UPCOMING EVENT: FLW Pro Circuit - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Delayed entry

Delayed entry
FLW Tour anglers wait out a fog delay on Lake Ouachita during the opening day of competition.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Heading into the Lake Ouachita event, FLW Tour anglers knew that they were going to have to decipher many variables, not the least of which included the extremely high water levels that recently surged 3 to 4 feet above normal pool. However, at the start of Wednesday morning takeoff, the field was keenly aware that they will have to successfully navigate another important obstacle as well - dense fog.

Although FLW Tour anglers were scheduled to depart Mountain View Resort marina at approximately 6:30 a.m., due to safety reasons, takeoff didn't ultimately commence until shortly after 8 a.m. undoubtedly, that delay will further complicate life for anglers who were set to head out in the earlier flights.

"I wouldn't want to be in that first flight right now," said FLW Tour pro Ray Scheide. "Those guys are going to have a really short day."

Per tournament rules, anglers who are in the first flight have to head back to the marina first. By contrast, anglers in the last flight have more than an extra hour to fish throughout the day - which could be a huge advantage to kick off the Lake Ouachita event.

However, that being said, the fog delay could also affect strategies across the board.

"The top-water bite in the morning is going to be huge," said Scheide. "That's when most people are going to catch their big kicker fish. I had a bet with my roommate that I would have a limit by 7 a.m. today but that's obviously not going to happen now."

High water changes tournament dynamics

Due to a dense fog delay, FLW Tour anglers were in a holding pattern as they awaited the start of takeoff.Due to some recent rains and flooding, Lake Ouachita is experiencing much higher water levels than normal. With more water coming up on the banks, there is now more cover for fish to congregate in and, correspondingly, more areas for anglers to attack this week.

"Normally the fish would be suspended in deeper water right now," said FLW Tour pro and Chevy team member Jay Yelas. "But the water levels are up so there are a lot more fish up shallow, hanging out in the bushes. There are still fish out in deeper water, but now you're going to find some good fish shallow as well as mid-lake. Because of this, a lot of different patterns are going to be working.

"Lake Ouachita is going to fish bigger than normal this week," continued Yelas. "The (higher) water levels are really going to allow the anglers to spread out, which is fine with me. I actually like it when everyone is spread all over the place. During practice I was able to fish a few areas that I had all to myself. And that's great. And because there are a lot more areas to fish, you can move around more. Personally, I really like moving around a lot and seeing all the different scenery."

Scheide agreed that the higher water levels are really going to give anglers plenty of options and additional strategy decisions this week.

"You're just as likely to pop a 20- to 22-pound bag shallow as you are deep," he said. "It should be a fun tournament."

That being said, Yelas said conditions could change rapidly - a fact that could throw a monkey wrench into any long-term shallow fishing strategy.

"I think the water crested on Monday and it's actually dropped about 6 inches since then," said Yelas. "If it falls hard over the course of the tournament, it's really going to hurt the shallow bite. (Water levels) are going to be one of the biggest variables this tournament."

With dense flog blanketing Lake Ouachita, FLW Tour anglers carefully make their wat to the start line.With so many different areas of the lake in play, how do the anglers approach this type of fishing environment?

"There are a lot of ways to catch fish on this lake now, more than any tournament I've fished recently" said Yelas. "There are two reasons for this. For one, the lake is in a post-spawn mode which always allows for a wide variety of techniques. And secondly, the higher water levels will open up a lot more areas to fish. It's going to be one of those tournaments where you can find some technique you like to do and just go with it."

As such, Yelas said that anglers will be able to employ almost their entire arsenal this week.

"I think you're going to guys flipping, throwing top-waters, Carolina rigs, swimbaits and even spinnerbaits," said Yelas. "You're going to be able to catch suspended fish on worms - all kinds of stuff."

With a wide variety of techniques in play, high water levels and a healthy grass population providing extra good cover, Yelas believes anglers will have to really catch them in order to win the title outright.

"I think 60 pounds (over four days) will probably be the winning weight," said Yelas. "But then again, nothing surprises me anymore."

Scheide believes it could even be more.

"I think it could be more than 60 pounds," said Scheide. "I'm actually thinking it might be closer to 68 to 72 pounds to win this. But again, you never know."

Tourney format and event logistics

Amidst a backdrop of dense fog, the Arkansas National Guard helps kick off the start of pre-tournament ceremonies on Lake Ouachita.The entire FLW Tour field will compete for three days with the top-five pros advancing to the fourth and final day of competition based on their overall accumulated weight. At the end of day three, a co-angler champion will be crowned. After the conclusion of Saturday's weigh-in, the tournament title will be awarded to the pro who has recorded the most combined weight over all four days of FLW Tour competition.

Anglers will take off from Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa, located at 994 Mountain Harbor Road in Mount Ida, Ark., at 6:30 a.m. each morning. The first three weigh-ins - Wednesday, Thursday and Friday - will also be held at Mountain Harbor Resort beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at the Summit Arena & Hot Springs Convention Center, located at 134 Commerce Blvd in Hot Springs, Ark., beginning at 4 p.m.

