UPCOMING EVENT: TACKLE WAREHOUSE PRO CIRCUIT - 2020 - Harris Chain of Lakes

TBF Championship Tips Off

TBF Championship Tips Off

The spawn is on at Grand Lake, but that’s not the only game in town. As the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship plays out for the next three days, anglers will find this northern Oklahoma impoundment abounding with lots of fishing options.

Brian Maloney, the 2012 Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American champion, says he was impressed with what he found in practice.

“The quality of fish on Grand is just amazing,” notes the Missouri angler. “This lake continues to put out 3- and 4-pounders, and right now there’s a variety of things we can do.

“There are guys sight-fishing for spawning fish, and we’re probably looking at another wave or two of fish coming in soon. I’m sure the full moon coming up in another week or so will move them in.”

Adding that the lake currently has fish in all prespawn, spawning and postspawn stages, Maloney thinks that TBF contenders will be greeted by a mix of water conditions typical for Grand this time of year.

“The upper end of the lake has about 6 inches of visibility or less, but there’s easily 3 to 5 feet of visibility on the lower end,” he says. “So, this impoundment will fit anybody’s style of fishing.”

Maloney reveals he’ll start his day by fishing the stained upper end and then will move down to the clear water later in the day, once the sun rises higher in the sky. The first part of his plan involves postspawn fish.

“I’ll try to pick off a few of those fish this morning, and then, once the sun gets up and you can really see some of that stuff on the bottom, I’ll go chase those spawners,” Maloney says. “You put that combination together and we’ll see what happens.

Oregon boater Edward Chin says he’ll focus on the front end of the spawn and target the ones that are staging in 11 to 15 feet of water, with a few spots as deep as 25 feet. The mid-lake region has produced best for him.

“The spawning fish are definitely up, but they’ve been pressured a lot lately, so my target will be the fish that are waiting to come up,” he says. “Those are the ones that seem to be the most aggressive right now. A lot of guys are concentrating on the sight-fishing bite right now, so I’m looking at that secondary pattern.”

Chin adds that he’ll use a mix of crankbaits, jerkbaits and soft plastics in the classic staging positions the first half of the day, and if that strategy pans out, he might go looking for fish that will improve his limit.

“My plan is to look for that prespawn limit, get those in the boat first and then  try to upgrade with the sight-fish in the afternoon,” he says. “I like tubes and lizards for the beds. They just get the fish agitated and ready to go.”

Angler Dean Matts, of Oklahoma City, is sticking with the postspawn game. His simple logic: They’re easier to catch.

“I’m going after fish in 8 to 12 feet of water, and I’m going to use a green pumpkin Zoom Speed Craw with the pinchers tipped in orange,” Matts confesses.

The color accents, he says, will help him match the accent hues of the crawfish that Grand Lake postspawners are eating.

“I’m fishing a pea gravel bank that comes out to about 10 feet with a long slope,” Matts notes. “They’re just sitting out there eating. The bite is best around mid-morning. You get bigger fish when the sun’s up.”

Matts has also found a few prespawners staging in the same area. In practice, he caught a 4-pounder whose plump belly clearly contrasted with the thinner profiles of the postspawn fish he was targeting. The potential for picking up a couple of ripe ones along with the recovering fish further supports the Okie’s strategy.

A crisp, clear morning greeted the championship field, and a steady wind kept the American flag in motion at the end of the Wolf Creek Park. Clouds were already building by daybreak, so sight-fishing conditions will likely diminish quickly. This could make those pre- and postspawn patterns more productive in the long run.

The lake is up about 4 1/4 feet, so there’s more shoreline habitat for spawners to access. Maloney says he’s looking for an exciting weigh-in with many anglers hauling in big sacks.

“I think we’re going to see several bags in the mid-20s and a lot in the 15-pound range,” he predicts.

Chin agrees and points out that the early emphasis on bed-fishing will likely result in big day-one weights and a tapering trend the following two days.

 

Conditions

Sunrise: 6:35 a.m.

Temperature at takeoff: 47 degrees

Forecast high: 62 degrees

Water temperature: 59 degrees

Weather: mostly cloudy

Wind: ENE at 5 to 10 mph

 

Tournament Details

The best anglers in The Bass Federation are squaring off on Grand Lake, with the entire field fishing Thursday and Friday. The field will be cut for Saturday, with the final weigh-in taking place on the Walmart FLW Tour stage at the John Q. Hammons Center in Rogers, Ark. The winner is determined by three-day cumulative weight and earns entry into the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup.

 

More Information

Get more info about the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship at BassFederation.com, and stay tuned to FLWFishing.com for nightly stories about the tournament.

Tags: tbf  grand-lake  david-a-brown  headline-story  2015-04-23-grand-lake 

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