UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Potomac River

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Top 3 Patterns – Kentucky Lake Regional

Top 3 Patterns – Kentucky Lake Regional

 

1st Place – Chris Martinkovic – 38 Pounds, 11 Ounces

Chris Martinkovic of Hamilton, Ohio, won the Oct. 16-18 Walmart BFL Regional on Kentucky Lake with a three-day total weight of 38 pounds, 11 ounces. He was awarded a Chevy 1500 Silverado and Ranger Boat with a 200 horsepower engine for his efforts.

Victory snatched from the jaws of defeat – that’s a fitting summary of Hamilton, Ohio, boater Chris Martinkovic’s nail-biter win at the Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional on Kentucky Lake Oct. 16-18. His three-day total of 38 pounds, 11 ounces matched that of second-place finisher Garrett McDowell, but Martinkovic won via a tiebreaker rule that grants first place to the angler with the biggest single-day weigh. Martinkovic’s 18-12 bag on day one pushed him across the finish line.

In all likelihood, the scene would have been less dramatic had Martinkovic’s final day turned out to be a little less frustrating. After a dominant first two days, he carried a lead of 6 pounds, 14 ounces over Shane Haslett of Beecher City, Ill., into day three, only to have the wheels come off the wagon the last day with nearly disastrous results. He weighed just one fish for 2-14.

Martinkovic caught all of his fish on a narrow, 300-yard-long shell bar in the New Johnsonville, Tenn., area. A clear Heddon Zara Spook produced 80 percent of his fish, with the rest coming on a 1/2-ounce chartreuse/white Strictly Bass Lures spinnerbait with a white Zoom Swimmin Super Fluke. He threw the latter along the bar’s edges once the sun pushed the fish off the top.

“I had to stay way off the bar and make long casts when they were on top,” Martinkovic says. “Once they dropped off the sides, I moved in close and cast parallel to the bar.”

That worked fine until day three brought a north wind – the absolute worst for the north-south oriented Kentucky Lake. Waves muddied the water and challenged his boat control, and Martinkovic caught his only fish on the Spook.

At 11:30, he pulled the plug and headed to his backup spot – bridge pilings that gave up good fish on an umbrella rig in practice. Unfortunately, an equipment malfunction prevented him from setting up to make the precise casts that he needed at the pilings.

“I was sick to my stomach going to final weigh-in with just one fish,” Martinkovic says. “I thought I had ruined my chances of winning.”

Fortunately for Martinkovic, day three was tough for everyone (no one in the top 12 weighed more than three fish), and he held on to claim the top prize of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-hp outboard and a Chevy 1500 Silverado.

 

2nd Place – Garrett McDowell – 38 Pounds, 11 Ounces

Playing it by the book can be the most effective way to tackle a tournament. Such was the case for Garrett McDowell, who took second place at Kentucky Lake with 38 pounds, 11 ounces. The angler from Mattoon, Ill., essentially employed the principle technique of “follow the food” to nab his keepers.

“The fish were around schools of big skipjack,” McDowell says. “If you found those schools, you’d find the big fish. I never saw bait breaking the surface, but I could see them just under the surface.

“On day one, I looked down, and as soon as I saw a school of skipjack running toward the boat, I caught a 6-pounder,” he adds. “That’s how I found my main spot.”

McDowell spent the entire tournament within six miles of the launch at Kentucky Dam Marina and caught his fish on the tops of rocky main-lake points at the mouths of creeks. Most of the points were relatively shallow with just 1 to 2 feet of water on top and 8 feet on the sides.

After catching fish on docks inside creeks during practice, McDowell found increased lake current pushing the fish off these structures. This, he says, positioned the fish on points where they were ambushing bait.

A 3/8-ounce white swim jig with a white pearl Zoom Chunk produced all of McDowell’s keepers.

 

3rd Place – Mike Brueggen – 34 Pounds, 2 Ounces

Experience told Mike Brueggen that grass lines not only provide the cover and feeding opportunities that Kentucky Lake bass need; they also serve as buffers and filters when muddy water threatens to blow out an area. Brueggen had that in mind as he seined large hydrilla mats in the New Johnsonville, Tenn., area for a third-place finish with 34 pounds, 2 ounces.

