UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2015 - Lake Sinclair

Philip Jarabeck is Feeling the Heat

Castrol pro Philip Jarabeck shows off a keeper.

COLUMBIA, S.C. – “Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun,” wrote British poet Rudyard Kipling. Obviously, he didn’t know any bass fishermen.

Philip Jarabeck is sweltering as waves of invisible UV rays from the overhead sun scorch any exposed layers of his skin. If that weren’t bad enough, he’s also feeling the heat of a.) leading the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup here on Lake Murray on day three, and b.) not catching any bass on a regular basis in this, the semi-final round of 20 aspiring pros. Time is ticking away, and the day is getting hotter. Around his Castrol flagship, eight boatloads of faithful fans wait patiently for him to rear back on his rod and bring a quality fish to the boat. The one bass presently residing in his livewell isn’t going to keep him in the game, much less in the Cup’s spotlight, as only the top 10 anglers from today’s competition will move on to the championship round.

“I expected it to be tough, especially by midday yesterday [Friday], but based on what I found in practice I thought it would be a super, super tough tournament the way it is now,” says the 24-year-old Virginia pro as he yo-yos a drop-shot rig over a deep brush pile. “I had about 14 or 15 pounds by this time yesterday. I had a 3-pounder right off the bat, and then a 5-pounder.”

Any Southern bass lake can be stingy during the dog days of summer, but Lake Murray is especially cruel to anglers. Cody Meyer’s tale of his pre-practice conversation with a South Carolina local serves as an example. He met the Palmetto State angler at a local gas station as he was refueling his boat.

“You fishing in that FLW tournament?” Meyer was asked.

After he answered in the affirmative, his inquisitor noted that Lake Murray was a great place to fish, “but not in August. We don’t even hardly take our boats off the trailers ’til October,” Meyer was told.

Still, the guiding principle is not how many bass the field can catch, but how many the winner can catch under the circumstances presented to him. Nobody predicted a smackfest here, and the lake is living up to expectations.

The problem, it seems, are the vagrant schools of protein-packed blueback herring that roam the 50,000-acre lake and upon which bass feed during the heart of summer. When forage fish pass rapidly over a bass hangout, they tend to take the bass with them as they go. Here and there, random bass drop off to loiter at offshore humps and bars, but they, too, are living in a world of here today, gone tomorrow. Jarabeck has been victimized by their wandering ways. He caught 10 keepers in the second round and actually upgraded his stringer weight three times during the day. He finished the day with 17 pounds, the day’s best stringer.

Assuming that Jarabeck and the 44 other anglers in the competition didn’t catch every bass in Lake Murray on Friday, the remaining fish are somewhere, but just not where they were yesterday. Blame those restless herring.

Two boats from Jarabeck’s posse idle away and then hit full plane for parts unknown. It is very hot, and there must be some cold sweet tea waiting for them somewhere. Oddly enough, they might be the true believers as compared with most of the boats that remain. Among them are scavengers, local anglers who set up on a pro, then wait for him to leave before passing over the spot he was fishing and waypointing the exact location with their GPS fish-finders for future reference.

“Come GPS these docks, sucker,” Jarabeck exclaims after a short run to the bank. He’s back doing what he did early in the second round that gave him a huge boost in the standings: skipping soft plastics under shoreline docks where, hopefully, bass will be lurking in the shadows waiting for an easy meal to pass by.

As opposed to the offshore nomads, Lake Murray’s dock bass can be more reliable. The problem is that all the docks have bull’s-eyes on them, figuratively speaking, for every passing angler to see. Somebody else has already caught the quality fish under them during the cool hours of the morning. Still, Jarabeck is banking on a few strays that others might have missed.

“My game plan was fishing docks early and then going offshore later in the day and fishing my spots,” Jarabeck says. “In practice, I only got a couple of bites on docks. I’ve incorporated it in, though, because I did get some quality bites, including the 5-pounder [on Friday]. The 3-pounder I caught before that was next to a dock. But it’s not been my main thing. Before today I was doing really well out deep.”

What’s his take on the big change offshore between Friday and Saturday?

“I don’t have a clue,” he says. “The fish might move off one brush pile, or maybe two, but not all of my spots. Something has changed. The only thing I ask myself is if it’s possible that there are so few fish out there? When you catch them, do you catch all that’re there? It might be part of it, but somebody is going to catch them out deep on a brush pile today.

“My hope is that with the cloudy, foggy skies we had this morning, the fish roamed a little farther away from the brush, and it’s going to take a while for them to get back. The overhead sun will help gather them up again.”

Perhaps, but it is very hot waiting. The last of the boats following Jarabeck in the morning have all gone. Even the scavengers have forsaken him now.

Tags: article 


How to Choose Topwaters in Fall

As the cool nights drive baitfish to the shallows, bass see a prime opportunity to fatten up for winter. It’s the perfect scenario for a topwater approach: loads of bait, ravenous bass and skinny water. Best of all, you can forget stowing away the surface lures once the sun peaks. These bass are more than willing to crush a topwater rain or shine, morning, noon and night. READ MORE »


Watch Episode Two of FLW Tonight

Episode two of the 2015 “FLW” TV seas is set to premier tonight. After last week’s exciting battle on Lake Toho, the Walmart FLW Tour moves on to Lewis Smith Lake and spawning largemouths and big spotted bass. Be sure to tune in to NBC Sports at 7 p.m. ET tonight to watch Dave Lefebre take home the win. READ MORE »


