Ranger pros dominate top four of leaderboard
FLIPPIN, Ark. (May 8, 2018) – Ranger Boats Pro Wesley Strader brought in a total of 80 pounds, 4 ounces, to win the Bassmaster Elite Series event on Kentucky Lake, May 7. The win marks Strader’s first on the Elite Series and garnered him $101,000 in winnings.
While this is Strader’s first year fishing the Elite Series, he is a seasoned pro with 21 years of fishing the FLW Tour under his belt. Strader has proven to be a consistent touring pro and understands how special it is to win.
“It solidifies what I have been trying to accomplish for years,” said Strader. “It’s not just being the consistent guy, but the guy who wins. I’ve had a lot of second-place finishes with a few wins. It’s hard to get a win, so when I do get one, I don’t take it for granted. Coming in second that many times, you learn to appreciate things like this a bit more.”
Throughout the competition, Strader switched between three to four primary patterns, dictated by his surroundings.
“I had three or four things going on,” said Strader. “I had shad spawn going. I had a spawn pattern going. I had a pre-spawn deal and a post-spawn. It was just doing the right thing each day to fit the conditions or area.”
Strader fished from Blood River down south to Big Sandy and started each day taking advantage of the early morning shad spawn bite. After the bite died, he turned to flipping a PH Custom Lures crankbait, a Stan Sloan Bango Blade spinnerbait and a popping frog.
Strader opened on day one with 19 pounds, 6 ounces, and followed up on day two with 17 pounds, 13 ounces. Day three was a boon for the angler who bagged 22 pounds, 6 ounces, and positioned himself on top of the leaderboard, less than one pound ahead of fellow Ranger pro Skeet Reese.
Strader didn’t find the early morning shad spawn bites on the final day and quickly opted to run to a spot saved up for later.
“I never caught a fish on the shad spawn with the crankbait on Monday,” said Strader. “I went to an area that I had been saving and ended up catching a limit on a buzzbait and a Bango Blade spinnerbait around docks. Around noon, I went flipping and caught them on a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver or a Zoom Z-Craw.”
The angler knew he had 20-pound-plus limit but wasn’t sure how Reese fared on the final day.
“I thought if Skeet struggles today, I’ll have a chance to win,” said Strader. “He was the one I was worried about.”
Reese missed his limit by one fish and only weighed 17 pounds, 10 ounces, while Strader brought 20 pounds, 11 ounces, to take the win and the $100,000 first-place prize.
Throughout the competition, Strader depended up being open about switching patterns and baits to see him through the tough bites. Along with rolling with the punches, Strader recognizes his Ranger boat as a critical part of his success on tour.
“Which boat you run is huge,” said Strader. “The way my Ranger floats, the way it moves around docks, the way it handles in rough rides – it’s a big factor. It’s probably one of the most crucial things to fishing. From the layout of the tackle storage to the small things like your livewell pump. It gives you piece of mind.”
Along with Strader, fellow Ranger pros Skeet Reese, Kelley Jaye and Jason Christie rounded out the top four spots on the leaderboard at Kentucky Lake. This most recent leaderboard domination comes on the heels of Ranger pros taking the top 5 spots of the 2018 Bassmaster Classic, and Takahiro Omori’s win at the first Bassmaster Elite Series event of the 2018 season on Alabama’s Lake Martin.
About Ranger Boats
Headquartered in Flippin, Ark., Ranger Boats is the nation’s premier manufacturer of legendary fiberglass and aluminum fishing boats, with acclaimed models and series in the bass, multi-species, fish ‘n play, saltwater, waterfowl utility and pontoon boat segments. Founded in 1968 by Forrest L. Wood, Ranger Boats continues its commitment to building the highest-quality, strongest-performing boats on the water. For more information, go to RangerBoats.com.