UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Erie

Anglers aim for advancement

Anglers aim for advancement
Anglers cover their hearts and stand aboard their boats for the playing of the National Anthem from the shore of Cross Lake in Louisiana.

Day two of FLW Tour Championship on Cross Lake to determine semifinal qualifiers

SHREVEPORT, La. - Anglers raced across the surface of Cross Lake shortly after 7 a.m. in search of open waters rich with fish. Thursday marked the second day of the 2002 Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championship and the final day for anglers to out-fish their bracket mates, a mandatory steppingstone along the path to the semifinals.

A field of 48 pros and 48 co-anglers challenged the lake's bass population Wednesday and weighed in almost 200 fish despite a slot limit that many had predicted would hamper fishing efforts during the tournament. Though first-day catches paled in comparison to those at the last FLW Tour event, in June, there was no shortage of exciting competition as anglers faced off in head-to-head bracket competition.

Anglers who hauled in less bass than their bracket counterparts Wednesday began day two of the tournament with something to prove. But any pro could still walk away with the $260,000 first prize.

The goal for today is simple: Each pro angler must catch more bass than the man against whom he is paired. The new bracket-style championship competition pits the No. 1 seed coming into the tournament against the No. 48 seed, the No. 2 seed against the No. 47 seed, and so on.

An angler's cumulative weight for days one and two will determine whether he advances to the semifinal round of competition slated to begin Friday. Anglers within a bracket who caught close to the same weight Wednesday will be on a relatively even playing field today, while those who fell far behind their bracket leaders on day one face an uphill battle on day two.

After Thursday's weigh-in, the pro field will be cut in half to 24 fishermen. Those 24 anglers will fish head-to-head on Friday in the semifinals to determine which 12 will fish on Saturday in the finals. After being reseeded based on tournament performance, the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds will fish head-to-head for the $260,000 first prize. The other 10 anglers in the finals will fish for lesser cash awards.

The champion of the Co-angler Division will be decided based upon cumulative weight throughout the tournament, as co-anglers are not fishing head-to-head.

Cross Lake's slot limit sets the stage for anglers having to develop interesting fishing strategies. Only four fish 17 inches long or greater can be kept, and no bass between 14 and 17 inches long can be kept. Fish shorter than 14 inches are fair game.

The slot limit contributed to many anglers weighing in fewer bass than a five-fish limit allows. However, fish were certainly caught. Though many of the fish were not quite in the lunker category, some weighed in at heavier than five pounds. Whether anglers gamble on the big bass, play it safe with limits of little ones or use a combination of strategies, the competition is close and the results are unpredictable.

Today's weigh-in begins at 3:30 p.m. outside the Wal-Mart Supercenter on Pines Road in Shreveport. Friday's takeoff will commence at 7 a.m. at the American Legion Boat Ramp.

Vital statistics:

Sunrise: 6:57 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 73 degrees
Expected high temperatures: 93 degrees
Water temperature: 86 degrees
Wind: from the east-northeast at 5 to 10 mph
Relative humidity: 87 percent
Day's outlook: partly cloudy

Day-two links:

Photos
Pairings
Tournament brackets

Tags: patrick-baker  morning-story  2002-09-11-championship 

Ready to Rock on Erie

Ready to Rock on Erie

The Toyota Series Northern Division has undergone more than its share of schedule shuffling this year, but the kickoff is finally here. Taking off out of Sandusky, Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie, the time to chase smallmouths has arrived. READ MORE »

Eufaula Slugfest Kicks Off

Eufaula Slugfest Kicks Off

For the second week in a row, FLW’s Toyota Series is visiting one of Alabama’s premier bass fisheries at the perfect time of year for pros to hammer on big bags of postspawn largemouths. READ MORE »

Let the Ledge-fest Begin

Let the Ledge-fest Begin

With the start of the Toyota Series Central Division event on Pickwick Lake this morning, today marks the first day back to competition in the world of professional bass fishing. READ MORE »

Two Species Spawning at Havasu 

Two Species Spawning at Havasu 

The weatherman did it again. About two weeks prior to today’s kickoff for the Toyota Series Western Division season at Lake Havasu, the forecast called for highs in the mid-80s and sunshine for three straight days during the tournament. Instead, practice was rainy, and the current forecast calls for precipitation for at least the first two days and highs that likely won’t top 70 degrees.  READ MORE »

Game Day on Okeechobee

Game Day on Okeechobee

The second stop of the Toyota Series Southern Division is hitting Lake Okeechobee later in the year than usual for FLW. Typically, big, multi-day FLW events on the Big O go down in January and February, but this one runs March 12-14 and should offer a different look at the familiar and ever-changing body of water. READ MORE »

It’s Anyone’s Game on Overfull Hartwell

It’s Anyone’s Game on Overfull Hartwell

South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell kicks off the 2020 Toyota Series Eastern Division season this week with a three-day, mid-week showdown of the area’s best bass anglers, hosted by Visit Oconee South Carolina. Hartwell definitely has the potential to produce 20-plus-pound bags, but Mother Nature has decided to create some havoc with lake levels this winter, and it’s anyone’s guess as to how well the fishery shows out. READ MORE »

