UPCOMING EVENT: YETI FLW COLLEGE FISHING - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Second FLW Tour stop of season under way on Smith

The floatilla of boats waits patiently for the start to day one of the Walmart FLW Tour on Smith Lake.

JASPER, Ala. – When it comes to Alabama fisheries, nothing gets the attention quite like Lake Guntersville and Wheeler Lake. But in the shadows of those two big-fish factories lies the 21,000-acre impoundment known as Lewis Smith – the site of the second Walmart FLW Tour stop of the season.

Temperatures in the upper 20s greeted anglers as they launched their boats this morning. The cooler weather put a damper on the spirits of some anglers - mainly the ones who plan to search out largemouths. On the other hand, spotted bass anglers seem to have a brighter outlook on the day. With murmers of anglers having a less than perfect practice, the general consensus is that spotted bass are the more willing species to bite. With that said, a warming trend in the weather will settle in as the week moves ahead - meaning chances are the bite will only get better. It also leaves open the question as to just how big of an impact the largemouths will have on this event, if they get to chomping.

Lewis Smith Lake – or Smith Lake – has long been known for its ability to produce magnum-sized spotted bass. In fact, several world record spots came out of Smith in the 1970s and 80s and the current lake record sits at just under 9 pounds. In contrast to other impoundments within Alabama that have stained water and are shallower, Smith is ideal for growing big spots due to its deep, clear water.

Back in 2008 - which was the last time the FLW Tour made a visit to Smith - spotted bass dominated the tournament. There have always been largemouths to catch but they just never received much attention. However, this time having a few largemouths in your bag just may help lift anglers to the top of the standings.

Straight Talk pro Scott Canterbury tries to stay warm in the morning. “It’s a heck of a lot easier to catch spots in here than largemouths,” chuckled Straight Talk pro Scott Canterbury. “But I do really think that you need some largemouths in your bag to do well. I’m going to fish my strengths this week and go for spots and try to mix in a few largemouths too.

“I’m not going to fish in any particular area, from what I saw I am just going to keep moving,” the Springville, Ala., pro added. “I didn’t find a school of fish that I really thought I could sit on. Now, guys like Ehrler or Hite might be able to do that, but not me. I do think that we will see the best fishing this week will come on Saturday and Sunday with the weather warming up – hopefully I’ll still be fishing to find out.”

With a healthier fish population, weights on Smith have been steadily rising. Bigger spots and more abundant largemouths make it tough for a guy to figure out what to do. Though Smith is small in size, with over 500 miles of shoreline it makes the lake fish bigger and offers more opportunities to the anglers. This may be the reason most anglers attack this lake with a run-and-gun style of covering water to maximize their odds of finding good fish.

“This lake is normally a pretty good pattern lake,” said Blake Nick, who captured two third-places finishes last year on tour. “The weather has been fairly stable around here until a few weeks ago which made the fishing a little tougher. Practice was brutal for me – the colder weather put the fish in a funk. Luckily, it looks like the weather is going to warm up as the week goes on so it should make fishing better.

Blake Nick is all smiles despite the cold weather. “I live about an hour from here and have fished this lake a few times, but it’s hard to come here (Smith) with Guntersville just down the road,” said the Adger, Ala., native. “Rumor has it that there are some blueback herring in here and it seems like they have helped make these fish bigger, and bigger bags have been coming out of Smith because of it. There’s a good chance we could see some 5- or 6-pound spots this week.

“I will definitely run all the gas out of my boat today. On this lake you don’t need to get nailed down to doing one thing.”

To aid the anglers in covering water, a variety of baits are expected to play this week. Jerkbaits, umbrella rigs, crankbaits and even jigs will receive plenty of attention from anglers trying to coax strikes from either laregmouths or spots. For the pros targeting spots though, drop-shots and shaky heads will be the weapons of choice to hunt down the magnum spots that live deep.

