Destination: Lake Cumberland

Nearly $336,000 in cash and prizes will be at stake when the top qualifying pros and co-anglers from the EverStart Series' four divisions square off at the 2004 EverStart Series Championship. The winning pro in the season finale will earn $25,000 in cash and an Evinrude- or Yamaha-powered Ranger boat. A new Ranger and $10,000 will be awarded to the winning co-angler. Yamaha pro Terry Bolton of Paducah, Ky., has high hopes of taking home a big chunk of the pie at the end of his second consecutive championship, but like other Central Division vets familiar with the central Kentucky fishery, he knows he is going to have to be a picture of versatility to do it. Located just outside Somerset, Ky., Lake Cumberland is a 63,000-acre impoundment that offers more than 1,250 miles of jagged shoreline and an average depth of 90 feet. It has rock bluffs, rock piles, shallow vegetation, wood and hundreds of pockets. You can catch Kentucky spotted bass off docks and piers, or you can cast for bronzebacks on rocky points and shoals. Another option is to flip for largemouths hanging tight to wood or grass in backwater coves. Bolton thinks the angler that wins it will be the one who comes up with a mixed bag of tricks and is successful in targeting all three subspecies of bass at one time or another over the four-day event. "This isn't going to be a tournament that will be won exclusively with a flipping stick or with spinning gear, or strictly with largemouths, smallmouths or spots," Bolton said. "Anglers are going to have to mix it up and fish for all three. The guy that wins might be flipping with 20-pound line part of the day and throwing a spinning rig with 8-pound line the rest of the time." Bolton, who qualified for the championship with a third-place finish in the Central Division points standings, is not expecting any eye-popping sacks in the fall tournament. The Kentucky pro said anglers who average 6 to 7 pounds per day in the opening rounds should advance to the semifinals with no problem, but the elite field will need to turn up the heat slightly in the final round. Bolton's Call: 12 to 14 pounds to make the cut; 22 to 26 pounds to win it.

Tags: pre-tournament  matt-williams 

/news/2015-03-25-5-pros-to-watch-at-lewis-smith

5 Pros to Watch at Lewis Smith

The second stop of the Walmart FLW Tour season rolls to Lewis Smith Lake – or “Smith” as most refer to it – which is located in northern Alabama. It offers a stark contrast to the first event held on Toho, as the fishery is a clear, deep impoundment with little grass to speak of. Traditionally spotted bass have dominated this tournament due to their abundance and better average size. That will likely be the case again this week, however, largemouth may surprise some people since water temperatures are prime for them to swarm the bank. Smith Lake is often overshadowed by its neighboring lakes of Guntersville and Wheeler but has pumped out several world-class spotted bass over the years. In fact, back in the 1970s and 1980s several world record spots were produced in Smith, and the current 8-pound, 15-ounce Alabama state record was caught from here. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-24-lewis-smith-4-factors-to-consider

Lewis Smith: 4 Factors to Consider

The Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Evinrude on Lewis Smith Lake will give the 154 pros in the field the first multi-species test of the season. Though the pros who made the top 10 at the opener on Lake Toho showcased a wide variety of techniques, everyone was looking for largemouth. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-24-spotted-bass-reign-supreme-at-smith

Spotted Bass Reign Supreme at Smith

When the Walmart FLW Tour visited Alabama’s Lewis Smith Lake in March 2013, Brent Ehrler dominated wire-to-wire by amassing a hefty 60 pound, 9 ounces over four days and besting runner-up Jacob Powroznik by more than 7 pounds. Catching 60 pounds over four days is a pretty stout performance on most bodies of water, but the fact that Ehrler was targeting spotted bass more or less exclusively makes it truly special. In general, spotted bass are a whole lot of fun to catch, but usually don’t grow shoulders thick enough to produce tournament stringers that can rival their cousins, largemouth bass. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-23-last-time-at-lewis-smith

Last Time at Lewis Smith

It’s been two seasons since the Walmart FLW Tour visited Lewis Smith Lake in Jasper, Ala. Now that the Tour has rolled back into town for the start of official practice on “Smith,” as most pros prefer to call this deep, clear reservoir, there’s an important change that could have a real impact on the tournament’s outcome: The umbrella rig is no longer allowed in Tour competition. Last time, a number of top pros relied on the multi-lure rig for the bulk of their catches, and winner Brent Ehrler caught a key kicker with one on the final day. This year’s event will be held a couple of weeks later in the month, which could mean the fish will be a little farther along in their prespawn-to-spawn transition and shallower patterns could be in play (possibly bed-fishing among them; see 2008: Spawners and Spots below). Still, the 2013 event is the best, most current preview of what we can expect to see this week, so we dug a little deeper into the most productive patterns from the last bout on Smith. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-18-college-open-will-be-a-record-setter

College Open will be a Record-Setter

When the first FLW College Fishing Open tournament gets underway out of Moor’s Resort on Kentucky Lake Friday morning, it will make history as the largest college event ever staged. Typically, college tournaments are staged as divisional events where only teams from a particular geographical region can participate, but the Open marks the first time any eligible college team can compete. The response to the new format has been overwhelming. According to FLW College Fishing Tournament Director Kevin Hunt, 184 teams representing colleges and universities from coast to coast are entered (as of this morning), and more might be en route. Teams have until Thursday evening at 6 to register at the rules meeting. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-17-guntersville-setting-up-to-be-a-slugfest

Guntersville Setting Up to be a Slugfest

With the water warming rapidly from the 40s, that side of the big-bass equation seems to be taken care of. However, grass content and water clarity are other matters. Known as a grass lake, Guntersville was obviously grassy until quite recently. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-04-toho-5-factors-to-consider

