Creek. Mornings were brutally cold, and many anglers started fishing with
gloves on each morning.

"I grew up fishing Toledo and Rayburn in Texas and throwing loud rattling
baits in the grass and that's what I am used to doing," says Kriet who
decided to start day one with what he's had the most comfort throwing for so
many years - a very loud, rattling lipless crankbait not made by SEBILE.

"One of the issues I faced, the color I felt that I needed to be throwing
was a specific red one, a color that I hand-paint myself. I call it Rayburn
Red and I have probably weighed in 400 pounds of bass on that color bait in
the last ten years," reveals Jeff.

"The first day of the tournament I was throwing a rattling bait with a lot
more rattles. As the water cleared up and got clearer every day, it cleared
enough that the fish got more conditioned to the rattle. That's when the
SEBILE Flatt Shad really started to shine. It is a more subtle bait, but it
has probably more vibration than the other one I was throwing. Starting on
the second day of the Classic, I saw that these fish were getting sick of
that loud rattle in my hand-painted rattle bait," observed Jeff who relied
increasingly more on the subtle sound of the SEBILE Flatt Shad from that
point onward.

It is important for people to know that SEBILE respects the fact that
anglers will use what they feel most comfortable with in tournament
situations. We believe we have the right baits but Jeff was fighting for a
large title and we believe he thought the high pitch rattling bait was good
at a certain time, after which he turned to a Flatt Shad to utilize the
lower pitch of this bait - which actually travels further and can be more
effective than rattles, even if this is something people are not used to yet
- the non-rattling lipless vibration bait known as the SEBILE Flatt Shad!
And the swimming action of the Flatt Shad simply moves a massive amount of
water and this is a huge attraction to the fish too. It thumps a lot - which
attracts fish in stained or muddy water, and it also works in clear water
where anglers often have confidence to go with the more translucent Flatt
Shad colors in clear water.

The SEBILE Flatt Shads do not have rattles in them to make noise. They do
have weights to provide for stability and action, but the intent is not for
the weights to make noise per se. What the Flatt Shads do is vibrate and
move a lot or water. So you can think of a it more as a vibration that the
Flatt Shad emits versus a rattling noise.

"I think when a guy absolutely needs to make sure he throws the Flatt Shad
is on the second or third day of a tournament or anytime that a bunch of
other fishermen are throwing rattling lipless crankbaits, that's when the
Flatt Shad really, really shines," according to Jeff.

The water in Beeswax Creek for the Classic was far from clear. Day one
presented the dirtiest and darkest water conditions when Jeff felt the need
to use the loud rattling bait painted in his Rayburn Red color.

"As the water cleared up some on day two, I caught some on the straight
white Flatt Shad (Q2 White Lady). I also threw the Holo Greenie (D9), one of
my favorite SEBILE colors. Late in the final day three, the water got even
clearer, and I put on the translucent Blood Red Amber which emits a goldish
shad-like flash in stained water," says Jeff.

"I was fishing the depth contour lines, kind of the outside break line for a
big flat with a couple of ridges that ran out off the flat, and I was
following the contour. I was trying to keep my boat out in 5-1/2 to 6 foot,
and most of the fish I was catching were anywhere from probably three foot
on out to the boat. I was always trying to fish the Flatt Shad within
coontail grass, and most of the better fish were on the edge of the grass on
the sides of those ridges where the depth broke. Some of them were moving up
onto the flat, but all the big ones seemed to be hanging on the edges."

The Flatt Shad model he chose for the shallow 3-6 foot depths that Jeff
fished during the Classic was the Flatt Shad 66 SK, half-ounce sinking

"The way I caught them, I wasn't just throwing it out and reeling with it. I
was throwing it out and letting it sink to the bottom. Then I was fishing it
almost like a jig. I was trying to let the bait hang in the grass, and then
I really didn't even want to jerk it out of the grass. I just wanted to pull
it out of the grass and let it fall back in. That was the big deal to
generate strikes," reveals Kriet.

"The way I was doing it is probably different than most other guys. I was
keeping my rod probably at ten o'clock. If I was winding it in normally, I
would have my rod almost pointed at the water, but the way I was worming it,
because the water was so cold, winding wasn't the deal for me. So I would
keep my rod up fairly high and at times raise it to almost twelve o'clock
and then I would lower the rod and let the bait fall."

