Photo Credit: FLW
Adaptation Key for Willert’s Win
Joel Willert is no stranger to the winner’s circle, as he has amassed two St. Jude Bass Classic win’s and a BASS Northern Open win over the past five years, along with numerous other victories in Minnesota bass fishing tournaments, but this past weekend Joel garnered his biggest win to date, an FLW Tour win.
This is Joel’s first year fishing on the FLW Tour as a co-angler where he is putting together a great season. Joel currently sits in second place in the year end point standings.
Practice at Lake Cumberland for Joel wasn’t what he wanted. “It was terrible, I only caught two fish on Sunday and none on Monday,” said Willert. “Then on Tuesday, we started to get clued in, as the bass were spitting up small alewives.”
This keen observation by Joel had him switch to a smaller swim bait and immediately he started catching bass. He knew that pretty much whoever he got paired with, that he could throw that and have an opportunity to catch fish.
On day one, Joel and his boater were the only boat to go up river and he stuck with the small swimbait, fished on a 3/16 oz jighead. “I caught a nice smallie right away and culled a few times throughout the day, but a fish care penalty forced me to keep a small smallmouth,” stated Joel. At the end of day one, Joel was in 6th place with 11 lb 8 oz.
Joel’s day two boater took him in the opposite direction down the lake into a pocket. The night before his boater suggested he bring a rod with braid, as they were in the way back of pockets flipping buck brush. But Joel instead picked up a ¾ oz spinnerbait and never put it down the whole day. Joel was making short pitches to the bank and bluff walls, and slow rolled it back to the boat. “The bigger ¾ oz spinnerbait allowed me to control my casts and the bait would get down in the water column quicker.”
Joel’s day two limit weighed 12 lb 10 oz and got him the victory!
Joel’s goal is to stay in the top ten to earn an invite to the 2019 FLW Tour as a boater. Through four events as a co-angler, Joel’s biggest advice for co-anglers is to be prepared for any situation. “Getting some practice in helps so you know what the fish are feeding on and what the bite is like, but you still need to bring a little bit of everything, as you need to be prepared for any situation.”
Much like his intuition and gut feeling to go with a spinnerbait on day two, Joel pays a lot of attention to what his boater is doing, as you don’t want to make the same cast that he does.
Up next on the FLW Tour for Joel is Smith Lake, which is a renowned spotted bass fishery and should have a solid offshore bite, which should prove beneficial for co-anglers.