UPCOMING EVENT: YETI College Fishing - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Falling water doesn’t faze Fukae

Shinichi Fukae caught a 23-pound, 11-ounce limit to lead day one of the Lake Chickamauga FLW Tour event.

HIXSON, Tenn. - The fabulous fishing predicted for day one of the Lake Chickamauga Walmart FLW Tour qualifier never fully materialized. The consensus was to be in contention at least 20 pounds was needed. But only six 20-pound-plus bags crossed the stage Thursday - the biggest coming from Cheez-It pro Shinichi Fukae.

The main culprit for the deteriorating bite was falling water. Many of the bass were up spawning, but after the water fell 3 feet in practice those fish are now high and dry. And the ones that are still visible are incredibly spooky. Fukae spent two of his three practice days looking for spawners. He found quite a few, but by Tuesday they vanished. Thus, he started the tournament with very little confidence.

"I didn't sight-fish, but I fished closed to the bank," said Fukae, using his ever-improving English. "The fish are trying to spawn, but they're staying off (until the water stabilizes). I caught 12 or 13 keepers today and now I have more confidence."

Fukae's 23-11 was anchored by a 7-pound, 9-ounce largemouth. It was his fourth fish of the day and it bit around 8:30 this morning. He completed one stretch of water in about three hours. With most of his weight, he then spent the rest of the day practicing.

Fukae was understandably tight-lipped about his technique, saying only that he junk-fished and used a variety of baits. Most were caught close to the bank, but some came "a little deeper."

The Japan native said everybody struggled with the changing conditions and that he's happy to have successfully adjusted.

Pirch secondClifford Pirch is in second place after catching a 23-pound, 5-ounce limit.

Payson, Ariz., pro Clifford Pirch weighed in five bass for 23 pounds, 5 ounces to begin the tournament in second place. Pirch did the most sight-fishing of anyone in the top five.

"Man it was fun," he said. "I did some sight-fishing with my new Typhoon Polarized Optics. Coming in, I had 75 or so marked. But today most of them were gone. The ones I weighed were mostly new fish or deeper fish. It was basically a start over game."

Pirch said his main sight-fishing bait is a Roboworm creature bait. Pirch also did some blind-casting with a variety of other lures.

"I didn't really know what to expect today. So it was a real blessing that they were as big as they were. I have a few left over for tomorrow but I'm prepared to start over again if need be."

Monsoor nabs third with Big Bass

After making the top-10 cutoff at Lake Hartwell, Tom Monsoor is once again in contention with five Tom Monsoor is in third place thanks to this 9-pound, 11-ounce brute that took big bass honors on day one.Chickamauga largemouths weighing 22 pounds, 2 ounces. Monsoor also caught the Snickers Big Bass of the day, a 9-pound, 11-ounce giant, which was worth $500.

"My day started off slow," said Monsoor, the La Crosse, Wis., native. "Then I moved out a little deeper after the first hour and started getting bit."

After accumulating a limit of 2- and 2 1/2-pound fish, he coaxed the big bite at 10:30.

"That fish changed everything; I could hardly fit it in the livewell. That was the biggest bass I've ever caught in my life. From there I just kept culling my way up. I probably finished with 20 or so keepers."

Monsoor said his practice was phenomenal, but that he definitely had to make the deeper adjustment today. He's primarily swimming a jig with a Yamamoto grub as a trailer.

Dodson fourth

Fourth-place pro Robbie Dodson holds up two nice Chickamauga largemouths.Ozark expert Robbie Dodson caught a 21-pound, 11-ounce limit to finish the day in fourth place. Dodson had his limit by 8:30 this morning and estimates he caught 30 or 35 keepers on the day.

"I'm not looking at them; there's too many other people trying to do that," he said. "I'm throwing a Luck "E" Strike square-bill crankbait and a Luck "E" Strike Jogger worm. I think these fish have been up and now they backed up a bit. This place would've been crazy if the water would've stayed up."

Dodson he's fishing in the mid-to upper section of the lake and chunking and winding as fast as possible with the crankbait.

