Walmart FLW Tour stop on Pickwick Lake presented by Straight Talk Wireless." /> Walmart FLW Tour stop on Pickwick Lake presented by Straight Talk Wireless." />

Why the Wheels Fell Off: Pickwick Lake

Gussy just wasn't able to rekindle his day-one magic on Saturday. Then again, how often can you match a day that includes catching a 10-pound, 12-ounce bass?

Fishing the ledges of the western Tennessee River lakes in the summer is like spending another day at the office. You pretty much know what to expect. There are lots of other guys around you, doing the same job and trying to stay out of each other's way. Starting time is set by the boss, in your case the tournament director, and the bass will let you know when it's quitting time. Today probably will be about like yesterday. The monotony of it all can drive you crazy. Of course, there's always the chance that a surprise might come along to spice up the routine a bit, but there's no guarantee that the surprise will be a good one. Sometimes it can be both good and bad in the same workday, as was the case for these anglers in the Walmart FLW Tour stop on Pickwick Lake presented by Straight Talk Wireless. Jeff Gustafson Leader Jeff Gustafson sacked 24-8 with the help of this 10-12 kicker to take the early lead. Day 1: 24-08 (1st) Day 2: 15-15 (12th) Day 3: 12-2 (17th) My first day went great. I almost could do no wrong. My big bass of the day (10 pounds, 12 ounces; the Bridgford Big Bass) was the biggest I've ever caught. The spot where I got it probably gave up about 30 fish that day, from mid-morning to lunchtime. When I pulled up to this spot, which was a point sort of sticking into the current, there was nobody else around. I caught a number of nice fish off of there (mostly 3-pounders) and some smaller ones. The big fish was caught about midway through the flurry. It might have been that I caught more fish than I should have off this spot, but once I had that big fish, I felt like I needed to put up as much weight as I could to go with it. I caught them until I couldn't catch anymore. Most of the fish came on a football jig. I fished another spot the first day, and it was loaded with a good school as well. I actually caught two fish - a 3 1/2- and a 3 1/4-pounder - on the same crankbait when I made my first cast on it. Like I said, it was just my day. One thing that hurt me was not having enough spots that weren't getting covered up with other anglers. Most of the other stuff I had that I really wanted to fish was getting worked over by several other anglers all the time. That big bag on day one really separated me from the rest of these guys, but had I not caught it, I would have just squeaked out a good check at this event. On days two and three, I did get on a few schools, but they weren't the right size. They weren't the 3 1/2- to 4-pound-plus fish that I was looking for and needed. It seemed like all the schools I was finding consisted of 2-pounders. I'm not sure why that was because I was confident going out in the mornings that I would run into some schools of fish of the right size, but it just didn't happen. The Monday after the tournament I spent the day on Pickwick, fishing with some sponsors. The fishing was really good. I would have had around 22 pounds if the tournament had still been going on. I caught some good fish that reloaded on some of the community spots and on some of the spots I fished earlier in the event. What I take from this is that at future ledge events - the soonest being Kentucky Lake - I need to find some of the little, inconspicuous spots that are close to those community spots. That's where those big schools are, but the pressure really moves them around and turns down their activity level. I think if I can find those little places near the main areas, they can kick out a fish or two every day. I really didn't let the conditions dictate where I fished so much during the event. Instead, if there was a spot open that I wanted to fish, I fished it. Having three days of practice, I didn't have the number of spots that maybe some of the other anglers had. I'm hopeful that I learned enough about the lake that if we ever go back I'll be much more efficient in finding more of those subtle spots that others might overlook. Randy Haynes Coming off a Rayovac FLW Series win at Kentucky Lake, Randy Haynes was one of the pre-tournament favorites. Day 1: 23-9 (2nd) Day 2: 17-10 (9th) Day 3: 10-12 (18th) I started off well enough, but then on the second morning I hit a log before I even got to my first place, and it kind of messed me up. I thought I had just bent my prop a little, but it turns out it bent the shaft and I had to get towed in. That was the day a lot of guys caught them early. Still, I had more than 17 1/2 pounds. Everything I caught in the tournament came on a crankbait I helped design: the Profound Outdoors Z-Boss 20, which goes down to 18 or 20 feet on 12-pound test. It's a very subtle bait that throws like a piece of lead, has a tight wobble and suspends perfectly. I was fishing it on 15-pound-test anywhere from 10 to 16 feet deep. I wasn't fishing the big schools, just the smaller ones that I felt like probably wouldn't get as much attention. My last day, which was Saturday, I just couldn't get it going. It was like I was out of sync or something. I never could hit the right school at the right time. I'd be sitting and watching somebody fish a spot for 30 minutes, and when they'd leave, I'd start moving in and somebody else would show up. I burned 55 gallons of gas trying to find spots that didn't have so many fishermen on them. Everybody in the top 10 knew where the fish were and kept hammering away at them. The fish didn't leave. Usually when they get pressured they move off some, and then the fishermen go away too. In practice I found some places where I thought the fish would move to when they got pressured. That's kind of my thing; that's how I win tournaments. But at Pickwick the fish just stayed put where the top 10 guys could get to them. A lot of times things happen in a tournament that you can't explain. I would have liked to have found fish that had been let alone, but that never happened. I went down the lake and saw where everybody was fishing. I felt confident I knew where those fish would get pushed to, except they didn't budge. So there were four or five boats on every school. I can't win by getting in there with everybody else. When everybody's trying to get a slice of the same pie, the pieces keep getting smaller, and you can't win like that. I hope the fish move better at Kentucky Lake. I think they will. Shane Lehew It was a slower day two for Shane Lehew. Day 1: 20-9 (8th) Day 2: 13-14 (29th) There were three primary spots I was fishing, and a couple of others I considered so-so. I was boat No. 60 on day one, and when I got to my best spot I was surprised to find that I was the only one there - at least for a while. I started catching 4-pounders, and then other boats started easing in. On the second day, I got there later, and there were already a couple of tournament boats on it. I went to one of my backup spots and actually caught more fish there, but they were smaller keepers. I never could get a big bite there. I was using swimbaits and a power-shot rig. Later on in the day, I finally got back to my first spot and had it to myself. I caught a 4-pounder there and lost another big one and then had to go. I probably should have stayed on that one place all day and not tried to run around and fish other places. I'm going to have to learn to fish in a crowd. I did a lot of running, trying to find something I could fish by myself. There weren't many places like that at Pickwick. Of course, Kentucky Lake will be a lot more spread out. Troy Hollowell Troy Hollowell proudly displays his Pickwick Lake 9-pounder. Day 1: 19-12 (12th) Day 2: 22-14 (5th) Day 3: 10-9 (15th) I caught a bunch of keepers the second day, especially when they turned the water on in the afternoon. We had current all the third day. I figured the fishing would bust wide open then, but it didn't for me. I pulled into a place that I shared with Brent Ehrler, and I watched him catch five keepers on five casts. That encouraged me to go to one of my other places down toward Yellow Creek, where I thought the tournament should have been won. The reason I thought that was because on my second day I probably caught about 30 keepers there on a crankbait. I crushed them, and there were two more deals near there I didn't fish on the second day because I didn't think I needed them. Then, on the third day, those fish were gone too, and I never could reconnect with any of them. All three places were current-dependent. I thought it was going to be perfect because they were pulling current the third day. These were the kind of places where the fish would move to when they got beat up, or so I thought. It messed with my head. I found out later that after Brent caught those five fish on the first spot, he didn't catch another one there. Everything that worked for me the first two days went south on the third day.

