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TackleTour Tournament Interview


TackleTour Tournament Interview : Chad Pipkens


Date: 9/28/16
Interview: Chad Pipkens
Interviewer: Cal
Location of Interview: Lake Eufala, AL

The Premise:
TackleTour is going to hold a bass fishing tournament, but in keeping with our tradition, the gear is going to play an active roll in how the tourney is structured. In the past, we've been known concentrate our review seasons around specific techniques or types of baits. We're going to run our tournament in the same manner. Four days, four different themes, and our interest is to see how the pros go about selecting the gear they'll need to fish this tournament.


In the hotseat for our TT Tournament Interview : Chad Pipkens.


Hot Seat: In our continuing series of interviews, we're sitting down with different pros and going through their tackle selections for each day of our tourney, one at a time. Today, we sit down with Chad Pipkens, BASS Elite Series Pro. Chad Pipkens's sponsors include Damiki Fishing, Powell Rods, Poor Boys Baits, Costa Sunglasses, Yamaha, Skeeter, Sunline, Gamakatsu, Douglas J Companies.


Pipkens's rod of choice for cranking is a Powell Max Glass stick.


Day One: We're going to give the pros a technique they can use to search out active fish. You know what that means? Yup, it's time to tie one on, toss it out, and crank it up! Cranking is the name of the game on Day One and we want to know what a pro looks for in a good cranking rod, cranking reel, and their preference in cranking line.


Pipkens's go to cranks are the Damiki DC series.


Chad Pipkens : My go to crankbait is the Damiki DC300. I've caught a lot of awesome smallmouth and largemouth with that bait. For a bigger crank, I like the Lucky Craft CB D20 it gets down deep and has a weight transfer system so you can cast it into the wind. If I'm throwing a squarebill in shallow water around grass or wood, I like a small crank like the DC100 by Damiki it rolls over rocks and logs really well.


My rods are pretty standard. For the smaller cranks, I use a Powell Max 3D 703 glass rod and for the deeper running cranks, I'm throwing those on the 765 glass cranking stick from Powell. I love the results I get with glass rods - they're not too stiff to pull the baits away from the fish. On all my rods, I use a 7:1 gear ratio reel. I like to have all my reels the same so I don't have to think about it when I pick a combo up. For cranking line, I prefer the feel of fluorocarbon and I use 12lb Sunline Sniper or 10lb if I'm going really deep and have to get the bait down. I might throw a squarebill on 14 or 16lb depending on the cover.


Pipkens prefers glass for cranking because that extra give in the rod leads to more hookups.


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?


Pipkens likes a jig tipped with Damiki's Aircraw when it's time to catch Creature Fever.


Chad Pipkens : When it's time to slow it down and fish some plastics, I'm starting to like a football jig a lot whether it's around grass, rocks, ledges, etc.. I just use a half ounce football jig and tip it with a Damiki Aircraw so it stands up. That setup goes through stuff really well whether its rock or wood. If I'm flipping grass or a ledge, I like a trick worm.


The best all around rod for me is the Powell Max 3D 723. It has a soft tip but a lot of backbone. If the water is a little dirty, I'll use 16lb - 20lb Sunline Sniper. If it's more clear, I'll use 12lb or 14lb.


The Powell Max 3D 723 is his favorite stick.


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.

When it's tie to go Finesse, Pipkens reaches for his Powell 712 spinning rod.

Chad Pipkens : I'm a big fan of the drop shot. I'll use a 1/4 oz weight and use something like the Damiki 5" Cutter Worm. The other bait for me is a stick bait - whether that's a Senko or something else, it doesn't matter. That style bait, fished weightless is a fish catching machine. If you don't have one rigged when you're trying to clean up the fish around a piece of structure, you're missing out.


For my finesse baits, I like the Powell 712 - it's a good all round rod for throwing lighter baits. I'll use a 12lb Sunline FX2 and a 10lb leader. I use a double uni for a connection knot. As long as you learn to tie the knot you like right, and the line isn't overlapping, you should do fine.


Pipken's Search for One ends with the Powell Max 723 casting rod.

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.

Matched with a 7:1 gear ratio reel, spooled with 12lb Sunline, Pipkens feels confident throwing everythign from spinnerbaits to jigs to a weightless Senko on the Powell Max 2d 723.

Chad Pipkens : If I'm limited to one rod, it's going to be that Powell Max 3D 723. It's just a good all around rod. I can throw a spinnerbait on it, switch up to a jig, I can also cast a weightless Senko with 12lb Sunline Sniper on. It's my favorite stick by far.

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









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