UPCOMING EVENT: YETI College Fishing - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Top 10 Patterns from the Ohio River

Trevor Fitzgerald hauls on one.

 Hanselman dominated the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River by opting to fish for smallmouths in the connected Tennessee River below Kentucky Dam. Hanselman was not alone in opting to fish the Tennessee. In fact, he was joined by six other members of the top 10.

Here is a closer look at how the rest of the top 10 fished in the Championship, which was hosted by the Paducah Convention & Visitors Bureau and the City of Paducah Oct. 28-31.

Hanselman's winning pattern

Complete results 

Todd Kline's winning co-angler pattern

 

Brandon Perkins hoists two of the slammer smallies he rode to second place and the Cup.

2. Brandon Perkins – Counce, Tenn. – 38 pounds, 9 ounces

Video interview with Perkins

Brandon Perkins relied on his background knowledge of Tennessee River current and smallmouths, gleaned from fishing Pickwick Lake, to finish runner-up in the Rayovac FLW Series Championship.

Perkins put in four days of pre-practice and concentrated much of that time on using side-imaging in the Tennessee River to find rock piles and other current breaks in various depths.

In all, Perkins found 15 likely offshore current breaks that suited his liking. During the event he burned a Strike King 6XD (chartreuse blue back) crankbait through the current breaks in 10 to 15 feet of water to trigger reaction bites from smallmouths. He fished the crankbait on a 7-foot, 11-inch Hammer rod.

“I had to go down to 10-pound-test Seaguar fluorocarbon to get the bait down where it needed to be,” Perkins says. “It was a heck of a risk to go to such light line in rocks for big smallmouths, but it’s what I had to do to get the bites. Once I got one hooked up I would play it forever to get it in the boat.”

Perkins also caught a couple of his weigh fish during the week on a 3/4-ounce spinnerbait fluttered down through the rocks.

 

3. Trevor Fitzgerald – Belleview, Fla. – 38 pounds, 2 ounces

Video interview with Fitzgerald

Trevor Fitzgerald had the comeback story of the Championship. It started on day one when he caught just one keeper weighing 1 pound, 15 ounces. But on day two he caught a bag of smallmouths weighing 18-11 to rocket into 10th, the last qualifying spot for Saturday’s final round.

On the final day, Fitzgerald continued his climb up the leaderboard with 17-8 to finish third.

“I’ve never weighed in a smallmouth in my life until this tournament,” Fitzgerald says. “We don’t have those brown fish in Florida, but I have to admit, they’re pretty fun to tangle with.”

The difference in Fitzgerald’s fortunes was switching rivers. On day one he tried to fish the Cumberland, which had become high and muddy. On day two he switched to the Tennessee River and hit pay dirt.

“I had several rock piles I had side-scanned in the Tennessee during practice,” he says. “I went and checked them the second day, and one of them had a barge parked right overtop of it. At first I didn’t think I would be able to fish it because most of the rock pile was under the barge. So I started casting to the nose of the barge and sort of drifted my jig under the barge into the rock pile – then it was game on. I started catching them one after another from underneath the barge. It was crazy.”

Fitzgerald’s primary bait for the smallies was a homemade jig (green pumpkin) with a Zoom Fat Albert twin-tail grub fished on 15-pound-test Seaguar line. He says that in order to make the jig “roll under the barge” he had to switch from a 3/4-ounce jig to a 1/2-ounce jig.

“Lightening up the jig allowed the current to take it up under the barge, and that made the difference,” he says.

On the final day, Fitzgerald switched to a 4 1/2-inch True Bass Little Head swimbait on a 3/4-ounce Revenge swimbait head to do his damage. He fished both baits on his own Fitzgerald Rods medium heavy-action 7-foot, 3-inch Stunner HD. 

 

Brian Holder picks up to roll - he was really scrambling around on the final day.

4. Brian Holder – Belmont, N.C. – 37 pounds, 4 ounces

Brian Holder played out a junk-fishing strategy along the Tennessee River for a fourth-place showing in the Championship.

Holder’s best spots were pea gravel points and the eddies behind them. But since he only had two of those types of places, he had to improvise with other current breaks such as boulders, riprap, bridge pilings and creek mouths.

