UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Kentucky / Barkley Lake

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Pickwick’s potential

Pickwick’s potential
Boats jockey for takeoff position on day one of the FLW Series BP Eastern Division event on Lake Pickwick.

FLORENCE, Ala. - Weeks before the Wal-Mart FLW Series event on Lake Pickwick, the fourth and final event of the 2007 BP Eastern Division schedule, pros were already bellyaching about having to fish such a "poor" lake for the last tournament of the year.

Some recalled FLW Outdoors' last visit to Pickwick in 2006 when it only took 10 pounds to get a coveted 50th-place check and 19 1/2 pounds was the top-10 cut after two days.

Others pointed to the Stren Series Championship in 2005 when Kellogg's pro Sam Newby won with a two-day total of 18 pounds, 13 ounces, and it took just 16 pounds, 11 ounces to make it into the top 10.

But at the day-one launch of the FLW Series tournament Wednesday morning, pros seemed a little bit more optimistic about Pickwick's potential after their allotted practice period.

"For the first time since 1999, I'm actually not locking out of Pickwick," said Pedigree pro Greg Pugh of Cullman, Ala., who normally favors locking up to Wheeler during Pickwick events. "I've had a surprisingly good practice here this week. It might go south for me during the tournament, but I've definitely caught enough good fish during practice to stay right here."

"I had more bites the first day of practice here this time than I had during my entire practice last time," noted Kellogg's pro Clark Wendlandt. "Pickwick now has a lot more grass in it than it has in the past, and it's helping position the fish better."

"Much to my surprise, I've had a pretty decent practice here," said Lazer Sharp pro Boats fill the cove at McFarland Park in Florence, Ala., before the day one takeoff of the FLW Series on Lake Pickwick.Chris Elliott. "The lake is absolutely full of grass and bass. I'm not saying they're all keepers (15 inches for largemouth), but there is a ton of 12- to 14-inch bass. I've been catching 20 or 30 bass a day - at least I'm getting bit, which is more than I can say for the last time I was here."

A lot of the optimism is being fueled by Pickwick's recent grass growth. Drought conditions over the summer have allowed grass to take root throughout much of the lake.

"There is grass growing from here (McFarland Park) to the dam," Pugh said. "And it's good and healthy."

While many pros will spend the tournament probing Pickwick's vegetation for keepers, others are planning to drag jigs out deep, which is how Berkley pro George Jeane Jr. won the Wal-Mart FLW Tour event here in March 2006.

"I'm planning to do the same thing in the same areas as I did last year," Jeane said this morning. "I'll probably have a lot of company since everybody now knows where I fished, but I'm going back."

In all, Jeane and others pros agree that weights should be up a bit this time around when compared to previous visits to Pickwick.

"By no means am I saying it's going to be a slugfest," Pugh added. "A 15-inch keeper is still hard to come by, but overall, there should be a few more fish caught than in years past."

Logistics

Anglers will take off from McFarland Park, located on James M. Spain Drive in Florence, at 7 a.m. each day. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday's weigh-ins will also be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m.

Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 3100 Hough Road in Florence beginning at 4 p.m. Children will also be treated to a Family Fun Zone prior to Saturday's weigh-in from noon to 4 p.m. at Wal-Mart. Activities in the Family Fun Zone include the Fujifilm trout pond, a Ranger boat simulator and assorted fishing-themed games. All activities are free and open to the public.

The entire field competes for the first three days of FLW Series events. Co-angler winners are determined on day three based on the heaviest accumulated three-day weight. The top 10 professionals continue competition on day four, and the winner is determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days.

Wednesday's conditions

Sunrise: 6:52 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 62 degrees
Expected high temperature: 82 degrees
Water temperature: 75 degrees
Forecasted winds: NNW at 10 to 15 mph
Day's outlook: clear and sunny

Tags: rob-newell  morning-story  2007-10-10-pickwick-lake 

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