One thing that will surely make life easier for the anglers is that the slot limit that has been lifted for the event. Normally on Smith any bass that measures between 13 and 15 inches must be released. For this event however, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has allowed a 12-inch minimum length rule.

Despite promising prospects of bigger fish, Canterbury still believes the weights won’t be as high as some think.

“I’d say 12 to 13 pounds a day will get you in the top 20. It may be more, but from what I’ve seen that sounds right. There are enough good fishermen in this field that there could be a big sack pulled in this week – somewhere between 18 or 20 pounds.”

Logistics

Anglers will take off from Smith Lake Dam Access located at 7482 Smith Lake Dam Road in Jasper, Ala., at 7 a.m. the first two days of competition. On the last two days takeoff will be at Smith Lake Dam Access at 7:30 a.m. Thursday and Friday’s weigh-ins will be held at Smith Lake Dam Access beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s final weigh-ins will be held at the Walmart located at 1801 Highway 78 E. in Jasper beginning at 4 p.m.

Fans will be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at the Walmart on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. prior to the final weigh-ins. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public. The first boats blast off to start day one of the Walmart FLW Tour on Smith Lake.

In FLW Tour competition, pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day, with pros supplying the boat, controlling boat movement and competing against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers. The full field competes in the two-day opening round. After day two the field is pared to the top 20 pros and co-anglers. The co-angler competition concludes at Saturday’s weigh-in and the top-10 pros continue competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days.

On the Web

For those who can’t catch the weigh-in action in person, FLWOutdoors.com offers FLW Live, an online application that brings fans real-time weigh-in results, streaming video and audio.

In addition to FLW Live, FLWOutdoors.com is offering real-time updates from the water throughout each day of the Lewis Smith Lake event. Simply click on the “On the Water Coverage” banner from either the FLW or FLW Tour home pages.

Thursday’s conditions

Sunrise: 6:09 a.m. 

Temperature at takeoff: 28 degrees

Expected high temperature: 54 degrees

Water temperature: 46-50 degrees

Wind: N 8 mph

Maximum humidity: 49 percent

Day’s outlook: partly cloudy early, sunny in the afternoon

Tags: lewis-smith-lake  spring  spotted-bass  deep  drop-shot  kyle-wood  morning-story  2013-03-07-lewis-smith-lake 

It’s a Level Playing Field at Lake Mead

It’s a Level Playing Field at Lake Mead

The Costa FLW Series hasn’t made its way to Lake Mead for a Western Division event since 2007, and while a lot has changed in the 12 years since, Mead is as good a fishery as ever, especially for anglers who know how to effectively break down such a big body of water that's full of largemouth and smallmouth bass. READ MORE »

Burghoff Checks Out Toho on Day 2

Burghoff Checks Out Toho on Day 2

FLW Tour rookie Miles “Sonar” Burghoff kicked off his freshman season with a strong performance on Sam Rayburn, where he just missed fishing the final day with a 12th-place finish. Now, the Tour is on a system he is more than familiar with, having spent countless hours on Lakes Toho and Kissimmee while attending college at the University of Central Florida. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Okeechobee

Top 10 Patterns from Okeechobee

Whether it was a canal or small sections of the lake, each pro in the top chose to hunker down in an area and milk it for all it was worth in the season opener of the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division presented by Power-Pole. Here’s a look at how the action unfolded. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Okeechobee

Top 10 Baits from Okeechobee

Lake Okeechobee wasn’t her normal self in the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division opener presented by Power-Pole. Bites were few and far between, but the top-10 pros dialed it in and got it done. Winner Nick Thliveros relied heavily on a crankbait and so did others, but Florida faithful’s like swim jigs, soft plastics and topwaters also fared well. READ MORE »

