2019 Bassmaster Eastern Open

2019 Bassmaster Eastern Open: Oneida Lake Recap

Featured Image Credit: James Overstreet

ANGLR Expert Grae Buck is on cloud 9 right now and rightfully so. Last week in the 2019 Bassmaster Eastern Open on Oneida Lake, Buck punched his ticket to the 2020 Bassmaster Classic to be held on Lake Guntersville. We sat down with Buck to discuss how his event unfolded. 

2019 Bassmaster Eastern Open: Grae’s History on Oneida

I don’t have anywhere to fish around my house. The closest place is the Chesapeake Bay and that’s still an hour and a half away. So I spend most of my time in New York if I’m just fun fishing. I’ve spent a lot of time on Oneida.

I’ve been working on Oneida for the past month. I won the BFL tournament up there at the beginning of August, so I’ve had a little time on the water up there this year and was able to expand on that during practice.

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2019 Bassmaster Eastern Open: Where Did You Target Your Fish?

The water temperature had actually dropped about 10 degrees from that BFL. It was 84-degrees when we were out there at the beginning of August and with these cooler nights it had dropped down to 72-degrees by the end of the tournament. That drop pushed the fish a little shallower. Before they were in the 8-to-12-feet range and now they’re in that 6-to-9-feet range.

Targeting the smallmouth bass on Oneida right now is all about finding where the rock is, and where that rock meets up with grass. That’s what holds the bait and the bait is what keeps all those smallmouth moving in and out of those areas. 

I probably have 300-hours of idle time on Oneida in my life, maybe more. So I have a lot of that rock marked. Once I figure out what depth they’re in and what kind of rock they’re on, I’m able to run that throughout the lake and figure out where they are.

2019 Bassmaster Eastern Open: What Did You Use?

I was throwing a dropshot with a Cornerstone Shimmy Shot in Ghost. It looks just like a shad. I actually changed to that color for the Open from the Tennessee Shad color that I used in the BFL. I was using that to mimic the perch but the shad are starting to push up shallower with this cooler weather, so that color change seemed to help get them to bite better this week. 

I threw a ned rig too to mimic the gobi. That was my one-two combo. They were definitely eating both. I was throwing that on a 1/10-ounce head that Hayabusa just came out with. That’s heavier than what they had before and it really helped me get the bait down because the last two days of that tournament were really windy.

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2019 Bassmaster Eastern Open: How Did the Event Unfold?

That wind kept the fish moving around which is what made it so tough on everybody. I fished different rock sections each day based on the wind. The first day I pulled into an area and caught all my fish except for one that I caught at the very end of the day. 

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That last one was a 4-1/4. Image Credit: James Overstreet

The second day I pulled up to where I caught 4 of my fish on the first day and never had a bite. I went to my second spot where I had caught that 4-1/4 late on day 1. 

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At that spot, I had 17-pounds in the boat by 9 o’clock. Image Credit: James Overstreet

Then on the final day, I pulled into where I had started on the first day and lost a 3-1/2 in the first 10-minutes and picked off 3 little ones just to get something in the livewell. Then, I ran to where I had caught 17-pounds the day before but never had a bite. I admit I was getting a little worried. 

But on the first two days, I had a limit so early that I was able to run around and practice to try to find some new water. There was one area that I found where my co-angler caught 3 on day 2 on a ned rig. I went in there and was able to pick them off throughout the day. Towards the end of the day, I culled twice and lost another one about 3-½ pounds. 

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I thought that was going to be the one that cost me the Classic birth, but fortunately, it did not. Image Credit: James Overstreet

2019 Bassmaster Eastern Open: The ANGLR Advantage

Using the ANGLR app, I was able to look back at my data from the BFL this year and last year. Those fish move around so much depending on the wind, so I was able to use the wind data information from past trips to get dialed in and stay on top of the fish throughout the tournament. 

2019 Bassmaster Eastern Open: Grae Buck’s Gear 


Rod: Dobyns 703 Champion Extreme Drop Shot Rod

Reel: Ardent C-Force 3000 

Mainline: 18-pound Ardent Gliss Monotex Yellow 

Leader: 8-pound Seaguar Tatsu  

Hook: Hayabusu DSR132 size 2

Bait: Cornerstone Shimmy Shot

Ned Rig:

Rod: Dobyns 722 Xtasy 

Reel: Ardent C-Force 3000 

Mainline: 18-pound Ardent Gliss Monotex Yellow 

Leader: 8-pound Seaguar Tatsu  

Bait: TRD in Green Pumpkin or The Deal

Hook: 1/10-ounce Hayabusa 

This article was contributed by an ANGLR Expert

Become an ANGLR Expert and apply here.

Grae Buck


I am a FLW Tour pro going into my 3rd year as a full time angler. This year along with the tour I will be fishing the Bassmaster Eastern Opens. From 2008-2012 I attended Penn State where I was on the bass fishing team while I studied Environmental Resource Management.

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