Tags: post-tournament 

/news/2015-04-20-top-10-baits-from-grand-lake

Top 10 Baits From Grand Lake

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-19-top-10-patterns-from-grand-lake

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-13-top-10-patterns-from-sam-rayburn

Top 10 Patterns from Sam Rayburn

With heavy rainfall swelling Sam Rayburn Reservoir, this Angelina River impoundment had risen 5 feet above normal level by the start of the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division tournament. This gave fish and fishermen access to miles of shoreline forest and brush that normally stand in mere inches of water – if not on dry ground. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-12-top-10-baits-from-sam-rayburn

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

With Sam Rayburn swollen to 5 feet above its normal water level, the top 10 pros broke out various flipping and punching rigs to pick apart newly flooded cover. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-01-a-look-back-at-the-star-studded-top-20

A Look Back at the Star-Studded Top 20

At Lewis Smith Lake for stop No. 2 of the 2015 Tour, however, the top 20 featured an impressive group of anglers who not only were top performers that particular week, but have been throughout their careers. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-31-top-baits-from-lewis-smith

Top Baits From Lewis Smith

Many baits were used during the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith lake. See which baits were most productive for our top anglers. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-30-top-10-patterns-from-lewis-smith

Top 10 Patterns from Lewis Smith

The Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Evinrude on Lewis Smith Lake featured a mishmash of springtime patterns that ranged from targeting bass feeding on blueback herring to catching spawning fish to dropping in on deep schools of spotted bass. Here’s a breakdown of the patterns of the top 10 pros. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-23-what-went-down-at-kentucky-lake

What Went Down at Kentucky Lake

Save for the contrarian crankbaits used by the eventual winning team from the University of Arkansas-Fayettville, it seemed that the vast majority of teams in the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake relied on umbrella rigs. Here’s a rundown on what the top 10 used to catch most of their bass. Each of these teams is now pre-qualified for the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-22-top-10-patterns-from-guntersville

