UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Wilkinson holds atop Nickajack

Chris Wilkinson said fishing was tougher on day two, but still he maintained his lead on Nickajack Lake.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - He exceeded his target weight, found a new spot that'll play for the final round and held onto his lead. So, despite an overall tougher bite, things worked out okay for Indiana boater Chris Wilkinson in the Wal-Mart BFL All-American on Nickajack Lake.

Yesterday, Wilkinson took the top spot with a 20-pound, 10-ounce limit - the only bag to break 20 and thus far, the tournament's heaviest catch. Wilkinson carried a 1-pound, 14-ounce lead into day two and expanded that margin to 2-5 by catching 18-15 and tallying a two-day total of 39-9.

"I had to work for them a little more today, but toward the end I found a spot that was loaded up pretty good," he said. "I was shooting for around 15-16 pounds and I knew I had 17-18 so I backed off. I quit fishing about an hour early."

On day one, Wilkinson threw a Paycheck Baits Repo Man topwater early and then flipped HawgbackDay-two leader Chris Wilkinson shows off one of his big fish as his children look on. Lures tubes and 11 1/2-inch Bauer Custom Baits worms from mid-morning through the day's end. Day two, he said, saw a different set of conditions alter his approach.

Day-one dawned with dark clouds looming across Nickajack and it wasn't long until scattered storms dropped rain on much of the area. Cloud cover remained until midday, with mostly sunny skies prevailing for the day's latter third. By contrast, today saw a bright sunrise and only thin, hazy clouds, so day two was much brighter.

Topwaters got no love on day two, so Chris Wilkinson stuck with tubes and worms."I did not get a bite on topwater today," Wilkinson said. "My situation today changed completely. I caught all my fish today flipping soft plastics and that was the only way I could get them to bite. I didn't even get a little fish to come up and eat a topwater. The sun was the big thing. Unless you're fishing matted grass, the sun's not good for topwaters."

On the other hand, Wilkinson noted that sunny conditions helped his flipping game. He basically mixed up the baits to maintain a fresh presentation but trusted his instinct on when to throw either one.

Wilkinson said he got his better bites later in the day. This, he surmises, was probably due to the fact that the high, sunny conditions locked the fish closer to cover. When that happens, it becomes easier to make targeted presentations.

"That made them easier to find," Wilkinson said.

Milner "races" into second

In second place, Kerry Milner, of Bono, Ark., gained four spots on day two by catching the day's heaviest sack - 19-4. Paired with his day-one effort of 18-0, Milner's second-day sack yielded a total weight of 37-4.

Essential to his success, Milner said, was a total commitment to the right spot. In doing so, he corrected a day-one mistake and the results were undeniable.

"I stayed at the spot I should have stayed at yesterday all day today," he said. "Yesterday, I got (nervous) and ran around the lake some. Today, I ran to one spot and never started my motor until it was time to come in. I got fortunate today and caught a limit the first hour."

Milner ran upriver and fished a 100-yard stretch in the Chickamauga dam tailrace. Milner was one of only a few boats that headed upriver at the morning takeoff, but this was a well-planned strategy.

"In practice, I found some schools of fish downriver, but that's where everybody was fishing," he said. "All the good spots were getting hit by too many people. I have a good current seam I'm fishing below the dam and I'm confident it will keep loading with fish.

"The fish that live there are strong, healthy fish. They're thick from the tail up. They're fighting that current all the time, so they (grow heavy)."

Milner caught his bass in 13-15 feet in areas with scattered rock. He fished a homemade football head with a Zoom Fat Albert Twin Tail and a Texas-rigged Zoom Brush Hog.

Bradley moves up to third

Local boater Corey Bradley moved up to fifth place on day two.Local boater Corey Bradley, of McDonald, Tenn., demonstrated the benefit of local knowledge by essentially wrapping up his day before 8 a.m. Fishing about 30 minutes from the take-off site at Ross' Landing, Bradley said that once he got setup on his spot, that action started immediately. By day's end, he had caught a limit weighing 17-1 and raised his total to 35-2.

"I made 15 casts this morning, had 16 pounds and left," Bradley said. "I had my weight five minutes after I got there. After that, I just looked around, checked out some other spots and looked for more fish (day three). I went back to my spot about an hour later for the (TV camera crew) and caught a 4-pounder and culled one more time."

Bradley caught his fish on ¾- and 1-ounce Choo Choo Lures football head jigs with a NetBait Paca Chunk trailer.

"I was stroking the jig really hard today because they were suspended about 4 feet off the bottom," Bradley said. "They were hitting it pretty good today."

Gordon slips to fourth

Shawn Gordon gave up two spots from his second-place performance on day one, but the boaterFourth-place boater Shawn Gordon found flipping most productive. from Russellville, Ark. kept himself in the hunt with a solid limit of 14-12. Added to his first-day's catch of 18-12, today's sack gave him a two-day total of 33-8.

Returning to his day-one game plan, Gordon threw a Bomber Fat Free Shad crankbait to secure his limit with plans of upgrading later with a jig.

"It took me until 10 o'clock today to get a limit cranking and then I went and culled all of them out," he said. "So tomorrow, I think I'll go flipping all day and see if I can make up some ground."

Gordon caught all of his better fish on laydowns. Flipping his baits on the upcurrent side and allowing them to naturally wash back under the cover was the most effective presentation.

