Please select your home edition
Edition
Pantaenius FBW Comprehensive 728x90

Josh Stracner wins Eufaula Toyota Series Event

by Curtis Niedermier 20 Jun 17:41 UTC
Josh Stracner © FLW Fishing

What started as Michael Smith's week turned into Josh Stracner's day, as Stracner came back from third place to win the Toyota Series Southeastern Division season opener at Lake Eufaula.

Smith, who led the tournament for two days with 50 pounds even, suffered a rash of lost fish today, and he never really got dialed in while conditions changed from sunny and calm to overcast and breezy as a front made its way through southern Alabama. Smith weighed in only 11-2 and fell to fourth.

Stracner, on the other hand, backed up previous limits of 23-9 and 19-3 with an impressive final-round bag of 22-3 to come away the champion with a three-day total of 64-15.

This is Stracner's fourth FLW win on Lake Eufaula, but midway through the day, it didn't look like he was going to be able to pull off the come-from-behind victory.

He started the day doing what he'd done the previous two outings - fishing deep ledges in the mid-lake area. It just wasn't happening. With 13 to 14 pounds in the livewell and a few hours left to fish, Stracner knew he needed to change it up. Eventually, he shifted to fishing shallow brush - in this case 12 to 15 feet deep - which quickly proved to be the right move.

"I did not even think about it [moving shallower] until about 12 o'clock, and the deep stuff wasn't working," he says. "So I went shallow and started catching a few. I caught enough that I just stayed with it the rest of the day. And right before this storm came through, I caught three good ones on back-to-back stops."

In Stracner's opinion, shifting away from ledges and to the brush worked so well because of the lack of fishing pressure the brush piles were getting (most of the top finishers were keyed on ledges) and the conditions.

"Just the dark clouds and real heavy overcast," he says, describing the conditions that set up the brush bite. "It didn't get hot and sunny, and they just wouldn't pull up on those ledges.

Really, the wind got up a little bit. When the wind gets up, I feel like I can catch them really good in the brush."

Coming into the tournament, Stracner predicted 22 pounds per day would win, and he was pretty much spot on. He opened the tournament strong by "getting on the right stuff at the right time" on the ledges. A good "rotation" was huge this week. Falling in line behind other pros on the best schools pretty much spelled disaster as the fish seemed programmed to only bite on the first few casts. The pressure literally pushed them off the ledges.

That first day, Stracner caught fish early, then settled into a midday lull. He caught some good ones in the afternoon, too, and was able to open the event in the top 10. The early-and-late pattern repeated itself on Friday. The exception was that Stracner got into a bad rotation and was fishing behind some other pros. It showed when his weight dropped by a few pounds. Today, Stracner made the right move, salvaged his day on the brush and added one more ledge fish toward the end of the day to fully seal it up.

Stracner's ledge pattern, which got him to the top 10, was really nothing unusual for June at Eufaula.

"There are certain little places - hard spots, corners, turns in the ledges - and that's just where they'll sit," he says. "It's just putting a lot of time in on the lake and fishing everything I know."

He used about a half-dozen baits this week to catch the winning fish. His main ledge baits were a Strike King 10XD and 6-inch Scottsboro Tackle Co. Swimbait on a Scottsboro Recon Head. Today, fishing brush, he caught some on a Reaction Innovations Fat Flirt Worm, which he says should be on the market soon (Click here to see the standard Flirt Worm.), and a Z-Man ChatterBait.

Clearly, if you watched the final weigh-in on FLW Live, you know that Stracner keeps his emotions in check. He's reserved; the type that lets his fishing do his talking. Smith's impressive start probably helped camoflauge what was lurking behind the two-day leader - a quiet local favorite with just enough tools and knowledge to break hearts on the final day. While Smith banged out two huge limits on Thursday and Friday, Stracner kept grinding in the shadows. Another win was the reward for his consistency.

"I can't believe it," Stracner says. "I never really thought I could've won it. I was just hoping to stay in second or third. Man, I just had to work real hard this week. There's a lot of these guys, they catch them every day. You've got to be on the right stuff at the right time. Everything's got to go right, and it's just my day. That's really all I can say. I just feel very fortunate right now."

Top 10 pros

1. Josh Stracner - Vandiver, Ala. - 64-15 (15) - $29,034
2. Ryan Ingram - Phenix City, Ala. - 62-13 (15) - $10,669
3. Bryan New - Belmont, N.C. - 61-8 (15) - $8,260
4. Michael M Smith - Andalusia, Ala. - 61-2 (15) - $6,883
5. Shane Powell - Dothan, Ala. - 61-0 (15) - $6,195
6. Josh Butler - Hayden, Ala. - 58-0 (15) - $6,507
7. Scott Montgomery - Eufaula, Ala. - 56-8 (15) - $4,899
8. Dustin Smith - Grand Island, Fla. - 54-13 (15) - $4,130
9. Austin Lang - Kinsey, Ala. - 53-12 (15) - $3,442
10. Kacy Mims - Randolph, Ala. - 53-11 (15) - $2,753

Related Articles

Top 10 baits from the Potomac River
Give some of these techniques a look... Some of the top 10 pros chose a power approach to cover vast stretches of grass, while others slowed down with the finesse tactics that always seem to play on the Potomac. Posted on 17 Sep
Top 10 baits from Sturgeon Bay
A decent amount of variation in baits at Tackle Warehouse TITLE Summertime smallmouth fishing makes having a drop-shot or two on the deck pretty essential, and the top pros in the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota on Sturgeon Bay basically all relied on the versatile finesse rig to get the job done. Posted on 6 Sep
Rusty Salewske wins first-ever title
At the 2020 Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota The final day of the 2020 Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota came down to the most basic difference-maker in bass fishing: an angler making a move based on his gut. Posted on 4 Sep
Top 10 baits from Lake Erie
There were no secrets this tournament in terms of baits The overwhelming majority of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament was throwing a drop-shot, with a good portion of them using the same lure on it. Yet, there were a couple of oddballs who switched up their offerings to give them an edge. Posted on 19 Aug
Rob Nelson wins Angler of the Year
One of the hottest and best anglers in the USA Finishing 11th or better in the first three events at Sam Rayburn, the Harris Chain and Lake Martin, the Michigan pro kept it rolling in the second phase of the season when the Super Tournaments started. Posted on 19 Aug
Top 10 baits from the Mississippi River
Tom Monsoor won with a variety of unique jigs The top pros in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament presented by OPTIMA Batteries on the Mississippi River ended up using fairly similar tactics to attack the river, but with slight variations throughout. Posted on 6 Aug
Top 10 baits from Chickamauga
All pros had techniques or tactics of their own to set themselves apart Sure enough, the pros who made the top 10 at the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga all had techniques or tactics of their own to set themselves apart. Posted on 3 Jul
Losee, Tweite close out High School Championship
This is more territory than one angler could define in a lifetime When Losee and Tweite first found out they had earned their way to the Student Angler Federation High School Fishing National Championship on the Mississippi River, they joked with each other about what it would feel like to win such a prestigious event. Posted on 1 Jul
Top anglers head to La Crosse, Wis., June 24-27
The High School Fishing Nationals will be a frog-fest If you wanted to design the perfect frog-fishing tournament, you might host it at Guntersville or the Cal Delta, but you could also copy the agenda for the FLW High School Fishing presented by Favorite National Championship on the Mississippi River. Posted on 22 Jun
Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament
Previewing Chick: can other lakes play? When the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit picks back up next week with the Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga, the famous lake isn't the only reservoir available to pros in the event. Posted on 21 Jun
38 South - Merry Fisher 795 Series - FOOTERMarina Exchange FOOTER 1