UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Primed for Pickwick

EverStart Series Central Division anglers prepare for the start of the opening round of competition on Pickwick Lake.

FLORENCE, Ala. - With high water levels, a late spawn and near-perfect weather conditions serving as key variables for this week's EverStart Series Central Division event on Pickwick Lake, it appears as though anglers should be poised to capitalize on some bountiful stringers if they're able to unlock the puzzle of this majestic Tennessee River impoundment.

Departing McFarland Park marina shortly after 6 a.m. with light winds and an impressive sunrise serving as backdrop, EverStart Series anglers hit the open waters of Pickwick Lake filled with both optimism and bit of caution. The good news was that with high waters levels and a late spawn, anglers should be able to fish to their strengths - be it shallow or deep, targeting pre-spawn, spawn or post-spawn quarries. The bad news is that with the higher-than-normal water levels and a tremendous current, the flood gates are open - literally and figuratively.

Twix pro Jonathan Newton prepares to depart James McFarland Park marina during the opening round of EverStart action on Pickwick Lake."Normally I don't even need to practice here because I know this lake so well," said Twix team pro Jonathan Newton of Rogersville, Ala. "But with the water levels where they are and the current this fast, I've really had to spend some time figuring this place out. I think we're all really just going to have to adjust to the conditions today. It's a big unknown out there and I need to figure out what's going on. The lake is in transition right now and there are lots of things to consider. We'll just have to see what happens."

For starters, due to the recent storms that have swept through the area, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has opened the flood gates - which have resulted in a massive current channeling through Pickwick.

"With the current as strong as it is you're going to see boats setting speed records today," said EverStart team pro Randall Tharp of Gardendale, Ala. "With a 15 mph current, just sitting still you're going to moving pretty fast. And that's going to take a lot of water out of play. For me personally, I really like fishing the Horseshoe area. And normally you'd see like 25 to 30 boats there. But that's not going to happen today."

"The way the water is right now, you can't fish the river systems because the current is so strong," said pro Jim Smith of Minooka, Ill. "Right now if you wanted to go out there and fish a hump, you'd need a cement truck as an anchor."

Newton, who has fished Pickwick Lake for years, can't remember a time when the current was moving this swiftly.

"You always want current, but right now - and I just checked (online) - it's running at 150,000 cubic feet a minute and that's pretty excessive," said Newton. "I really don't know that I've fished down here any time before when they were running 150 cfm. And really, with the current this strong, the key question is: How is that going to affect the positioning of these fish?"

In addition, due to some late-developing issues with the locks, it was unclear for many anglers at takeoff whether or not that situation would ultimately prove problematic for anglers who intended to make the eastern journey to Wilson Lake.

EverStart Series anglers carefully check their equipment before takeoff. "Last night at our meeting they told us there could be some problems with the locks," said Smith. "They said it might be an issue or it might not be. But I think (that information) was enough to change some people's game plans for today."

"They did say there was some (potential issues) with the locks," said Newton. "As for me, I'm just going to take my chances and stay here (at Pickwick)."

However, despite the strong current and unease over the locking situation, anglers believe that Pickwick Lake is poised to produce some hefty limits.

"There have been some great stringers caught here in tournaments this spring," said Tharp. "It's hard to believe but (due to the late spring) the majority of fish here are prespawn. So I think overall it's going to be a very good tournament. Everyone will be able to fish to their strengths. And you're going to see some giant fish caught here. It wouldn't surprise me to see people coming back with 7- and 10-pounders this week.

"The fishing is good," Tharp continued. "It's springtime on the Tennessee River so somebody is going to catch them here."

So, with multiple variables in play, how will the field attack Pickwick Lake this week?

"I think flipping will be a big player," said Newton. "Some people will have success with offshore cranking and football-head jigs. The majority of the fish will probably be heading back to the bank, and the largemouth still haven't spawned out, so there should be some sight-fishing as well."

Tharp agrees that almost any tactic should be on the table this tournament. He also believes that both the largemouth and smallmouth bite will be significant factors as well.

EverStart Series anglers await the start of takeoff."You're going to see a lot of mixed bags," said Tharp. "I actually wouldn't be surprised to see somebody come back with 24 pounds of just smallmouth bass. As far as baits and techniques go, you're going to see the Alabama rig of course. But you're also going to see crankbaits, spinnerbaits, swimbaits and even some topwaters. Basically, whatever you like to throw should be available to you."

As for top-10 weights, most anglers agreed that something on the order of 15 to 20 pounds day should be good enough to qualify for Saturday's finals.

"I think 20 pounds a day should be good enough," said Newton. "At least, I hope so."

Tournament logistics

During EverStart Series competition, pros supply the boats, fish from the front deck against other pros and control boat movement. Co-anglers fish from the back deck and compete against other co-anglers. Anglers are permitted to weigh in their best five bass each day. Every angler who receives weight credit in a tournament earns points that determine angler standings. The full field competes on days one and two, with the top-10 pros and top 10 co-anglers advancing to Saturday's final round of competition based on their two-day accumulated weight. Winners ultimately will be determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all three days.