Toho: 5 Factors to Consider

The Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Mercury on Lake Toho will give the 154 pros in the field a taste of a lake that is relatively unfamiliar compared to places like Lake Chickamauga or homey Okeechobee, where the Tour has made recent or frequent stops. Naturally, many factors will affect the outcome. We singled out five factors that we believe will have the greatest impact on anyone who fishes the Kissimmee Chain this week, from veterans such as Andy Morgan and Cody Meyer to rookies such as William Kemp and Braxton Setzer. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-01-toho-s-mojo

Toho’s Mojo

Rob Newell breaks down the Kissimmee Chain lake by lake for a complete preview of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Toho. READ MORE »

/news/2015-02-27-5-to-watch-at-toho

5 to Watch at Toho

If you haven’t finalized your FLW Fantasy Fishing team, keep these anglers in mind when you head over to FantasyFishing.com and make your picks. READ MORE »

/news/2015-02-24-tour-opener-timed-right-for-florida-spawn-fireworks

Tour Opener Timed Right for Florida Spawn Fireworks

It’s always nice to kick off a new season with the proverbial bang, but the Walmart FLW Tour might very well mark its 20th anniversary with a Boom. READ MORE »

/news/2015-02-23-toho-s-place-in-tour-history

Toho’s Place In Tour History

The start of the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Toho is less than two weeks away. Official practice starts in just six days (kind of makes you wish you lived in Florida, huh?). READ MORE »

/news/2014-10-28-rayovac-flw-series-championship-pros-to-watch

Rayovac FLW Series Championship Pros to Watch

Keystone Light pro Casey Martin isn’t fishing in the Rayovac FLW Series Championship this week on Wheeler Lake, but he was still more than capable of breaking down how the lake should fish. Perhaps more than anything, Martin emphasizes that this Tennessee River impoundment doesn’t fish much like the legendary bodies of water that bookend it. READ MORE »

/news/2014-10-27-2014-rayovac-championship-preview

2014 Rayovac Championship Preview

Two weeks make a big difference in the life of a bass lake. In early October, it seemed that north Alabama’s Lake Wheeler would present more of a challenge than most contestants in the Rayovac FLW Series Championship that begins Thursday might have preferred. Now, however, the 68,000-acre impoundment is laying a generous table for the 140 pros and their co-anglers who’ll participate in the three-day event. READ MORE »

/news/2014-06-02-the-tennessee-river-grand-finale-begins

The Tennessee River grand finale begins

By this time of the season, reality has set in on the Walmart FLW Tour. The 167 pros still in the chase know the score: Most of them will be fishing for checks at Pickwick this weekend and at Kentucky Lake June 26-29. Only a handful will be fishing for a ticket to the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Murray in August. Of this latter group, some already have a fairly good idea that their future travel plans include a summer trip to Columbia, S.C. Several more on the cusp will be disappointed, and a few will be happy. One of them might be the guy the confetti gets dumped on at the final weigh-in of the Forrest Wood Cup. READ MORE »

/news/2014-06-02-4-keys-to-tailrace-success

4 Keys to tailrace success

If you ask Walmart FLW Tour pro Jonathan Newton where the best tailraces are in the country, he’ll tell you the tailraces of lakes Pickwick and Wilson. If you look at the tournament schedule for June, you’ll see the fifth 2014 FLW Tour event and the Walmart BFL All-American will be held at Pickwick and Wilson, respectively. READ MORE »

/tips/2014-05-05-tackle-review-gambler-burner-worm

Tackle Review: Gambler Burner Worm

Just when you thought the soft-plastic worm market couldn’t get any fatter, Florida-based Gambler introduces a heavyweight surface swimmer that is designed to perform significantly better than others with a paddle-tail caboose. It’s called the Burner Worm, but it does way more than the name implies. To hear Walmart FLW Tour pros JT Kenney and Jim Tutt tell it, Gambler’s newest soft plastic is perfect for buzzing on top or crawled beneath the surface without ever missing a beat. READ MORE »

/tips/2014-04-30-tackle-review-strike-king-tour-grade-rage-blade-

Tackle Review: Strike King Tour Grade Rage Blade

There’s a new bladed swim jig in town from Strike King, and this one is sure to shake things up once the bass fishing masses catch on to some big changes it brings to the table. Not only does it rattle your rod tip and attract violent strikes from afar, it helps solve a couple of nagging problems inherent in a posse of its predecessors – poor hookup ratios and frustrating hangups. READ MORE »

/news/2012-04-13-low-water-levels-playing-field

Low water levels playing field

RED WING, Minn. – With the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour preparing to kick the 2012 season off on the mighty Mississippi River there is one noticeable difference. What happened to all of the water? With the surprising lack of snow and ice throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin it has left water levels below average for this time of year. READ MORE »

/news/2011-09-22-everstart-series-heads-to-potomac-river

EverStart Series heads to Potomac River

MARBURY, Md. – The EverStart Series is headed to the Potomac River Sept. 29-Oct. 1 for the last of four stops in the Northern Division. READ MORE »

/news/2011-09-16-flw-college-fishing-western-division-headed-to-clear-lake

FLW College Fishing Western Division headed to Clear Lake

CLEARLAKE, Calif. – National Guard FLW College Fishing is headed to Clear Lake Sept. 24 for the fourth and final stop of the Western Division qualifying tournaments. Forty college teams will be competing for a top award of $10,000 to be split between the school and bass fishing club; $7,500 for bass club and $2,500 for their school. READ MORE »