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ICAST 2019 Update Coverage

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TackleTour Tournament Interview

TackleTour Tournament Interview : Dean Rojas (continued)


Day Two: Now that the pros know where the fish are, day two is going to be about working through those concentrated schools of fish on their way to a big limit. That's right, it's time to get a little wacky as we allow the pros to punch, drag, dissect, create and fish from top to bottom with craws, lizards, frogs, toads, spider jigs, swimbaits and any variety of other creatures on their way to a hefty limit because day two is all about the fever - Creature Fever. How do the pros approach fishing soft plastics?


When it's time to throw a square bill, it's all about the Little John 50.


Dean Rojas : This sounds like a pitching and flipping day. I'd use my Big Bite Baits Fighting Frog varying the size depending on the conditions. For example if a front came in or if conditions became still, I'd use the three and a half inch size - it's a dynamite little bait. I'd use a Duckett 360R 6.3:1 gear ratio reel with a seven or seven three (7' - 7'-3") Medium Heavy powered Duckett rod with sixteen to twenty two pound test Sunline Shooter or Sniper fluorocarbon. I use the 4/0 Gamakatsu SuperLine and a 3/0 on the smaller Fighting Frog.



Depending on how deep I'm fishing and the cover, I'll go with one eighth to three sixteenths (18th - 3/16ths) ounce of weight with the smaller Fighting Frog and anywhere from one quarter to half ounce (1/4oz - 1/2oz) on the regular sized Fighting Frog.


Another soft plastic bait I'd use is a Big Bite Baits Cane Thumper on a seven or seven three (7' - 7'-3") rod with thirty to fifty pound Sunline FX2 Braid or eighteen pound Sunline Shooter. Depending on water temperature, I'll use a 5.3:1 gear ratio reel if it's cold, and speed up to a 6.3:1 retrieve ratio if the water is warmer and the fish are more active. I can do some searching with this bait just casting it out and retrieving through cover.


Rojas shows off his signature series Duckett Fishing Rod and his Ducket Fishing Reel spooled with Sunline FX Braid.


Day Three: They've found the fish, and have picked through the schools to fill their limits. The water has been pounded and the fish are feeling pressured. What in the world are the pros going to do on Day Three of our tourney? It's time to turn the "F" word. Downsizing baits and line, switching to light powered rods, slowing down that presentation, you know what all of that means. It's time to declare, "What the Finesse?!?!" Day three of our tourney is all about finesse.

Soft plastics? One of Rojas's favorites is the versatile Fighting Frog he helped design for Big Bite Baits.

Dean Rojas : When it's tie to go finesse, I rely on two rigs: a drop shot of course, but the other one is what I call a cheat rig. I use a really light weight like an eighth (1/8th) ounce screw in lock weight with a Big Bite creature bait or a small fighting frog. I'm throwing this on eight (8) pound test line with a spinning rod. It's a really finesse way of fishing and a way I grew up fishing on the West Coast. You have to work it slow and work it through the area.


I use a 3/0 Gamakatsu EWG hook and a six and a half to seven foot spinning rod, with eight pound Sunline FC Sniper, spooled on a Daiwa Steez spinning reel.


If the water is really clear, then it's drop shot all the way. Similar setup to my cheat rig but sometimes down to six pound Sunline FC Sniper. Sticking with natural tone finesse worms and you really want to be careful with the weight you attach to the drop shot rig. You want it to be as small and light as possible. I start off with the four inch worms because I want to get bites. I'll move up to six inch if they seem more active, but four inch is where I'll catch most of my fish.


Rojas hasn't forgotten his Western roots.

Day Four: It's the last day of the tourney and we're culling our field of pros to the top ten anglers. The lucky ones get to continue our wacky tourney and if they're not ready to protest our format yet, they just might after they learn what we're limiting them to now on day four. The number one question we continue to receive here on TackleTour is if you could just have one... You know the rest. Yes, that's right, we're enlisting the pros in our Search For One campaign and limiting them on the last day of the tourney to one rod, and one reel. What will their combo be? Let's find out.

He loves throwing Big Bite Bait's Cane Thumper through and around submerged vegetation.

Dean Rojas : Maybe it's from my Western roots, but if I have one rod and reel to choose from it'd be a spinning rig. The 7'-0" Duckett Terry Scroggins signature series spinning rod with eight pound Sunline FC Sniper, a 2/0 or 3/0 Gamakatsu hook, and Big Bite Baits Shakey Squirrel rigged as a drop shot. I know I can get bites on it and when everything is on the line, that's the setup that's going to put fish in the boat.

TackleTour would like to thank Dean Rojas for giving us a little insight into his tackle selections in what would be a very different, tackle-centric tournament.










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