“It was a combination of bait and water color,” Brueggen explains of his best spots, which ranged from 5 1/2 feet deep to dirt-shallow. “The wind blew a different direction every day, and that changed where the clean water was, so that had a lot to do with where I fished

“The mud line [from the wind] had to hit the right area of the grass,” he adds. “There were two main areas I had to myself, and I had all day to figure it out. It was 98 percent about where the wind put that clean water.”

Brueggen caught most of his fish on a 3/8-ounce Lethal Weapon heavy-cover swim jig. He fitted his jig with an Action Plastics curl-tail grub or a Yamamoto Swimming Senko.

He also caught a few keepers – some of his largest fish – on a shad-colored Heddon Zara Spook. Breuggen threw the topwater bait whenever the wind subsided. A slow walking retrieve worked best.

Tags: david-a-brown  post-tournament  2014-10-16-kentucky-lake 

Top 10 Baits from Clear Lake

Top 10 Baits from Clear Lake

Even though cold, windy and rainy conditions challenged the field throughout the event, Clear Lake still showed the caliber of fish that swim in it during the second stop of the Costa FLW Series Western Division season, which was presented by Ranger Boats.   READ MORE »

Huntze Closes Door for Co-angler W

Huntze Closes Door for Co-angler W

Logan Huntze, the youngest competitor in the co-angler field, showed that age is just a number, as the 19-year-old earned a convincing Clear Lake victory at the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Ranger Boats by amassing a three-day total of 57 pounds, 15 ounces. READ MORE »

Grover Grabs Clear Lake Title

Grover Grabs Clear Lake Title

Clear Lake is always a fun place to fish, but wind, rain and cooler temperatures made things tough for the second stop of the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Ranger Boats, and the famed fishery wasn't as kind as it can be with many pros struggling as the week went on. Kyle Grover, on the other hand, only got better as the tournament progressed. READ MORE »

Clear Lake Midday Update – Day 3

Clear Lake Midday Update – Day 3

After taking a brutal pounding from the strong winds of day two, the top-10 pros and co-anglers in the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Ranger Boats are taking advantage of Clear Lake’s calmer final round conditions. A steady light rain began around 10 a.m., but without yesterday’s white caps, the lake’s allowing easy runs to wherever anglers want to fish. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Clear Lake Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Clear Lake Day 2

Drop-shotting tules was the main pattern for Uribe and knowing how to reach the fish made all the difference. Adjusting to the conditions was definitely key on day two, and no doubt the rest of the top pros had to go with the flow to stay in sight of the title. READ MORE »

Uribe in Charge on Clear Lake

Uribe in Charge on Clear Lake

On a fishery like Clear Lake where big bags swim almost anywhere, the idea of maintaining good quality catches can often go overlooked. Day two of the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Ranger Boats saw plenty of shuffling on the leaderboard, though Joe Uribe Jr. kept his pace with back-to-back solid limits to claim the lead with 41 pounds, 13 ounces after two days. Behind him sits nine other pros easily within striking distance, so his 1-2 lead over second place’s Kyle Grover or 5-8 lead off 10th-place pro David Valdivia doesn’t seem very comfortable. READ MORE »

Clear Lake Midday Update – Day 2

Clear Lake Midday Update – Day 2

Clear Lake was in a foul, foul mood this morning for the second day’s launch of the Costa FLW Series Western Division event, which is presented by Ranger Boats and hosted by Konocti Vista Casino Resort & Marina. Absent was the drizzly rain of yesterday, but the tradeoff was a 15- to 20-mph northwest wind that turned the lake into a washing machine. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Clear Lake Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Clear Lake Day 1

Lane Olson of Forest Grove, Ore., benefitted from a double dose of Clear Lake kickers when he found the right set of docks in a major spawning bay. Finesse baits did the trick up shallow for the day one leader at the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Ranger Boats. Other slow presentations served his brief offshore work. Handling the day’s weather challenges was a big part of Olson’s success.  Here are the details of the rest of the top five. READ MORE »

Big Bags Coming on Rainy Clear Lake

Big Bags Coming on Rainy Clear Lake

One of the gems of California bass fishing might have its luster muted by the week’s weather, but Clear Lake will likely still provide plenty of opportunity for anglers competing in this week’s Costa FLW Series Western Division event, which is presented by Ranger Boats and hosted by Konocti Vista Casino Resort & Marina.  READ MORE »

