Browne leapfrogs Thrift as smallmouth bite suffers

Pro leader Glenn Browne holds up two nice Fort Loudoun largemouths he caught Friday.

LENOIR CITY, Tenn. - Glenn Browne has been fishing the FLW Tour with considerable success since 2004. He's notched several top 10s, but he's never quite sealed the deal at a tour-level event. Tomorrow he'll have a prime opportunity with the smallmouth bite on the Fort Loudoun-Tellico lakes petering out. The Ocala, Fla., native is targeting largmouths in shallow, dirty water. If he's not flipping grass, this is Browne's preferred fishing style. He found one 5-acre bay in Fort Loudoun Lake that seems to be replenishing. Browne described it as a large flat that sits in 2 to 3 feet of water. "I just figure they're going in to spawn," he said. "I'm trying to catch them while they're coming in." Tournament leader Glenn Browne flips down one of his most productive banks. Browne isn't sight-fishing. Instead he's mainly flipping a 4-inch Gambler tube (black/neon) with a 5/16-ounce weight around downed pine trees. This morning he noticed some shad activity on a nearby riprap bank and stopped to explore. "The shad are starting to spawn. I actually caught my first two on a spinnerbait this morning. I'm a little nervous about tomorrow. I think I'll spend a little more time on that riprap." Browne is nervous in part because he caught only five keepers today. On day one he caught 10 keepers and yesterday he caught nearly 15. His five Friday weighed 13 pounds, 14 ounces and pushed his total weight to 47-13. "I think my area is running out. But it only takes a few good bites. I bet three of mine today accounted for over 11 pounds. If it gets cloudy they might get looser to the cover and it might help." Thrift second Bryan Thrift slipped to second after catching a 10-pound, 5-ounce limit Friday. Slipping one spot to second was Shelby, N.C., pro Bryan Thrift. Thrift was only able to catch one spawning smallmouth (on a Damiki Hydra) in Tellico today. He eventually switched it up and filled his limit with little largemouths before ultimately culling with a swimbait-tricked smallie. His limit weighed 10 pounds, 5 ounces - by far his lightest of the tournament. In his quest to go back to back, he'll start the final day 1 pound, 6 ounces behind Browne with 46-7. "I'm glad to make the top five," said the Lake Norman champion. "You can't win unless you're fishing all four days." Thrift foul-hooked a 3 1/2-pound smallmouth yesterday that he had to return to the lake. He was hoping to catch it again, but it was nowhere to be found. In fact, his entire smallmouth area was basically vacant of fish. "I don't think I have any left so I don't know what I'm going to do tomorrow. I don't even know what lake I'm going to fish." Grigsby third Goodwill pro Chad Grigsby sits in third place with a three-day total of 44 pounds, 5 ounces.Much like Thrift, Grigsby had his primary smallmouth area run dry and had to switch up completely and fish for largemouths. But unlike Thrift, he worked backwards - starting on largemouths until the sun came up. "I had one smallmouth on bed," Grigsby said. "But I couldn't see it because the big cruisers churned up the water. Where I'm fishing the bank is clay and once these big boats come by the water turns to mud. You just can't see." All the fish Grigsby weighed were largemouths; they registered 11 pounds, 4 ounces. He caught them flipping everything from docks, to bluff walls to lay-downs. One came on a swimbait off a point. He lost a 4-pound-class largemouth on a shaky head, which he says would have changed his entire day. "I'd be really pumped if I had that fish. That would have changed everything. I would have fished for smallmouths the rest of the day - dirty water or not." Grigsby says blindcasting is an option, but you basically have to drag the bait across the middle of the bed for it to bite. He'll start tomorrow 3 pounds, 8 ounces off the lead with 44-5. Coulter fourth Knoxville, Tenn., pro Brandon Coulter finished the opening round in fourth place.Local Knoxville, Tenn., pro Brandon Coulter finished the day in fourth place after catching four bass worth 11 pounds, 12 ounces - bringing his total weight to 40 pounds, 5 ounces. Coulter is catching most of his fish on a Rebel P70 Pop-R. "These fish are so shallow if you throw anything in there they will spook off," Coulter explained. "So I'm doing my best to quietly place the Pop-R where everyone else would pitch a jig. "These fish are spooky because they want to go spawn but they can't because the water is so low. When they're in a foot of water they can't help but look up." Coulter never lost any hooked fish, but as is usually the case with a topwater, he had several come up and nip at it. While the Pop-R accounted for three of his four keepers, his biggest bass came on a Quake & Shake, a ChatterBait-style lure. "I caught that fish five minutes into the day. I thought it was going to really be good but it died in the afternoon." Like many others, Coulter sight-fished for smallmouths early in the tournament. Being a local he's comfortable taking whatever the lake gives him. "I welcome the weather tomorrow. It may throw some of these guys off their game." Baumgardner fifth Count Chris Baumgardner as yet another pro who played the smallmouth game early and has recently switched to targeting largemouths. After catching limits of 14-5 and 10-15 on days one and two, Baumagardner managed 12 pounds even today. "I had to change up," said the Gastonia, N.C., pro. "I wasn't sight-fishing but those ones I caught the first two days were spawners." Today Baumgardner flipped a tube, threw a topwater and swam a jig. "I found a little shad spawn this morning around rock and docks. I had a real big one blow up my topwater early. It was probably 5 or 6 pounds. If you get a couple of those, you can make a move." Day four of the FLW Tour event on the Fort Loudoun-Tellico lakes will begin Saturday at 7 a.m. at the Tellico Recreational Area Ramp.

