UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

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: gary-mortenson  morning-story  2013-09-12-chesapeake-bay 

/news/2016-07-28-early-reports-from-wheeler

Early Reports from Wheeler

Starting this Sunday, the 50 Forrest Wood Cup competitors will hit Wheeler Lake bright and early for the first of three days of official practice. It’ll be the first time the anglers have been allowed on the Tennessee River reservoir since the pre-practice cut off date of July 17. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-27-celebs-seminars-on-deck-for-the-cup

Celebs, Seminars on Deck for the Cup

The 2016 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart in Huntsville, Ala., on Aug. 4-7 will be crawling with some of the best bass anglers in the industry – both active pros and bassin’ legends. Fans in attendance will have the opportunity to personally wish their favorite anglers good luck before takeoff, snag a picture and an autograph from an industry superstar, or sit in on a seminar. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-27-bass-and-bbq-festival-set-for-forrest-wood-cup-expo

Bass and BBQ Festival set for Forrest Wood Cup Expo

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – FLW is adding some Alabama flavor to the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup with its Bass & BBQ Festival as part of the FLW Expo outside the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama, August 6 and 7. The BBQ Festival, presented by WQRV 100.3 The River, will feature four award-winning BBQ teams offering delicious fare to visitors at the Forrest Wood Cup. A portion of all... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-27-bk-s-year-as-the-champ

BK’s Year as the Champ

Brad Knight plans on getting a good night’s sleep before this year’s Forrest Wood Cup on Wheeler Lake begins on Aug. 4. Sounds pretty straightforward, but there have been times during the past 12 months when dozing off wasn’t so easy for the defending Cup champion. READ MORE »

/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 »