UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Why the Wheels Fell Off: Pickwick Lake

Why the Wheels Fell Off: Pickwick Lake
Gussy just wasn't able to rekindle his day-one magic on Saturday. Then again, how often can you match a day that includes catching a 10-pound, 12-ounce bass?

Fishing the ledges of the western Tennessee River lakes in the summer is like spending another day at the office. You pretty much know what to expect. There are lots of other guys around you, doing the same job and trying to stay out of each other's way. Starting time is set by the boss, in your case the tournament director, and the bass will let you know when it's quitting time. Today probably will be about like yesterday. The monotony of it all can drive you crazy.

Of course, there's always the chance that a surprise might come along to spice up the routine a bit, but there's no guarantee that the surprise will be a good one. Sometimes it can be both good and bad in the same workday, as was the case for these anglers in the Walmart FLW Tour stop on Pickwick Lake presented by Straight Talk Wireless.

Jeff Gustafson
Leader Jeff Gustafson sacked 24-8 with the help of this 10-12 kicker to take the early lead.
Day 1: 24-08 (1st)
Day 2: 15-15 (12th)
Day 3: 12-2 (17th)

My first day went great. I almost could do no wrong. My big bass of the day (10 pounds, 12 ounces; the Bridgford Big Bass) was the biggest I've ever caught. The spot where I got it probably gave up about 30 fish that day, from mid-morning to lunchtime. When I pulled up to this spot, which was a point sort of sticking into the current, there was nobody else around. I caught a number of nice fish off of there (mostly 3-pounders) and some smaller ones. The big fish was caught about midway through the flurry.

It might have been that I caught more fish than I should have off this spot, but once I had that big fish, I felt like I needed to put up as much weight as I could to go with it. I caught them until I couldn't catch anymore. Most of the fish came on a football jig.

I fished another spot the first day, and it was loaded with a good school as well. I actually caught two fish - a 3 1/2- and a 3 1/4-pounder - on the same crankbait when I made my first cast on it. Like I said, it was just my day.

One thing that hurt me was not having enough spots that weren't getting covered up with other anglers. Most of the other stuff I had that I really wanted to fish was getting worked over by several other anglers all the time. That big bag on day one really separated me from the rest of these guys, but had I not caught it, I would have just squeaked out a good check at this event.

On days two and three, I did get on a few schools, but they weren't the right size. They weren't the 3 1/2- to 4-pound-plus fish that I was looking for and needed. It seemed like all the schools I was finding consisted of 2-pounders. I'm not sure why that was because I was confident going out in the mornings that I would run into some schools of fish of the right size, but it just didn't happen.

The Monday after the tournament I spent the day on Pickwick, fishing with some sponsors. The fishing was really good. I would have had around 22 pounds if the tournament had still been going on. I caught some good fish that reloaded on some of the community spots and on some of the spots I fished earlier in the event. What I take from this is that at future ledge events - the soonest being Kentucky Lake - I need to find some of the little, inconspicuous spots that are close to those community spots. That's where those big schools are, but the pressure really moves them around and turns down their activity level. I think if I can find those little places near the main areas, they can kick out a fish or two every day.

I really didn't let the conditions dictate where I fished so much during the event. Instead, if there was a spot open that I wanted to fish, I fished it. Having three days of practice, I didn't have the number of spots that maybe some of the other anglers had. I'm hopeful that I learned enough about the lake that if we ever go back I'll be much more efficient in finding more of those subtle spots that others might overlook.

Randy Haynes
Coming off a Rayovac FLW Series win at Kentucky Lake, Randy Haynes was one of the pre-tournament favorites.
Day 1: 23-9 (2nd)
Day 2: 17-10 (9th)
Day 3: 10-12 (18th)

I started off well enough, but then on the second morning I hit a log before I even got to my first place, and it kind of messed me up. I thought I had just bent my prop a little, but it turns out it bent the shaft and I had to get towed in. That was the day a lot of guys caught them early. Still, I had more than 17 1/2 pounds.

