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

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Double delay

Double delay
A thick fog hung over Choke Canyon as anglers paused for the national anthem at the start of day one.

CALLIHAM, Texas - Late January, full moon, southern Texas - that should be the recipe for an all-out spawning stick-fest, but Mother Nature said, "Not so fast," to the field of EverStart Series anglers competing in the year's first Texas Division event on Choke Canyon Lake.

Subtly symbolic of the seasonal setback was a dense fog that delayed the day-one launch from 7:30 to 9 a.m. In the big picture, anglers won't find the sight-fishing game they'd normaly expect during this lunar period - thanks to recent and forthcoming weather events.

Texas pro Stephen Johnston explains: "A big cold front came through last week and it hadn't rained for a couple of months but it rained for three days straight and dropped the water temperature into the low 50's. We've had sun the last two days (before the tournament) and that has brought the water temperature up to 56-57. The fish are trying to move back shallow but they're so cold, they just won't bite.

"If the front hadn't come in last week we'd definitely have fish on the beds. There are some fishJeremy Wiggins discusses lake conditions with his co-angler partner David Underwood. shallow, but there are a lot of fish from eight to 15 feet waiting to come."

Jeremy Wiggins, a pro from Pleasanton, Texas, agrees. "They were already staging three weeks ago. I was catching at least an 8-pounder every trip. Two weeks ago, I had an 11, an 8 and five 5-pounders in a matter of minutes. Unfortunately, we got that front. Fifty-five and below - these fish don't like that."

An impoundment of the Frio River, Choke Canyon is a grassy lake populated with Florida strain largemouths - the prima donnas of freshwater. In short, these fish flake out if someone sneezes on their lake, so the new cold front barreling into the area later today will rock their world and make things tough for the anglers seeking them.

Wiggins will spend his time flipping jigs and punching plastics in the deep grass. He stressed the need to capitalize on opportunities. "With the cold front coming through and shutting the fish down, you're going to have to make every bite count."

Flipping a jig into the deeper grass that skirts the Choke Canyon shores will be Jeremy WigginsCody Malone, of Morgan, Texas, knows the week's conditions will make for a grind on Choke Canyon, so he'll keep it simple. Absent from his day one deck was the normal assortment of baits he'd carry into most tournaments. Instead, he has three chatterbaits rigged with Yamamoto Swimming Senkos and he's going to mow the grass `til it's time to go.

"I'm actually just throw one - that black and blue - and I have two back-ups in case the water clarity if different," he said. "The chatterbait has been the deal for me - you just have to fish it slowly. The whole lake is (mostly) the same, so you can't get too involved in finding certain grass points or the right (density). You just have to fish what's here."

Patience, Malone said, will be essential to success in the tough conditions facing the tournament field. To keep himself on the right pace, he rigged one of his chatterbaits on a 5.3:1 cranking reel.

"If it's slow and I'm not catching any, most fishermen have the tendency to speed up and start fishing too fast and they miss a fish," Malone said. "That's not going to be my case. I'm prepared for it. I'm definitely amped up, but it's not going to hurt me. I'm ready to for a tough bite. I'm ready to have fiveRanger pro Cody Malone will put his faith in PowerPoles and chatterbaits today. opportunities to catch fish and if I can capitalize on all five, I'll have a sack."

Choke Canyon guide Charles Whited understands the lake as well as anyone, so he knows that most of the fishermen will be plowing through the grass. He also knows that this is not the only game in town, so his boat will spend most of the tournament over deep water. He'll fish Texas-rigged plastics in green pumpkin, watermelon red and redbug to mimic the crawfish scampering around offshore rocks.

"There are some fish up shallow and (many of the competitors) will be splitting up that water," Whited said. "I'm going all out and trying to do it deep. I think there are still a lot of fish staging out deep. It's more of a slow drag. The ones I'm fishing aren't really aggressive so I'm having to fish really slowly to just keep it in front of them."