Niles Rallies for Co-angler Title

Niles Rallies for Co-angler Title

The Southeastern Division event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Power-Pole was a grind no matter if you were in the front of the boat or back. Bites were few and far between, and as a co-angler just catching a keeper or two kept you in the hunt. Niles started strong with an opening-day limit worth 18-9 to have him in the lead. On day two, he cooled off and brought a goose egg to the stage. Still, his day-one weight carried him to the final round where he started the day in fourth. Paired with Brett Preuett, Niles got to work Saturday. READ MORE »

Thliveros Brings it Home

Thliveros Brings it Home

Nick Thliveros led after day two on Okeechobee and after weighing his lowest weight of the week, he was able to seal the deal for his first Costa FLW Series win as a pro. READ MORE »

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 3

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 3

The third and final day of the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Power-Pole has the weather anglers have been hoping for since they started practice. A light breeze, plenty of sun and temperatures near 80 degrees have the top 10 pros and co-anglers licking their chops for a chance at the biggest bag of the tournament. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Okeechobee – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Okeechobee – Day 2

Fishing as a whole is still tough on the Big O, but there was definitely an improvement today – especially for the guys at the top of the leaderboard. READ MORE »

Thliveros in Charge on Okeechobee

Thliveros in Charge on Okeechobee

Nick Thliveros is one day away from taking the title in the Costa FLW Series event on Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 2

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 2

Every ounce counts in a tournament, and that will certainly ring true today. The second day of Costa FLW Series competition on Lake Okeechobee presented by Power-Pole may be off to a better start, but big bites are still few and far between. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Okeechobee – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Okeechobee – Day 1

Things are tough on Okeechobee, but these pros cracked some of the code to wrangle solid catches. READ MORE »

Roder Out Front on Big O

Roder Out Front on Big O

Okeechobee is normally the place of dreams. This week, however, it isn’t quite living up to its reputation. Day one of the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event on the Big O saw plenty of fish, though the quality bites were hard to come by. Troy Roder of Brookeland, Texas, set the pace early with a 19-pound, 15-ounce limit to grab the lead in the season opener – presented by Power-Pole – with a lead of over 4 pounds heading into Friday. READ MORE »

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 1

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 1

Power fishing and flipping lead the charge for the first few hours of fishing on Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

A Different Okeechobee

A Different Okeechobee

Cold fronts, dirty water and lower water levels make for an interesting start to the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division season. READ MORE »

Spawn on the Horizon at Okeechobee

Spawn on the Horizon at Okeechobee

Florida is a familiar place for FLW competition, and Lake Okeechobee is probably the best-known fishery the Sunshine State has to offer. So there shouldn’t be many surprises when the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division kicks off the season Jan. 31–Feb. 2 on the Big O with an event presented by Power-Pole. READ MORE »

How to Bass Fish High Water in Winter

How to Bass Fish High Water in Winter

High water isn’t unusual in the spring or summer, but dealing with rising water this early in the year was somewhat of a new experience for many of the pros – as it is for the weekend warrior. Therefore, the Rayburn Tour event is a case study on how to handle this situation and still put loads of bass in the boat. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Sam Rayburn

Top 10 Patterns from Sam Rayburn

Fishing crankbaits, Carolina rigs and drop-shots around flooded hydrilla for Sam Rayburn Reservoir largemouths dominated the top 10 at the FLW Tour opener. Check out the top 10 patterns feature to learn more about effective patterns for working grass. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Fishing deep-diving crankbait, dragging Carolina rigs and working finesse baits such as drop-shots were the keys to success at the FLW Tour opener at Sam Rayburn. Here are the bass-fishing baits that the top pros used. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Amistad

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Amistad

Wintertime patterns with just a touch of prespawn action dominated the Costa FLW Series opener presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Amistad. Crankbaits, jerkbaits, umbrella rigs, swimbaits and drop-shots were the go-to baits used by the top finishers. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Amistad

Top 10 Baits from Lake Amistad

Wintertime bass fishing tactics dominated at Lake Amistad in January, as the top finishers relied on jerkbaits, crankbaits, drop-shots, swimbaits and umbrella rigs to get the job done. READ MORE »