UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Prespawn push halted at Hartwell

While the sunrise was picturesque, Mother Nature brought a nasty cold front to day one of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Hartwell.

SENECA, S.C. - Give Mother Nature credit for one thing - she is relentless. After finally bringing sunshine and seasonal temperatures to the Carolinas, she delivered yet another whopping cold front Tuesday - this one wicked enough to freeze rod guides in March. The only creatures more confused than the 176 Walmart FLW Tour pros are the Lake Hartwell bass, which were beginning to push towards the bank before slamming on the breaks.

Dressed in flip flops and shorts Sunday, pros were beginning to see water temperatures creep towards 60 degrees. While a full-on spawn was never expected, it appeared more and more bass, particularly largemouths, would be making themselves accessible in the shallow water. But that front dropped the water nearly 10 degrees by Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday's weather rebounded a bit with air temperatures in the lower 60s, but today's forecast calls for highs in the mid 40s with a strong northeast wind.

2011 Lake Hartwell champion Jason Christie makes his way to the takeoff boat. "If yesterday was the first day of tournament I think we would have crushed them," said Stetson Blaylock, who finished second in the 2013 Angler of the Year race. "Now I think it's going to be a struggle. This has been a trick."

Blaylock said it makes logical sense for an angler to fish deep after the latest weather change. However, that too presents a series of challenges.

"They're saying it's really going to blow today. It should be a good deep day, but with that wind you can't feel bites and it's a constant struggle to stay on your spot. I want to fish some deep spots, but I don't know if it's possible; I'm going to play the weather."

If he is forced to fish shallow, Blaylock believes it could be a struggle.

"I just don't think there's that many up right now. The ones that are up get beat up pretty quick. And there aren't going to be more coming until the weekend when it gets nice again. I think you'll see tighter than normal weights and 12 1/2 to 13 pounds will put you in better shape than years past. Whoever adjusts the fastest will win this thing and it will probably take both shallow and deep water."

Shallow-water specialist Andy Montgomery, who lives just up Interstate 85 in Blacksburg, S.C., doesn't even plan to fish shallow.

"In practice, I couldn't get the largemouths to bite shallow," said the Strike King pro. "I only caught four keepers the entire time. So I've got one deep hole I'm going to start on today."

Andy Montgomery and Johnny Douglas chat Thursday morning before takeoff. Montgomery said back home on Lake Norman and Lake Wylie, this cold weather turns the bite on, but that's directly related to baitfish.

"The difference is that Norman and Wylie are shad lakes. This is a herring lake so it's totally different. These fish really aren't on the bank very much, except when they're spawning."

Unlike Blaylock and Montgomery, Mark Daniels Jr. has never seen Hartwell until this week. The TBF Living the Dream angler likes the lake's diversity and said he's been picking up a few fish deep and a few fish shallow. Most of his deep bass are coming from 25 to 40 feet while the skinny-water fish are coming in 4 feet or less.

"I really thought there was going to be a big push shallow," said Daniels. "Then you have these crazy arctic storms. I mean, I'm from California, but Tuesday was probably the coldest day I've ever fished in my life. I think that weather pushes them onto secondary points and back to their winter haunts. Some of the largemouths I caught out deep were white as a ghost; they didn't look like they were coming up anytime soon."

Daniels said squarebill crankbaits, jigs and spinnerbaits are working in the dingier shallow water with jerkbaits working in the clear, shallow water. Out deep it's standard presentations such as drop-shots, spoons and football jigs.

"To be honest, I don't feel like I could catch a limit shallow," added Daniels. "But I don't feel like I could catch a big limit out deep. I'm sure someone is going to catch an 18- to 20-pound bag, but I'd be happy with around 14 pounds."

Logistics

Anglers will take off from the Clemson Marina located at 150 Clemson Marina Drive in Seneca, S.C., at 7 a.m. the first three days of competition. On the final day of competition the top 10 anglers will take off at 7:30 a.m. from the Clemson Marina. Thursday and Friday's weigh-ins will be held at Clemson The sun begins to rise over Clemson Marina Thursday morning. Marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday's final weigh-ins will be held at the Walmart located at 1636 Sandifer Blvd. in Seneca beginning at 4 p.m.

Fans will also be treated to the FLW Expo at Walmart on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. prior to the final weigh-ins. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public. Also on Sunday, country music star Chris Janson will perform a free live concert on the Walmart weigh-in stage at 3 p.m.

In FLW Tour competition, pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day, with pros supplying the boat, controlling boat movement and competing against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers. The full field competes in the two-day opening round. After day two the field is pared to the top 20 pros and co-anglers. The co-angler competition concludes at Saturday's weigh-in and the top-10 pros continue competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days.

On the Web

For those who can't catch the weigh-in action in person, FLWOutdoors.com offers FLW Live, an online application that brings fans real-time weigh-in results, streaming video and audio.

In addition to FLW Live, FLWOutdoors.com is offering real-time updates from the water throughout each day of the Lake Hartwell event. Simply click on the blue "On the Water Coverage" banner from either the FLW or FLW Tour home pages.

Thursday's conditions

Sunrise: 6:55 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 38 degrees
Expected high temperature: 47 degrees
Water temperature: 48-54 degrees
Wind: NE at 15-25 mph
Maximum humidity: 39 percent
Day's outlook: afternoon showers

Tags: brett-carlson  morning-story  2014-03-06-lake-hartwell 

/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 »