Live now : TOYOTA SERIES 2020 Chickamauga

Good enough, almost great

Good enough, almost great
Despite losing some key fish, Randy Mcabee Jr secured another 20-pound bag to retain the pro lead for a third day.

KELSEYVILLE, Calif. - If Clear Lake was an amusement park, then Randy Mcabee Jr. spent all day on the roller coaster in his successful bid to retain his Walmart FLW Series lead at the National Guard Western Division event.

Recalling multiple heartbreaks, the Bakersfield, Calif., pro said: "This was probably the worst day of my life on the water. I lost two fish over 5 pounds and one that was well over 10."

That's what went wrong. Now, here's what went right. Mcabee turned in his third consecutive limit ofSticking with a swimbait all day rewarded Randy Mcabee Jr with the top spot. 20-plus pounds - today's weighed 20-1. Combining that with 23-4 from day one and 23-3 from day two gave him a total of 66-8 and a 4-pound, 5-ounce lead.

Fishing deep-water rock points and islands in the midlake region, Mcabee returned to his day-one pattern of throwing 7-inch Osprey Tournament Talon swimbaits in dark-hitch and light-hitch colors. Bumping bottom in the 20- to 30-foot range was the key.

"Late this afternoon, we had a little bit of that jet stream and a little bit of wind picked up, and I caught four 4-pounders in the last 30 minutes," he said. "I felt a lot better at that point.

"It seems like I have to get them by 9:30 and then from 1:30 on. Anything I catch in the middle is a bonus. I keep throwing that swimbait (during the slow period), because I know if I get a bite it's going to be a good one."

Slower day for Lintner yields second place

When his flipping bite went away, Jared Lintner went to work with a lipless crankbait.Jared Lintner of Arroyo Grande, Calif., trailed Mcabee by 5 pounds on day two. A day later, he remains in the second-place spot, but he trimmed the margin by 11 ounces. Lintner's day-three limit weighed 20-12 and gave him a three-day total of 62-3.

Lintner tried to replicate his day-two success of flipping jigs and Texas-rigged lizards over submerged grass, but that pattern disappeared today. He ended up catching most of his weight fish on a Jackal lipless crankbait in the ghost-minnow color.

Targeting grass in 4 to 8 feet of water, Lintner fared best during the midmorning hours. Covering water to find active fish was essential to his success.

"I was just keeping baits moving and fishing fast."

Pirch pounds his way into third

Starting day three in 16th place, National Guard pro Clifford Pirch knew he'd need to reach deep andA 9-pound, 3-ounce bass anchored a third place effort for National Guard pro Clifford Pirch. pull out his best effort if he was to make the top-10 cut. File this one under "Mission Accomplished." Pirch sacked up the day's heaviest limit - 23-6 - rose 13 spots and finished the day in third place with an even 60 pounds.

"I had a great time today," Pirch said. "I caught eight or nine keepers, so the numbers weren't really high, but they were all good, quality fish."

Pirch fished a variety of baits around docks and rocks and earned Folgers Big Bass honors and $290 for his 9-pound, 3-ounce whopper. Pirch caught the big fish on a Berkley jig in the peanut-butter-and-jelly color around midday.

Michael C. Tuck slipped one notch to fourth place on day three.Over the past three days, the Payson, Ariz., angler has had to shift his tactics. Pirch explains: "The first day, I caught the fish shallow. It took me about half the day to adjust. I started out deep and then I went shallow.

"The second day was the opposite - I started shallow and didn't get `em, so I went deep and got `em. Today was kind of a mix. I cut out some bad stops and spent more time in good stops."

Best of the rest

Michael C. Tuck of Antelope, Calif., finished day three fourth with 59-6. Gary Howell of Stockton, Calif., placed fifth with 59-4.

