Tesoro Tuna Jackpot


Rich Tauber

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Friday, February 19, 2010

As most of you know, I work as a fishing instructor and guide at Lake Casitas in Ventura. Yes, I go to work 5 days a week just like everyone else, it just happens to be that the water is my office. The last 30 days, all I hear dabout at the lake each day was the U.S. Open.

Everyone has questions. Can I fish if…? Am I skilled enough as an angler to compete in such an event?  Can I fish if I don't have a boat? Will the Pros take the time to help me catch fish also?  I own a bass boat and would like to enter as a Pro…can I enter the U.S. Open ?  The answer to all of these questions is YES, hence the name "Open."  Everyone is welcome. If you were ever to enter a bass tournament…this is the one you want to choose.
Now that you have decided to fish the 2010 U.S. Open, let’s talk about lures and productive patterns for this summer spectacular. The first U.S. Open was in 1981. My former roommate on tour, Greg Hines, won the event. Most of you know, or have heard, that he won that first U.S. Open on a Heddon Zara Spook. He also caught some of his fish on a plastic worm; in fact all of his fish the fourth (yes, the U.S. Open used to be 4 days of competition) and final day of the tournament were caught on a 4-inch Ringworm.

This begins to give you an idea what I want to try to get across about your strategy for this event. It's real hard to win the Open with just one technique!  People think "Hey in those first U.S. Opens those guys would just tie on a topwater plug and catch the fire out of ‘em on surface plugs all day long."

Not true!  It was widely published that when I won the Open  I caught "all" of my fish on a topwater plug…not true. My biggest fish came on a plastic worm in that 1982 event. I will never forget when Gary Yamamoto won his Open in 50 feet of water on a jig. I talked to some of his partners after the event that told me they caught 30 keeper bass a day. What I am trying to get at is the U.S. Open patterns that have been successful have been all over the board: buzzbait, spinnerbait, drop shot, you name it.
With that being said, let's narrow it down to the present day. I really feel like the last two Opens have been been drop shot, spinnerbait, topwater, and crankbait driven. Those are the techniques that have been the most productive and produced the best scores. I really feel that you should enter practice for the event with an open mind. Start with a wide variety of lures and approaches. Once you get the ball rolling, go with it. Don't over practice a technique or area. If you’re beginning to feel confident with a particular bait or pattern, believe in it and let it develop during the competition days.

Lake Mead is not a place where you want to "wear ‘em out" in practice. It's a long and grueling tournament, and believe me when I tell you, you will need every fish possible that final day of competition.
When it comes to the actual competition days, the best advice I can give you is to "try to stay involved" in the tournament. Way too many anglers go for broke the first day and really try to "wreck ‘em." Hey, that's all well and good. If it happens, it happens. If not, try to catch a limit of bass and keep yourself in the hunt.

Over half the anglers in the U.S. Open will have given up by day three of competition. I see this every year, they push it, or try to do too much early in the tournament. Then by noon the 2nd day of the tournament, they’re in trouble. Try to be one of those 40 boats that are out there competing for the championship on that final day. If you can do that, in my opinion you have won. Hey, you gave it your best shot. You gave yourself a chance to win the tournament. If you come up a bit short, so be it.
I look forward to seeing you all at Boulder Station during U.S. Open week. And make sure you don't miss the Legends Tribute dinner the Friday night before the Open. It should be a classic evening with some stories that will last a lifetime.
 Anyone with any questions about the U.S. Open, or any other WON Bass event, can contact Rich at www.richtauberfishing.com

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