Despite Cold, Expect Mega-Bags at Chick

Despite Cold, Expect Mega-Bags at Chick

Freezing temperatures greeted anglers for the 2020 Toyota Series Central Division tournament on Lake Chickamauga this morning. As usual on Lake Chickamauga this time of year, every angler is hoping for a 30-pound-plus bag of bass during the Feb. 27-29 tournament. READ MORE »

College Championship Kicks Off on Harris

College Championship Kicks Off on Harris

Championship week for any sport is as exciting as it gets and it’s no different for the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship presented by Lowrance this week on the Harris Chain. Competing for a $30,000 prize package, including a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower outboard, 162 college bass fishing clubs will have free range of the chain to vie for the title. READ MORE »

Warmer Weather Good Sign at St. Johns

Warmer Weather Good Sign at St. Johns

The cold front that moved through northeast Florida last week shut down the fishing on the St. Johns River in a big way, just as bass were starting to move up to the banks to begin spawning. With the weather that came through, many of those fish pulled back off the bank to wait for more stable conditions. Fortunately, stability arrived this week in the form of warmer weather, but it remains to be seen if those three or four days of warm, stable conditions are going to be enough to get fish back up on beds. For now, it’s safe to assume anglers are going to have to be adaptable over the next few days in the Toyota Series Southern Division opener. READ MORE »

Feast or Famine at Toledo Bend

Feast or Famine at Toledo Bend

It’s been nearly six years since the Toyota Series has been to Toledo Bend, but this week the Sabine River impoundment takes center stage to kick off the Southwestern Division season. READ MORE »

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 1

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 1

All the talk leading up the final leg of the Costa FLW Series Central Division presented by Evinrude on Lake of the Ozarks was about the weather. And Mother Nature did not disappoint. READ MORE »

Stormy Start at Lake of the Ozarks

Stormy Start at Lake of the Ozarks

The final leg of the Costa FLW Series Central Division presented by Evinrude on Lake of the Ozarks will launch right as a massive cold front arrives. How massive? The forecast has been calling for heavy rain and a high of 74 today, and so far hasn’t been wrong. A major thunderstorm greeted anglers this morning and delayed takeoff by an hour and fifteen minutes thanks to abundant lightning. Tomorrow? A high in the mid 40s. READ MORE »

Grand Lake Midday Update – Day 3

Grand Lake Midday Update – Day 3

Typically, the first day or two following a cold front put bass in a bad mood, and today, Grand Lake’s fish are following the script. This has created a challenging scenario for the top-10 finalists in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine. READ MORE »

Grand Lake Midday Update – Day 2

Grand Lake Midday Update – Day 2

You know fishing’s tough when the most common greeting we receive is the goose egg hand signal. No question, day two of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine, had a lot of anglers scratching for bites and scratching their heads. READ MORE »

Changes Afoot at Grand Lake

Changes Afoot at Grand Lake

Fall is a time of change and movement; two notions bound to impact the outcome of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine, on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake. Typical fall migrations are underway, but an approaching cold front will likely complicate the already challenging nature of autumn’s transition. READ MORE »

Underway on the Delta

Underway on the Delta

No matter the weather, no matter the environmental concerns, no matter the fishing pressure, the California Delta remains one of the nation’s most diverse and fertile freshwater fisheries — a truth that should play out in dramatic form during the Costa FLW Series Western Division event. READ MORE »

St. Lawrence Midday Update – Day 3

St. Lawrence Midday Update – Day 3

Weights were already tight going into the final day of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division finale on the St. Lawrence River, which is presented by Gajo Baits. Little more than a pound separated leader Jonathan Kelley from Casey Smith in fifth place. READ MORE »

St. Lawrence Midday Update – Day 2

St. Lawrence Midday Update – Day 2

With slightly warmer weather and similar sun and wind conditions, day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits on the St. Lawrence River should’ve presented optimal conditions for smallmouth. Instead, nearly every angler our on-the-water crew encountered today said the same thing: It’s tougher. READ MORE »

To Run or Not to Run

To Run or Not to Run

The final leg of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division on the St. Lawrence River, presented by Gajo Baits, is primed to be a smallmouth smashfest, as usual. That said, this year’s event, which is presented by Realtree Fishing, will launch out of Massena, N.Y., instead of the usual Clayton. So, what was once a 15-or-so-mile run to the mouth of the lake from takeoff – and roughly 30-plus miles to Gallo Island or Main Duck – will now be about a 95-mile run just to get to the lake. READ MORE »

Underway on the Potomac

Underway on the Potomac

For the tournament, the wind isn’t forecast to be too strong any day, and the tides will be fairly standard, but not ideal from a timing standpoint. Today, low tide was at 6:15 a.m., and low tide on Saturday will be at 8:15. That means that pros will mostly be fishing a rising tide through the tournament, with the best windows likely coming early on Friday and Saturday. READ MORE »