Rounding out the top 10 pro leaders at the FLW Series Clear Lake event:

6th: Jimmy Reese of Witter Springs, Calif., 58-10
7th: Sean Minderman of Spokane, Wash., 58-3
8th: William Gibbs of John Day, Ore., 57-15
9th: Brett Hite of Phoenix, 57-7
10th: Tommy Cardoza of Lakeport, Calif., 57-7

Notes & notables

With the Land O'Lakes FLW Series Angler of the Year race coming down to the final day of ClearCalifornia pro Zack Thompson secured the Land O Lake's qualifying round, Zack Thompson of Orinda, Calif., finished 25th with 50-4 and completed his title quest with 573 points.

"Tournament fishing just comes down to fishing your strength," Thompson said of his Western Division points title. "That's what I did all year. I didn't force anything, I just let it flow. You have to go out and have faith in yourself. If you lose a fish, you have to let it go and just fish the moment."

Thompson's wife Cassandra handed out bags of cookies and snacks to each boat at the morning checkout. That thoughtful gesture was well appreciated by the anglers, but it was an afternoon surprise from Cassandra and Zack's mother, Michele, that took the cake - literally.

Cassandra and Michel Thompson - wife and mother of pro Zack Thompson - treated the day three anglers and spectators to a specialty cake.Showing up prior to the weigh-ins, this creative duo unveiled a specialty cake that would rival anything you see in a professional bakery. With an edible boat, angler and giant bass integrated into its lake design, the tasty treat was shared with anglers and spectators in celebration of the 2009 National Guard Western Division season.

In other family news, 15th-place pro R.J. Bennett had a special fan in attendance at the day-three weigh-in. His new son, Weston, has yet to celebrate his first birthday, but the young lad seems to understand the importance of sponsor promotion, as evidenced by his Berkley T-shirt imprinted with the message "My Daddy Catches More Fish."

Day four of FLW Series action on Clear Lake continues at Saturday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7:30 a.m. at Redbud Park, located at 14655 Lakeshore Drive in Clear Lake, Calif.

Tags: david-a-brown  headline-story  2009-10-21-clear-lake 

Lake Chickamauga Midday Update – Day 1

Lake Chickamauga Midday Update – Day 1

“Tough” was the catch word during the first morning of the 2020 Toyota Series Central Division tournament on Lake Chickamauga. The overnight cold front that moved in brought a dusting of snow on the surrounding mountaintops and freezing temperatures everywhere. The bass seemingly did not appreciate the quick change in the weather. READ MORE »

College Championship Updates - Day 2

College Championship Updates - Day 2

Day two of the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship presented by Lowrance is underway on the Harris Chain. The link to yesterday's top patterns is below, and we'll try to check in here about every hour with updates from around the field.  READ MORE »

Sam Houston Leads with 24-11

Sam Houston Leads with 24-11

Day one of the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship presented by Lowrance on the Harris Chain certainly didn’t disappoint. The consensus from many of the teams during practice was that the chain was fishing tough, yet would kick up some solid bags on Tuesday. With 10 bags over 18 pounds and six over 20, it’s safe to say the Harris Chain is living up to it’s potential. READ MORE »

College Championship Updates - Day 1

College Championship Updates - Day 1

Day one of the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship presented by Lowrance is underway on the Harris Chain. READ MORE »

Strickland Hangs Tough on Harris

Strickland Hangs Tough on Harris

The final day of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Harris Chain was a bit tougher than expected. After putting over 30 pounds on the scale on day two of the weather-shortened derby, Laramy Strickland worked up 15 pounds, 4 ounces on the final day for a 61-4 total to earn the win. For the win, the Bushnell, Fla., rookie took home $100,000 and a big win over a stacked top 30 that included some of the best anglers in the country and some superstar Floridians. READ MORE »

Harris Chain Day 3 Coverage

Harris Chain Day 3 Coverage

The weather-shortened Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event presented by Bad Boy Mowers at the Harris Chain wraps up today with the top 30 pros. Follow along all day to see who can take home the hardware and $100,000. READ MORE »

Strickland Sticks 31-Pound Megabag

Strickland Sticks 31-Pound Megabag

Florida cold fronts are supposed to shut the fishing down, but that wasn’t the case for many of the leaders through two days of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Harris Chain. Rocketing into the lead from 35th place, Laramy Strickland popped a 31-pound, 6-ounce megabag to put his leading total at an even 46 pounds. In second, Jimmy Washam stayed steady, weighing 21-13 for second and a 41-13 total. In third, Hunter Freeman also made a big jump, hammering out 25-14 on day two to get up to 39-6. READ MORE »

