UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Champlain

In search of a ‘peake performance

Opening takeoff is about to commence on the Chesapeake Bay.

NORTH EAST, Md. - With smothering humidity, light winds and overcast skies setting the table for Thursday's action, EverStart Series Northern Division anglers departed the Anchor Marina shortly after 7 a.m. with the goal of unlocking the "transitional" puzzle that the Chesapeake Bay has thrown their way. While the "Bay" is normally billed as one of the best fisheries on the East Coast and one of the top tournament-fishing venues in the nation, this week should provide a very difficult and uncharacteristic test for the field. "This place is a phenomenal fishery, but this tournament isn't going to show it," predicted Adrian Avena, a native of Vineland, N.J., who has extensive fishing experience on the Chesapeake Bay. "This body of water is in a transitional phase right now. About a month ago, these fish were biting pretty good. And in two or three weeks, they'll be biting good again. But we're in a tough window right now. Chesapeake Bay is transitioning over from summer to fall so it's not going to fish as well as it normally does." Other pros echoed Avena's assessment. "The grass bite has kind of been tough and the fishing has just been pretty tough overall," said Terry Olinger of The Plains, Va. "I've fished here a couple of times and it's usually very good. But I have a lot of buddies who live here who say they've never seen it fish as tough as it's fishing right now. It's a big body of water but it does fish kind of small. So I don't think you're going to see (weights) like you normally do here." Compounding matters for the anglers is the upcoming weather forecast. While the field should manage to escape most of the predicted late-afternoon thunderstorms, heavy winds look like real factors on days two and three. EverStart pro Adrian Avena checks his tackle before the start of takeoff."This weather is going to be a big player this week," said Avena. "These fish will bite but when that wind comes, the bite is definitely going to get a lot tougher. If this water turns into chocolate milk, you're really going to see the weights really drop off. I think today we're going to catch them pretty well - somebody will probably come in with a 20-pound bag - but after that my guess is that it's going to get a lot tougher." Another factor in play is the fickle nature in which the bass will react to the tides. Today, low tide comes in at 11:16 a.m. while high tide won't present itself until the very end of today's tournament day. "There's no doubt the tide is going to have a big impact," said Avena. "For example, if you've fished here long enough you'll know that there are certain docks that you have to hit on certain tides. But generally speaking, the bite will be better on the last hour of the outgoing tide and the first hour of the incoming tide. That being said, if you're on some good fish and the water is moving, they'll bite." In addition to the tides, anglers are also going to have to figure out whether the grass bite, which usually dominates competition on the Chesapeake Bay, is going to be good enough to carry them into the finals. If not, anglers are going to have to rely on a variety of hard targets - wood, docks, pilings and rocks - to survive Friday's top-10 cut. "I'm going to start fishing grass this morning," said Olinger. "But if I can't catch them there, I'm going to start fishing hard cover. Here you either fish rock and wood or grass. Normally grass dominates, but during this time of year, it's a lot tougher to find a really good grass bite." EverStart Series anglers await the start of the final regular season event of the 2014 season on the Chesapeake Bay."There are usually big concentrations of bass in the grass and only single fish hanging out on the wood and rocks," said Avena. "But this time of year, you can definitely win the tournament just fishing (hard targets). My guess is that the guy who mixes it up - catches them good on grass the first day and then maybe catches some nice bags on wood and docks the rest of the tournament - will have a pretty good chance to win this tournament." And what will it take to win? "I think you're looking at about 14 pounds a day to make the cut and about 15 to 17 pounds a day to win," said Olinger. As far as preferred bait and tackle, it appears that anglers will have a wide variety of choices to maximize their fishing arsenal. "You're going to see guys throwing a lot of traditional grass stuff," said Avena. "I think ChatterBaits, swimbaits and buzzbaits will be effective. You'll see some guys cranking rock. And you can also basically throw whatever you want to while flipping around docks. There are no real secrets here." 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. Anglers will take off from the Anchor Marina located at 36 Iroquois Drive in North East, Md., at 7 a.m. each day. Weigh-in will be held at the takeoff location on Thursday and Friday beginning at 3:00 p.m. Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at Walmart, located at 75 North East Plaza beginning at 4:00 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public. EverStart anglers relax before the start of the dayPros 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 that could earn them the Strike King Angler of the Year title, which allows them to fish the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup. EverStart Series action continues at today's weigh-in, scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. at Anchor Marina, located at 36 Iroquois Drive in North East, Md. Bass-fishing fans take note Want to watch the weigh in live but can't make it in person? Then tune into FLW Live on FLWOutdoors.com 3 p.m. Eastern time to watch live streaming video and audio of today's opening-round weigh in. The EverStart Series tournament on the Chesapeake Bay is being hosted by the Cecil County Tourism Office. Thursday's conditions Overcast skies and extremely humid conditions served as backdrop for ThursdaySunrise: 6:42 a.m. Temperature at takeoff: 71 degrees Expected high temperature: 85 degrees Water temperature: 75-80 degrees Wind: From the south-southwest at 4-9 mph Humidity: 95 percent Tides: Low tide (11:16 a.m.); high tide (4:02 p.m.) Day's outlook: Partly cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms later in the afternoon. As a proud sponsor of FLW, Walmart offers one of the most comprehensive selections of fishing tackle and equipment in the industry. To find great deals on Walmart's entire collection of rods, reels, baits and electronics, click here.

