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

Dallas Baptist Wins with Finesse

Dallas Baptist Wins with Finesse
Zackery Hines and Reed Foster of Dallas Baptist University primarily targeted docks with finesse baits to win the Southern Conference Championship on Grand Lake.

In fishing, there are some situations you can’t prepare for. Consider, for instance, what would likely happen if a boat breaks down on the way out from takeoff on the first day of a major competition. Figuratively speaking, at least, the anglers in it would be sunk.

That was the potential nightmare scenario faced by Zackery Hines and Reed Foster of Dallas Baptist University at the FLW College Fishing Southern Conference Championship on Grand Lake Oct. 17-18.

Lucky for them, when their lower unit seized up it occurred right outside a creek with a small marina composed of floating docks, and they were able to turn one of life’s lemons into lemonade. As the Patriot anglers had uncovered a dock-fishing pattern during their two and a half days of practice, they trolled in to the marina waters and did their best, sans outboard power. The result was a limit of 10 pounds, 5 ounces that set Hines and Foster up to go on and win the two-day tournament with a total weight of 25-3.

 

Figuring Out Finesse

During practice, the Patriots had great success throwing moving baits in open water in the mornings and then fishing docks once the sun got up. But the real key to their win was shifting their focus from that two-part pattern to a strictly finesse approach in the wake of a last-minute cold front.

“The first thing we did when we got there [to Grand Lake during practice] was we noticed the water temperature was in the low 70s, and we noticed a lot of bait,” recalls Hines. “We figured the fish would be active and we could get on a typical fall pattern up shallow with moving baits.

“Then a front came through overnight on Thursday night, so when we got out Friday the air temperature was 15 to 20 degrees lower and it was a lot windier,” he adds. “The water temperature dropped about 3 degrees.”

By tournament day on Saturday, the water temp had eased into the upper 60s. Hines and Foster knew they had to slow down. Not having a big motor to run-and-gun reinforced the need for the more methodical approach.

“We threw weightless Senkos,” Hines says. “My partner threw a wacky rig. I threw one rigged Texas-style with a nail weight in the back end so it would sink a little faster and at an angle to get under the dock. We wanted to have two different presentations.

“Everyone else around us was throwing moving baits, and they were really struggling,” he adds. “We were slowing down big time and getting a lot better quality bites.”

By the end of the day, they’d slow-fished their way to a limit, and fellow Dallas Baptist anglers Trent Newman and Nathan Wood picked up Reed, who hauled his and Hines’ fish to weigh-in, while his partner waited for assistance with the boat.

Newman and Wood finished 18th and therefore didn’t make the cut to fish day two. Consequently, they loaned Hines and Reed their boat for the second day of competition.

 

Freedom to Move

While day one had been cloudy, the post-frontal conditions continued to change, and day two was sunny with less wind.

Hines and Reed returned to the area they’d fished on the first day and caught a couple of solid keepers right away.

“We made a move to an area that we found in practice,” Hines says. “We went to the very back of what’s called Horse Creek, where we’d found some shallow docks. Through the first five docks we caught three keepers, and one was a kicker of almost 4 pounds. We had a limit by 10:30 and were culling after that.”

A few fish did take moving baits on day two, but all of the team’s quality bites came as a result of slower tactics. A Santone Lures jig produced one kicker, another fell for a Texas-rigged Zoom Baby Brush Hog and the rest of the limit fillers ate the same finesse Senko rigs as the pair fished on day one.

“I felt like that creek wasn’t a really pressured area because when we went back in practice there weren’t a lot of people back there,” Hines adds. “In practice we caught several good fish back there and left it alone the rest of the time. It was a back-up spot in case we needed it. There was bait out in the mouth of the cove, and in the back the water was stained, while everywhere else was clearer. I think it worked in our favor to find that shallow, stained water.”

