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


Picking through Pickwick

Anglers like Tennessee pro Curt McGuire will spend a lot of their time looking at ledges in hopes of spotting fish concentrations.

FLORENCE, Ala. - EverStart Series Southeast Division competitors are in for some hot fishing on Pickwick Lake - and everyone's hoping that's more of a promising metaphor than a grueling weather outlook.

The predictable part is straightforward: it's gonna be hot - really hot. This week's highs have pushed into the upper 90s and the next three days will be right on par. Add to that a minimal wind of about 1-3 mph with occasional gusts of up to 5 and, well, there won't be a lot of hats blown off this week.

Indeed, this is serious sunscreen weather and there's simply no other option than to grind it out. Most of that grinding will occur along the sprawling ledges of Pickwick and neighboring Wilson Lake. There's plenty of ledge habitat, but the sweet spots - those little turns and abnormalities - will attract the fish and the fishermen.

"Both lakes will come into play and it's going to be 99 percent a ledge tournament," said TennesseeMarker buoys help anglers line up for effective presentations to hot spots they locate by sonar. pro Curt McGuire. "It's going to be really crowded. The fish seem to be in really big groups and not a lot of them. There's a lot of places that won't have any fish on them."

Modern electronics, specifically three-dimensional scanning and highly detailed mapping components, will play an essential role in locating the right spots. Current breaks, irregular contour, bait schools - elements such as these indicate productive ledge zones.

Crankbaits and football head jigs will be two of the top baits this week. The former works well on smoother ledge sections, while the latter is best suited for bumping across sections with more uneven contour. Swimbaits are a good bet for the biggest fish and jigging spoons can also produce well when fish are active.

Co-anglers will want to show the fish a different look than what's flying off the front of the boat. Carolina-rigged plastics and dropshots are two good options for the back deck.

Current is a key factor in fishing reservoir lakes like those of the Tennessee River and McGuire said the TVA's schedule of pulling water during the afternoon hours doesn't bode well for anglers who would certainly prefer some water movement throughout their fishing day. Moving water positions fish more predictably and it stimulates feeding activity. Lacking this, anglers have to be crafty in how they Crankbaits are one of the more popular options for working ledges.approach the ledge fish.

"The lack of current makes the fish very inactive - the lake is fishing a lot tougher than it should be," McGuire said. "You can pull up on a place that you know has a couple hundred fish down there and only get a handful to bite."

McGuire's advice for these slow conditions: "You just have to keep fishing. It's hard to make them bite, but probably the best thing to do is leave them and come back to them later. They're not going to start biting when you're sitting there throwing at them."

Beyond the ledge game, anglers may find decent bites on docks, where pitching or skipping jigs or Texas-rigged plastics to the shady spots will be the way to go. Similarly, flipping laydowns may also yield a few bites. Today's cloudless conditions will have fish locked tight to structure, so perimeter tactics like topwaters, swim jigs and wakebaits won't be of much use.

As McGuire noted, the grass that will soon offer another element to the playing field has not yet reached any level of significance. "The only hydrilla I've found is only about six to eight inches tall and that's not really tall enough to protect the fish."

For those who seek their fish upstream in Wilson Lake, time management will become even more relevant than usual, as locking to and from each lake is done on set schedules. Therefore, planning one's fishing and travel time requires more forethought than on waterways with continuous running.


Anglers will take off from the McFarland Park located at 200 James M. Spain Drive, Florence, Ala. at 5:30For uneven ledge contour, the football head jig is a good choice. each morning. On Thursday and Friday, weigh-ins will be held at McFarland Park beginning at 2:00 p.m. Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at the Walmart located at 3100 Hough Rd. in Florence. Saturday's weigh-in begins at 3 p.m. 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 Pickwick Lake is being hosted by Florence/Lauderdale Tourism.

An option to ledge fishing, the many docks sprouting from creeks off the main lake will hold bass in their shady sections.Thursday's conditions

Sunrise: 5:37 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 70 degrees
Expected high temperature: 96 degrees
Wind: WNW at 1-3 mph
Humidity: 40 percent
Day's outlook: sunny to partly cloudy

Tags: david-a-brown  morning-story  2011-06-09-pickwick-lake 


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