Tags: morning-story 

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A Capital Challenge

Rivers can be rollercoasters, and the Potomac River might be about to give the anglers fishing the Walmart FLW Tour finale a tough ride. Two nasty storm systems have blown through in the last few days. According to FLW Tour pro and local Michael Hall, those could have been the two worst things to happen leading up to the tournament. “After 30 years of fishing here, I know storms impact the bass on this river,” says Hall. “Those storms have certainly done that. The wind alone would have done it this week.” READ MORE »

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The Sun Rises on the 2015 All-American

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/news/2015-06-11-deep-or-shallow-at-chickamauga-

Deep or Shallow at Chickamauga?

There was no sentimentality attached to the smartphone photos anglers were showing off to each other prior to the Wednesday afternoon rules meeting of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Chickamauga. The photos weren’t of loved ones back home; rather, they were shots of big largemouth bass the fishermen had caught and released during practice earlier this week. In fact, there was a surprising number of such photos making the rounds, which suggests that the kind of hefty bass that can make or break a tournament for an angler are there ready and waiting as the four-day event presented by Igloo Coolers got underway this morning out of Dayton Boat Dock. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-04-northern-rayovacs-kick-off-on-the-james

Northern Rayovacs Kick Off on the James

Ostensibly, the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division tournament presented by Mercury that began this morning is taking place on the James River, but much of the fishing focus will be centered on the Chickahominy River – or Chick, as it’s affectionately known locally. “This tournament is typically won out of the Chick,” says North Carolina pro Jamey Caldwell of the James River tributary. “There are some great bags coming out of the [James] river right now, but I just feel that those big fish are a little more sporadic. I’m going to hang out in the Chick and hope for the best.” READ MORE »

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Seminole Summer

Last week, the Walmart FLW Tour plied the waters of the Chattahoochee River on Lake Eufaula. This week, the Rayovac FLW Series moves 60 miles south on the “Hooch” to Lake Seminole for the final event of the Southeast Division. Running offshore brush piles was the dominant theme on Eufaula last week, leaving some to wonder if a similar pattern could work on Seminole, since the two legendary lakes are connected by the same river. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-14-shallow-deep-and-in-between-at-eufaula

Shallow, Deep and in Between at Eufaula

A couple of weeks ago Eufaula was high and off-color, and the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State that begins this morning was shaping up to be a shallow-water showdown. The lake has fallen by a couple of inches since then, however, and now the odds are even that both inshore and offshore patterns will be in play. In fact, one Eufaula expert who isn’t fishing the tournament expects it will take a mixture of patterns to make it to Sunday’s championship round and claim the $100,000 that goes to the winner. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-07-anything-goes-at-the-cal-delta