Everything I caught in the tournament came on a crankbait I helped design: the Profound Outdoors Z-Boss 20, which goes down to 18 or 20 feet on 12-pound test. It's a very subtle bait that throws like a piece of lead, has a tight wobble and suspends perfectly. I was fishing it on 15-pound-test anywhere from 10 to 16 feet deep. I wasn't fishing the big schools, just the smaller ones that I felt like probably wouldn't get as much attention.

My last day, which was Saturday, I just couldn't get it going. It was like I was out of sync or something. I never could hit the right school at the right time. I'd be sitting and watching somebody fish a spot for 30 minutes, and when they'd leave, I'd start moving in and somebody else would show up. I burned 55 gallons of gas trying to find spots that didn't have so many fishermen on them. Everybody in the top 10 knew where the fish were and kept hammering away at them. The fish didn't leave. Usually when they get pressured they move off some, and then the fishermen go away too. In practice I found some places where I thought the fish would move to when they got pressured.

That's kind of my thing; that's how I win tournaments. But at Pickwick the fish just stayed put where the top 10 guys could get to them. A lot of times things happen in a tournament that you can't explain. I would have liked to have found fish that had been let alone, but that never happened.

I went down the lake and saw where everybody was fishing. I felt confident I knew where those fish would get pushed to, except they didn't budge. So there were four or five boats on every school. I can't win by getting in there with everybody else. When everybody's trying to get a slice of the same pie, the pieces keep getting smaller, and you can't win like that. I hope the fish move better at Kentucky Lake. I think they will.


Shane Lehew
It was a slower day two for Shane Lehew.
Day 1: 20-9 (8th)
Day 2: 13-14 (29th)

There were three primary spots I was fishing, and a couple of others I considered so-so. I was boat No. 60 on day one, and when I got to my best spot I was surprised to find that I was the only one there - at least for a while. I started catching 4-pounders, and then other boats started easing in.

On the second day, I got there later, and there were already a couple of tournament boats on it. I went to one of my backup spots and actually caught more fish there, but they were smaller keepers. I never could get a big bite there. I was using swimbaits and a power-shot rig. Later on in the day, I finally got back to my first spot and had it to myself. I caught a 4-pounder there and lost another big one and then had to go.

I probably should have stayed on that one place all day and not tried to run around and fish other places. I'm going to have to learn to fish in a crowd. I did a lot of running, trying to find something I could fish by myself. There weren't many places like that at Pickwick. Of course, Kentucky Lake will be a lot more spread out.

Troy Hollowell
Troy Hollowell proudly displays his Pickwick Lake 9-pounder.
Day 1: 19-12 (12th)
Day 2: 22-14 (5th)
Day 3: 10-9 (15th)

I caught a bunch of keepers the second day, especially when they turned the water on in the afternoon. We had current all the third day. I figured the fishing would bust wide open then, but it didn't for me. I pulled into a place that I shared with Brent Ehrler, and I watched him catch five keepers on five casts. That encouraged me to go to one of my other places down toward Yellow Creek, where I thought the tournament should have been won.

The reason I thought that was because on my second day I probably caught about 30 keepers there on a crankbait. I crushed them, and there were two more deals near there I didn't fish on the second day because I didn't think I needed them. Then, on the third day, those fish were gone too, and I never could reconnect with any of them.

All three places were current-dependent. I thought it was going to be perfect because they were pulling current the third day. These were the kind of places where the fish would move to when they got beat up, or so I thought. It messed with my head. I found out later that after Brent caught those five fish on the first spot, he didn't catch another one there. Everything that worked for me the first two days went south on the third day.

Tags: colin-moore  post-tournament  2014-06-05-pickwick-lake 

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Cumberland

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Cumberland

Smallmouths dominated at the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland. Oklahoma’s Andrew Upshaw led the way with brown bass caught on a jig and a Ned rig on bluff bank transitions in the reservoir’s lower end. Behind him, only a couple of pros hedged their bets on targeting largemouths. The rest fished for smallies and considered green bass to be bonus fish and spotted bass to be limit fillers on the tough days. READ MORE »

Lake Cumberland Top 10 Baits

Lake Cumberland Top 10 Baits

In classic Southern smallmouth fashion, crankbaits and jigs dominated the top 10 at Lake Cumberland during the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship. The only exceptions were a few finesse baits and the tackle used by two pros who targeted largemouths. Here’s what worked. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks

