Pickwick Lake, return to Florence.


Michele Fanfani

Tournament report


It’s always a bit strange for someone born in Florence, Italy, like Jacopo, to return to the vicinity of the picturesque town of Florence in Alabama. Although in reality, this Phoenix Bass Fishing League (MLF) circuit tournament started from Iuka in Mississippi and took place on a dam on the Tennessee River…

But Jacopo achieved the historic participation in the Classic precisely in these waters, and it is therefore logical to remember it with some emotion.
Anyway, going back to the race, Jacopo told us that during the practice, he had selected three main spots with different features that had given him good results. He began the tournament with this strategy.
The first spot he fished was the most promising one, located near the Pickwick Dam, close to a lock. Here, thanks to the movement of the water, shoals of forage fish were chased by decent largemouth specimens.
But when he arrived at the spot, he found several boats participating in another tournament concurrently with Jacopo’s. He tried to find a space to fish, but he had to move a little and search for interesting fish with Livescope. Fortunately, he found several fish, and in less than an hour, using finesse fishing, he caught 4 keepers (plus some non-keepers) for about 9 pounds.
Then, however, the spot was too crowded, and he decided to move to the second one, which was only about 500 meters away from the first. It was a secondary point inside a creek where he had found several fish in the pre-spawn stage.
But here too, there were already at least 10 bass boats beating precisely the points that Jacopo had found. What to do then?
Since most of the contestants were fishing with a certain approach, Jacopo tried to diversify the presentation by throwing a crank to arouse a decisive reaction from fish already disturbed by the other boats and unresponsive to finesse fishing.
In this way, he managed to have several bites, but they were not keepers, and the biggest one he had hooked, unfortunately, he could not bring into the boat.
It should also be said that the day was not the easiest because the strong wind, with gusts up to 40 miles per hour, in addition to waves as high as 5′, had caused a considerable water cloudiness in several areas of the lake, reducing the fishing opportunities.
So much so that even in the third spot, which presented a pattern of low water grass and numerous shoals of forage fish in the spawning stage, Jacopo did not find the favorable conditions he had found during the practice.
Nevertheless, he wanted to believe in it and, fishing with a lipless, he actually made several catches, although not significant ones.
While a more interesting one, a 3-pound fish, was caught simultaneously with his co-angler, who had hooked a 4-1/2-pound one, so much so that Jacopo netted them with the same dip.
As the weather conditions worsened, Jacopo decided to return, thinking that he had not made an interesting limit. But, in reality, the race turned out to be difficult for all the contenders, and with 12-04 pounds, Jacopo positioned himself in 23rd place out of 150 participating boats. Sharing the position with the famous pro Justin Atkins (already winner of a Forrest Wood Cup in 2017 and residing precisely in Florence) and also sharing the $254 prize money with him.

Equipment used.

For finesse fishing: 13 FISHING ENVY 2 spinning rod, 6’10”, 3/8oz, extra-fast action. 15lb Test Sufix X8 braided line and a 8lb test  Sufix Advance Fluorocarbon leader. Neko rig setup with a BKK Predator W.G. hook size 1/0 and a plastic bait rigged with a 3/64oz. weight for slow sinking and fall bites.

For crankbait fishing: 13 FISHING ENVY 2 casting rod, 7’1″, ¾ oz, regular action. CONCEPT C2 casting reel with a 6.8:1 gear ratio spooled with 10 lb test Fluorocarbon Sufix Advance.

For lipless fishing: 13 FISHING ENVY 2 casting rod, 7’4″, ¾ oz, moderate-fast action. CONCEPT C2 casting reel with a 7.5:1 gear ratio spooled with a 14lb. test. Fluorocarbon Sufix Advance.

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Michele Fanfani
Michele, 60 years old, Florentine like Jacopo, followed him during all phases of his sporting career in Italy and accompanied him to America at the start of his professional career. He achived several successes fishing along with Jacopo but above all he conceived and created the Italian magazine “Bassfishing” and the publication “The Secrets of Bassfishing”. He currently follows Jacopo along his career and is the creator and administrator of the “Curva Gallelli” Fans Club.