2015 BFL Postseason Begins

All of the 2015 regular-season events have concluded, including the two-day Super Tournaments. Season-long point standings are now final. That means 24 divisional Anglers of the Year have earned their $1,000 AOY awards, and their Co-angler of the Year counterparts have earned $500 apiece. But more importantly, the fields have been set for FLW’s marathon run of BFL Regional Championships. READ MORE »


Inaugural FLW Canada Tournament

It’s official: FLW Canada is the first organization to hold a tournament under the auspices of the new FLW international partnership. FLW Canada held its inaugural event, which also was its championship tournament, Sept. 18-20 on Big Rideau Lake near Smith Falls, Ontario. READ MORE »


Four Fall Crankbait Patterns

There’s almost always a crankbait bite somewhere, but crankbaits truly shine in the fall as bass are loading up on baitfish. We talked with a few different pros and got them on record about their favorite crankbait tactic for hoodie season. READ MORE »


McDonald Family Battles Breast Cancer

Candy and Billy, the Walmart FLW Tour pro, found out Candy had breast cancer in July, between the final Tour event on the Potomac and the day they left for the ICAST fishing tackle show in Orlando. READ MORE »


East Hall Wins on Lake Lanier

The winning East Hall High duo said that they concentrated on fishing blowdowns for the majority of the day with a green-pumpkin Reaction Innovations Flirt Worm rigged on a shaky head to catch the majority of their fish. READ MORE »


Bass Fishing 101: Choose the Right Jig

The basic jig is one of the most versatile baits that a bass angler can have in their arsenal. It can be fished just about any way, in any depth, and around most types of cover and structure. READ MORE »


FLW TV Season Starts Today

All-new episodes of the FLW television program begin today on NBC Sports at 7 p.m. ET with the season-opener at Lake Toho. New hour-long episodes are scheduled to run every Monday at 7 p.m. ET between now and Dec. 7. READ MORE »


BFL Wild Card Venue, Date Set

FLW announced Sunday that the 2015 BFL Wild Card tournament will take place on Lake Hartwell on November 13-14. The event will launch from Clemson Marina, located at 150 Clemson Marina Drive in Seneca, South Carolina. READ MORE »


Poppers for Matted Grass

Poppers might be a bit old school, but they’re still great tools for calling up bass from around matted grass when the fish aren’t buried so deep in the green that you need to flip or frog to get them out. They are especially good this time of year when bass are roaming the edges of grass and hunting for schools of bait that are pushing shallow. READ MORE »


North Brandford HS Wins Northern Conference

The winning duo from North Branford High School said that they caught the majority of their fish on a drop-shot rig and a jig. Other teams reported catching their fish on spinnerbaits and topwater baits. Seven of the 12 teams brought five-bass limits to the scale. READ MORE »


Ranger’s Biggest, Baddest Bass Boat Yet

Inspired by Ranger’s successful Fisherman Series deep-V boats, which are favored by the best walleye anglers on the planet for rough-water fishing, the Z522D is designed to turn back the worst waves that bass anglers will encounter. This 4X4 ability is accomplished with a lengthy 22-foot, 7-inch-long deep-V hull with a 102-inch-wide beam. With size comes power, thanks to 300-hp motor rating. READ MORE »


2016 Rayovac FLW Series Schedule

FLW announced today the 2016 Rayovac FLW Series schedule, which will consist of three events in each of the five divisions: Central, Northern, Southeastern, Southwestern and Western. The former Texas Division has been renamed the Southwestern Division and will feature stops in Oklahoma and Texas. READ MORE »


5 Autumn Patterns that are Hot Now

Want to cash in on autumn’s bass fishing bounty? Of course you do. But first, you need to consider that bass are in transition as temperatures fall and shad move, most often from deep to shallow. READ MORE »


Hawk Wins U.S. Open

Ranger Pro Roy Hawk capped off a great month for his family on Wednesday in the desert outside of Las Vegas. After competing in the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup, and watching his son Sunny win the co-angler title there, Hawk earned a win of his own in the 2015 WON Bass U.S. Open. READ MORE »


FLW TV Season Premieres This Month

All-new episodes of the FLW television program will be shown on the NBC Sports Network beginning Sept. 28. The Walmart FLW Tour season-opener won by JT Kenney at Lake Toho will kick off the series of hour-long episodes that are scheduled to run every Monday at 7 p.m. ET. Repeat showings are set for 3 p.m. ET every Friday. READ MORE »


Clear Lake Tournaments Moved Back

The Rayovac event, originally scheduled for Sept. 24-26, will instead take place Oct. 15-17 out of Konocti Vita Casino Resort & Marina in Lakeport. The tournament will be held in conjunction with the FLW College Fishing Western Conference Championship Oct. 17-18, which was originally scheduled for Clear Lake Sept. 26-27. Likewise, the High School Fishing Western Conference Championship on Clear Lake has been moved to Oct. 18. READ MORE »


Top 10 OTW Photos from the Cup

The Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita was a prime chance to capture some great moments on the water. Not only was the competition fierce, but Ouachita is naturally gorgeous and the weather and anglers mixed it up every day. With a full team of reporters and photographers on the water, we got the goods. The following 10 photos are some of the best from the week on the water. READ MORE »


Birge’s Post-Tournament Freeze

During cryotherapy, light cotton gloves, socks with slippers and an undergarment protect the patient’s extremities from possible frostbite. And even though the process rapidly lowers the patient’s surface skin temperature to about 30 degrees, it will not freeze skin tissues because exposure time in the chamber is limited. READ MORE »