He'll also use a new Power Tackle bait called a Lateral Perch. A soft plastic perch body with a weighted head and a hook/hook guard protruding from its side, the bait works well for probing the hard stuff and picking out the larger fish, Whited said. The key, however, is the right structure.

With many prespawn bass staging in the shoreline grass, the chatterbait is likely to be one of the top producers."The (offshore) fish are staging on the rock piles," he said. "There's a lot of brush mixed in with rock. I'm also fishing a lot of old bridges that have rock and brush around them. The brush piles that are off the rocks a bit are best because not everybody finds them."

With far less recreational use than say Lake Fork or Sam Rayburn, Choke Canyon's bass see fewer boats and baits. The upside is that the fish are not as educated, but they're also unaccustomed to lots of company. With a fog delay cutting out precious morning time, and an approaching front threatening to further stir the pot, Whited said those who strike first should fare well.

"The fishing is brutally tough right now," Whited said. "This front is shutting them down, but it's also the fishing pressure. These fish aren't used to being pounded every day.
The guys who can get on their holes quickly and get their limits before the weather starts turning (bad) - that's going to be crucial in this first day."

Although he expects the lake to fish small, Malone said he's looking for a 30-pound bag to lead day one,Local pro Charles Whited will foregoe the shallow bite in favor of isolated pods of big fish out deep. He with several high-20's comprising the top-10.

Logistics

Anglers will take off from Choke Canyon State Park in Calliham, Texas, at 7:30 each morning. Weigh-ins will also be held at the park beginning at 3 p.m. daily. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

Pros will fish for a top award of $35,000 plus a 198VX Ranger boat with 200-horsepower outboard if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. Co-anglers will cast for a top award consisting of a Ranger 177TR with 90-horsepower outboard and $5,000 if Ranger Cup guidelines are met.

The EverStart Series consists of five divisions - Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of four tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division that could earn them the Angler of the Year title along with $5,000 for the pro and $2,000 for the co-angler. The top 40 pros and co-anglers from each respective division will qualify for the EverStart Series Championship that will be held on Kentucky Lake in Buchanan, Tenn., Oct. 27-30.

The EverStart Series tournament on Choke Canyon is being hosted by the Three Rivers Texas Chamber of Commerce.

Thursday's conditions:

Sunrise: 6:09 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 59 degrees
Expected high temperature: 62 degrees
Water temperature: 56-57 degrees
Wind: N 15-20 mph
Humidity: 65 percent
Day's outlook: Partly cloudy and windy

Tags: david-a-brown  morning-story  2011-01-20-choke-canyon 

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 »

Farage Earns Fourth Co-Angler Win

Farage Earns Fourth Co-Angler Win

Weighing 14 pounds, 2 ounces on the final day of the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta, Jack Farage totaled 37-2 to edge ahead of Cesar Laguna for the co-angler win. The win is Farage's fourth as a co-angler at the FLW Series level and he took home a brand new Ranger boat because of it.  READ MORE »

Wire-to-Wire for Dyer

Wire-to-Wire for Dyer

Blake Dyer set the pace on day one with a 27-pound, 3-ounce bag and he never relinquished the lead in the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta. Weighing 15-8 on the final day, Dyer totaled 62-13 to stay ahead of a final-day charge from Jason Borofka. For his win, which is his first with FLW, Dyer takes home $31,114 and a trophy that will last forever. READ MORE »

Cal Delta Midday Update – Day 3

Cal Delta Midday Update – Day 3

Tournament fishing is full of highs and lows and today, the latter may play a key role in determining the outcome of the Costa FLW Series Western Division event resented by Power-Pole on the California Delta. Specifically, several anglers expressed their hopes of doing their best work during the afternoon low tide period. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from the Cal Delta – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from the Cal Delta – Day 2

Blake Dyer has dominated through two days of the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the Cal Delta. With a total nearing 50 pounds, he’s also one of just two pros to bring in back-to-back 20-pound limits. However, that doesn’t mean the rest of the crew hasn’t been doing work, and with the big fish in the Delta, anything is possible on the final day. READ MORE »