The term “home field advantage” implies that a competitor gets a leg up on the competition by competing in familiar territory. In the Bassmaster Elite Series, that perceived advantage was historically considered more of a curse as anglers competing on their home waters were regularly bested by competitors from across the country. However, recent years have seen a few anglers win on their home lake.
Humminbird® and Minn Kota® pro Wes Logan is the latest, after he captured his first Bassmaster Elite Series win on Neely Henry Lake. Like other pros who won on familiar waters in the last several years, Logan employed his deep knowledge of the fishery, advanced fishing technology and some solid game-time decisions to add another blue trophy to the “home team’s” trophy room.
Springtime on the Coosa River will keep any angler on their toes. And for the Bassmaster Elite Series field, who needed to string four consecutive five-fish limits together, the challenge of constantly changing conditions threw much of the field for a loop. Logan, who lives a mere 20 miles east of the lake in Springville, Alabama, knew that he would have to adapt every day and every hour of the tournament.
“With changing water levels, a lot of guys get thrown off because they are looking at their maps and not really recognizing how much a body of water can change,” Logan said. “I rely on the Water Level Offset feature on my Humminbird HELIX® units this time of year more than any other. A day’s time can see a body of water like Neely Henry rise or fall a few feet. I have lots of experience on the lake but it gives me a more complete picture of what the body of water really looks like when I adjust my Lakemaster® map to reflect the new water level.”
Logan knew going into the tournament that changing water levels would move the fish around but he was banking on the bream spawn to gather hungry post-spawn largemouth in predictable areas.
“Once I figured out the current water levels, I used my Lakemaster map and my knowledge of the lake to identify likely spawning areas. I cruised through these areas using MEGA Side Imaging® to identify the bream beds. The ability to clearly identify these areas meant I didn’t have to waste time looking around,” Logan said.
Logan did most of his damage on a black-and-blue swim jig, which he chose to differentiate his presentation from the rest of the field.
“Everyone was throwing a white swim jig, I was just giving the fish something different,” he said. “I was able to cover a lot of water very efficiently with that moving bait. When I found a really good cast angle and wanted to pick apart a stretch, I could use my Minn Kota Raptors® to lock my boat down and concentrate on making the perfect cast.”
Logan’s Minn Kota Ultrex® with the SpotLock® feature was another vital component of success that Logan highlighted.
“My Minn Kota Ultrex was key when I caught fish. In situations where it was too deep for my Raptors, I could hit Spot-Lock, fight my fish, cull if need be, and not have to worry about drifting down current,” Logan said. “That technology and the accuracy of Spot-Lock directly led to some very important fish in my win.”
After being so close to a win in the past, Logan said being as efficient as possible in the bite windows propelled him to victory.
“My Lakemaster mapping paired with the combination of my Minn Kota Ultrex and Raptors was clutch. They allowed me to know what areas were going to go off, when to be there, and being able to stay there,” Logan said. “That helped me stay as efficient as possible in high percentage areas and helped me add a few key bites.”
As Logan relishes his big win, the Bassmaster Elite Series is gearing up for another Alabama showdown on Lake Guntersville.
With Logan and other members of the Minn Kota and Humminbird pro team located within a relatively short distance of the famous bass fishery, the timing could be right for another home-grown winner.