Olson Out in Front at Clear Lake

Olson Out in Front at Clear Lake

Lane Olson of Forest Grove, Ore., was able to separate himself from the pack on day one of the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Ranger Boats with a five-bass limit weighing 25 pounds. One of four anglers to crack 20 pounds, Olson leads second-place pro Joe Uribe Jr. by 2 1/2 pounds. The rest of the top 20 are packed together with just a few pounds separating them.  READ MORE »

Clear Lake Midday Update – Day 1

Clear Lake Midday Update – Day 1

The weather system pushing through northern California brought dreary, drizzly conditions interspersed with occasional steady spells of light rain for day one of the Costa FLW Series Western Division event, which is presented by ranger Boats and hosted by Konocti Vista Casino Resort & Marina. The sun made only a few peeking appearances, but there were several bright spots in the morning’s activity. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns From Table Rock

Top 10 Patterns From Table Rock

Fishing at Table Rock during the Costa FLW Series Central Division event, presented by Power-Pole, was pretty remarkable, at least until it wasn’t. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Table Rock

Top 10 Baits from Table Rock

It really didn’t matter what pros threw at Table Rock. The fish were probably going to eat it. Yet, despite a banner practice, things certainly got tougher throughout the Costa FLW Series Central Division event, which was presented by Power-Pole. Thus, pros needed to continually adapt to the conditions with their offerings.Here’s a look at the lures that helped the top 10 anglers.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Chickamauga

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Chickamauga

The timing of the FLW Tour event at Lake Chickamauga was both a curse and a blessing for the top 10 finishers. There were plenty of fish to be had – and on a multitude of patterns – but the big double-digit females Chick is known for were hard to track down. READ MORE »

ROY Update: Lake Chickamauga

ROY Update: Lake Chickamauga

We didn’t bother with an update on the Polaris FLW Tour Rookie of the Year race after the fifth stop of the FLW Tour season at Cherokee Lake. At that point, Miles Burghoff had the overall lead in the AOY standings and a 108-point lead for ROY. It looked like it was locked up. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Chickamauga

Top 10 Baits from Lake Chickamauga

Most people probably don’t equate Lake Chickamauga to spinning rods and finesse techniques, but both were prevalent during the FLW Tour event presented by Evinrude on Chick. Plenty of pros threw swimbaits, jigs and crankbaits, but the common thread among most of the top 10 is the use of a stick bait (usually wacky- or Texas-rigged) to target bedding or postspawn fish still hanging in the shallows.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Santee Cooper

Top 10 Patterns from Santee Cooper

Santee Cooper is full of 30-pound stringers. It’s also been known as a lake that will humble an angler quick. Bradford Beavers had experienced that before, having twice before weighed in 30-plus-pound stringers in tournaments on his home lake only to bomb the next day. Well, third time was the charm. After weighing in 31-02 on day one of the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event presented by Power-Pole, he managed to back it up on day two by fishing both lakes for his first signature victory. Of course, he had to hold off some hard charges from some veteran locals to do it. Here’s how they and the other top pros managed to carve out their own patterns and stay consistent on Santee. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Santee Cooper

Top 10 Baits from Santee Cooper

There were three predominant patterns at Santee Cooper: Pitching wacky rigs to cypress trees, sight-fishing and the shad spawn. Yet, they weren’t the only patterns, as a couple locals managed to do plenty of damage with some locals-only offshore patterns at the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division season finale presented by Power-Pole. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Cherokee Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Cherokee Lake

Targeting spawning smallmouth bass was by far the dominant pattern when the FLW Tour visited Cherokee Lake in east Tennessee in April. With a few exceptions, the top 10 pros targeted various combinations of rock and gravel banks where the fish were bedding. Finesse baits such as shaky heads, Ned rigs and small swimbaits saw the most work. READ MORE »

Cherokee Has Been Good to Jason Bridwell

Cherokee Has Been Good to Jason Bridwell

Jason Bridwell fishes in the Volunteer Division of the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League, and his track record on Cherokee, a lake at which he considers himself a local, is nearly spotless, especially after a win in the FLW Tour Marshal program contest. READ MORE »