Blowing in the wind

Day one of Rayovac FLW Series tournament action on Lake Havasu is about to commence.

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. - As the 152-boat field departed Lake Havasu State Park marina shortly after 7:30 a.m. Thursday morning to commence the start of the very first Rayovac FLW Series Western Division event in FLW history, anglers were gearing up for a decidedly wind-swept day on the water. With winds pouring in anywhere from 15 to 25 mph, anglers were bundled from head to toe as they set out in an effort position themselves for a grueling, and hopefully rewarding, three days of fishing on Lake Havasu. Rayovac FLW Series Western Division anglers await the start of the 2014 season on Lake Havasu.However, while extremely windy conditions aren't the first thing an angler dreams about when hitting the water for the opening round of tournament action, in this case, the field might just be all right with the change in weather. After multiple days of calm weather during practice, most anglers agreed that the bite was brutally tough. But with the arrival of strong winds today, it is the hope that the blustery weather will spur on a bite that so far has definitely been lacking. "I got here four or five days ago and that bite was pretty tough," said Rayovac FLW Series pro Mo Hassen of Alameda, Calif. "But with this wind, I think the fishing is going to be a lot better. I honestly think this wind is really going to help us out because it's going to put those fish on a nice reaction bite." Rayovac FLW Series pro Michael Lavallee of Sandy, Utah, seconded that notion. "I'm really hoping this wind helps us out because the bite up until now has been pretty tough," he said. "I've been here for four days of practice, spending anywhere from 10 to 11 hours on the water each day, and there have been days where I've only gotten one or two bites all day. So I think this weather is really going to help us." However, the caveat is that it only applies if the wind doesn't get any worse than predicted. "It's supposed to blow 15 to 25 mph today but it's already that windy this morning," said Hassen. "So I guess we'll have to see what happens." As far as the fishing is concerned, anglers said that the fish are in a predominately pre-spawn mode and that reaction baits could be the key to success today. Rayovac FLW Series anglers carefully navigate their way past Lake Havasu State Park marina."The lake is down 5 or 6 feet and that's really been throwing the fish off as far as their spawning," said Hassen. "You'll see some fish ready to spawn but most of the lake is in the pre-spawn right now. And with today's conditions, you'll be forced to fish a lot of reaction baits because it's really going to be tough to do any kind of finesse fishing." Despite the wind, Lavallee said he's going to operate under a very specific gameplan. "Basically I'm going to approach the main lake the first thing this morning because that's where I think the tournament is going to be won. I'll probably fish a little bit deep, anywhere from 20 to 35 feet. Then I'm going to run up the river, go flipping in anywhere from 3 to 5 feet and try to finish out my limit. After that I'm going to go back to the main lake and probably just get blown around in circles. The fish are definitely in the pre-spawn phase right now although in some parts of the lake the fish are just starting to move up. But like I said earlier, I think this warm, southwest wind is really going to help the bite today.' And because the lake holds plenty of both largemouth and smallmouth, no one species should dominate the competition. "I definitely see this as a mixed bag tournament," said Lavallee. "You can catch a 20-pound bag of largemouth here or a 20-pound bag of smallmouth. But that wasn't always the case. About five years ago you really needed largemouth to win. But over the years, the smallmouth bass have really blown up on this lake. So you're probably going to need some of both to win." "I think with the wind today and a reaction bite, you're definitely going to see a lot of mixed bags," Hassen added. In an effort to target those bass, anglers said there are plenty of options to choose from. "Basically in this lake, there are massive amounts of manmade structures, particularly cages," said Lavallee. "The DNR placed those cages all around this lake to create artificial habitat for the fish and I really think this tournament will be won on those cages. But you can also fish trees - there are tons of trees on the main-lake channels. There are also some fish on rocks and pea gravel flats." So what will an angler need to advance through the top-10 cut on day two and ultimately win the tournament outright? "I think it's going to take an average of 16 1/2 pounds a day to make the cut," said Lavallee and about 18 1/2 pounds a day to win." Tourney format Rayovac FLW Series boaters congregate on Lake Havasu before opening takeoff.During Rayovac FLW 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 Lake Havasu State Park, located at 699 London Bridge Road in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., 7:30 a.m. daily from Jan. 30 through Feb. 1. Weigh-ins will be held at the launch site beginning at 3:30 p.m. each day. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public. Pros will be competing for a top award of $40,000 plus a Ranger Z518C 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. Day-one takeoff is about to commence on Lake Havasu.The Rayovac FLW Series consists of five divisions - Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of three tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division that could earn them the Strike King Angler of the Year title and prize package along with a spot in the no entry fee Rayovac FLW Series Championship. The 2014 Rayovac FLW Series Championship is being held Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 on Wheeler Lake in Rogersville, Ala. The Rayovac FLW Series tournament on Lake Havasu is being hosted by the Lake Havasu City Convention & Visitors Board. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Rayovac FLW Series on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing. Bass-fishing fans take note Rayovac FLW Series action continues at today's weigh-in, scheduled to take place at 3:30 p.m. at Lake Havasu State Park, located at 699 London Bridge Road in Lake Havasu City, Ariz. Want to watch the weigh in live but can't make it in person? Then tune into FLW Live on FLWOutdoors.com shortly before 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time to watch live streaming video and audio of today's opening-round weigh in. Vital statistics: Sunrise: 7:37 a.m. Temperature at takeoff: 65 degrees Expected high temperature: 77 degrees Water temperature: 53-57 degrees Wind: From the south-southwest at 15 to 25 mph Humidity: 25 percent Day's outlook: Sunny with increasing clouds throughout the afternoon

Tags: morning-story 

/news/2015-05-21-seminole-summer

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

READ MORE »

/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 »

/news/2015-03-19-guntersville-grab-bag

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 »

/news/2015-01-22-here-they-come

Here They Come

Big things are coming on Lake Okeechobee – big bass, big weights and the biggest tournament field in Rayovac FLW Series history. READ MORE »

/news/2014-10-30-grinding-wheel-er

Grinding Wheel-er

ROGERSVILLE, Ala. – The story was much the same among the 141 pro and co-anglers that launched out of Joe Wheeler State Park this morning for the first day of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on Wheeler Lake. Fishing on the Tennessee River in the fall can be hit or miss and right now anglers are experiencing the latter. READ MORE »

/news/2014-10-09-a-clear-challenge

A Clear Challenge

Challenging conditions including low water, abundant baitfish and a late-season algae bloom set the stage for an epic bass battle among the 212 pros and co-anglers vying for top honors Oct. 9-11 in the Rayovac FLW Series Western Division Clear Lake tournament, which kicked off this morning at 7:30 a.m. PT. Presented by Evinrude, the three-day event promises plenty of drama. Anglers are competing for lucrative paybacks, including $32,448 in cash for first place on the pro side, plus a fully rigged Ranger Z518C with 200-hp Evinrude outboard if the winner is Ranger Cup compliant, for a total purse worth more than $80,000. On the co-angler side, the victor claims a fully rigged Ranger Z117 with 90-hp Evinrude, plus $5,000 in Ranger Cup cash if entered in that contingency program. READ MORE »

/news/2014-10-02-rayburn-returns

Rayburn Returns

ZAVALLA, Texas – If Sam Rayburn Reservoir were a stock on Wall Street, now would be the time to buy. READ MORE »