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 

/tips/2015-04-17-grand-lake-midday-update

Grand Lake Midday Update

As the second day of competition in the Rayovac FLW Series event on Grand Lake draws on, the sight-fishing bite is still strong, but day-one leader Todd Castledine has been unable to capitalize thus far. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-16-grand-lake-day-1-midday-update

Grand Lake Day 1 Midday Update

GROVE, Okla. – After the fog delay stalled action on day one of the Central Division opener on Grand Lake the anglers are now enjoying perfect weather for sight-fishing. Lingering light fog and clouds gave way to calm, sunny conditions this afternoon. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-16-20-questions-with-ray-hanselman

20 Questions with Ray Hanselman

Ray Hanselman is on fire. The Del Rio, Texas, pro won back-to-back Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division tournaments to start the 2015 season. His first win was in February on Lake Amistad, which is Hanselman’s home lake and where he runs a guide service. His second win came last week on Sam Rayburn. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-15-weekend-wrap-up-april-13-2015

Weekend Wrap-up – April 13, 2015

The week after the Easter break turned out to be pretty spectacular. We saw incredible feats at the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division event on Sam Rayburn and the FLW College Fishing event on Table Rock. Plus, BFL competition was hot across the country. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-14-serafin-gilmore-aim-for-strong-showing

Serafin, Gilmore Aim For Strong Showing

Chase Serafin and Anthony Gilmore know they’ll soon face the country’s top student anglers on the unforgiving battleground of Oklahoma’s Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees, but they’re not intimidated. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-14-fired-up-for-championship

Fired Up For Championship

North Carolina’s two-man contingent couldn’t be more excited about their chance to compete in the TBF/FLW’s High School Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-14-pappan-going-solo

Pappan Going Solo

Of the10 elite teams gearing up to compete here in the TBF/FLW High School Fishing National Championship April 25-26 on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees, only one is comprised of a solo angler. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-10-top-5-patterns-from-sam-rayburn-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Sam Rayburn Day 2

Two limits of more than 20 pounds have pushed Del Rio, Texas, pro Ray Hanselman atop the leaderboard at the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division tournament on Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Mercury. Hanselman is flipping and pitching plastics to flooded brush and trees, with careful consideration to the spots that allow him the best targeting efficiency. The lake level remains at a 15-year high, so anglers are chasing scattered bass in areas the fish rarely see. Overcast skies dominated the day, and isolated showers popped up throughout competition. Overall, productivity was lower than that of day one, with fewer fish and limits caught, and overall weights down. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-08-the-bucket-list

The Bucket List

Gleaned from my various fishing travels over the years, here are 10 places ­– in no particular order – that I’ve fished that I believe should definitely be on your bass fishing “bucket list.” Some are fantastic winter getaways, but other will require you to wait until warmer weather arrives. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-08-college-fishing-takes-on-table-rock

College Fishing Takes on Table Rock

KIMBERLING CITY, Mo. – FLW College Fishing is headed to Table Rock Lake April 11 for the first of three regular-season stops in the Central Conference. A full field of college teams will be competing for a top award of $2,000 and a berth in the Central Conference Championship tournament. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-08-walmart-bfl-tournament-preview

Walmart BFL Tournament Preview

The 2015 Walmart Bass Fishing League season will continue with six tournaments on Saturday, April 11. The Arkie Division will take on Lake Dardanelle, the Bama Division stops on Lake Martin, the LBL Division heads to Kentucky Lake, the Ozark Division competes on Lake of the Ozarks, the Piedmont Division opens their season on Kerr Lake and the Savannah River Division continues on Lake Hartwell. Up to 400 boaters and co-anglers will be competing for top awards of up to $8,000 and $3,000 respectively in the one-day events. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-07-myers-and-swede-prepared-for-championship

Myers and Swede Prepared for Championship

As the TBF/FLW’s High School Fishing National Championship draws near, Arkansas anglers Chase Myers and Cole Swede seem barely able to contain their excitement at getting a chance to compete for the coveted crown. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-07-yates-keenom-aim-to-put-oklahoma-on-top

Yates, Keenom Aim To Put Oklahoma On Top

Sooner bass fishing standouts Trevor Yates and Jake Keenom are hoping to make their home state proud when they compete here on Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees in the TBF/FLW’s High School Fishing National Championship, April 25-26. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-07-new-jersey-s-harnack-christopulos

New Jersey’s Harnack, Christopulos

Oklahoma’s Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees is worlds apart from the East Coast bass fisheries where Kyle Harnack and Matt Christopulos cut their fishing teeth, but the reigning New Jersey state champions are anxious to test their mettle on the sprawling Sooner reservoir. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-07-czosnyka-cundiff-set-to-represent-centennial-state

Czosnyka, Cundiff Set To Represent Centennial State

Bradley Czosnyka and Josh Cundiff of Fountain, Colo., are counting down the hours to the takeoff of the TBF/FLW’s High School Fishing National Championship. They won’t have long to wait, as the tournament is set for April 24-25 in conjunction with TBF’s National Championship on Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees in eastern Oklahoma. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-06-hibdons-suspend-tournament-careers

Hibdons Suspend Tournament Careers

Veteran Missouri pro Guido Hibdon and his grandson, Payden, have decided to leave the ranks of the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour, but hope to resume their tournament careers in the future. Like several other pros, the Hibdons, of Sunrise Beach, Mo., were victims of cutbacks in sponsor dollars that began last fall and left many anglers scrambling for financial support just before the 2015 tournament season opened. Dion Hibdon, Guido’s son and Payden’s father, lost a major sponsorship when Chevy pulled out as an FLW backer and dissolved the Chevy fishing team to which Dion belonged. However, the Bassmaster Classic and Forrest Wood Cup champion will continue to fish the Tour. He’ll travel to tournaments with his younger son, Lawson, 18, who will fish as a co-angler. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-06-tour-talk

Tour Talk

We’re fresh off stop No. 2 of the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour season on Smith Lake, and there’s plenty to talk about in this installment of FLW’s Tour Talk, where our pundits weigh in on what’s happening along the Tour trail. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-03-strader-leads-the-aoy-pack

Strader Leads the AOY Pack

Things are starting to take shape in the Angler of the Year race too, and while another pair of veterans is atop the standings, there are some new faces emerging as well. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-01-kids-get-to-wet-a-line-during-lewis-smith-event

Kids Get to Wet a Line During Lewis Smith Event

The children and their families had plenty of room to spread out around the Smith Lake Dam cove, which proved to be a good place to fish as it was also the site where the FLW release boat unloaded fish caught by the pros during Friday’s round. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-03-30-high-school-anglers-fish-for-their-future

High School Anglers Fish for Their Future

High school anglers from across the Midwest braved chilly weather at Kentucky Lake Saturday in hopes of finding hot spots that would help advance them to the High School Fishing Southeastern Conference Championship on Lake Lanier this fall as well as help fund their college education. The 150 high school anglers and their coaches awoke to an unusually cold spring morning to compete in the 2015 Murray State High School Fishing Open. Frost-covered decks, gear and tackle, frozen livewells and outboards reluctant to start were among the first challenges those aboard the 75 boats had to deal with at Kentucky Dam Marina. The event honored the memory of Murray State University’s Dr. Jim Carter, one of the earliest proponents of fishing as a state-sanctioned high school sport. Teams competed for a grand prize of $4,000 in scholarships to Murray State. The scholarships were provided by Independence Bank of Murray and FLW in partnership with the Murray State Bass Anglers. READ MORE »