As a fishery, Smith Mountain Lake may be better known for its giant stripers than for its healthy largemouth population, but this 20,600-acre Roanoke River reservoir is one of Virginia's finest bass lakes. In 2007, then-Elite Series rookie Casey Ashley finessed more than 57 pounds of largemouths from the lake en route to his first career BASS victory.
That was in June. This time the Elites are visiting Smith Mountain in April, and the fishing should be even better. Sight fishing for big bass will likely be responsible for many of the top catches and biggest bass. And there's plenty of water to choose from for this tactic. The lake offers more than 500 miles of winding shoreline along its 40-mile length. That means it's full of coves, cuts and drainages along both the Roanoke and Blackwater river arms, and along with the coves are laydowns, stumps and other shallow cover largemouth love.
What most pros typically end up fishing, though, are the numerous boathouses that line the shore. Ashley worked riprap areas between boathouses for his win in 2007.