Harris Chain Day 2 Coverage

Harris Chain Day 2 Coverage

The weather has made a 180 here in Leesburg, Fla., for stop No. 2 of the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Harris Chain of Lakes. Follow along for updates on all the action. READ MORE »

Day 2 at Harris Postponed

Day 2 at Harris Postponed

Day two of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Harris Chain has been postponed due to high winds. With a lake wind advisory in effect from 10 a.m. ET until later this evening, many pros believe staying off the water today was the right call. READ MORE »

Salewske Cracks 26 at Harris Chain

Salewske Cracks 26 at Harris Chain

Day one of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event presented by Bab Boy Mowers on the Harris Chain was a catchfest, but it wasn’t quite the sight-fishing showdown that some hoped for. In the lead, Rusty Salewske weighed 26 pounds, 10 ounces. Just ounces behind him, Miles Burghoff wrangled 26-8. In third, Jared McMillan put 22-1 on the scale to kick things off. READ MORE »

Harris Chain Day 1 Coverage

Harris Chain Day 1 Coverage

Anglers are enjoying near-perfect conditions for a day-one slugfest in Leesburg, Fla., for stop No. 2 of the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Harris Chain of Lakes. Follow along for updates on all the action. READ MORE »

FLW Live Leaderboard - Harris Chain

FLW Live Leaderboard - Harris Chain

FLW Marshals and media staff provide unofficial weight estimates for the second stop of the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers at Florida's Harris Chain of Lakes. READ MORE »

Guyot Catches 23-8 for Murray Win

Guyot Catches 23-8 for Murray Win

Boater Scott Guyot of Fayetteville, North Carolina, brought five bass to the scale Saturday totaling 23 pounds, 8 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake Murray in Prosperity, South Carolina. For his victory, Guyot earned a total of $4,359. READ MORE »

Flack Goes Finesse on Lewis Smith

Flack Goes Finesse on Lewis Smith

Local boater Jackie Flack of Cullman, Alabama, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 17 pounds, 3 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lewis Smith Lake in Cullman. For his victory, Flack earned a total of $6,011. READ MORE »

Fitzgerald Finishes Strong at St. Johns

Fitzgerald Finishes Strong at St. Johns

Trevor Fitzgerald of Belleview, Fla., moved ahead one spot in the standings on the final day of competition at the St. Johns River to earn his first Toyota Series victory. His three-day catch of 57 pounds, 12 ounces earned him the win by a 6-pound margin. READ MORE »

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 3

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 3

Day two of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener on the St. Johns River brought more fish, bigger fish and eight bags over 20 pounds – a marked improvement over what we saw on day one. Day three could go either direction, though, as a small cold front overnight left behind bluebird skies and abundant sunshine today. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 2

It’s been a question of when, not if: When is the first big wave of spawners going to move up on the St. Johns River? That question may have been answered on day two of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener, as more and more anglers brought big fish across the weigh-in stage, with many of the bass coming from beds or shallow cover where fish are staging to make their big move. READ MORE »

Big Day Puts Blair Ahead at St. Johns

Big Day Puts Blair Ahead at St. Johns

Jason Blair caught 22 pounds, 3 ounces – the biggest limit of the tournament so far – to take over the lead at the Toyota Series Southern Division season opener on the St. Johns River. The West Palm Beach, Fla., pro has a two-day total of 39-15 and a 1-pound, 11-ounce lead over yesterday’s leader, Trevor Fitzgerald. READ MORE »

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 2

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 2

After a warm but windy day to start the Toyota Series Southern Division opener on the St. Johns River, day two brought lower temperatures, rain and a shifting wind that blew right up the chute early this morning. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 1

The St. Johns River is fishing tough, and while weights were down across the board on day one of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener, the top five found a way to get the job done with some impressive stringers of big Florida bass. READ MORE »