His best three lures on the week were crankbaits: a Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad chrome), a Rapala DT10 and a DT14. He fished all the cranks on 14-pound-test line and selected each according to the depth of the current break.

“That river claimed so many of my crankbaits this week,” Holder says. “I got hung up so many times that by the final day, I was using whatever color DTs I could find in my box.”

 

Nick Prvonozac holds up a good one for the crowd at the final weigh-in.

5. Nick Prvonozac – Warren, Ohio – 36 pounds, 10 ounces

Nick Prvonozac spent his week in the Tennessee River as well, but he targeted largemouths and didn’t weigh in a single smallie.

On the first two days Prvonozac stayed inside the creeks in the Tennessee, flipping a YUM Wooly Bug to laydowns on the bank. He rigged the Wooly Bug with a 1/2-ounce weight and fished it on 17-pound-test Silver Thread Fluorocarbon.

A hard drop in water level prior to day three left the creeks dry, and Prvonozac had to resort to umbrella rigging near the Kentucky Dam with a YUMbrella Flash Mob Jr. with 4-inch swimbaits.

Even when using the umbrella rig near the tailrace, Prvonozac still caught only largemouths.

“Isn’t that crazy?” he questions. “I’m from Ohio. I fish Erie all the time, and all I could catch in this river was largemouths.”

 

Tyler Suddarth has improved slightly each day and is in the hunt and in fourth place.

6. Tyler Suddarth – Valdosta, Ga. – 35 pounds, 14 ounces

Video interview with Suddarth

Tyler Suddarth went rigging and jigging on the Tennessee River for his sixth-place finish.

In practice, Suddarth found five specific deep current breaks in the Tennessee that were made up of rock piles or pea gravel. Each day he would rotate among the breaks with Carolina rigs and jigs.

For the Carolina rigging, he used a Gambler Burner Craw or a Big Bite Baits Fighting Craw, both in green pumpkin. Suddarth was diligent in making sure each craw’s pincers were dipped in just the right amount of chartreuse before being offered up to the smallies.

In the jig department, Suddarth used a 1/2-ounce Strike King football jig teamed with a Burner Craw and a 3/8-ounce football-style shaky head with a Burner Craw as well.

In addition, he fluttered a 3/4-ounce spinnerbait down around deep rock piles for a couple of keepers.

 

7. David Barnes Sr. – China, Maine – 35 pounds, 4 ounces

Barnes' day one pattern

David Barnes Sr. shocked the weigh-in crowd on day one when he toted five smallmouths across the stage that ended up weighing 21 pounds. Barnes’ day-one catch was the first indicator that the Rayovac FLW Series Championship would be dominated by hefty smallmouths from the Tennessee River.

Barnes’ primary strategy was to drift and roll a Carolina rig though big holes and depressions in flats where smallmouths were tucked in out of the current.

His plastic of choice on the rig was a 4-inch Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Craw (green pumpkin) with the pincers dipped in chartreuse. He fished the rig on 15-pound-test line and inserted a worm rattle into the body for extra noise.

“I used a 1/2-ounce weight on the rig because I wanted it to naturally drift and roll with the current into the holes,” Barnes says. “Anything heavier and it would hang up and not look as natural.”

 

Jeff Hippert ended up eighth and qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup.

8. Jeff Hippert – Hamburg, N.Y. – 35 pounds, 3 ounces

Jeff Hippert utilized two rivers for his eighth-place finish in the Championship.

On day one, Hippert fished in the Tennessee and focused on small cuts and washouts along the main banks of the river. One days two and three, he stayed close to Paducah on the Ohio, looking for current breaks.

His go-to lures on each river included a Zoom Finesse Worm (green pumpkin) on a 1/8-ounce shaky head and a Rapala DT10 in Helsinki shad.

Hippert notes that he soaked his Finesse Worms in goby oil before the tournament began to give them a little more scent in the river currents.

 

Bill Chapman + co-angler Lorne Dornak = a fish in the boat.

9. Bill Chapman – Salt Rock, W.Va. – 34 pounds, 8 ounces

If you were wondering if there were any other top-10 finalists that did anything else other than target smallmouths in the Tennessee River, then Bill Chapman is your man.

Each day, Chapman ran far up into the Smithland Pool to catch largemouths and spotted bass on wood targets with a crankbait.

