UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Lake Wylie

Pursuing perfection

Pursuing perfection
Dwayne Eschete signals that he and partner Blake Pizzolato are ready to go at the start of day three.

VENICE, La. - Three months ago, Todd Dufour and Alden Bourgeois settled for second and third place in the Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series Open in New Orleans. Today, they're intent on sharing the top spot in the Series' Western Division event whose final weigh-ins, coincidentally, will be held in Harvey, La. just across the Mississippi River from the Big Easy.

"I'm back for some revenge," Bourgeois joked after he and Dufour took the lead at the day-two weigh-After two days of catching twin 8-pounders, Alden Bourgeois and Todd Dufour are confident they can make it three in a row in the final round.ins.

"Me too," Dufour added. "We both came up short in that event, so we have to get it done this time."

To complete their quest, these seasoned guides will have to reach deep into their significant well of experience and match their local knowledge with razor-sharp execution. With a 33-pound, 1-ounce total, Dufour and Bourgeois lead the second-place team of Tony Grose and Sal Fontana (31-15) by just over a pound, so their position is far from secure.

With two days of double 8-pounders behind them, Dufour and Bourgeois will likely need another 16-pound stringer to seal the deal. The leaders said they feel confident that they still have plenty of big fish to catch. "We didn't hit all of our spots yesterday, so we still have some fish that we can go to."

Leading the field, Todd Dufour and Alden Bourgeois will return to Lafitte and fish shallow duck ponds.The key, Dufour said will be maximizing each opportunity. Asked how it feels to enter the final round in the top position, he said: "It feels great, but it's a double-edged sword because it's ours to lose. As long as we go out and make no mistakes we should be ok."

Among the concerns facing anglers in the final round:

Size selection - Leaving your destiny in fate's hand is never wise, but depending on the luck of the draw in Southern Louisiana puts you on the fast track to tournament failure. On any given day, you could just about sink a bay boat with 5-pound redfish, but two of those pretty much guarantees a back-of-the-pack finish.

Moreover, as Grose points out, time spent winding in little fish is time that could be devoted to larger Tony Grose helps hs partner Sal Fontana strap up his PFD. Sitting a little over a pound out of the lead, the second-place anglers hope to close the distance on day three.reds. With all boats due in by 2 p.m., no one has time to spare.

Day-one leaders Trey Hallmark and Steve Snopek enter the final round in fifth place. They'll probably return to the Delacroix Marsh area and beat the edges of thick hydrilla with spinnerbaits.

Hallmark summarized his team's time-management strategy: "We're going to run as fast as we can, get there as quickly as we can, fish as long as we can and come back as safely as we can."

Essential for time-effective fishing is knowing where you're throwing. Blind casting certainly factors The top-5 boats check head through Venice Marina at the start of day three.into a team's strategy, particularly when searching for fish. However, the teams that fished their way to the final round have done a good job of putting their baits in front of the right fish and, in most cases, they've seen their targets first.

Even when cloudy skies prevent true sight-fishing, anglers will look for wakes, pushes and any signs of active redfish. Casting platforms and towers - fixed or collapsible - benefit this game with elevated views.

Storms - At the morning check-out, ominous clouds were already billowing on the horizon. DayClouds were already starting to build on the horizon at the start of day three. Teams will have to keep an eye out for approaching storms. one saw fierce afternoon storms chasing anglers out of prime areas, while lightning forced some to seek shelter under drilling rig platforms and on marsh cabins. One of those storms rushed into Venice Marina and drenched the weigh-in stage, but the spectator crowd stayed dry thanks to the new event shelter that marina owners Bill and Mike Butler recently erected.

Day two brought milder meteorological conditions, but the day-three forecast calls for thunderstorms by mid morning.

Heat - Keeping fish healthy during a long, hot day is often as challenging as catching them in the first place. Particularly with weight fish caught early in the day, anglers will have to double as personal trainers/relaxation therapists by frequently checking on their fish to ensure that the live well temperature and oxygen levels are where they should be. Oxygen infusers keep the fish breathing well and frozen bottles of water placed in the well can help moderate the temperature.

A bright sunrise beams over the Venice Marina shrimp fleet.Logistics

All teams will compete during the first two days, and the top five teams based on accumulated weight advance to day three. Final standings are determined by the total weight from all three days.

