UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Potomac River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Dardanelle

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Dardanelle
Second-place pro Kerry Milner started his day at Goose Island.

Jason Lieblong, who won the Rayovac FLW Series Central Division event on Lake Dardanelle, devoted most of his time to fishing reed lines with a mix of chatterbaits, frogs and Texas-rigged worms. He also caught fish by dragging a Texas-rigged 10-inch worm past brush piles in 6-8 feet. Lieblong amassed a three-day total of 46 pound, 3 ounces.

Here’s a look at how the other top-10 anglers caught their fish.

 

2. Spencer Grace - Dardanelle, Ark. - 44-1

Grace says his final morning got off to a blistering start, with a brown/white Live Target frog producing a limit within 10 minutes. He adds he probably could have stuck with that pattern a little longer, but he needed to find better quality fish.

“I caught ’em and caught ’em and caught ’em,” Grace says. “I had one decent one, but they weren’t getting any bigger. So I decided to make a move and go run brush.That’s what didn’t work for me (on day two), but I ended up catching my two biggest fish in the last hour.”

Those afternoon fish ate blue-fleck Missile Baits Tomahawk Worms Texas-rigged with 5/0 hooks and 3/8-ounce bullet weights. Targeting brush in 8 feet of water, Grace used a slow dragging presentation.

“I needed two or three big bites to have a shot at winning and that was the way to win,” notes Grace, who improved his postion each day — sixth on day one, fourth on day two.

Grace reveals that his week consistently offered numbers early in the day and weight later in the afternoon.

“For me, the morning bite was better, but I could catch a better fish in the afternoon,” he says. “It was nice today being able to run around and not have boats everywhere.”

 

3. Jeff Keene - Vinita, Okla. - 43-13

Drawing upon his extensive local experience, Keene chose to forego the heavily pressured bank, as well as the offshore ledges that many were targeting. For him, that mid-depth range was the place to be.

“I’m not a ledge fisherman; I caught all my fish in less than three feet of water,” Keene says. “I caught my fish in grass and around stumps and brush.”

Keen banked most of his tournament on one bait – a technique he credits his father for teaching him.

“I used a 3/8-ounce black/blue swim jig made by a boy here in Russellville, Ark.,” Keene adds. “There’s a black/red-fleck leach on the back.

“I fished that on 20-pound clear blue (fluorocarbon) so when I saw it move, I jerked it.”

Lamenting a missed strike from a bass “eyes as big as quarters,” Keene says he caught his fifth keeper in the last 5 minutes on a balsa crankbait.

 

4. Barry Wilson - Birmingham, Ala. - 43-9

Despite minimal practice time, Wilson steadily increased his productivity with daily weights of 11-4, 15-15 and 16-6. Making a key decision to traverse the Dardanelle Lock yielded favorable results.

“I had a terrible practice, but I had a gut feeling and decided to lock down,” he states. “I grew up on the Coosa River, so river fishing — fishing below tailraces — is what I know.”

Hugging the rocks, Wilson fished a chartreuse/black back Strike King KVD 1.5 squarebill and a 3/8-ounce black/blue Strike King flipping jig with a black/blue Strike King Rage Chunk trailer. He covered water with the crankbait and flipped specific spots.

“I just went down the riprap and anytime I’d find some isolated cover, I’d spend some time there,” he says. “I’d keep rotating and coming back through. I’d hit (that cover) two or three times a day and every now and then, I’d pick up another good one.”

 

5. Kerry Milner - Bono, Ark. - 40-11

With limits of 15-14 and 17-5, the past BFL All-American winner fished his way up to second place by day two, but struggled in the final round as his spots ran low of fish.

Milner started his days looking for frog bites around reed lines and pads. Later in the day, he moved to shell beds that were scattered amid brush piles. The shell bed pattern, he recalls, had gone unnoticed by most of his competitors, who focused on the brush.

This pressure, he explains, seemed to displace many of the fish. Once they resettled on nearby shell beds, Milner would target them with Carolina-rigged Zoom Brush Hogs.

Milner also threw spinnerbaits and swimbaits along the edges of flats when he found the bass running gizzard shad there in the afternoon.

“I never got on anything early this week,” Milner says. “All my fish came late in the afternoon.”

 

6. Scott Suggs - Alexander, Ark. - 37-3

The FLW Tour pro and former Forrest Wood Cup champion Scott Suggs spent most of his time fishing the deeper ledges with 3/4-ounce football head and a green-pumpkin Berkley Havoc Changeup creature bait trailer. For occasional trips to the bank, Suggs flipped the Changeup on a Texas rig.

After limits of 13-4 and 13-12, Suggs struggled for his limit of 10-3 the final day.

“Everything I fished today was totally different,” he says of Saturday’s fishing. “I really fished from the seat of my pants and scratched and pleaded for everything.”

 

7. Austin Brown - Benton, Ky. - 32-14

A top-10 finish was a nice gift for the young pro who celebrated his birthday during the tournament’s final round. A strong day-one performance with 15-10, followed by a solid day-two limit of 11-10 buoyed him for a slow third day in which he found only three keepers for 5-10.

“This place didn’t really show its potential, but it has a lot of big fish — I’ve seen them,” Brown says.

Each day, Brown fished a white ChatterBait around shallow cover. Later in the day, when the fish pulled tighter to cover, he’d switch to a shaky head with a watermelon-colored trick worm.

 

8. Josh Hilton - Clarksville, Ark. - 32-1

Hilton nabbed the tournament’s second-largest sack (behind Lieblong’s 19-10) on day two, but that limit of 18-5 preceded a disappointing final round that yielded only one keeper for 2-12. Hilton had been throwing a black frog and a Texas-rigged Zoom Ol’ Monster worm all week. He caught his day-three fish on the frog.

