Suggs broken up about runner-up

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When Folgers pro Scott Suggs of Bryant, Ark., realized he missed out on the FLW Tour win at Table Rock by just 11 ounces, he had to take a few seconds to contain his emotions.

“I really felt like I had the strategy to go the distance,” said Suggs. “And to come that close – I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty torn up about it. Now all the second-guessing begins.”

Suggs’ final-day catch of 12 pounds, 7 ounces gave him a two-day total of 28 pounds, 4 ounces, and he took home $50,000 as a consolation.

Even before the Table Rock event began, Suggs took the fickle nature of the lake’s shallow largemouth bite into consideration, and he spent a lot of practice time looking for schooled-up spotted bass – something other competitors might have deemed a waste of time. But Suggs’ plan all along was to have five swimmers in the well before he went shallow each day.

“I spent one whole day of practice doing nothing but idling huge flats in 100 feet of water, using my Lowrance electronics to find schools of bait and bass suspended over trees,” Suggs said. “And I found just what I was looking for – spotted bass suspended in about 25 to 30 feet of water over 40- and 50-foot trees. That Lowrance unit showed everything beautifully: the trees and the bass suspended right over the tops of them – it was picture perfect.”

Even on day one when the field smashed the largemouths up shallow, Suggs just smiled with his 17-10 limit. On day two, he bided his time with another 17-12 limit and made the cut, lurking in third place.

Suggs’ plan did not really start to shine until day three, when the wheels ran off the shallow largemouth bite for many and he stayed consistent with a 15-13 catch, which put him in second going into the final day.

The stage was set for the true genius of Suggs’ carefully laid strategy today, but he ended up just short of his target.

Suggs’ bread and butter in the morning was to swim a 4-inch Berkley Hollow Belly swimbait through schools of suspended spotted bass over 130 feet of water. His unique swimbait rig consisted of threading the little Hollow Belly on a Jewell Bait Company ½-ounce jighead and securing the swimbait on the jighead with his own homemade bait-keeper system – something Suggs plans to keep under wraps for while. He then fished the setup on 12-pound-test Trilene 100% fluorocarbon.

After getting a limit of spotted bass early (usually by 9 a.m. each morning), Suggs would then cull up by casting and swimming a ¾-ounce Frank Divis jig on channel-swing banks.

“A lot of guys were cranking channel-swing banks with Wiggle Warts, but I was swimming that heavy jig down through the rocks, and the fish were eating it,” he said.

Each of the first three days, Suggs could cull up handsomely with the jig, but today it produced only one decent cull.

“Now, seeing how close I was to winning, I wish I had just used the swimbait in those deep schools all day long,” he said. “I left those deep fish biting this morning to go to the bank, and had I stayed there, I’m sure I could have culled up ounces at a time all day. Earlier in the week, I actually caught some quality largemouth from those deep places as well – there were some bigger fish out there. But I felt like I had the winning strategy by culling up on the bank, and ironically, in the end, my winning strategy is what got me beat.” Read More