Saturday's final weigh-ins start at 4 p.m. at the Wal-Mart store located at 1501 Manhattan Blvd. in Harvey, La. Take-offs and weigh-ins are free, and the community is invited to attend the festivities.

The Venice FLW Redfish Series event is hosted by Venice Marina.
The top award of $50,000 includes $20,000 cash plus a $15,000 cash bonus from Ranger Boats and a $15,000 cash bonus from Yamaha or Evinrude if contingency guidelines are met.

The top 50 teams in each division of the 2008 FLW Redfish Series, based on Land O'Lakes Team of the Year points standings at the end of the season, will advance to the $300,000 Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series Championship Oct. 30-Nov. 1 in Biloxi, Miss. The winning team at the championship will earn as much as $100,000.

Saturday's conditions:

Sunrise: 5:58 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 80
Expected high temperature: 86
Water temperature: 76
Wind: NW 4 mph, shifting NE 5 mph
Humidity: 65
Day's outlook: Partly sunny early, scattered thunderstorms

Tags: david-a-brown  morning-story  2008-06-12-venice 

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 »

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Curt Warren knew what he wanted to do, and it had nothing to do with weeding through a bunch of small fish up shallow. Rather, he focused his attention on deeper Grand Lake spots with chunk rock and brush and amassed a three-day total of 46 pounds, 7 ounces to win the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine. Here’s how the rest of the top 10 caught their fish and earned their checks on Grand. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

A cold front moving in at the start of Grand Lake’s fall transition put a damper on seeing a bunch of big weights during the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, which was presented by T-H Marine, but plenty of pros managed to find the right fish to make things exciting on the final day. READ MORE »

Meador Repeats Co-Angler Win on Grand

Meador Repeats Co-Angler Win on Grand

Defending his title as co-angler winner in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, which was presented by T-H Marine, was impressive enough, but the way Steven Meador did it was truly remarkable. After earning the 2018 win on Grand by 3 pounds, 6 ounces, the Bentonville, Ark., co-angler repeated the victory with a three-day total of 27-15 for a much slimmer winning margin this time around – just 10 ounces. READ MORE »

Warren Mounts Furious Comeback on Grand

Warren Mounts Furious Comeback on Grand

Curt Warren was a paragon of consistency over three days at Grand Lake, and the result was a victory in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine. Warren turned in limits of 14-5 on day one and 16-9 on day two, but it was his day-three limit of 15-9 that was the most impressive – no other pro even cracked the 13-pound mark battling the tough post-frontal conditions Grand had to offer on day three. 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 »

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 2

When conditions changed, Cody Bird of Granbury, Texas completely scrapped his day-one pattern, caught a limit that weighed 13-11 and took over the lead of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event, presented by T-H Marine, with a two-day total of 32-14. Here’s what the rest of the top five was up to on day two. READ MORE »

Bird Moves Ahead on Grand

Bird Moves Ahead on Grand

After his sizzling day-one pattern fizzled, Cody Bird adjusted his focus to a completely different scenario and sacked up a limit of 13-11 on day two to take over the lead in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine, with a two day total of 32-14. Going into Saturday’s final round, Bird holds a 7-ounce lead over day-one leader and Grand Lake stick Jason Christie. 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 »

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 1

Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., leveraged his intimate understanding of Grand Lake’s tendencies to catch a five-bass limit that weighed 22 pounds, 10 ounces to take the lead on day one of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event Presented by T-H Marine. Here are the details of the rest of the top five. READ MORE »

Christie Blasts 22-10 on Grand

Christie Blasts 22-10 on Grand

Oklahoma stick Jason Christie overcame the unsettling effects of a passing cold front to sack up a five-bass limit that weighed 22 pounds, 10 ounces for the day one lead in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake. READ MORE »

Grand Lake Midday Update - Day 1

Grand Lake Midday Update - Day 1

After several weeks of hot, sunny conditions, anglers launched with cloudy skies, stout winds and air temperatures in the low 60s. By midday, the temperature rose into the mid to upper 60s and the wind started to subside, however, the first couple of hours saw Grand Lake’s temperamental side. READ MORE »