Key adjustment guides Rasmussen to victory at B.A.S.S. Nation Qualifier on Lake Eufaula

EUFAULA, Ala. — After some anxious moments in the morning hours, Adam Rasmussen caught a limit weighing 18 pounds, 13 ounces Friday to win the Mercury B.A.S.S. Nation Qualifier at Lake Eufaula presented by Lowrance with a three-day total of 62-5.

Along with the trophy, Rasmussen earned $9,728 and a berth in the 2024 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship.

“Obviously this is what we all strive to do in this sport. We want to win,” he said. “So, you put your head down and work as hard as you can and try to do it every time. There’s a lot of good anglers that fish this and I am humbled to win it on a lake that hasn’t been very nice to me in the past.”

Alabama’s Kenneth Grover II finished second with a three-day total of 51-12 while Brock Belik finished third with 50-15.

Anglers were welcomed to Lake Eufaula by a major rain storm, which dirtied up a lot of the lake at the beginning of the week. Rasmussen made a concerted effort to scan almost the entirety of practice in cleaner water, trying to find as many sweet spots as possible so he didn’t run out of areas to fish in the tournament.

“I looked for as much stuff as I could. I probably laid down 400 icons (on my graph),” said Rasmussen, who notched an Opens victory on Alabama’s Wheeler Lake in 2023. “I always seem to run out of stuff halfway through Day 2. I pretty much had the attitude that I was going to find as much as I possibly could so I didn’t run out. And I didn’t. There’s still more that I didn’t even get to.”

Opening the tournament in second with 19-1, Rasmussen anchored a 24-7 Day 2 bag with a 7-9 largemouth, which was the Big Bass of the Tournament, and took an impressive lead into the final day.

The noted Wisconsin walleye guide turned bass pro caught the majority of his weight the first two days by targeting hard-bottom staging areas outside of spawning pockets. Those bass were located anywhere from 5 to 15 feet of water, and he slowly dragged a 1/2-ounce brown jig paired with a green pumpkin Rapala CrushCity Cleanup Craw to generate bites.

“You had to keep contact with the bottom the whole time and fish it super slow,” he said.

On the final day, Rasmussen started in his primary area, only to find it did not reload with more bass. He caught one keeper from the area, but did not get another bite until he moved to the main lake around 10 a.m. There, he found a school of bass in 15 to 18 feet of water and dragged a 3/4-ounce jig with the Cleanup Craw.

“I stumbled on a school of bass that were up on a shellbar,” Rasmussen said. “I had 17 pounds in six casts. At the end of the day I pulled up on another shellbar and caught a 4-pounder. I felt OK after that.”

After barely sneaking into the Day 3 cut with bags of 12-9 and 13-15, Grover caught the biggest bag of the tournament on the final day — a 25-4 limit that was anchored by a 7-7 largemouth. Most of that bag was caught during the first two hours using a 1/2-ounce football jig with a Yamamoto Double-Tail Grub.

“Last night, I got to thinking about that particular area. It is the perfect wintertime spot. It is a lake ledge, but it has a really sharp drop at the bottom,” Grover said. “I just knew there were some better fish and if I got there first thing in the morning I would have a chance at catching a big bag. The water was cleaning up every day.”

Grover had that area, as well as his starting area on Day 1, to himself. Not only were there bass, but there were plenty of baitfish as well as crappie and other species. Slowing way down was the key to generating strikes.

“It was definitely a much better bite first thing in the morning. I would bring the jig over the ledge break and shake my rod and let the bait just sit there,” he explained. “It seemed like the longer I would do that, one would finally come pick it up. I think they were cruising along the ledge and when one came across my bait, they would go ahead and eat it.”

Belik caught 13-2 on Day 1 before adding bags of 18-2 and 19-11 on the final two days. The Nebraska angler also benefited from finding an offshore school of bass. On the final day, he caught 25 total fish on a “mega-school” located in 17 to 24 feet of water on a creek channel swing ledge leading into a spawning pocket.

A 3/8-ounce Woo Tungsten shaky head with a Zoom Trick Worm was his best producing bait.

“I started there today and it happened pretty quick. By 10 o’clock I had that 19 pounds,” Belik said. “They were loaded up there. It was a ledge with a bunch of standing timber and they were setting up right on the ledge. I could tell where they were setting up on LiveScope. I would cast right to them, let that shaky head sit there and shake the worm until they would eat it.”

Brian Gibler of Clarksville, Tenn., won the nonboater division with a three-day total of 21-8. Mississippi’s David Godwin finished second with 19-13 and Georgia’s Daniel Wilson Jr. finished third with 18-8. Kentucky’s Ron Whittaker claimed the Big Bass of the Tournament among nonboaters with a 6-2 largemouth he caught on Day 1.

The Eufaula-Barbour County Chamber of Commerce hosted this week’s event.

2024 Bassmaster Nation Series Title Sponsor: Mercury

2024 Bassmaster Nation Series Presenting Sponsor: Lowrance

2024 Bassmaster Nation Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota
2024 Bassmaster Nation Series Premier Sponsors: Bass Pro Shops, Dakota Lithium, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Progressive Insurance, Ranger Boats, Rapala, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha
2024 Bassmaster Nation Series Supporting Sponsors: AFTCO, Daiwa, Garmin, Lew’s, Lowrance, Marathon, Triton Boats, VMC

2024 Bassmaster Nation Series Youth Sponsors: Seaguar, Shimano

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