Williams improves to fifth

North Carolina boater David Williams had to locate new spots today, but his first fish was a 6-pounder.After beginning day two in 11th place, David G. Williams, of Maiden, N.C., sacked up 17-4 and moved up six spots to fifth place with 32-9. Declining river levels laid bare some of his better spots, so finding new areas quickly took priority.

"I went to the areas where I caught my limits yesterday and they completely dried up; I didn't even catch a fish off of them," Williams said. "I went and ran new water the rest of the day and the first fish I caught was about 6 pounds. That was about 8:30 and then by about 9:45 I had a limit.

"After that I just ran new water. That's the way river fishing is - you see something that looks good and you stop and fish it. The problem now is that the water is down so you're limited on the banks that are good. Some of them have more water than others so you have to find those."

Williams caught his fish on Rico poppers, Shooter Jigs and Texas-rigged Zoom Brush Hog and Speed Craws.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 pro leaders at the BFL All-American:

6th: Eric Poindexter, of Eufaula, Ok., 32-3
7th: Michael Black, of Toledo, Ill., 31-5
8th: Jeremy Lawyer, of Sarcoxie, Mo., 30-6
9th: Lionel Botha, of Okeechobee, Fla., 29-12
10th: Michael Murphy, of Lexington, S.C., 29-10

Angiulo goes deep for co-angler lead

Nick Angiulo, of Hainesport, N.J., faced a completely different scenario than what he experienced onDragging Texas-rigged plastics in deep water put Nick Angiulo atop the co-angler division. day one, but on the back of the boat, it's all about adaptability. Taking this to heart, Angiulo shifted gears and sacked up an even 14 pounds that boosted his total to 25-13 and moved him up five spots to first place in the co-angler division.

"We fished 100-percent different than I did yesterday," Angiulo said. "Yesterday, I was fishing a dropshot in shallow water and today I was basically dragging a Texas-rigged Zoom Baby Brush Hog with a heavy weight in deeper water."

Angiulo said watermelon candy and green pumpkin blue were his top colors. A 1/2-ounce tungsten weight provided critical sensitivity in the 10- to 15-foot depths.

"This weight is very sensitive and it really helped me determine what was a rock and what was a bite," he said.

Craig Hulsey, of Park Hills, Mo., trails the co-angler lead by 3 ounces with his two-day total of 25-10. In third place, Eddie Cook, of Clemmons, N.C., had 24-4; while Will Terrell, of Memphis, Tenn. took fourth with 23-9. Fifth place went to Chad Richardson, of Bangor, Wisc., who caught 21-0.

Co-angler David Williams caught the dayBest of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 co-angler leaders at the BFL All-American:

6th: Tim Cales, of Sandstone, W.V., 20-15
7th: Daniel Buswell, of Newnan, Ga., 20-15
8th: David Williams, of Fredericksburg, Va., 19-15
9th: Rod Huff, of Monterey, Tenn., 19-6.
10th: Ben Wright, of Peru, N.Y., 18-12

Day three of BFL All-American on Nickajack Lake continues at Friday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7:00 a.m. (Eastern) at Ross's Landing located at 200 Riverfront Pkwy. in Chattanooga.

Related links:

To read the BFL All-American day-three morning takeoff story, click here.

Tags: david-a-brown  headline-story  2013-06-27-nickajack-lake 

/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 »

/news/2016-07-21-2016-forrest-wood-cup-angler-intro-music

2016 Forrest Wood Cup Angler Intro Music

Each season, the anglers that make the Forrest Wood Cup get to choose the intro music that will play when they walk out on stage at weigh-ins. Naturally, the selections vary as widely as the anglers’ personalities and backgrounds – David Dudley once selected the Chicken Dance song, if that tells you anything. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-transition-time-at-1000-islands

Transition Time at 1000 Islands

The second tournament of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division kicked off on 1000 Islands in an event presented by Mercury this morning out of the Clayton Village Ramp. The 137 pros and co-anglers are challenged with the tough task of dissecting not only the massive St. Lawrence River but also Lake Ontario in search of jumbo-size smallmouths. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-20-solving-the-1000-islands-puzzle

Solving the 1000 Islands Puzzle

For its second stop, the 2016 Costa FLW Series Northern Division heads back to the 1000 Islands region of upstate New York for the first time since 2012. The 1000 Islands region includes the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario and produces some of the best smallmouth fishing on the planet with 4- and 5-pounders being the norm, not the exception. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-19-forrest-wood-cup-attractions-

Forrest Wood Cup Attractions

Fifty FLW anglers all taking a run at the most coveted title in bass fishing will without doubt take center stage over the course of the four-day Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart in Huntsville, Ala., Aug. 4-7, but fans won’t have to wait for the daily weigh-in times to soak up all the action. FLW and its sponsors and partners put together a full schedule of additional events to coincide with the 2016 Cup. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-19-2016-icast-wrap-up

2016 ICAST Wrap-up

Even at a distance, ICAST can be a blur of new fishing stuff. Below, we’ve gathered everything we published from the week at ICAST – if you missed something, you can find it here. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-18-sisk-by-ounces-on-ohio-river

Sisk by Ounces on Ohio River

Marty Sisk of Evansville, Indiana, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 13 ounces, Saturday to win the third FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Illini Division tournament of 2016 on the Ohio River. For his victory, Sisk took home $7,456. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-18-boggs-flipped-shallow-wood-for-title

Boggs Flipped Shallow Wood for Title

Drew Boggs of Lebanon, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 10 ounces, Saturday to win the fourth FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Music City Division tournament of 2016 on Old Hickory Lake. Boggs took home $3,028 for his victory. READ MORE »