"The best is when you can just ease it on through that grass and pull it
through clean. When I got hung in the grass, I can feel the Flatt Shad stop
vibrating, and any time your bait quits vibrating, you either have a fish or
you've got grass hung on your bait. If there's grass on the bait, no fish is
going to hit it like that, so that's when I snap my rod a couple times to
try to tear the grass off the bait, and then once I have snapped it and get
that grass off it, I can immediately feel the bait go back to emitting its
normal, clean vibration again, and that's when I immediately let the Flatt
Shad fall right back down."

"When I feel that grass, and it's bogging down and I know I am balling the
grass, I'll put my rod in a little lower position and put a little slack in
my line and pop it real quick a couple of times and generally, that will pop
it free, and that is what you want, when you tear it out of the grass, you
want it to come clean. What you do not want to do is just pull straight and
steady. All that does, that just balls more grass on it, but if you put a
little slack in your line and pop it, and put a little slack in your line
immediately after that first pop, all that grass will kind of fall off
during that little slack moment, and the second pop gets it clean again.
That's when you get a lot of bites too."

"It's like when a car gets stuck in the mud, and you put a tow rope on to
help pull it out, you have to kind of start out with a slack line, you pop
it out and the line ends up slack again. Now, don't go trying to jerk a
stuck pick-up truck out of a ditch based on that simple allegory, but do try
it when your Flatt Shad hangs in grass. It works!"

"I was throwing the Flatt Shad on 15 lb test fluorocarbon line. Fluorocarbon
has a little less stretch, and I was throwing on a medium heavy rod which
helps pop it loose."

"The deal for me in the Classic was, the bigger fish seemed like they bit it
one of two ways. They would either just slack line it. They'd just take it
in and it'd throw slack in your line when that happened - or I'd be pulling
that bait and it would start to load up just like it was in grass, and I'd
lean back, not sure whether it was grass or not, and then I'd actually have
one. That was really how the bigger fish came. Most of the smaller fish
would thump it; I'd pull it out of the grass and I'd feel them just thump
it. Whenever I wasn't sure, I'd just lean into the rod, just start reeling
and lean back. Even the small ones that bit it good, that's what I'd do,
just reel hard and lean. If you get to jerking to make the hookset with a
bait like that, you'll miss a lot of hits, actually pull it away from them
if you jerk on them. The hooks are so good on the Flatt Shad, you don't need
to do that. It's best to just lean into them while cranking the reel handle
pretty hard."

"Especially early in the morning, it was so cold, the fish were almost
buried down in the mud and the grass, they didn't want to bite at all. They
were in a bad mood and it was a very tough, grinding tournament. I had key
angles on the sides of these ridges, and I caught about 75% of my fish when
I threw on these same angles. I would make 70 or 80 throws on that same
angle for every bite I got. One thing the everyday angler doesn't realize is
that the presentation angle always matters whether deep or shallow, the
angle you pull the bait past the fish does a lot to determine whether it
will bite. There is always a key angle to your cover or structure. I never
caught a fish in three days if I was off the angle nor did I catch one in
three days throwing on top of the ridge. I always caught them by throwing
across it from the side, whether I was coming from the deeper water up on
top or when it fell off, back down the edge."

"The ridges I was concentrating on were only about a 1/2 to a foot
difference in depth on the outside edges of these ridges, just a real subtle
change, but on these ridges there were some stumps and the grass on top of
the ridge was sparser. There was thicker coontail grass on the sides, but it
seems like, for the fish I was catching, that the best sections for me were
the edges where you had scattered, patchy grass seemed to be the deal."

"One reason I was working the bait the way I was, worming it through the
grass, was to make contact with those stumps and when I'd hit a stump, I'd
just raise the rod, and I would crawl the bait over the stump and as soon as
I got over the stump, I'd let the bait fall back down in front of that
stump. That's how a lot of the bites came."

"The thing about SEBILE baits that I like the most is that most SEBILE baits
have several different applications, there are lots of different ways to
fish them, and the Flatt Shad proved very versatile to do everything I
needed from it during the Classic."

Here at SEBILE, we are very glad that our lipless crankbait, the Flatt Shad
has helped our pro-staffer Jeff Kriet to get second place and runner-up in
the most important tournament of his career - the Bassmaster Classic world
championship 2010!

Congratulations, Jeff!

by BFHP Fishing News


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