Tags: headline-story  brett-carlson 

/news/2015-04-17-top-5-patterns-from-grand-lake-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake Day 2

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-17-college-championship-race-tightens

College Championship Race Tightens

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-17-hallman-out-front

Hallman Out Front

Spawning bite continues to produce for the anglers in the Rayovac FLW Series event on Grand Lake. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-17-lake-murray-midday-update-day-2

Lake Murray Midday Update Day 2

The air temperature reached a high of 53 degrees here yesterday, which tied a record for the coolest high temperature for that date. Apparently, the short-lived cold snap also had a chilling effect on the fishing at Lake Murray this morning, as several competitors in the FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance Insight Genesis College Cup reported meager results. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-16-liberty-leads-college-championship

Liberty Leads College Championship

A 22-pound, 2-ounce stringer anchored by a 7-pound, 9-ounce largemouth boosted Liberty University’s Travis Rulle and Caleb Eppler into the opening-round lead of the FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance Insight Genesis College Cup here on Lake Murray. Rulle and Eppler were the last anglers to weigh in on day one, and their five-fish limit gave them a lead of more than 3 pounds ahead of Eastern Kentucky University veterans Kyler Raymer and Ethan Snyder, who had 18-15. The surprise team of the tournament so far is Colorado Mesa University’s Josh Worth and Kennedy Kinkade, who brought in 18-10 despite never having fished east of the Mississippi River before. Worth and Kinkade are in third place, followed by Cade Laufenberg and Wyatt Stout of Winona State University, and Benn Curry and Tim Ward of Auburn University, both teams with 17-8. Lamar University’s Cameron Lafleur and Justin Royal in 10th place set the cut mark at 16-8. The entire field will fish again tomorrow, and only the top 10 based on two-day cumulative weight will fish in Saturday’s final round. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-16-castledine-stands-tall-on-grand

Castledine Stands Tall On Grand

Day one of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Power-Pole on Grand Lake produced stunning weights. With “thousands” of bass on the beds, the pros brought in a total of exactly 2,240 pounds and it took 16 pounds to make the top 60. Rising above the crowd was Nacogdoches, Texas, pro Todd Castledine, renowned for his prowess in Texas, the sight-fishing master cracked 23 pounds, 13 ounces and leads second-place pro Jonathan Henry by 1 pound, 6 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-16-top-5-patterns-from-grand-lake-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake Day 1

The first day of the Rayovac FLW Series Central Division tournament was all about the sight-bite – from day-one leader Todd Castledine on down. The event, presented by Power-Pole and hosted by the Grand Lake Association, undoubtedly featured other patterns, but every angler who did well relied in large part on bedding bass. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-16-lake-murray-midday-update-day-1

Lake Murray Midday Update Day 1

With precipitation ranging from an incessant mist to torrential downpours sweeping the area throughout the morning, the odds favored a slow start to the FLW College Fishing National Championship being presented by the Lowrance Insight Genesis College Cup here on Lake Murray. As it turns out, however, the bass apparently liked the extra water and reacted accordingly. A number of the teams that found prime spawning areas for blueback herring in practice earlier this week returned on day one and were rewarded with limit catches of largemouths and spots by midmorning. Among them was the local favorite, the University of South Carolina, which reportedly had culled up to about 13 pounds by 11 a.m. Likewise, the Oregon State University was sitting on about 15 pounds and had culled five times. Tanner Masters and Wyatt Ryan of East Central University (of Oklahoma) caught their limit fishing seawalls and riprapped banks during the sporadic herring spawns that fired up as soon as boats reached their first fishing destinations. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-11-hanselman-wins-back-to-back

Hanselman Wins Back-to-Back

Once you get Ray Hanselman going, just get out of his way. The Del Rio, Texas, pro is riding an incredible high right now after sewing up his second consecutive Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division win. Hanselman won the opener on Lake Amistad in February, then backed it up this week with a win on Sam Rayburn Reservoir in an event presented by Mercury. For his final-day limit, Hanselman plowed deep into Rayburn’s flooded cover to track down a five-bass limit worth 16 pounds, 10 ounces, raising his three-day total to 60-08 for a win by more than 7 pounds. For his efforts, Hanselman earned a cool $35,815 check and another trophy to add to his mantle. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-11-white-takes-bragging-rights-on-kentucky-lake-

