UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Ouachita

5 Pros to watch at Pickwick

Randy Haynes began his day at the south end of Kentucky Lake, but with just one keeper in the box, made a move within the first hour and headed back up to the north end.

The end is in sight for the 2014 Walmart FLW Tour as the field prepares for event No. 5 on Pickwick Lake this week. At this point in the season, anglers near the top 35 of the AOY standings are focusing on earning enough points to qualify for the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Murray Aug. 14-17. The rest are chasing checks.
FLW Fantasy Fishing players also have a shot at cashing in on great prizes this week. At each event of the Tour season - six regular-season tournaments and the Forrest Wood Cup - more than $7,000 in cash and prizes are awarded to the top 50 Fantasy Fishing teams. There will even be cash prizes awarded to the top 10 teams at the end of the season based on cumulative point totals, including a $10,000 top prize.
It's summertime on the Tennessee River, and that can only mean one thing - ledge fishing. That's all the hype around this event. Pickwick is known to give up some tremendous smallmouth and largemouth opportunities from its offshore structure. While the TVA impoundment stands at an impressive 43,000 acres and sprawls 53 miles, it will most likely fish small for the majority of anglers who will scour the ledges for "mega schools" of bass. There might be some pros probing the shallow grass present on Pickwick, which could lead to some big bags over the first few days. However, it's yet to be seen whether or not that pattern can hold up for the entire competition. With that in mind, below are five pros that bear monitoring as competition begins Thursday.
If you haven't finalized your Fantasy Fishing team, do so now at FantasyFishing.com.
Always in contention on the Tennessee River, pro Randy Haynes is less than 2 pounds off the lead after two days of fishing.
1. Randy Haynes - By now, if you don't know who this ledge-fishing guru is, then you better crawl out from under your rock. He most recently made headlines by winning the Rayovac FLW Series event on Kentucky Lake last week, which wasn't his first time bringing home the top hardware. Flash back to last year when Haynes won the Rayovac event on Pickwick doing what he does best - cranking ledges. He crushed more than 79 pounds of bass in three days of fishing, including a 33-pound bag on the first day. Haynes then rolled that momentum into his first Tour win on Lake Eufaula two weeks later, again in dominating fashion by fishing offshore. The Counce, Tenn., pro has four top 10s on Pickwick - three of which are victories.
In terms of Fantasy Fishing, Haynes carries a hefty price tag at $55. Despite the large cost, he is a good bet for a solid return on the investment.
Benton, Ky., pro Brandon Hunter jumped out to the early lead at Kentucky Lake with more than 27 pounds. He
2. Brandon Hunter - This Benton, Ky., native might be a rookie on the FLW Tour this year, but he is far from it when it comes to tracking down big bass offshore. This final leg of the season is what he has been waiting for all year. He is coming off a solid fifth-place showing at the Kentucky Lake Rayovac tournament last week where he hung with some of the big dogs of the ledge game. He has spent the last few years learning from one of the best in the game - Brent Ehrler - and is proving to be a quick study. These last two events will surely be the ultimate test for Hunter, and you can bet he is up for the challenge.

Hunter is a Fantasy Fishing steal at only $11. If you need someone to help round out your team then Hunter is your man.
Chevy team pro Jay Yelas oftentimes will attack standing timber by first fishing a crankbait through stumps to see if he can trigger a bite.
3. Jay Yelas - It's not too often that a legend like Jay Yelas gets mentioned as a dark horse for an event, but when it's summer on the Tennessee River his abilities often go overlooked. If you're wondering how he fared the last time the Tour stopped on Pickwick back in 2011, the answer is not good - placing 83rd. But here's the thing: Yelas loves to fish the way he is most comfortable, which is flipping shallow cover. And in an event where the vast majority of the field will be looking at their electronics out deep, it could leave a window of opportunity open for one of the best shallow anglers around. Make no doubt about it, the shallow grass sprawling the backwaters holds bass in the 6- to 10-pound class that haven't really been pressured since back during the spawn. Despite much of the dock talk saying the backwaters can't sustain pressure throughout the event, Yelas is the man that can prove that theory wrong.
As far as his Fantasy Fishing price is concerned, he sits at the $42 price. It is a little steep for an outside pick, but when Yelas gets room to work that is when he is his most dangerous.
Andy Morgan caught this smallmouth-largemouth combo with just 20 minutes left to fish on the final day.
4. Andy Morgan - The reigning Kellogg's Angler of the Year is poised to make another run at the title this year as he leads the point race going into Pickwick. Sure, the Tennessee River system can be considered his home water, but that doesn't necessarily give him an advantage over the field. With today's electronics there are no more secrets on the water. So what gives Morgan an edge if his years of experience don't? It's simple: versatility. The guy is an absolute animal when it comes to fishing off instinct - one of the main reasons he has the most top 10s on the Tour. In a tournament like this, Morgan is just as likely to pound the bank one day and jump out on the ledges the next. He took 40th on Pickwick back in 2011, but this time around is a new game. He is riding a phenomenal hot streak, and it's as if he can't do wrong.
At $52, Morgan is heavily favored to have a solid showing. If you play the numbers, then chances are good he will place high enough to earn some valuable points in Fantasy Fishing. To be honest, there really isn't a bad tournament to pick this Tennessee pro.
Keystone Light pro Casey Martin reels in a Lake Okeechobee largemouth.
5. Casey Martin - In his sophomore season, Martin is experiencing the traditional slump. He currently sits 114th in the points, but lucky for him the final two tournaments take place on lakes that fit in his comfort zone. Martin had his breakthrough performance last year when he won the final Tour event of the season on Lake Chickamauga. Yes, he won that tournament on an umbrella rig, which is no longer allowed on Tour, but that doesn't mean he doesn't know how to entice bass from TVA impoundments on standard baits. Martin spends much of his free time guiding on Guntersville, so you can bet he has been practicing for hypothetical situations he could see on Pickwick - he did the same prior to his Chickamauga victory. The Keystone Light pro placed 30th in a Rayovac event on Pickwick before and also took eighth on nearby Wheeler Lake in an FLW Tour Open. He is very proficient with deep-diving crankbaits and swimbaits and is equally as savvy with his electronics. This is the tournament for Martin to earn some serious cash.

Martin is the perfect pick for Fantasy Fishing players on a budget. He's available for just $22 and holds all the tools one needs to succeed in this tournament.

Tags: kyle-wood  article 

/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 »