 

2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship Qualifiers

1. Dallas Baptist University – Zackery Hines and Reed Foster – 25-3 (10) – $4,000

2. University of Central Oklahoma– Brock Enmeier and Colten Hutson – 22-7 (9) – $2,000

3. University of Arkansas – Drew Porto and Zachary Pickle – 19-15 (10) – $1,000

4. Stephen F. Austin State University – Shelby Hutchens and Brian Blades – 19-0 (9) – $1,000

5. Southeastern Oklahoma State University – Dwight Camp and Jonathan Furlong – 17-14 (9) – $1,000    

6. Colorado Mesa University – Josh Worth and Kennedy Kinkade – 17-7 (8)

7. Texas A&M University – Josh Bensema and Matthew McArdle – 16-10 (7)

8. Tarleton State University – Jacob Beyer and Dakota Ebare – 15-12 (7)

9. University of Oklahoma – Charles Vang and Landon Dixon – 14-10 (7)

10. Henderson State University – Michael Gross and Cobey Wingfield – 12-14 (6)

*11. Northwestern State University – John Ledet and Justin Cooper – 12-8 (6)

 

* The University of Arkansas team of Drew Porto and Zachary Pickle had already qualified for the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship by winning the inaugural FLW College Fishing Open tournament on Kentucky Lake last spring. Because Porto and Pickle finished in third place in the Conference Championship, thus double-qualifying, FLW extended a National Championship invitation to the 11th-place team of John Ledet and Justin Cooper from Northwestern State University.

 

Complete results can be found here.

Tags: dallas-baptist-university  grand-lake  curtis-niedermier  post-tournament  2015-10-17-conference-championship-grand-lake 

Sharp Blasts 40 Pounds to Win on Rayburn

Sharp Blasts 40 Pounds to Win on Rayburn

Winning a tournament is always pretty cool, but winning the way Anthony Sharp did in the second Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event in the Cowboy Division presented by A.R.E. is next-level. Weighing 40 pounds, 6 ounces of Sam Rayburn bass, the Village Mills, Texas, angler beat second place by more than 21 pounds. For the win, which was his first with FLW, Sharp took home a total of $7,000.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the St. Johns

Top 10 Baits from the St. Johns

The St. Johns River was in a bit of a funk for the Toyota Series Southern Division opener. Instead of a full-on spawning slugfest, a couple cold fronts and quickly changing wind and water conditions kept fish moving in and out. The anglers chasing them had to stay on their toes. Plenty of pros did find quality fish, though, and they did so with a lot of familiar baits when it comes to late-winter fishing in Florida. Right now, it’s all about the black and blue plastics on the St. Johns. READ MORE »

Timing Right for Giant Weights at Chickamauga

Timing Right for Giant Weights at Chickamauga

If it’s big bass you want, late winter and early spring are ideal times to catch them at Lake Chickamauga, which is why the 2020 Toyota Series Central Division opener is perfectly timed to be a big-bass slugfest. The tournament, which runs Feb. 27-29, could produce some of the biggest five-bass limits FLW will see all year. Just how good the fishing will be depends on the weather, and whether the region ever sees an end to the rain that’s been falling recently.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Toledo Bend

Top 10 Patterns from Toledo Bend

The general consensus before the first Toyota Series Southwestern Division stop on Toledo Bend was that local knowledge could go a long way being the Sabine River impoundment was a little fickle. That was spot on. Aside from winner Cody Huff, the rest of the top 10 was an all-star cast of locals.   READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Toledo Bend

Top 10 Baits from Toledo Bend

Fishing offshore was the way to go for the majority of the top pros and because of that a Carolina rig, football jig and deep-diving crankbait were the main players for most of the field. Getting the win, Cody Huff relied on a jigging spoon and his graphs to hunt down suspended fish, proving that heavy metal never goes out of style for bass. READ MORE »

Big Bags Expected at Bama Division Kickoff on Lake Martin

Big Bags Expected at Bama Division Kickoff on Lake Martin

Big largemouths and lots of spots are the main attractions at Alabama’s Lake Martin, where the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Bama Division kicks off its 2020 season Feb. 8. Local hammer David Gaston, who’s won the last two Bama events at Martin, expects a typical wintertime tournament this season with solid weights across the board. READ MORE »

Wooten Wins Marshal Contest on Rayburn

Wooten Wins Marshal Contest on Rayburn

You’re never too old to try something new. Just ask Ron Wooten. Wooten, who’s 71 years old and retired from the offshore oil construction industry, heard about the FLW Marshal program from a couple friends who had previously marshaled FLW events. They recommended it, he took their advice, and now he has an extra $2,500 to show for it. READ MORE »