White Takes Bragging Rights on Kentucky Lake

GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. – Joe White of Princeton, Kentucky, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 23 pounds, 15 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League LBL Division tournament of 2015 on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. For his victory, White earned $5,014. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-11-taylor-targets-bluebacks-for-hartwell-win

Taylor Targets Bluebacks for Hartwell Win

ANDERSON, S.C. – Brock Taylor of Pendleton, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 1 ounce Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Savannah River Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Hartwell. For his victory, Taylor earned $4,830. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-11-chenoweth-wins-on-kerr

Chenoweth Wins on Kerr

HENDERSON, N.C. – Rick Chenoweth of Fredericksburg, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division tournament of 2015 on Kerr Lake. For his victory, Chenoweth earned $5,241. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-11-rayburn-day-3-midday-update

Rayburn Day 3 Midday Update

A chilly morning greeted the top 10 pros and co-anglers for the final day of Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division competition on Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Mercury, but a warm sunrise filtered by scattered clouds bespoke the gorgeous conditions forthcoming. Winds have dropped off to barely a breeze, main-lake running is easy, and the coves and creeks where most anglers are fishing are glassy smooth. Fish surely pulled tighter to cover with the sunny conditions, but that probably makes little difference, as the majority of anglers have been flipping close to trees and into dense buck brush since day one. The heavy, tangled spots with vines seem to be the prime targets again today. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-11-hansen-holds-lake-of-the-ozarks-title

Hansen Holds Lake of the Ozarks Title

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. – Brian Hansen of Fenton, Missouri, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 18 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Ozark Division tournament of 2015 on Lake of the Ozarks. For his victory, Hansen earned $4,507. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-11-frog-carries-lowery-to-victory

Frog Carries Lowery to Victory

ALEXANDER CITY, Ala. – David Lowery of Phenix City, Alabama, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 14 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Bama Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Martin. For his victory, Lowery earned $4,385. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-11-gordon-grabs-title-on-dardanelle

Gordon Grabs Title on Dardanelle

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – Shawn Gordon of Russellville, Arkansas, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Arkie Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Dardanelle. For his victory, Gordon earned $7,244. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-10-hanselmania-returns

Hanselmania Returns

He’s back at it again. Ray Hanselman of Del Rio, Texas, won the season-opening Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division tournament on Lake Amistad, and today he weighed in 23 pounds, 5 ounces on the second day of competition at stop No. 2 on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Hanselman vaulted into the tournament lead with a two-day total of 43-14. “Hanselmania” leads by 5 pounds, 6 ounces over Denny Brauer, also of Del Rio, who is in second place for the second consecutive day. The leader’s stringer is even more impressive considering that Hanselman lost three 5-pounders this morning and caught 23-5 on a day when only one other pro weighed more than 20 pounds, and only three others weighed more than 18 pounds. Day-one leader Joe Don Setina weighed in only four keepers for 11 pounds today. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-10-rayburn-day-2-midday-update

Rayburn Day 2 Midday Update

With only one fish in the livewell at 10:30, Joe Don Setina was probably hoping for a repeat of day one – at least the part where he sacks ’em up in the second half. We found the leading pro fishing the Black Forrest area that he worked the first day, and he’s sticking with the same routine of flipping heavy cover. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-09-setina-overcomes-slow-start

Setina Overcomes Slow Start

Pittsburg, Texas, pro Joe Don Setina is off to a hot start in the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division this season. After a top-10 finish at the opener on Lake Amistad, Setina jumped out to the day-one lead on Sam Rayburn today. It wasn't all smooth sailing for Setina, however. He says nothing went right for him this morning, when he lost fish, snagged trees and finally had to sit down and collect himself before continuing on. After refocusing, Setina caught his first keeper at about 11 a.m. and proceeded to sack up 23 pounds, 6 ounces for a slim 8-ounce lead over second-place pro Denny Brauer, who also finished in the top 10 at the Amistad opener. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-09-top-5-patterns-from-sam-rayburn-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Sam Rayburn Day 1

Overcoming a tough start, Joe Don Setina rallied to take the day-one lead at the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division event presented by Mercury on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. He’s fishing flooded trees and bushes like most of the field and weighed in 23 pounds, 6 ounces. With the lake at a 15-year high thanks to recent rains, Rayburn’s bass are scattered, often in areas that are difficult to reach. Some pros are muscling their way through the thick stuff to search for bedding fish, while others opt for working the perimeter of the flooded zone for postspawn bass. READ MORE »