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Home > Blog > Derek Phillips Wins 2014 STQT

Derek Phillips Wins 2014 STQT

Posted by nation on April 28, 2014

Day_3_Derek_Phillips_at_Grand_2014.jpgDerek led the Colorado Bass Nation State Team Qualifying Tournament, held April 16-18, 2014 at Grand Lake O’ Cherokees, OK, from Day 1 to the final weigh-in, catching 50.33 lbs. of largemouth bass. Here Derek shares his event, what worked for him, and his plan going into and during the tournament.

When I learned the 2014 STQT was going to be on Grand Lake again during April I was thrilled.  Having been there years ago during that time frame and having improved my skills and knowledge I was looking to improve my performance.  I gathered every piece of information I could including Matt Massey’s previous year’s success and the results/catch locations from the 2013 Bassmasters Classic.  

Day_2_Launch_32.jpgMy plan was simple, knowing that the weather had been unseasonably cold I felt that most bass were still in the pre spawn mode and as temperatures had began to slowly warm they would start staging.  I focused on primary mid-lake points with pea gravel and slightly larger rock banks with a slight slope.  I found most of my bass during practice in 2-4 feet of water.  The better fish seemed to be roaming, not in schools, and moving slowly closer to spawning areas.  

During my last day of practice, I went in search of spawning fish and found numerous beds, most without bass.  The bass that I found on beds were primarily bucks and 1-2 pound range.  Knowing that colder temperatures would prevail early in the tournament and that we wouldn’t see warmer temperatures until the last day of the tournament cinched my decision to fish for the pre-spawn bass.  

With Day 1 weather forecast being extremely windy, our Tournament Director Lane Coale elected to allow us to trailer to our selected areas to avoid potential injury, equipment damage, or even death to our participants, and announced this at the registration meeting.  With this decision, after studying the map that evening for potential alternate launch locations for the mid-lake area, I found a possibility out of the wind.  

Day 1 partner Dave Didomenico and I started slow with some equipment issues which were my fault.  After a few minutes of correction, we started my plan of fishing points in the mid-lake area and we agreed that if this didn’t pan out we would move to his area of Wolfe Creek around 11 AM.  As good fortune would have it, I had my limit by 7:45 AM after starting fishing at 6:40 or so.  Dave was able to get his limit a short time later and we both began culling bass by mid-morning.  
Due to our success we elected to stay in the mid-lake area verses moving to Wolfe Creek.  This decision would later affect me more on Day 3 than I thought it would.  All of my fish came from windy primary and secondary points in that area with a couple of bass from the ditches in the middle of spawning coves.  We finished the day with 19 and 17 pounds each respectfully.

Day_2_Weigh_In._Derek_P.jpgDay 2 partner Jeremiah Hofstetter and I discussed our options on the eve of Day 1.  He had success throwing Alabama Rigs in the Honey Creek area and wanted to consider going there.  We elected to start in my area of mid-lake first with the long run and work our way back to Honey Creek if necessary.  Our start was a little slower than Day 1, taking till about 11 AM before we could finish our limits and begin culling.  We worked the mouths of several coves around the mid-lake area focusing on the points and secondary points with pea gravel and small rock.  Our efforts were rewarded with Jeremiah edging me out with 16 pounds to my 15 pounds for the day.

Day 3 partner, Robert Satterwhite, Sr., and I went back to the mid-lake location, but having pulled nearly 70 pounds of bass from my locations caused the bite to be extremely slow.  I didn’t manage a bass until nearly 9 AM after checking a number of locations. My first bass was nearly four pounds, reviving my spirits that my technique would still work, and that I need to change my location and fish fresh water.

I began moving further down the lake still concentrating on main and secondary points.  I managed two smaller keepers before losing my first bass of the tournament, a three pound largemouth, that I didn’t get the hook set well enough in.  This loss caused me to become more focused on my technique and a dozen casts later I was blessed with a four pound largemouth from a ditch of a small spawning cove.  My fifth bass came after I changed to a shaky-head worm in an effort to finish off my limit and bring in a weight of a little over 15 pounds.


Congratulations to the other 2015 State Team Members for the CBF:  Jon Webb, Chris Rockwell, Larry Triplett, Jeremiah Smith, Jeremiah Hofstetter, Lane Coale, Connor Santos, Chad Phillips, David Didomenico, Herb Turner, and Rob Satterwhite, Jr.  Special thanks to President Audrey McKenney, Tournament Director Lane Coale and all the folks who pitched in and helped make this event a success from start to finish!

The Catch:  14 of the 15 Largemouth weighed in were caught on a Gene Larew Biffle Bug.  The 15th was caught as the number 5 bass with a shaky-head on the last day of the tournament.  Other keepers that were culled were caught on a Strike King 2.5 square bill crankbait.

The Pattern:  Focus was on pre-spawn staging bass on main lake and secondary points in the mid lake area.  Some were also caught in a ditch close to spawning areas.  Pea gravel with some larger rock was the typical structure which most of the bass were relating to.
Conditions:  Water temperature varied each day with the frontal and weather changes, ranging from 57-60 degrees for the most part.

The Equipment:  

The #1 Lure:  Gene Larew Biffle Bug in Sooner Run and Dark Watermelon/Pumpkin Purple, on a Biffle Hard head, 7/16 and 11/16 weights.

The Rod:  G. Loomis BCR 853 Jig Rod, 7’1” MH

The Reel:  Shimano Core 50 Reel, 7.0:1 RatioThe Line:  20# Seaguar Invizx Fluorocarbon Line

The #2 Lure:  Shaky-head Strike King Finesse Worm, Green Pumpkin, 3/16 oz. Football Jig Head

The Rod:  G. Loomis BCR 852 Jig Rod, 7’ 1” Med Action

The Reel:  Shimano Core 50 Reel, 7.0:1 Ratio

The Line:  12# Seaguar Invizx Fluorocarbon Line

The #3 Lure:  Strike King 2.5 Square-bill crankbait, Chartreuse Shad Color

The Rod:  G. Loomis CBR 845 Rod, 7’ Med-Heavy Action

The Reel:  Shimano Core Reel, 6.2:1 Ratio

The Line:  15# Seaguar Invizx Fluorocarbon Line

Derek Phillips sends a grateful Thank You to his sponsors: Bass Cat Boats, Power Pole, Gene Larew, Strike King, G Loomis, Shimano, TroKar Hooks, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Lakemaster, Seaguar.