Making Smart Choices and Adapting to the Conditions

Making Smart Choices and Adapting to the Conditions

By Joshua Diehl

ZPRO Lithium Angler Joshua Diehl is no stranger to big events and big opportunities. Adding to his collection and hardware, Diehl did the unprecedented in the recent Native No-Limit and Big Bass Power Hour event taking big bass in 4 of 8 hours while setting records for largest No-Limit Payout and total number of hours won by a single angler. All his success came from smart choices and adapting to the situation. Here’s his story:

“Coming into this event, I was prepping to fish Lake Hartwell. This No-Limit event was supposed to be a single lake event, but low registrations induced a format change opening the event to lakes in the Carolina’s, Georgia, and Virginia. Going into practice, I knew I was either going to choose my home pond Clark’s Hill or Santee Cooper as my lake of choice. After a tough Friday practice on CH, I went all in on Santee Cooper – with the plan of only hunting big fish.” 


The Native No-Limit event is a choose your own adventure. There are payouts to the No-Limit (most overall fish by length) and hourly payouts for Big Bass. Diehl committed to the Big Bass format catching big largemouth in four different hours of the event while running his tried-and-true PA14 decked out with ZPRO Lithium batteries and Newport motor.

“When I got to the lake, the wind was blowing hard, we were sitting on 2-to-3-foot rolling waves from a north wind. It was a challenge getting off the shore, but once I got the motor going, I cruised to one of my initial starting points and started to try to go to work. Hampered by the wind, my first 3 intended starting points just wouldn’t work, so I transitioned to plan B, which involved a protected area of cypress that has previously turned out some big fish. Fishing in this flat transition area I picked up a 20.5-inch stout largemouth near a cypress tree pitching a worm.”


“As the morning moved on – I transitioned into a creek area with some grass. It just had a frog feeling to it, so I picked one up and, on my 2nd cast, a 21.25-inch largemouth smashed it. I worked in that area to get a few additional blowups and a 17 incher. As I fished out that creek arm, the area went stale. Unsure where I should continue, I did a mix of testing cypress trees, grass lines, and light shaded areas. Coming up zero’s heading into the afternoon I paused for a moment to figure out what I was missing. Thinking through my morning there were fish in the open to start, fish tucked in near grass mid-morning, where would they go next?” 

“Then it hit me, behind the flooded trees into the heaviest shadows.” Diehl got up close and personal with the canopy and started casting into the shade. 5 mins into that adjustment he caught a 21.75” largemouth. Diehl ran flooded cypress canopies and found that the bigger the shadows were, the higher probability there was a fish. He caught a number of shorts before transitioning to a slightly new area of water. Finding a long shadow, late in the one-o’clock hour, Diehl made the cast that won the event. “Another rocket ship came off that tree,” he said. Diehl set the hook into his biggest fish of the day, a 22.25-inch, which would seal the deal and be big fish of the overall event.

 “Every day on the water is special, from sunrises to sunsets and great times with friends. Today was another epic day that I will never forget!”


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