Tom Leedom

TOM LEEDOM and his persistent use of the square bill crankbait has paid off big time.

Lately, in what could be described as a remarkable hot streak, Fallbrook’s Tom Leedom has mostly been watching the competition in his rear view mirror. But rather than dismiss his success as “too much free time on his hands,” I have to believe it might be better to get an idea of what he is thinking and then, what he is doing.

Interestingly, I got a chance to witness some of that process, having specifically fished with him at Lake Hodges prior to his winning on back-to-back weekends, each with 30-pound bags. And frankly, it heightens the accomplishment that he did so with different (though competent) partners.

His primary bait, not for every single fish, but for most of the larger ones in that run, was a fire-tiger, quarter-ounce Speed Trap (square bill). But before you order a case of them while mailing in your next entry fee, it might be interesting to hear Tom’s thought processes.

Here’s what he told me: “I was able to figure out a couple of things after our trip together. Call it stubbornness or confidence, but I was convinced that the square bill was the way to go out there.”

Right off, he hit on two key issues, the first being persistence. There’s a thin like between staying with what you know, and just staying too long. With confidence, however, it’s easier to experiment and to find some nuance (if there is one to find) that will improve your result.

a tool thats working

A SPEED TRAP similar to this one best fit the conditions at Lake Hodges…

As a pharmaceutical scientist, Leedom’s thought processes are probably well-suited to pattern hunting. (After all, WD-40 was a 40th attempt at a water displacer and 409 cleaner (with that number) took a ton of scientific experimentation to get it right).

The nature of Tom’s discoveries? “First, all of my quality bites came from areas that had smaller rock – baseball sized stuff. Second and most important, you had to slow the bait way down. Slowing my retrieve down got me bites on banks where multiple boats had already passed through without getting bit.

“Third, the bait had to be cast almost on the bank to get most bites. If you were starting your retrieve in that 2-foot zone you had already missed the fish.”

When I compare this account, it almost replicates what legendary Rick Clunn had said in an earlier interview (click here), in fact, coinciding on two key points relative to depth and the nature of the target zone.  However, regarding lure speed, Leedom found his own adjustment–slower, rather than faster as Clunn had suggested.

It’s not about who’s right or wrong, though. It’s about recognizing that these anglers’ experiences should tell us that research means investigating all the “options” not just changing colors or locations.

Which we well know, could all change tomorrow.




2 Responses to “Scientific method lets Leedom solve Hodges”

Yeah we can’t wait till he goes back to work.

by George Kramer

There’s going to be money on the table this Saturday–he won’t be fishing.