UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Pickwick Lake

Tight quarters

Tight quarters
A handful of anglers begin day one at the Ferrel's Bridge Dam, which impounds Big Cypress Creek to form Lake of the Pines.

LONGVIEW, Texas - Anglers fishing the EverStart Series Texas Division tournament might feel like doctors - there's going to need lots of patients. Reason being that current conditions will likely have loads of boats sharing relatively tight areas.

Formed by the Ferrell's Bridge Dam's impoundment of Big Cypress Creek, this Army Core of Engineers lake covers approximately 18,700 acres at normal pool. However, the lingering Texas drought has the water level down more than four feet. Receding shorelines show the telltale signs of low water, stumps and lay-downs stand high and dry, lily pads lay flat on damp mud.

Low water concentrates fish and that certainly benefits anglers by narrowing the search. But low waterLarge stretches of exposed bank tell of the lake also concentrates fishermen and by now, most have figured out where the areas of greatest opportunity exist and these spots will look like parking lots for most of the day.

"This is a very good lake, but it's down 4 1/2 feet and it's fishing very small," said pro Jim Tutt. "The lake's had a lot of pressure and the fish are pretty spooky. So, to do good here, you just need to slow down."

It's no secret that the lake's narrowing north end excels in quality and quantity, but with exposed bars, treacherously shallow mud flats and key vegetation simply out of play, the shrunken playing field will make for a challenging event.

"The majority of the big fish are up in the north end," Tutt added. "You may not catch all your fish up there, but most of the bigger fish are up on that end. I'm going to start off with topwaters, I'm going to do some flipping today and some frogging and I might throw a couple little swimbaits. I'm going to have to mix it up."

Louisiana pro Jeremy Guidry will spend some time with a crankbait today.Louisiana pro Jeremy Guidry has a two-stage plan - he'll fish deeper spots with a crankbait early and then move shallow where he'll drag soft plastics and jigs.

"I think the fish are up shallow but they feed at different times," Guidry said. "You just have to be in the right place at the right time."

Kelly Jones, president of Kicker Fish Baits, will employ some of his company's soft plastics, mainly a creature bait and a 10-inch worm. The key to fishing in a crowd, he said, is to stay focused on the elements within your control and block out the rest.

"I'm running north and the areas I'm in, everybody knows they have good fish in them, so it's going to be a day of patience... and patience and patience," Jones said. "You can't let the things around you bother you because folks are going to be right on top of you."

Besides the dam, the most prominent feature on Lake of the Pines has to be its vast expanses ofKicker Fish Baits President Kelly Jones expects to find his quality bites by fishing slowly with soft plastics. stumps and standing timber. Mostly concentrated in the upper end, this mix of long-expired cypress and hardwoods, presents the ultimate cat-and-mouse game for anglers who will carefully navigate their way through and work promising structure with various flipping baits.

Low water plus lots of wood equals navigational hazards, so anglers fishing in and around these areas will have to stay on their toes - and off their neighbors'.

Logistics

Anglers will take off from Lakeside Area Recreation Area located at 2669 FM 726 in Jefferson, Texas, at 7 a.m. daily. Thursday and Friday's weigh-ins will be held at Brushy Creek Recreation Area beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at the Walmart located at 515 E. Loop 281 in Longview starting at 4 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

Large stretches of exposed bank tell of the lakePros will fish for a top award of $35,000 plus a Ranger Z518 boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. Co-anglers will cast for a top award consisting of a Ranger Z117 with 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury 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 Strike King 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 the Ouachita River in Monroe, La., Nov. 1-4.

The EverStart Series tournament on Lake of the Pines is being hosted by the Longview Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Thursday's conditions:

Sunrise: 7:15 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 68 degrees
Expected high temperature: 84 degrees
Wind: Southeast 10 mph
Humidity: 50 percent
Day's outlook: Sunny

Tags: david-a-brown  morning-story  2012-10-04-lake-of-the-pines 

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