"I'm fishing lots of new water. In a few of the better areas they were pushing shad into little pockets and points."

Hawk fifth

Fifth-place pro Kevin Hawk holds up his biggest bass from day one on Lake Chickamauga. Kevin Hawk, the defending Forrest Wood Cup champion, sits in fifth place with 20 pounds, 8 ounces. Hawk recently moved to Guntersville, Ala., and is learning to love to Chickamauga, its neighbor to the south.

"I had one pocket with several bedders marked, but most of them were pulled off this morning," he said. "I did get one that was bedding a little deeper. But from there I just went fishing."

Hawk said he spent most of his practice fishing, not looking, so he certainly wasn't scrambling today.

"I basically keyed in on rock and laydowns. I was throwing a worm both up shallow and out a little deeper in like 10 feet."

Hawk caught nine or 10 keepers, his biggest weighing 7-13, and is cautiously optimistic about tomorrow.

"I think I had all my weigh fish by noon."

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros in the FLW Tour event on Lake Chickamauga after day one:

6th: Rusty Trancygier of Hahira, Ga., five bass, 20-3
7th: Chad Morgenthaler of Coulterville, Ill., five bass, 19-8
7th: Kevin Snider of Elizabethtown, Ky., five bass, 19-8
9th: Nicholas Albus of Trinity, Texas., five bass, 19-3
10th: Jay Keith of Camden, S.C., five bass, 19-2
10th: Dearal Rodgers of Camden, S.C., five bass, 19-2

Blaylock blasts 18-8 for co-angler lead
Keeton Blaylock leads the Co-angler Division with 18 pounds, 8 ounces.
Keeton Blaylock continues his remarkable success from the back of the boat. The Beaver Lake champion caught five Chickamauga bass weighing 18 pounds, 8 ounces to lead the Co-angler Division.

"I caught fish all day, it was just like day one at Beaver," said the Benton, Ark., co-angler. "I think I caught about 15 keepers and 20 to 25 fish total."

Of the 15 keepers, eight to 10 were spotted bass. But he never weighed any of the spots as he was able to cull them with largemouths. His biggest bass weighed 5-9.

Blaylock wouldn't talk about lures, but did say he is fishing slow and methodical.

"I'm just blind-casting to anything - fishing anywhere from a foot to 10 feet."

Stepp second

Co-angler Sean Stepp sits in second place with 17 pounds, 13 ounces.Sean Stepp of Stafford, Va., is in second place with five bass weighing 17 pounds, 13 ounces.

Fishing with West Coast pro Mike Reynolds, Stepp used a combination of a shaky head and a Rat-L-Trap to catch his fish. After losing a 5-pounder early this morning, he rebounded nicely.

"I think the Trap bite worked because the bass retreated back to the flats," he explained. "And if you had grass on the flat - even better. There was one marina we fished that had a point leading into a nice, grassy flat. Once I found that it was automatic."

Lackie, Horton, Grimm, round out top five

Alton Lackie, practice partner of pro Dave Lefebre, caught a five-bass limit Thursday weighing 16 pounds, 15 ounces. The Germantown, Tenn., native starts tomorrow in third place.

Mark Horton of Nicholasville, Ky., caught a 15-pound, 13-ounce limit for fourth.

In fifth place with 14-10 is Kingsport, Tenn., co-angler Brant Grimm.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers in the Walmart FLW Tour after day one:

6th: Chad Pipkens of Holt, Mich., five bass, 13-2
7th: Rich Dalbey of Greenville, Texas, five bass, 13-0
8th: Todd Lee of Jasper, Ala., four bass, 12-15
9th: Van Foster Jr. of Dalton, Ga., five bass, 12-13
10th: Dennis Kirby of Lakeland, Tenn., five bass, 12-10

Day two of the FLW Tour event on Lake Chickamauga will begin Friday at 7:00 a.m. from Chester Frost Park located at 2318 Gold Point Circle North in Hixson, Tenn.

Tags: brett-carlson  headline-story  2011-04-14-lake-chickamauga 

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