His lure of choice was a Lucky Craft 1.5 square-bill that was hand-painted in a splatterback pattern. He fished it on 12-pound-test line and made casts to shallow logs buried in flats.

A sudden drop in water mid-tournament left his logs high and dry, and Chapman had to resort to fishing down the creek channels with a 5/16-ounce Eakins Jig trailed with a Cabin Creek twin-tail grub.

 

10. Denny Brauer – Del Rio, Texas – 33 pounds, 4 ounces

Fishing legend Denny Brauer also made runs to the Smithland Pool the first two days to make a top-10 finish in the Championship.

Surprisingly, though, flipping and pitching, which Brauer is known for, were not at the top of the list of the pro’s techniques in Smithland. Instead, he spent much of the tournament fishing logs and stumps with a Strike King HC Flat Side crankbait (sexy blueblack herring) on 12-pound-test Seaguar Tatsu line.

On the final day, Brauer decided to stay close and fish near Paducah, but still relied on the Flat Side crankbait to catch his bass.

Tags: ohio-river  tennessee-river  rob-newell  post-tournament  2015-10-29-ohio-river 

/news/2019-02-11-top-10-patterns-from-lake-toho

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Toho

While the Lake Toho FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats fell basically right on top of a wave of spawning bass piling into the shallows, many of the top finishers targeted bass that were staging out or transitioning to or from their beds. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-11-top-10-baits-from-toho

Top 10 Baits from Toho

The second stop of the 2019 FLW Tour landed right on the spawn on Lake Toho and the other lakes on the Kissimmee Chain. Top finishers caught bass in all phases of the spawn. Collectively, they used just about every bait you’ll ever need if you want to catch a bass this time of year in the Sunshine State. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-11-marshal-program-a-big-hit-for-hughes

Marshal Program a Big Hit for Hughes

Retired minister Dan Hughes made the most money he’s ever banked in a fishing tournament, and he did it without even picking up a rod. The 70-year-old Fitzgerald, Ga., resident was the winner of FLW’s marshal contest at the Tour’s second stop of the season at Lake Toho, presented by Ranger Boats. Paired with John Cox on day one and Chris Neau on day two, Hughes’ pros combined for 41 pounds, 10 ounces during his two days on the water to take home the $2,500 top prize. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-05-top-10-patterns-from-okeechobee

Top 10 Patterns from Okeechobee

Whether it was a canal or small sections of the lake, each pro in the top chose to hunker down in an area and milk it for all it was worth in the season opener of the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division presented by Power-Pole. Here’s a look at how the action unfolded. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-04-top-10-baits-from-okeechobee

Top 10 Baits from Okeechobee

Lake Okeechobee wasn’t her normal self in the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division opener presented by Power-Pole. Bites were few and far between, but the top-10 pros dialed it in and got it done. Winner Nick Thliveros relied heavily on a crankbait and so did others, but Florida faithful’s like swim jigs, soft plastics and topwaters also fared well. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-21-sam-rayburn-on-youtube

Sam Rayburn on YouTube

With mandatory POV cameras and marshals this year, there's sure to more video footage than ever from the FLW Tour. In addition to simple fish catches like Andy Wicker's 11-pounder and Terry Bolton's 9-pounder, lots of pros are putting together longer videos and giving fans a front-row seat to practice and the tournament via YouTube. Below is the full gamut of videos pros have put out to this point.  READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-15-beight-rings-in-marshal-program-in-big-way

Beight Rings in Marshal Program in Big Way

Timmy Beight won the FLW Tour Sam Rayburn Marshal prize after marshaling for Jordan Osborne and Terry Bolton. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-15-top-10-patterns-from-sam-rayburn

Top 10 Patterns from Sam Rayburn

Fishing crankbaits, Carolina rigs and drop-shots around flooded hydrilla for Sam Rayburn Reservoir largemouths dominated the top 10 at the FLW Tour opener. Check out the top 10 patterns feature to learn more about effective patterns for working grass. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-15-top-10-baits-from-sam-rayburn

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Fishing deep-diving crankbait, dragging Carolina rigs and working finesse baits such as drop-shots were the keys to success at the FLW Tour opener at Sam Rayburn. Here are the bass-fishing baits that the top pros used. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-07-top-10-patterns-from-lake-amistad

