UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Rollercoaster Ride

Dave Lefebre

Editor's Note: The writer's opinions and observations expressed here are his own, and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views, policies or positions of FLW.

Professional tournament fishing is normally a rollercoaster ride with plenty of ups and downs, but this season so far is nothing but downs. I've never experienced anything quite like this before in my 12 years on the Walmart FLW Tour. It all started on the first tournament day of the year on Okeechobee with a mechanical breakdown, and it has snowballed from there. Now here I sit, with two events remaining, officially out of the Forrest Wood Cup for the first time in my career. It feels really bad, but I'm confident something great is about to happen, or at least something good will come out of this mess.

Speaking of mess, my performance at Beaver Lake this past week was pitiful. On the last day of practice, I found a point up the river that was loaded with spots of a better-than-average size. My game plan going in was to stay close to takeoff; what I was even doing up the river doesn't cease to amaze me even now. Regardless, this find tainted my plan of attack, and I made a last-minute decision on Thursday morning to start on that point upriver.

Dave Lefebre
I was the first boat there despite being boat No. 82. I spent about 30 minutes trying to get a bite and then left, but instead of heading back toward Prairie Creek, I started running around in that area. I finally came to my senses, and once I got back close to takeoff I started catching some fish. Unfortunately, I lost a 4-pound largemouth with about 10 minutes left in the day, which turned out to be my kiss of death for this tournament.

About three years ago at Beaver Lake I lost a bunch of huge fish on a crankbait, and I've never forgotten that. I should have weighed about 22 pounds, but only took about 10 to the scales that awful day. So, remembering that, my plan this year was to fish a Terminator swim jig and try to figure out how to get the fish to bite it in place of the crankbait. In practice it worked out great; my first bite on the perch-colored swim jig was a 4 1/2-pound pig. In three days of practice, without even fishing a lot and leaving all the key areas alone, I had 17, 14, and 17 pounds again. It was so good that I actually told a friend at registration I thought I was going to win, lol. It's been awhile since I felt this good going into an event.

After screwing up day one with only 7 1/2 pounds, I put aside my crankbait concerns, picked up a Storm Wiggle Wart and headed back into Prairie Creek and stayed there the entire day. I never put it down and could basically follow anyone fishing a worm and catch fish. I caught more than 20 keepers, but none of them was much help. I only weighed 9 1/2 pounds with four largemouths and one smallie. I climbed from 103rd to 82nd in the standings after day two, tying Andrew Upshaw for the very last $4,000 check ... whew, that was close!

My Wiggle Wart was a new model, despite my having thousands of dollars of vintage ones ... don't buy the hype. My swim-jig trailer was a green pumpkin purple copper Yamamoto Fat Baby Craw.

We hit Beaver Lake at a perfect time: prespawn and warming. The weather was unstable and different every day, causing us to have to adapt all the time to get bites. Actually, the conditions and situation were perfect for me, so it stings to leave there with a bomb. The guys who capitalized are the ones who went on to fish the weekend. I noticed some talk among the guys with better bags about getting five to seven bites per day. I also noticed that the leaders were fishing the same type areas and baits that I was. I think transitions in rock, bluff ends and points were the main deal for most, or just getting into a creek, putting the trolling motor down, and simply fishing everything, is a plan that always works on this lake.

Our next and final two events are all about the Tennessee River, and obviously I like that. I've had several top-10 finishes at Pickwick and won the last time we fished Kentucky Lake. I've also got another derby on Chickamauga in the mix. I'm looking forward to nothing but another win soon! Next up, Pickwick Lake. Anne and the kids are coming to that one, and we always look forward to heading down to McFarland Park in Florence, Ala.

Maybe I'll see you there.

Hear more from Dave Lefebre by following him on Twitter at @DaveLefebre or liking him on Facebook at facebook.com/DaveLefebre.

Tags: dave-lefebre  blog  2014-04-10-beaver-lake 

/tips/2016-02-05-an-ill-wind-at-okeechobee-

An Ill Wind at Okeechobee?

The wind can be a bass fisherman’s best friend or worst enemy. On its best behavior, it creates a temporary current, positions baitfish and helps an angler move around more stealthily in shallow water. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-02-04-aquatic-plant-id

Aquatic Plant ID

Val Osinski, the owner of Gambler Lures and winner of the 2015 Costa FLW Series event on the lake, knows as much about the Big O as anyone and is an expert on finding and targeting bass in its various grasses. When we had the opportunity to ride along with him for a tour of the lake and to learn to identify some of the grasses, it was a no-brainer to accept. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-02-02-poche-services-set

