Heinen and Parsons posted a 33.47-pound bag of 10 bass to win the tournament by a 2.33-pound margin over Tate Herrman and Matt Brown. Nick Butler and Russ Kuck took third place with 27.51 pounds.
“Well, Alabama didn’t go as planned, but winning this tournament definitely feels good,” Heinen said. “I just have to stay focused on the rest of the season. Hopefully, I can keep the momentum moving forward.”
Heinen won another FHBA tournament earlier in the season, posting 23.65 pounds while fishing with Herrman on June 3 at Big Hill Reservoir. Parsons took third in that tournament, fishing alongside Kyle Garrison.
Herrman, who followed up his win at Big Hill with a win June 17 at Perry Reservoir fishing alongside Richard Harmon, sits in first place in the season-long individual standings. Parsons sits in second, Heinen is tied for fourth with Mike Turner, and Larry Brumley, who was Heinen’s boat captain during his high school fishing career, sits just ahead of his pupil in third. Overland Park’s Bila, who was Heinen’s teammate throughout his high school career, sits in seventh place in the individual season standings.
The next FHBA tournament will be July 29 on La Cygne Reservoir, recently named a top-100 bass lake in the United States by Bassmaster Magazine. Heinen said he’ll be fishing with Turner in that tournament.
“In fishing, everyone has their ups and downs,” Heinen said. “This season for me has been mutual. You don’t win every tournament, not even the best do. You just can’t be outworked, and then you have a chance to win.”
Docks a top mid-summer target
Fishing in the triple-digit temperatures of mid-summer can be brutal, but Heinen also credited it as a main factor in his team’s victory at Mozingo.
“Right now, with the temperatures being very hot, I look for all the docks in water between 4 and 12 foot of water,” Heinen said. “Doing this can get you the bites you’re looking for. You will catch lots of bass of all sizes, but for Jim and I this past weekend, the big bass we caught were grouped up around the docks.”
While some anglers like to fish deeper waters for bass during this time of the year, Heinen says fishing up under docks or other structure can produce some of the best bites of the season.
“It’s not just structure or a home to them, the bass love the shade in the heat of the summer,” Heinen said. “Docks also hold lots of bait fish, including shad, bluegill, etc., and the bass take that opportunity to ambush their prey while hiding in the cooler, shady water.
“It may take a couple casts to get the bite going, but once they are feeding, hold on! This technique is how we won the high school tournament last September with 18.35 pounds at Perry.”
Heinen said he isn’t just blindly tossing lures under a dock when he targets it, however. He has a plan of attack to draw bites out from under cover.
“When I approach a dock, I throw at the corners first and then I try to skip my bait under as far as I can, and usually you will get bit on the drop of the bait,” Heinen said.
Heinen, who is sponsored by Z-Man Fishing Products, likes to use finesse tactics to draw out all sizes of bass that may be hiding under the dock.
“I normally throw a soft plastic around docks,” Heinen said. “Depending on the water color, you can determine the color you should throw. I typically throw green pumpkin plastics with clear or mildly stained water. With dirty water, I will throw something darker, like black and blue.
“I usually have a jig ready to throw, as well, if the plastic bite isn’t working. Main thing is to feel the bite and be ready to set the hook.”