Fans will be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at the Hot Springs Convention Center on Friday from 4-9 p.m. and Saturday prior to the final weigh-in from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. The final weigh-in will be held at Summit Arena. There will be a drawing for a Can-Am ATV and rod and reel combos will be given to the first 300 kids under 14 in attendance on Saturday. The FLW Outdoors Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public. For a full schedule of events, additional information and to register for the ATV, visit FLWOutdoors.com/chevyopen.

In FLW Tour competition, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2010 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing. This year's Cup will be in Atlanta Aug. 5-8 on Lake Lanier.

Coverage of the Lake Ouachita tournament will be broadcast in high definition (HD) on VERSUS. "FLW Outdoors" will air June 27 from 12:30 to 1:30 ET. "FLW Outdoors," hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to approximately 500 million households worldwide.

FLW Tour action continues at today's weigh-in, scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. at the Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa, located at 994 Mountain Harbor Road in Mount Ida, Ark.

Bass-fishing fans take note

Want to watch the weigh in live but can't make it in person? Then tune into FLW Live on FLWOutdoors.com shortly before 3 p.m. Central Time to watch live streaming video and audio of today's opening-round weigh in.

Vital statistics:

Sunrise: 6:03 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 67 degrees
Expected high temperature: 84 degrees
Water temperature: 78-85 degrees
Wind: From the west-southwest at 3-6 mph
Maximum humidity: 73 percent
Day's outlook: Foggy in the early morning hours followed by scattered thunderstorms


Tags: gary-mortenson  morning-story  2010-05-26-lake-ouachita 

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 »

Go-Time Again on Champlain

Go-Time Again on Champlain

Each of the last three years have seen the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits kick off on Champlain. This tournament, which is presented by Polaris, should offer great fishing like usual, but the dominant pattern certainly won’t be spawning smallmouths. Instead, it could be a largemouth slugfest, as the fishing has continued to prove strong on the south end of the lake. READ MORE »

Let the Rayburn Catchfest Begin

Let the Rayburn Catchfest Begin

We’re five months later into the year now, and while the water level at Rayburn has fluctuated in the months since the Tour event, it’s still about 4 1/2 feet above full pool as anglers take to Big Sam for the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury. READ MORE »

National Championship Gets Going

National Championship Gets Going

Bright and early this morning, 148 teams of the best college bass anglers in the country rolled out for day one of the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance on the Potomac River. The 10th annual National Championship is the culmination of the 2018 season, and the winning duo qualifies for the 2019 FLW Cup and earns a new Ranger boat for its club.  READ MORE »

All-American Underway on the Potomac

All-American Underway on the Potomac

Winning the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American is a lifetime accomplishment, and this week, 49 boaters and co-anglers will have the chance to do it on the Potomac River. Presented by General Tire, the crowning event of the BFL season runs May 30 through June 1, and the winner on the boater side will walk away with $120,000 and a trip to the FLW Cup. READ MORE »

Big Bags Coming on Rainy Clear Lake

Big Bags Coming on Rainy Clear Lake

One of the gems of California bass fishing might have its luster muted by the week’s weather, but Clear Lake will likely still provide plenty of opportunity for anglers competing in this week’s Costa FLW Series Western Division event, which is presented by Ranger Boats and hosted by Konocti Vista Casino Resort & Marina.  READ MORE »

Everything on the Table at Table Rock

Everything on the Table at Table Rock

Stop No. 2 of the Costa FLW Series Central Division, which is presented by Power-Pole and hosted by Explore Branson, is primed to be an all-out show. It seems like the lake’s entire population of bass is rushing to the bank to spawn, with all three species willing to eat a vast array of offerings. The only question: Will Mother Nature play nice? READ MORE »

Tougher but Still Santee Cooper

Tougher but Still Santee Cooper

The Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division finale began this morning at Santee Cooper, where even though fishing has been tough, everyone expects to see mega-bags brought to weigh-in. The bass are nearly done spawning, but a strong shad spawn in the mornings offers real potential. READ MORE »

Everything’s in Play on Kentucky Lake

Everything’s in Play on Kentucky Lake

A squad of 147 boaters and their co-anglers partners enjoyed a pleasant spring morning in western Kentucky for the start of the Costa FLW Series Central Division tournament presented by Lowrance on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. READ MORE »

Big Bags on Horizon at Chickamauga

Big Bags on Horizon at Chickamauga

Day one of the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event presented by T-H Marine is underway, and by all indications, the fishery is set up to churn out some mega-bags throughout the event. Even during practice, with the water falling well below normal levels, 7-, 8- and 9-pounders weren’t uncommon. Now, with the best anglers in the southeast hard at it, you can expect fireworks. READ MORE »

College Open Weigh-in to Start at Noon

College Open Weigh-in to Start at Noon

Day one of the YETI FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake was phenomenal in terms of the fishing, and while that may be the case for day two, strong winds forced FLW officials to cut the tournament short by a few hours. READ MORE »