Top 10 Patterns From Guntersville

The rest of the top 10 anglers caught them shallow and deep on just about everything. Here’s a look at how they did it. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-22-top-10-baits-from-guntersville

Top 10 Baits From Guntersville

A look at the baits used by the top pros at the Rayovac FLW Series event presented by Mercury on Lake Guntersville. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-top-patterns-from-kentucky-lake-

Top Patterns from Kentucky Lake

Thanks to nearly identical bags from days one and two, the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville netted the title in the FLW College Fishing Open held on Kentucky Lake. While the top prize of a Ranger Z117 with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard was at stake, teams were also battling to make the top 10 in order to punch their ticket for the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-18-garrick-dixon-gallery-the-best-of-jt-at-toho

Garrick Dixon Gallery: The Best of JT at Toho

Photographer Garrick Dixon followed Walmart FLW Tour pro JT Kenney for four days as Kenney pieced together his wire-to-wire win at the season opener on Lake Toho. In this gallery, Dixon shares with FLW fans his favorite shots of Kenney on the water, at weigh-in and behind the scenes. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-11-lake-toho-storylines

Lake Toho Storylines

The Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Mercury on Lake Toho provided the 20th-anniversary season a proper sendoff. It was emblematic of the seasons that came before and had all of the hallmarks that FLW fishing fans have come to expect. A couple of strong 11th-hour charges for the title, environmental challenges in the form of dramatic weather and water changes, and a nail-biting finish were befitting of two decades of the Tour. We wanted to break down a few of the more subtle storylines as well, in order to put this season’s opener into perspective. Here goes. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-10-top-10-patterns-from-toho

Top 10 Patterns from Toho

At the halfway point of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Toho on Friday afternoon, it looked as if the event would be a JT Kenney runaway win. Kenney’s “red-dot” bedding program appeared to be unstoppable. But then things changed drastically: The warm-up ended, the full moon began to wane, heavy clouds took up residence over central Florida and the fairy tale of scripted plans in a multiple-day tournament came to a screeching halt. By the end of the event, several other patterns on Lake Toho quickly closed up Kenney’s seemingly insurmountable lead (12-10 after two days and 12-8 after three). When the final weigh-in came to an end, the top three places were only separated by 1 pound, 5 ounces. Patterns that involved current, shell beds and even docks helped close the gap. Here’s a look at some of the other top 10 patterns from the week. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-10-gallery-top-10-baits-from-toho

Gallery: Top 10 Baits from Toho

Techniques used by the top pros at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Mercury on Lake Toho consisted of a mix of slow-fishing soft plastics around shallow cover, winding lipless crankbaits around open-water grass and cranking canals with current. READ MORE »

/news/2015-02-16-gallery-top-10-baits-from-amistad

Gallery: Top 10 Baits from Amistad

READ MORE »

/news/2015-02-15-more-top-patterns-from-amistad

More Top Patterns from Amistad

A common theme was evident in the top patterns from Lake Amistad last week at the opener of the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division. Almost every angler in the top 10 was catching fish that were transitioning from wintertime haunts to prespawn staging areas. A few even caught fish that were “moving up” to where they’ll eventually spawn. To read about the top five patterns, including Ray Hanselman’s winning techniques, click here. What follows are the patterns of the sixth- through 10th-place anglers. READ MORE »

/news/2015-01-26-gallery-top-10-baits-from-okeechobee

Gallery: Top 10 Baits from Okeechobee

Tactics at the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event presented by Power-Pole on Lake Okeechobee primarily consisted of flipping and swimming presentations in thick cattails, matted hyacinths and “hayfields” full of pencil reeds. As is typical at Okeechobee, specialized heavy-duty tackle was used by the top finishers. Here’s what they threw. READ MORE »

/news/2014-11-04-cf-top-3-patterns-from-sam-rayburn

CF: Top 3 Patterns from Sam Rayburn

The FLW College Fishing Southern Conference Invitational at Sam Rayburn Reservoir Oct. 25-26 was a close one with first, second and third place decided by barely more than a pound of Texas bass. The top teams found similar patterns and game plans in Rayburn’s shallow grass, and each committed to a small area for the entirety of the event. READ MORE »

/news/2014-11-04-top-3-patterns-bfl-wild-card

Top 3 Patterns – BFL Wild Card

When day one of the Walmart Bass Fishing League Chevy Wild Card on Kentucky Lake commenced, J.R. Henard got right to the point, sacking up a limit by 8:30 a.m. and never looking back. For two days, he kept his foot on the gas and hauled in a tournament-winning total of 42 pounds, 5 ounces – nearly 12 pounds better than second place – and a top prize of $4,478, plus entry into the 2015 BFL All-American. READ MORE »