A lone EverStart boater races under the O'Neal Bridge to kick off competition on Pickwick Lake.Anglers will take off from James McFarland Park, located at 200 James M. Spain Drive in Florence, Ala., at 6 a.m. each day. Weigh-in will be held at the takeoff location on Thursday and Friday beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at Walmart, located at 3100 Hough Road in Florence beginning at 3 p.m.

Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.
Pros will fish for a top award of $40,000 plus a Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. Co-anglers will cast for a top award consisting of a Ranger Z117 with 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $5,000 if Ranger Cup guidelines are met.

The EverStart Series consists of five divisions - Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of four tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division in an attempt to land the prestigious Strike King Angler of the Year title and automatic berth into the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup.

EverStart Series action continues at today's weigh-in, scheduled to take place at 2 p.m. at James McFarland Park, located at 200 James M. Spain Drive in Florence, Ala.,

Bass-fishing fans take note

EverStart Series Central Division anglers get ready to hit the open waters of Pickwick Lake.Want to watch the weigh in live but can't make it in person? Then tune into FLW Live on FLWOutdoors.com 2 p.m. Central time (3 p.m. Eastern time) to watch live streaming video and audio of today's opening-round weigh in.

This week's EverStart Series tournament on Pickwick Lake is being hosted by the Florence/Lauderdale Tourism Bureau.

Thursday's conditions

Sunrise: 5:59 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 61 degrees
Expected high temperature: 77 degrees
Water temperature: 66-70 degrees
Wind: From the east-southeast at 6-10 mph
Humidity: 88 percent
Day's outlook: Mostly cloudy

Tags: gary-mortenson  morning-story  2013-05-02-pickwick-lake 

/news/2016-07-25-top-10-patterns-from-the-1000-islands

Top 10 Patterns from the 1000 Islands

High wind and fluctuating water temperatures made things a little difficult for the anglers, but the top-10 pros adapted and utilized the whole playing field to exploit everything from deep smallmouth to shallow largemouth. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-mccartney-o-keefe-tie-for-win-at-flw-bass-fishing-league-great-lakes-division-event-on-mississippi-river-presented-by-navionics

McCartney, O’Keefe Tie For Win at FLW Bass Fishing League Great Lakes Division Event on Mississippi River Presented By Navionics

LA CROSSE, Wis. (July 25, 2016) – Mark McCartney of Davis Junction, Illinois, and Nick O’Keefe of La Crosse, Wisconsin, each weighed three bass totaling 11 pounds even, Saturday to win the third FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division tournament of 2016 on the Mississippi... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-mccartney-o-keefe-tie-on-the-mighty-miss

McCartney, O'Keefe tie on the Mighty Miss

Mark McCartney of Davis Junction, Illinois, and Nick O’Keefe of La Crosse, Wisconsin, each weighed three bass totaling 11 pounds even, Saturday to win the third FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division tournament of 2016 on the Mississippi River presented by Navionics. For his win, McCartney earned $5,540 after bonuses, and O’Keefe took home $3,540. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-country-music-superstar-dustin-lynch-to-perform-free-concert-in-huntsville-presented-by-wdrm-102-1

Country Music Superstar Dustin Lynch to perform Free Concert In Huntsville presented by WDRM 102.1

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Country music superstar Dustin Lynch will perform a free concert on the Walmart weigh-in stage at the Propst Arena in the Von Braun Center in Huntsville on Sunday, August 7, starting at 4 p.m., prior to the final weigh-in of the world championship of professional bass fishing, the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. The concert is presented by WDRM... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-canterbury-s-next-challenge-

Canterbury’s Next Challenge

At the time of writing, Canterbury had been picked by every pundit and 50 percent of players overall, which is a decent bump over Morgan at 47 percent. The dollars attached obviously make a difference, but there’s no doubt that everyone expects great things. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-jay-kendrick-the-rookie-

Jay Kendrick – The “Rookie”

A rookie by designation if not by experience, Forrest Wood Cup contender Jay Kendrick finished 34th in the standings in his first year on the Walmart FLW Tour to clinch a spot in the championship. What makes it even more fortuitous for him is that because the Cup is taking place on Wheeler Lake, he’ll be able to stay at his own house for the event, which is just about 30 minutes from takeoff at Ditto Landing. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-fan-freebies-and-contests-at-the-cup

Fan Freebies and Contests at the Cup

One pro angler is going to win $300,000 at the Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart Aug. 4-7 on Wheeler Lake in Huntsville, Ala. That’s good for him. For fans, the chance to win is pretty good too. FLW and its partners and sponsors have lined up a sweet selection of giveaway prizes for the Cup and the accompanying FLW Expo, ranging from a tricked-out bass boat to a fishing trip with Jimmy Houston. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-24-1000-islands-top-10-baits