Anything Goes at the Cal Delta

There are 127 pros entered in the Rayovac FLW Series Western Division tournament presented by Ranger at the California Delta this week. If you asked them all what their baits or tactics are for the first day of competition today, you might get 127 different answers. At some fisheries that FLW’s tournament circuits visit, such varied and often vague responses from pros when they’re prompted for fishing info are the result of them attempting to stealthily hide their fishing patterns. That’s not exactly the case at this tournament. The fact is, the California Delta is one of the most vast and varied fisheries that hosts FLW events. It’s a collection of unique mini-fisheries all rolled into one, with dirty water, clean water, tons of vegetation and other factors tossed into the mix. It’s a tidal fishery, so the water levels and currents fluctuate throughout each day. And, of course, it’s spring in California, and because of the vastness of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers and the delta system they feed, with its 1,000 miles of waterways, there are populations of bass in all stages of the spawn in their own little geographic areas. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-07-in-or-out-on-kentucky-lake

In or Out on Kentucky Lake

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/news/2015-04-30-texoma-tough-but-stabilizing

Texoma Tough, but Stabilizing

As of press time, we were unable to confirm whether or not Troy Broussard has ever suffered a barnyard assault by any beast of burden. Nevertheless, his colorful metaphor bespeaks a challenging scenario facing the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division field on Lake Texoma for this week’s finale, which is presented by Evinrude. From Broussard’s facebook page: “Well, after three full days [of practice] on Lake Texoma, I can honestly say that I compare this to getting kicked in the face by a mule. It’s brutal.” Allusions aside, the big Ouachita River reservoir straddling the Texas-Oklahoma border has indeed shown its persnickety side of late. Blame Mother Nature for that. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-tricky-transition-at-beaver

Tricky Transition at Beaver

Though Beaver Lake is an annual stop for the Walmart FLW Tour, that doesn’t mean it is an easy lake to decipher. This year’s event, which is presented by Rayovac, is later into the spring than usual and is causing some major head scratching among the 154 pros in the field. There’s no doubt that some fish can be found on beds, however, they are mostly small. The consensus is that a lot of fish are stuck in limbo between the spawn and prespawn phase on this White River impoundment. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-16-fog-delays-grand-lake-start

Fog Delays Grand Lake Start

It’s no secret that the first Rayovac FLW Series Central Division event of the year on Grand Lake has collided perfectly with the spawn. Nearly every shallow pocket on the lake holds dozens upon dozens of bass that are eager to do their deed. The 197 pros making up a record-setting Central Division field could hardly contain themselves to get on the water this morning. The only issue was fog – and lots of it. With a 7 a.m. CT takeoff planned, a heavy blanket of fog delayed the start of the tournament, which is presented by Power-Pole, until 8:30, when the fog lifted enough for safe travel but was still hanging around just enough to be a hindrance to those looking to sight-fish. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-16-weather-woes-greet-college-anglers

Weather Woes Greet College Anglers

It was supposed to be a shallow-water bassfest, with largemouths and spots roaming Lake Murray’s shoreline to feast on spawning blueback herring. That still might happen as the FLW College Fishing National Championship plays out the next three days here, but the fishing is more likely to be ad lib than follow any script. The dreary, damp weather that settled over the region Wednesday during the last day of practice is the culprit. Not only did it hamper the efforts of contestants looking for the last bedding fish of the season, but also those depending on a consistent blueback herring bite to gin up the action. Still, the consensus of opinion is that one pattern or the other will prevail, and settle the question of college bragging rights for the next year as well as send the winning team to the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita in August. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-09-swollen-rayburn-challenges-anglers

