Since he isn't fishing the Bassmaster Elite Series Toledo Bend tournament this year because of a medical exemption, local bass pro Dennis Tietje didn't mind revealing the five lures that he believes will play big parts in putting together a winning pattern when the pros stop at the Bend this month.

Any one of these lures could win it all, but the angler who finds the perfect combination of all five could walk away with a victory and a cool $100,000 in his pocket.


3/4-ounce jig

Toledo Bend stayed low for so long that it grass reestablished in areas where there hadn't been any in the last 20 years. Tietje said this new grass is in really good shape, and that's why he thinks a big jig will be a factor.

"The only way to get down and dirty in the grass is flipping a big jig," he insisted. "The grass is in such great shape that it's going to take that heavy weight to get through the mats.

"Color isn't going to matter so much because it could change with the water or weather conditions, but you've got to have that big weight."

Most everybody uses a craw-worm trailer on their grass jigs, and Tietje says he would be no exception. He favors a Bass Kandi Speed Bug because of the extra bulk it adds to his jig, and he believes that heft helps bass more easily locate it in the thick vegetation.


Carolina rig

Although it's been a while since a basic Carolina rig has been in the limelight of a national bass tournament, Tietje felt it could play as large a role in this tournament as it ever has at any time in its existence.

"People are going to be covering a lot of water trying to locate fish," he said, "and a Carolina rig is going to be a great way to do that. It does produce a lot of fish when they're on the outside edge of the grass and on the channel holes.

"It might not win the tournament by itself, but it's going to play a major role for somebody."

Tietje said most guys would probably be fishing with a 1-ounce weight and a 3- to 4-foot leader.

All kinds of soft plastics might work, but he added that something big like the Bass Kandi Speed Bug that puts out a lot of action could seal the deal on a big bag of fish.


Norman DD22

Because bass will be moving to the channels and become very much bait oriented, Tietje pointed out this deep-diving crankbait is perfect for getting down to suspended fish that are chasing large schools of bait.

"Somebody's going to get on a cranking pattern and locate a few big schools of fish," he noted. "Smaller cranks like the Deep Little N and some of the shallower diving baits might work in spots, but I like that big, bulky body so I can work it slowly around suspended fish."

Tietje also pointed out that the DD22 would be ideal for fishing for suspended fish on the outside edges of the grass in approximately 21 to 25 feet of water, as well as banging around on the edges of the channel holes.


10-inch worm

Texas-rigged worms like the Zoom Ole' Monster could play a major role in this tournament because they are more versatile than heavy jigs.

And Tietje said he would reach for either a watermelon candy or plum apple version.

"There are a lot of areas in the lake with scattered grass, and that kind of worm can play a big role in that kind of stuff," Tietje explained. "Fish are also going to be out deep close to the channels, and those are good spots for a big worm, too."

In fact, Tietje said big worms could play a role anywhere in the lake, no matter if anglers are fishing the deep outside grass line, scattered grass on the flats or out on the channel ledges.

He looks for a big worm to produce some major sacks.


SPRO frog

"Whether you like it or not, there's going to be a topwater bite during this tournament," Tietje noted. "There will be some really good shoreline grass and some massive lily pad fields.

"Both will make a topwater frog a factor for somebody in this tournament."

Although he thought buzzing frogs like the Stanley Ribbit and hard baits like the Pop-R could work well, Tietje explained that a hollow-bodied frog like the SPRO frogs would be better suited for fishing the grass and pads because anglers could pause them in the pockets and really soak them long enough to entice a big bite.

"Somebody's going to make the money throwing a topwater," Tietje predicted. "There are always big bass living in those lily pad fields, and a topwater is the way to pull them out."