 

9. Wells Kaiser - Cuba City, Wis. - 29-4

Wells Kaiser

He opened strong with 16-14 on day one, but saw his productivity slip to 9-10 a day later. In the final round, Kaiser managed only one keeper for 2-12. During the week he caught his fish on a Spro frog in the bluegill color and a Texas-rigged Big Bite Baits Craw Tube in junebug. His day-three fish ate a frog.

 

10. Michael Stetich - Ankeny, Iowa - 27-11

Michael Stetich

Stetich employed a diverse attack to secure his weight fish each day. He caught his fish on a 1/2-ounce Dirty Jigs swim jig, a Dave’s Custom Baits Balsa B squarebill (black/chartreuse), a pivot head with a green pumpkin Zoom trick worm and a 4-inch finesse worm on a shaky head.

Working a variety of shallow cover, along with a few spots mid-depth off the bank was the game plan for Stetich. The swim jig and the square-bill were his top producers for the week.

Tags: lake-dardanelle  top-10-patterns  david-a-brown  post-tournament  2015-08-13-lake-dardanelle 

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 »

Green Has Experience of Lifetime at Cup

Green Has Experience of Lifetime at Cup

Winning $2,500 might be the highlight of a trip for a lot of people, but for Leroy Green, winner of the FLW Tour Marshal program at the 2019 FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton, the cash prize was secondary to the relationships he forged out on the water. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Ebare Fished the Tailrace

Cup Top 10: Ebare Fished the Tailrace

Most of the time, fishing Southern impoundments in August is all about slowly dragging worms through brush piles. That’s what Dakota Ebare planned to do at the FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton. How he wound up catching enough fish to finish in third place felt more like Southern stream fishing. Ebare spent three days fishing the tailrace below Blakely Mountain Dam where the cold, clear waters drained through from the bottom of Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Cup at Hamilton

Top 10 Baits from the Cup at Hamilton

While there weren’t too many patterns in play at the 2019 FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark., the nature of an August tournament in the South forced most of the top finishers to mix in a bunch of baits to catch their fish. Here’s what the top 10 used to catch schoolers and ply brush, docks and various types of shallow grass. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Walters Committed to Brush

Cup Top 10: Walters Committed to Brush

Coming into the FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton, Florida pro Kyle Walters figured the only chance he had to win was to stay away from the bank, where competing with the best in the sport was a tall order, and commit to finding as many brush piles as he could. READ MORE »

From the All-American to the Cup

From the All-American to the Cup

Brennon McCord is a self-described quiet, easygoing guy, but the 22-year-old T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League All-American champion hopes to make some Lake Hamilton noise in his first FLW Cup appearance. For the moment, understandably so, he’s still basking in the afterglow of a victory that earned what he calls the biggest honor of his career. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Champlain

Top 10 Baits from Lake Champlain

As usual, the fishing on Lake Champlain was great. Pros and co-anglers alike loaded the boat with smallmouths and largemouths each day of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event, and they did it with a wide array of techniques. If you’re wondering what to throw up north when there are green and brown fish on the table in the early summer, you could hardly go wrong with anything the pros in the top 10 used.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Champlain

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Champlain

Grueling wind on day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division opener on Lake Champlain didn’t do the field any favors, but otherwise, it was a heck of a tournament on the big northern fishery. The aftereffects of an odd spring with high water had things somewhat scrambled, putting some of the local participants on their off foot, but a variety of patterns proved to be successful. READ MORE »

McCaghren Ready for Hamilton

McCaghren Ready for Hamilton

Billy McCaghren spends a lot of his free time coaching 8- to 10-year-old boys on how to swing and catch; but when the FLW Cup visits Hot Springs August 9-11, the Arkansas pro is hopeful that some of his young baseball players will be able to swing by and see the Lake Hamilton bass he plans on catching. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Champlain

Top 10 Baits from Lake Champlain

June is a fantastic month to be on Lake Champlain, as the FLW Tour pros showcased at last week’s season finale, which was presented by T-H Marine. Smallmouths were spawning all over the place, but the winning pattern was catching postspawn largemouths down at Ticonderoga. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Champlain

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain is the kind of fishery that forces pros to make difficult decisions about where to go and what color of bass to target. This time around, in the FLW Tour 2019 finale, which was presented by T-H Marine, on the big Northern fishery, the decision was more interesting because there were spawning smallmouths everywhere up north, but the forecast was favorable for making the long run south to Ticonderoga to catch largemouths. READ MORE »

High School Championship Top 10 Baits

High School Championship Top 10 Baits

June is typically ledge-fishing season in the Tennessee Valley, especially at Pickwick, but the 2019 High School Fishing National Championship was a more diverse event than most folks might have expected. Patterns ranging from junk-fishing the bank to targeting docks and other shoreline cover to working the main-lake ledges all worked. Here are the baits used by the top 10 teams during the week. READ MORE »

Cicero and Snyder Win World Finals

Cicero and Snyder Win World Finals

Anthony Cicero IV and Dakota Snyder went right to their spot, locked up a big limit early and about six and a half hours later, brought what would be the winning sack of 16 pounds, 6 ounces to McFarland Park where the Elizabethtown High School duo won the 10th Annual High School Fishing World Finals. READ MORE »

World Finals Midday Update - Day 4

World Finals Midday Update - Day 4

Pickwick is big lake, but even this 53-mile long TVA reservoir gets weary and the first half of the day told a tale of occasional opportunity, but a lot of waiting and hoping as 31 teams competed in the final day of the 10th annual High School Fishing World Finals. READ MORE »