BASS Elite Series anglers Todd Faircloth and Bill Lowen have quite a few things in common. Todd and Bill are two of the best anglers in the world, they both use CastAway Rods exclusively, and they’re both fishing in the upcoming 2014 Bassmaster Classic. That’s where the similarities end, however: Faircloth thinks he’s got a good shot at winning on Guntersville, while Lowen likes his chances of walking away with the coveted trophy.
While the two veteran pros have differing opinions on who is going to take the title, they do agree on what it will take to win. With weather conditions and water temps trending unusually cold, both Faircloth and Lowen are confident that finishing atop the leaderboard will require not only superior angling skills, but also versatility and adaptability.
“Right now, it looks like we’re in for an unusually cold Classic, said Faircloth. “But you never know, things could start to warm up right before the tournament begins. Those anglers that are able to make quick adjustments according to the conditions will have an edge over the rest of the field.”
Lowen shares Faircloth’s assessment. “This event brings together the best bass anglers in the world, so every competitor out there has the ability to win this thing,” noted Lowen. “It’ll come down to reading the conditions and the bass correctly, making the right calls at the right time, and being able to adapt quickly to challenging situations.”
While both Lowen and Faircloth expect the bass to be relating to Guntersville’s abundant grass, they plan on employing different techniques to locate and entice the fish. Lowen plans on doing plenty of flipping, while Faircloth intends on using football jigs, lipless crankbaits and chatterbaits to cover water and find some quality bass.
“It’ll depend upon the conditions come tournament time, of course, but I think I’ll be using my
7’ 6” CastAway Skeleton SKXFP76 flipping rod a good percentage of the time, concentrating on shallower water and targeting fish in the grass, Lowen said. “I consider myself a ‘finesse power fisherman,’ meaning I like to flip with smaller, lighter baits to increase the number of bites I get. While some people think that downsizing lures results in more action but smaller fish, I haven’t found that to be the case. I’ve caught some monster fish flipping ¼-ounce jigs.”
Lowen will be taking full advantage of the combined sensitivity and strength of his Skeleton flipping stick to put bass in the boat. “This rod’s graphite construction allows me to detect subtle bites and flip all day long without fatigue, yet it also provides the backbone I need for positive hook-sets and pulling big fish from heavy cover,” he said.
Faircloth says he’ll be relying on his CastAway Todd Faircloth signature rods to work shallow-running cranks, football jigs and swimbaits in anywhere from 3 to 10 feet of water,” he said. “I expect the fish to be in the grass waiting to ambush prey, so I’ll be using my signature 7’ 2” SKX-TFSC shallow crankbait rod to run everything from a Strike King Red Eye Shad to a Strike King Series 5 through the vegetation. This rod’s soft tip and parabolic action makes it perfect for casting and working these lures, plus it also gives me the backbone I need to rip baits free from the grass and overpower big fish.”
Faircloth also intends on using his versatile signature 7’3” Big T’s Triple Threat Rod on Guntersville to throw jigs, swimbaits and chatterbaits.
Both Lowen and Faircloth credit the quality and performance of their CastAway rods for helping them reach the Classic. “These rods provide the best of all worlds – they’re lightweight and sensitive, but no so light that I have to worry about strength when I slam the hook home or apply heavy pressure on a fish,” explained Faircloth.
Although both seasoned anglers have plenty of talent on their side, neither Lowen or Faircloth has a ton of experience on Guntersville. Lowen, who spent most of his time on the Ohio River, has fished Guntersville only six times, while Faircloth, a Texas native who grew up frequenting Sam Rayburn Lake and Toledo Bend, has fished Guntersville less than 20 times. That doesn’t seem to faze either angler, however. Lowen even believes that the supposed “home water” advantage can actually work against an angler.” If you’ve fished a lake your whole life, sometimes you end up concentrating on old spots where you’ve had success in the past, instead of being ‘in the moment’ and considering the current situation, conditions and opportunities. There’s also a lot more pressure on you to win if you’re a local favorite, and in an event like the Classic where there’s already a ton of pressure, that’s the last thing you need.”
Lowen and Faircloth are definitely capable of winning the upcoming Classic on Guntersville. Both anglers have fished the big show before (this will be Lowen’s sixth Classic and Faircloth’s 12th), they’ve earned the right to compete again in this year, and they have the skills, determination and quality tackle needed to come out on top.
To learn more about CastAway’s pro staffers, including Bill Lowen and Todd Faircloth, or for more information on the complete line of tournament-quality CastAway graphite rods, visit www.castawayrods.com.
Images courtesy CastAway Rods