Live now : TOYOTA SERIES 2020 Chickamauga

Foggy start

Foggy start
A dense fog delayed the American Series Central Division's launch on Lake of the Ozarks.

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. - When anglers launched for day one of the American Fishing Series Central Division tournament on Lake of the Ozarks, the picture was unclear - literally and figuratively.

A dense fog hanging over the lake delayed the 7 a.m. scheduled launch. A light breeze barely moved the American flag mounted on the checkout boat, so it was up to the sun to gain enough altitude to burn off the thick stuff. Tournament officials started releasing boats at 9:15.

As if losing two hours of fishing time wasn't challenging enough, Lake of the Ozarks is in a rather fickle mood. Fluctuations in water temperature and meteorological factors will present a potentially perplexing puzzle.

"The water has dropped three degrees in the last (week) since it started to warm up," said local proLike many of his competitors, Mike Foree will put his faith in a jerkbait. Mike "Cowboy" Foree. "The temperature had gotten up to about 44 degrees, but I'm fishing 39- to 40-degree water right now."

The other variable is sunshine. After dreary days of constant clouds during practice, anglers have two days of mostly sunny skies in the forecast. Depending on how quickly today's fog burns off, brighter skies could play a role in fish positioning. In simplest terms, fish will roam more in dim conditions, while the light penetration of sunny days will find them hugging cover.

Amid the uncertainty of shifting conditions, one thing remains constant - food equals fish. As Foree noted: "The fish are following the shad. If you find big balls of shad close to the bank, you can catch fish out of them."

A cold morning left deck carpets covered with frost.Glancing around boat decks this morning, just about everyone had at least a couple of jerkbaits rigged and ready. Foree said he's working his Megabass jerkbaits around open banks and between docks.

Zack Bull, who finished second at the 2009 Stren Series (now American Fishing Series) event on Lake of the Ozarks, relied mostly on a jig for the October bite. Early spring tells a different tale, and Bull said his jig will likely sit this one out.

"I have three jerkbaits tied on, and that's what I have confidence in," he said. "It's been so cold all winter; the fish are just now starting to come up. They're still lethargic - they want something sitting - so if you get that jerkbait down there and let it sit for a few seconds, they'll come up out of the brush or whatever they're sitting on to grab it. Every bite I've had (in practice), the bait's been sitting."

Crankbaits will likely produce as well, and the favorite for Lake of the Ozarks is the Storm Wiggle Wart.Cranking may yield a good number of quality fish and the local favorite is the Wigglewort. That's what Duke Jenkel intends to throw, and fire-tiger is his color. Targeting the backs of creeks, Jenkel would normally crank a brown crawdad bait, but with muddy creek water the common scenario this week, he thinks a brighter bait will trigger more strikes.

"This time of year, the jerkbait pattern is probably the pattern that will win the tournament, but I haven't been able to formulate a jerkbait pattern, and most of my bites have come from shallow cranking and jigs," Jenkel said. "I don't anticipate throwing a jerkbait at all today. I'll be throwing the Wiggle Wart and dragging a Lunker Lure jig. I've been able to get six to seven bites a day doing that, and a couple of them have been decent ones."

Greg West, one of the area's top sticks, will take a different approach. He'll spend most of his time working a 3/8-ounce Chompers Standup Jig with a skirted twin-tail grub in green-pumpkin color.

Local stick Greg West believes he can get the bites he needs on a 3/8-ounce Chompers Standup jig with a skited twin tail grub.Anglers will likely catch fish shallow and deep. Foree said his jerkbait attracted big-time attention in a wide range of habitat: "I caught a 6-pounder the day before yesterday. I threw into a foot and a half of water, and he just annihilated it. Yesterday I caught a 5 1/2-pounder, and he was in 15 feet of water."

Temperatures are forecast to plunge approximately 20 degrees Friday night. Saturday will likely start with air temperatures in the upper 20s, with a daytime high in the mid-40s. Cloudy skies will return, and rain is possible. The good news is that everyone will have two good days to make the cut for Saturday's finale. Also, those who compete on Saturday will find conditions similar to what they fished in practice.

Logistics

Anglers will take off from Grand Glaize Recreation Area PB No. 2 boat launch located at 711 Public Beach Road in Osage Beach, Mo., at 7 each morning. Weigh-ins will be held at Grand Glaize Recreation Area beginning at 3 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

The Lake of the Ozarks Stren Series tournament is being hosted by the Tri-County Lodging Association.

Pros will fish for a top award of $25,000 plus a 198VX Ranger powered by an Evinrude or Yamaha outboard if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. Co-anglers will cast for a top award of $10,000. If the co-angler meets the Ranger Cup guidelines, they will earn an additional $5,000.

Thursday's conditions

Sunrise: 6:37 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 37 degrees
Expected high temperature: 61 degrees
Water temperature: 39-42 degrees
Wind: W at 5-10 mph
Humidity: 63 percent
Day's outlook: mostly sunny

Tags: david-a-brown  morning-story  2010-03-18-lake-of-the-ozarks 

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 »

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 »

Top 10 Patterns from the Cal Delta

Top 10 Patterns from the Cal Delta

The Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta featured all the typical Delta tactics. Punching, vibrating jigs, finesse and even a frog made an appearance in the top 10. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Cal Delta

Top 10 Baits from the Cal Delta

The Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta had a lot of punching as usual, but it was far from the only thing going. Due to the lush grass and windy and touch conditions, vibrating jigs and finesse played a big role as well. READ MORE »