Tennis shoe sized swimbaits remained the fashionable bait of choice for winner Byron Velvick and a huge portion of the tournament competitors at Clear Lake, California. But Tommy Biffle gave the huge rubber baitfish imitators little attention and resorted to the roots of his successful 25 years as a legendary pro for a 6th place finish at the Bassmaster Elite Golden State Shootout.
Biffle anchored his 4-day weight of 81 pounds with a Texas-rigged black neon Gene LarewÒ Biffle Bug that he flipped and pitched to tulles in shallow, warmer, dingier water with his signature blue-colored 7’ 6” Tour Elite QuantumÒ rod. The reel he used is a Quantum prototype that performed flawlessly, but will be kept secretive until its unveiling at the fishing industry’s ICAST trade show this summer.
Biffle says he designed the big stick (model TTBC767F) to be beefy but balanced. “It’s the rod I use every time I’m flipping and pitching heavy cover. It’s a stout blank because you gotta be able to move big fish out of heavy cover, but it’s not tip heavy, it’s balanced,” explained the 52 year-old who owns an ATV dealership in his hometown of Wagoner, Oklahoma, in addition to being one of bass fishing’s top touring pros.
“The first day was tough. I had 16 bites, all flippin, and lost 10 of them. On Day 2, I went right back to flippin the same water, I made no adjustments, and I caught every fish that bit,” said Biffle.
“Byron won, but he knows swimbaits better than anybody. It’s hard to just walk into a tackle store here at Clear Lake, buy a few swimbaits, and be competitive against a guy like Byron — not unless they are just gobbling them up like they were when we were here in 2007 — but that wasn’t the case this week. So I stuck with what I know best,” explained Biffle.