Top 10 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks

Considering this was the fourth year in a row Lake of the Ozarks had hosted a Costa FLW Series Central Division event in October, everyone pretty much knew what to expect. And then the weather happened. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake of the Ozarks

Top 10 Baits from Lake of the Ozarks

Fall in the Ozarks is prime time to throw a buzzbait. Sure enough, plenty of the top guys did just that during the Costa FLW Series Central Division finale presented by Evinrude on Lake of the Ozarks. 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 »

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 »

Top 10 Baits from the St. Lawrence River

Top 10 Baits from the St. Lawrence River

Regardless of how far anglers ran, whether 95 miles or 5 miles, the Costa FLW Series Northern Division finale on the St. Lawrence River presented by Gajo Baits really came down to a battle of deep versus shallow. Here’s a look at the baits that helped the top 10 get the job done on the St. Lawrence. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the St. Lawrence River

Top 10 Patterns from the St. Lawrence River

There were two big choices anglers had to make this week: how far should they run and should they fish deep or shallow. READ MORE »

Bryan Schmitt’s Potomac Review

Bryan Schmitt’s Potomac Review

On the Potomac, hands down, I want to fish grass. The grass holds the numbers. But if you look at the event this week on the Potomac, the tournament was won on structure. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River

Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River

The Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event on the Potomac River was not the slugfest the season opener on Champlain was or the season finale on the St. Lawrence River is almost sure to be. As has been the case in many of the FLW events on the Potomac this year, the fishing was pretty stingy, and hard cover played an outsized role. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Potomac River

Top 10 Baits from the Potomac River

Late summer on the Potomac is often tough fishing, so the contenders in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event had to pull out all the stops. Fishing everything from grass to docks and rocks, the anglers mixed up all sorts of power and finesse presentations to get the job done in the second stop of the season presented by Lowrance. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Osborne Fished Finesse

Cup Top 10: Osborne Fished Finesse

Osborne spent the early visit graphing for brush in Hamilton’s lower end. In practice, it was more of the same, as Osborne spent only a couple of hours beating the bank. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Douglas Fished Brush and a Buzzbait

Cup Top 10: Douglas Fished Brush and a Buzzbait

Minnesota pro Josh Douglas is regarded as an electronics expert. But while he put his Lowrance units to the test at the FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton to find offshore brush piles, even Douglas couldn’t resist spending some time in the mornings hunting shallow bass. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Salzman Went Shallow to Deep

Cup Top 10: Salzman Went Shallow to Deep

Ryan Salzman earned an eighth-place finish at the FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton with a well-executed two-part strategy. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Webster Wormed Brush

Cup Top 10: Webster Wormed Brush

Among the FLW Cup pros that committed the entire tournament to one pattern was Joseph Webster, who weighed in a three-day total of 28 pounds, 2 ounces at Lake Hamilton. He finished seventh. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Felix Keyed on Clear Water

Cup Top 10: Felix Keyed on Clear Water

Eden Prairie, Minn., pro Austin Felix finished sixth in this year’s FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton, but he’s convinced that if the engineers operating Blakely Mountain Dam had released water on a more consistent schedule, the results might have been even better for him. Felix spent most of the tournament keying on the clear waters of Hamilton’s upper end. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Martin went up the River

Cup Top 10: Martin went up the River

Prior to practice, Scott Martin had no idea that the far upper end of Lake Hamilton, where the cold waters from the bottom of Lake Ouachita flow in through Blakely Mountain Dam, was such a drastically different mini-fishery within the reservoir. Then he started scouting it in practice and realized there was potential to win the tournament in the tailrace in areas where the water temperature was below 60 degrees. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Lawyer Mixes it Up for Fourth

Cup Top 10: Lawyer Mixes it Up for Fourth

Fourth-place pro Jeremy Lawyer was the highest finisher to utilize the shallow-early, brush-later strategy. Lawyer stacked together limits of 12 pounds, 1 ounce and 12-5 on the first two days to go into the final day in fourth place. He weighed in just 7 pounds on Sunday. READ MORE »