Poche Services Set

Funeral services for Dylan Poche, the 18-year-old Bass Fishing League angler who was stabbed to death Saturday night, are scheduled for Thursday at 2 p.m. at Freedom Life Church in Natchitoches, La. Visitation will take place at Freedom Life beginning at 5 p.m. Wednesday. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-02-02-time-to-shine-for-setzer

Time to Shine for Setzer

With three years on Tour and a Co-angler of the Year (COY) award under his belt, Braxton Setzer believes now is his time to start casting from the front. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-02-01-ambassador

Ambassador

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-29-glenn-browne-s-timeout-is-over-

Glenn Browne’s Timeout is Over

By his own admission, Glenn Browne isn’t the most organized guy. After the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division opener on Lake Okeechobee, he spent hours returning stuff to its proper place and tossing out the usual flotsam and jetsam that accumulates in a bass boat during a tournament. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-28-flw-podcast-109-mike-surman

FLW Podcast 109 - Mike Surman

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-28-john-cox-gives-himself-a-makeover

John Cox Gives Himself a Makeover

Last fall there was a rumor going around that John Cox was entering the electronics age and souping up his boat with sonar gear. Just to clear the air, the Florida pro reports that though he did flirt with the notion of incorporating an offshore strategy centered on depth finders into his act, he eventually abandoned the idea. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-27-austin-felix-is-ready-for-the-big-time

Austin Felix is Ready for the Big Time

Back in the spring of 2014, Austin Felix and his University of Minnesota teammate Chris Burgan were on the top of the FLW College Fishing world. With a win in the National Championship on Lake Keowee, Felix was headed to the Forrest Wood Cup as a pro. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-27-flw-canada-sets-tournament-sites-dates

FLW Canada Sets Tournament Sites, Dates

FLW Canada, one of four partners in FLW’s International Division of the Costa FLW Series, recently released its 2016 tournament schedule. The season includes three two-day regular-season qualifying events and a three-day championship. Anglers fish as two-person teams. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-26-jigging-spoons-for-winter-bass

Jigging Spoons for Winter Bass

Of course, the application of the spoon hinges on finding bass in the first place, which is the biggest challenge. Walmart FLW Tour pros Jason Johnson and Clark Reehm are experts at finding winter bass in their respective regions of the country and offer FLW readers some advice on where to look and how to get them to bite the spoon. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-24-how-bryan-thrift-got-to-be-so-good

How Bryan Thrift Got to be so Good

My No. 1 focus out here is to support my family and make a living. Whatever I have to do to make that happen, I’m going to make a valiant effort. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-22-high-school-fishing-makes-the-grade

High School Fishing Makes the Grade

Jacob Smith and Daniel Clark are typical teenagers, at least in everything except bass fishing. In that, they are above average, as the two juniors from Travelers Rest High School in South Carolina proved in the TBF/FLW High School Fishing Florida Open held Jan. 17 on Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-22-flw-mexico-at-the-starting-gate

FLW Mexico at the Starting Gate

Our excitement is so great that we wanted to share this important news with all of you. Believe me, fishermen in Mexico are talking it up as if it were dock talk surrounding the Forrest Wood Cup. What really matters at the end of the line is knowing that FLW is showing its true devotion to promoting bass fishing and making it a truly international sport. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-22-making-the-case-for-haynes-as-aoy

Making the Case for Haynes as AOY

As many have noted, the Walmart FLW Tour schedule for this season looks a lot like it did in 2014. Back then, in his sophomore year on Tour, Randy Haynes had one of the strangest seasons you’ll ever see. He finished 104th at Okeechobee, 149th at Sam Rayburn (ouch) and cranked out top-30 finishes everywhere else. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-21-flw-podcast-108-jason-lambert

FLW Podcast 108 - Jason Lambert

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-20-bfl-choo-choo-division-postponed

BFL Choo Choo Division Postponed

The FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Choo Choo Division tournament on Lake Guntersville originally scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 23 has been postponed due to impending inclement weather. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-20-tigerodz-aligns-with-auburn-team

TIGERODZ Aligns With Auburn Team

Custom fishing rod manufacturer TIGERODZ of Scottsboro, Ala., has signed an agreement to become the official rod brand for the Auburn University Bass Sports Club. Scott Dobbins, president of TIGERODZ, is an Auburn alum, and he says the pairing involved a natural progression of involvement. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-20-becoming-aware-of-your-angler-strengths

Becoming Aware of Your Angler Strengths

The ongoing sentiment among fishermen is that versatility is the key to becoming a successful professional angler. While I’m certain that statement holds some weight, I think there is an alternate perspective that is worth entertaining. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-18-pundits-picks-for-aoy

Pundits Picks for AOY

Winning the Angler of the Year title is a tremendous feat. It can solidify a budding career or affirm a veteran’s status among the best. It also comes with a hefty reward – $100,000 and early entry into the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup. READ MORE »