Warm, Wet Winter Setting up Big Weights at Murray

Warm, Wet Winter Setting up Big Weights at Murray

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine kicks off its 2020 South Carolina Division schedule at the Jewel of South Carolina, Lake Murray, which is the former host site for multiple FLW Cup events. Murray is full of big bass and can churn out weights in the upper 20s if conditions line up right. Thus far in 2020, warm, wet conditions have been great for bass fishing. Though patterns might vary slightly from a “normal” winter, competitors can expect to have a good time fishing shallow with power-fishing baits.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Even when the bite is tough, Sam Rayburn is a power-fishing lake through and through. Sure, a spinning rod showed up here and there throughout the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit opener, but it was Carolina rigs, lipless crankbaits and vibrating jigs that dominated in the hands of the top 10 pros. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Sam Rayburn

Top 10 Patterns from Sam Rayburn

Sam Rayburn is one of the best bass fishing lakes in the country, but it sure didn’t show its full potential during the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit season opener. Cold fronts, high winds, fluctuating water temps and transitioning fish had the fishing jumbled. The patterns the top 10 pros employed throughout the week followed suit. READ MORE »

Daniel Fennel to Direct Pro Circuit

Daniel Fennel to Direct Pro Circuit

At the registration meeting for this week’s Pro Circuit season opener at Sam Rayburn Reservoir, FLW announced that Daniel had been promoted to senior director of tournament operations for the Pro Circuit, FLW Series and Phoenix Bass Fishing League, with responsibilities to include directing the Pro Circuit. Bill Taylor, who served as tournament director for the FLW Tour from 2001 through 2019, has been promoted to senior director of operations, where he’ll lend his expertise acquired through more than two decades as a tournament director toward logistics, angler relations and event planning for all FLW circuits. READ MORE »

Big Prespawn Potential at Toledo Bend

Big Prespawn Potential at Toledo Bend

Toledo Bend is a legendary reservoir that straddles the border between Texas and Louisiana. It spans some 65 miles along the impounded Sabine River, which runs north to south, and sprawls across about 185,000 acres at full pool. Though Toledo Bend has a number of major tributaries along its length, the bulk of the reservoir is its straight, wide-open main-lake span. READ MORE »

Florida Spawn: Key on Bottom Hardness

Florida Spawn: Key on Bottom Hardness

According to FLW Pro Circuit angler Tim Frederick, who’s lived in Florida since he was 4 years old, one of the most important factors for successfully locating both spawning and staging bass in the coming weeks is bottom hardness. In most situations, the harder the bottom the better, but there’s more to it than that. READ MORE »

Gator Division Kicking off at St. Johns River

Gator Division Kicking off at St. Johns River

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League’s popular Gator Division, which is presented by A.R.E., kicks off its 2020 season on Saturday, Jan. 11 at the St. Johns River near Palatka, Fla. READ MORE »

The Top 50 Stories of the Decade - Part 2

The Top 50 Stories of the Decade - Part 2

From start to finish, the last decade was a wild ride for fishing. The top stories are amazingly diverse, with huge business changes, some incredible tournament feats, and entirely new techniques and lures taking center stage. READ MORE »

The Top 50 Stories of the Decade

The Top 50 Stories of the Decade

From start to finish, the last decade was a wild ride for fishing. The top stories are amazingly diverse, with huge business changes, some incredible tournament feats, and entirely new techniques and lures taking center stage. READ MORE »

Be Aggressive to Catch Big Spots Now

Be Aggressive to Catch Big Spots Now

When FLW pro Alex Davis isn’t hunting trophy bucks in the fall, he spends a lot of days fishing for big bass that are binging on shad in the reservoirs of north Alabama. In particular, fall is a killer time to fish jerkbaits with high-speed, aggressive tactics in clear-water reservoirs for spotted bass – for both size and numbers. READ MORE »

Why You Should Crank Current Breaks Now

Why You Should Crank Current Breaks Now

“It’s almost like a wintertime pattern already,” Salzman says. “It’s kind of interesting. Because it’s been so hot and then so cold, the fish kind of got into the mouths of the creeks this year and never fully pushed into them. The majority of the bait is on the main lake on every lake in Alabama. The water temp was falling so quickly that the back bays were too cold, so the most stable water is on the main lake.” READ MORE »

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 »