Taco Stayed Shallow for the Bull Shoals Victory
May 17th, 2005 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified May 17th, 2005 at 12:00 AM
Prognosticators said look for walleyes to move deep on Bull Shoals Lake in a post-spawn/pre-summer exodus. Lund pro Todd Frank had a two-day 10-pound lead thanks to trolling with Dipsey Divers over deep water. He looked unbeatable, but he had been pounding the same fish for over a week. Evinrude/Polar Kraft pro Bill “Taco” Ortiz, on the other hand, focused his attention on shallow fish. Were the prognosticators wrong? Yep!In classic PWT form, Ortiz was held until the last few moments of the tournament to build the suspense. It worked. Very few in the crowds felt Frank would fall, but fall he did. His deep water fish failed him. Ortiz’ shallow bite held up and never faltered throughout the event.Carp (e) DiemStained water was the main ingredient for the shallow water action Ortiz encountered.”I found fish shallow in pre-fish,” Ortiz said. “I had to be fishing in places where I couldn’t see the bottom in 10 feet of water. If I could see the bottom, I didn’t catch the fish.”Some of my best areas were the spots where carp were in the shallows stirring it up,” he said. “Seriously, those areas seemed to be best. I must have had about 40 spots throughout the lake where I knew if the water was stained, I could find the shallow active fish.”In-Line Trolling BestWhile many trollers were sending their crankbaits out on planer boards, Ortiz had his best results with his crankbaits trolled almost directly behind his Polar Kraft.”I used one board, but didn’t have much action with it,” he said. “My best action came on a few set-ups. I used an 8 1/2-foot with a number 5 Shad Rap fished about 80 feet back and a 6-foot rod with a number 5 Shad Rap fished about 100 feet back. Both of these were fished out of the back rod holders right behind the boat. It was almost like I was pole-lining or handlining since the length of the rods and the distance the line was back had the lures above and below each other like shanks on a handline set-up.”The active fish hit the lure on the 8-1/2 foot rod more frequently,” he said. “It seemed like the less aggressive bites came on the shorter rod with the line further back.”He also used a leadcore rig with a 20-foot leader and a Shad Rap fished directly over his E-Tec.His best depths ranged from 8-to 10-feet deep fishing 7-to 8-feet down. The top Shad Rap colors were blue and black holographic.
Don’t Pound Your WalleyesWhile it was reported that runner-up Todd Frank fished the same area for a dozen days, Ortiz used a run-and-gun approach.”Since I had so many spots to fish, I wouldn’t spend much time on them in pre-fish,” he said. “By the time the tournament started, I hadn’t fished my number one or two spots since Friday. I think that Todd may have fished out his area, while I had several spots to fish.”On Day 2, I didn’t see any of my teammates for the entire day,” he said. “I landed 19 keepers and lost a nice 4-or 5-pounder. On the last day, I just knew I would be able to do well and show up with a good limit of fish.”