Scorecard Snapshot – Storming Crankbaits Answer and Winner

Photo Bassmaster Magazine Dec 1996.

Congrats to Jerry Rapp for answering not only the first question correctly but also the second one too!  To find out what the answers were, read below.

OK, BFA fans, here’s another two-parter to test how well you know your professional fishing trivia. You must get both questions right in order to win. Have at it!

The 1996 Virginia Bassmaster Eastern Invitational at Lake Gaston marked the lone win for David Ashcraft in 45 B.A.S.S. events. In fact, he only finished in the top twenty four other times, and never again after his victory, before calling it quits in 1999.

The Gaston event was a tough one. While the lake is known to produce some big fish, it was stingy that week and keeper bass were tough to come by. Out of 322 pros, 37 blanked for all three days. Brent Chapman snagged the final check (55th place) with 15-14 and it took less than 9 pounds a day to make the top ten.

Ashcraft outlasted up-and-comer Gerald Swindle by 1-10 and local crankbait legend Gerald Beck by a little over three pounds to claim the victory. His tool of choice was a Storm Magnum Wiggle Wart, fished around muddy main lake structure.

Do you remember why the Virginia Invitational was fished in a lake that is mostly in North Carolina?

Furthermore, do you remember how Ashcraft altered his crankbait to make it more effective?

Here are the answers.

Lake Gaston sits just downstream from Kerr Reservoir (AKA Buggs Island), the original site of the Virginia Invitational. Whereas Gaston is mostly in North Carolina with a portion of the lake in Virginia, Kerr is the opposite – most of its water is in Virginia, with a portion surrounded by North Carolina soil. South Hill, Virginia, host of the event, is the closest reasonably-sized city near either one.

Hurricane Fran flooded Kerr shortly before its September date. Bassmaster reported that it was “17 feet above pool and rising.” Unlike Kerr, where the water levels fluctuate, Gaston is held within a narrow range. Thus, a few days before the official practice was scheduled to start, B.A.S.S. elected to move the tournament to Gaston in a move that the magazine referred to as “an unprecedented last-minute change.”

While Gaston was more amenable to fishing, that doesn’t mean it was going to be easy. Much of the lake was muddy. “The muddy water has a tendency to make fishermen think that they have to go shallow to be successful,” Ashcraft told Louie Stout. “But bass don’t’ move from 30 feet of water to 30 inches of water overnight. Deep-water bass live there year-round, except during the spawn. They may move up a little, but they aren’t going to the banks.”

Because the water was muddy, he had to give the fish extra time to find his wide-wobbling crankbait. Accordingly, he used bright colors – chartreuse and orange herringbone, as well as chartreuse and blue with an orange belly. He also used another product from Storm that was new to the market – SuspenStrips, lead tape that could be affixed to the belly of the plug. The lure normally went to 12 feet, but by employing up to 11 strips, he could make the lure tickle the bottom in 15. Any more than 11, he said, dampened the Wart’s action.