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Amistad

Wintertime patterns with just a touch of prespawn action dominated the Costa FLW Series opener presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Amistad. Crankbaits, jerkbaits, umbrella rigs, swimbaits and drop-shots were the go-to baits used by the top finishers. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-06-top-10-baits-from-lake-amistad

Top 10 Baits from Lake Amistad

Wintertime bass fishing tactics dominated at Lake Amistad in January, as the top finishers relied on jerkbaits, crankbaits, drop-shots, swimbaits and umbrella rigs to get the job done. READ MORE »

/news/2018-11-12-corn-wins-wild-card

Corn Wins Wild Card

Faced with brutal conditions for the final event of the 2018 T-H Marine Bass Fishing League season, everyone who managed to catch anything in the Wild Card on Old Hickory Lake in central Tennessee accomplished something. READ MORE »

/news/2018-11-06-etbu-wins-on-toledo-bend

ETBU wins on Toledo Bend

The East Texas Baptist University duo of Brett Clark of Center, Texas, and Cody Ross of Livingston, Texas, won the YETI FLW College Fishing event on Toledo Bend presented by Bass Pro Shops Saturday with five bass weighing 19 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the Tiger’s bass club $2,400 and a slot in the 2019 FLW College Fishing National Championship, scheduled for June 4-6, 2019 at the Potomac River in Marbury, Maryland. READ MORE »

/news/2018-11-05-top-10-baits-from-lake-guntersville

Top 10 Baits from Lake Guntersville

You can flip it, frog it, punch it and fish any number of moving baits through it. It’s grass, of course, and Lake Guntersville is full of it. That’s why so many grass-fishing baits were in the mix among the top 10 finishers at the 2018 Costa FLW Series Championship on Guntersville. READ MORE »

/news/2018-11-05-top-10-patterns-from-lake-guntersville

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Guntersville

Aside from figuring out grass patterns, contestants in the championship had to deal with heavy pressure from another championship derby and major weather swings. Day one was cancelled due to the threat of severe storms, so the entire field fished Friday and Saturday. On day two, windy, overcast conditions forced many anglers to adjust. The wind died and the clouds lingered on Saturday, eventually parting and giving way to a beautiful autumn day on the water. READ MORE »

/news/2018-10-30-feldermann-consistent-for-ozark-win

Feldermann Consistent for Ozark Win

It’s been nearly 20 years since Mike Feldermann of Galena, Ill., has been to the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American. Now, after sacking up 45 pounds, 4 ounces of bass to win the 2018 BFL Regional presented by Mercury on Lake of the Ozarks, he’ll finally make it back to the prestigious championship. READ MORE »

/news/2018-10-14-top-10-baits-from-lake-of-the-ozarks

Top 10 Baits from Lake of the Ozarks

It may have felt like fall for the final Costa FLW Series Central Division event of the year on Lake of the Ozarks, but it didn’t exactly fish like it. The tournament, which was presented by Evinrude, saw fish caught from deep to shallow and it was clear that the majority of fish were in transition from their summer haunts to where they’ll feed up for fall. READ MORE »

/news/2018-10-08-top-10-patterns-from-fort-gibson

Top 10 Patterns from Fort Gibson

The Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury on Fort Gibson was one of the more challenging tournaments in recent memory. Consider that with 115 pros fishing over three days, there were only 13 limits caught, and it took just 18 pounds, 2 ounces for two days to make the top-10 cut. READ MORE »

/news/2018-10-08-top-10-baits-from-fort-gibson

Top 10 Baits from Fort Gibson

The final Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event of the year was a true grinder. In fact, both first and second place only landed 13 keepers all week on Fort Gibson. When it’s that tough, little differences between baits can sometimes make a difference. Below is what the top 10 threw to get it done. READ MORE »

/news/2018-10-06-first-top-10-is-a-win-for-burke

First Top 10 is a Win for Burke

For three years, Johnny Burke, a 63-year-old retired county commissioner from Creek County, Oklahoma, has been fishing the Costa FLW Series as a co-angler just hoping he might score a top 10. Today, Burke not only scored his first top-10 finish, but he took it all the way to the top spot for the win. READ MORE »