Swollen Rayburn Challenges Anglers

High water, high winds and high hopes – that’s the forecast for the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division event on Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Mercury, which kicked off today at the Umphrey Family Pavilion. Torrential rains of recent weeks have swollen this Angelina River impoundment, and a huge downpour last weekend has all but stymied efforts to lower the water level. Currently, the lake sits about 5 feet above normal – a level not seen here in more than 15 years. Realistically, anglers aren’t looking for much, if any, decline this week – particularly given the approaching storm system. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-front-and-center

Front and Center

There is little doubt it’s coming. The uncertainty lies in what will happen because of it. If the forecast holds true, at some point this evening the severe weather system that dropped tornados across the central plains Wednesday will arrive at Lewis Smith Lake. Along with the rain and thunder, the front promises to bring with it a significant drop in temperature, with lows projected in the low 30s by the weekend. It’s a storm that looms over the 154 pros and co-anglers set to fish the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Evinrude and hosted by the Walker County Chamber of Commerce. And while they, the anglers, should stay dry, the weather might be the key question mark for a tournament already overflowing with them. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-record-catch-for-record-college-field-

Record Catch for Record College Field?

GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. – Panama City, beach parties, Florida sunshine, bikini weather – big deal. Who needs Spring Break when you’ve got Kentucky Lake in March? OK, maybe that’s a stretch, but how else to explain why a record-setting number of teams showed up for the FLW College Fishing Open tournament here? The official tally of bass fishing teams is 201, according to College Fishing Tournament Director Kevin Hunt, making this the largest collegiate fishing event ever. Teams from every corner of the country are represented here, with squads from as far away as Eastern Washington University competing the next two days. A flotilla left Moor’s Resort & Marina this morning, with individual boats scattering in all directions. READ MORE »

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Guntersville Grab Bag

Lake Guntersville will always have a place in bass-fishing history – most recently because of Paul Elias and the umbrella rig ­– but it represents so much more. With boat ramps seemingly on every street corner, and a town and community that caters to anglers like no other, the legendary lake is always a popular stop. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-06-toho-midday-report-day-2

Toho Midday Report Day 2

If you’ve been following the FLW On The Water feed, you might have seen a slight uptick in the reports in the last hour or so. A crisp north wind, which was cold enough to force many anglers into their rain gear this morning, seems to have tapered off to a breeze. Down south on Kissimmee the sun is shining. And as the weather has improved, so too has the bite – as evidenced by the sudden surge in fish-catching reports. The increase in action is good news for many anglers who experienced slower fishing this morning than yesterday. Stacey King, who came into today in second place, is among that group. Unfortunately for day-one leader JT Kenney, “slow” for King is still pretty good. He’s got a limit, including a pair of 4-pounders, and has already culled. That makes King our unofficial leader right now. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-05-boom-or-bust-at-toho

Boom or Bust at Toho

To varying degrees of success, tournament anglers are used to figuring out lakes that seemingly are a bundle of contradictions. Be that as it may, Lake Toho threatens to boggle their collective minds as the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour kickoff event presented by Mercury gets underway this morning. READ MORE »

/news/2015-02-11-mighty-amistad-issues-a-challenge

Mighty Amistad Issues a Challenge

Legendary south Texas reservoir Lake Amistad has hosted some of FLW’s most infamous smash-fests – the kind of tournaments where anglers weren’t challenged to catch fish, but were pushed to keep up with the competition when 20- and even 30-pound stringers were being hauled across the stage. READ MORE »

/news/2015-02-05-heating-up-on-havasu

Heating Up on Havasu

Lake Havasu City, Ariz. – Warming weather could provide the spark that is needed to ignite a big-time bite on Lake Havasu this week for the first event of the 2015 Rayovac FLW Series Western Division, which is presented by Mercury. Past FLW events on Havasu have been plagued by lower temperatures and strong winds that slowed the bite – fishing was good, but the anglers didn’t experience the lake’s full potential. The last few days on the Colorado River impoundment, however, have seen temperatures near 80 degrees with nearly no wind. As it stands now, the forecast for competition days is calling for more of the same, and many of the 152 pros in this tournament feel like that could open things up. READ MORE »