1000 Islands Top 10 Baits

The top pros from the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands kept it pretty simple to catch both largemouths and smallmouths from this massive fishery that includes the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. Drop-shots, spinnerbaits and jigs all saw action and got it done from the lake to the river. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-24-penn-state-taps-docks-at-chautauqua-

Penn State Taps Docks at Chautauqua

The Penn State University duo of Clayton Frey of York, Pennsylvania, and Derek Horner, of State College, Pennsylvania, won the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference event at Chautauqua Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and qualified the team for the 2017 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-thompson-co-angler-champ-on-1000-islands

Thompson Co-angler Champ on 1000 Islands

The 1000 Islands is a great place to take a vacation, especially if you are from the south and want to escape the heat. That is exactly what co-angler Joe Thompson of Clayton, Ga., did and wound up capturing the top spot in the co-angler division bringing home a Ranger Z117 with a 90 hp motor. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-penn-state-university-wins-flw-college-fishing-northern-conference-event-on-chautauqua-lake

Penn State University wins FLW College Fishing Northern Conference Event on Chautauqua Lake

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. – The Penn State University duo of Clayton Frey of York, Pennsylvania, and Derek Horner, of State College, Pennsylvania, won the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference event at Chautauqua Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and qualified the team for the 2017 FLW College Fishing National... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-michigan-s-dobson-leads-wire-to-wire-wins-costa-flw-series-event-at-1000-islands-presented-by-mercury

Michigan’s Dobson leads wire-to-wire, wins Costa FLW Series Event at 1000 Islands presented by Mercury

CLAYTON, N.Y. – Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Michigan, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to win the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event at 1000 Islands presented by Mercury with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 68 pounds, 8 ounces. For his win, Dobson earned $82,669, including a new Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-dobson-dominates-1000-islands

Dobson Dominates 1000 Islands

Scott Dobson didn’t expect it to come so quickly, but 30 minutes is all it took for him to find the winning pattern during his first day of practice for the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands. That pattern would lead him to three consecutive limits of more than 20 pounds, including today’s final-round bag worth 21-12 – the day’s biggest limit, yet his smallest of the tournament. His three-day total weight of 68-8 earned him a check for more than $37,000 along with a Ranger Z518C with a 200-hp engine for being Ranger Cup qualified. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-1000-islands-top-5-patterns-day-2

1000 Islands Top 5 Patterns Day 2

Strong winds limited competition to only the St. Lawrence River on day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands, but that was no problem for the majority of the top 10. Even though most of them fished Lake Ontario on day one, they were able to adjust and stay on the fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-dobson-extends-lead-at-1000-islands

Dobson Extends Lead at 1000 Islands

A windy day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on the 1000 Islands didn’t stop day-one leader Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Mich., from sacking up the biggest bag of the day. Dobson threw down an impressive 22-pound, 3-ounce limit to extend his lead to 5 pounds over Cal Climpson – a noted Lake Ontario maestro. Dobson’s two-day total stands at 46-12, and with lighter winds tomorrow some big bags are expected. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-lake-ontario-out-for-day-2

Lake Ontario Out for Day 2

It is never good when you wake up the morning of a tournament and every flag you see is standing straight out at 3 a.m., but that was the case this morning for day two of the Costa FLW Series event on the 1000 Islands. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-1000-islands-top-5-patterns-day-1

1000 Islands Top 5 Patterns Day 1

Past experience on this fishery seems to be a big advantage for the top pros through one day of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands. Scott Dobson leads the way with 24 pounds, 9 ounces, yet there are some serious hammers right on his heels. Dobson fished both the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario for his limit, while others went straight to the lake and stayed there. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-dobson-drops-24-9

Dobson Drops 24-9

Despite the weights being dropped on the scale for the opening round of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on the 1000 Islands presented by Mercury, it has actually been a tough day of fishing. Strong winds made it hard for the anglers regardless of if they were fishing the lake or river. Smallmouth guru Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Mich., sacked up 24 pounds, 9 ounces on day one to take a 1-8 lead over Canadian stick Cal Climpson. Dobson utilized both the river and lake for his limit, which could play to his advantage if the wind blows like the weathermen are forecasting tomorrow. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-professional-bass-fishing-s-forrest-wood-cup-set-to-visit-wheeler-lake

Professional Bass Fishing’s Forrest Wood Cup set to visit Wheeler Lake

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of professional bass fishing, will visit Wheeler Lake and the Huntsville, Alabama, area August 4-7 to crown bass fishing’s top angler of 2016. Hosted by the Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the tournament will feature 50 of the world’s best bass-fishing... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-1000-islands-midday-update-day-1

1000 Islands Midday Update Day 1

Day one of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands hasn’t been about if the wind will blow, but when. Everyone knew the gales were coming eventually. Still, the majority of anglers hung a left out of the dock this morning and charged toward Lake Ontario into a steady breeze that turned into a howling wind by midmorning. READ MORE »