UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Lake Champlain

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Staging Game Key at Santee Cooper

Staging Game Key at Santee Cooper

According to two Santee Cooper experts, the upcoming Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event presented by Frabill on the famed South Carolina fishery March 10-12 should produce plenty of big bass, even though it might fall just short of being a full-blown slugfest.

“I think we’re going to be a bit early,” says Santee Cooper legend Ken Ellis of Bowman, S.C. “There might be a few fish that try to move up and spawn in the backwater ponds on the new moon [the day before the tournament], but historically Santee’s biggest spawning waves are at the end of March and in April.”

Ellis would know. his Costa FLW Series record on Santee Cooper is pretty impressive. Among his numerous top 10s he’s claimed three wins and two runner-up finishes, plus three other top fives. His BFL resume at Santee Cooper is just as long.

Ellis’ favored game at Santee is to skip wacky-rigged Yamamoto Senkos and Zoom Trick Worms to cypress tree bases on light spinning tackle.

“It’s going to be too early for that this time around,” says the former Santee Cooper guide. “I think there will still be a lot of fish out deeper and staging up to spawn. It will probably be similar to the last time it was here [in 2014] when Linwood Thornhill dominated it fishing out deeper.

“This time of year we typically see fewer fish, but they are big,” Ellis continues. “We will likely see catches of three bass that weigh 18 pounds or four bass that weigh 22 pounds – something like that.”

When Thornhill won during this same week of the month two years ago, he weighed in just four bass on day one for 23 pounds, 12 ounces. But that paled in comparison to the four fish his winning co-angler, Marvin Reese, weighed in on the final day. Those fish pushed the scale to 32-10.

“Those are the size fish you catch fishing that deeper staging bite this time of year,” Ellis adds. “Rat-L-Traps and crankbaits fished in the staging ditches will probably be a strong pattern. Also, the swamp above I-95 will probably produce a few big bags, too.”

Santee Cooper Map

Santee Cooper is actually comprised of two enormous lakes: Lake Marion (the “upper lake”) and Lake Moultrie (the “lower lake”). Years ago when hydrilla was at its peak in Moultrie, the lower lake received a lot of the fishing attention. In recent years, however, Marion has come on strong, giving anglers reason to give the upper lake a fair shake in practice.

Kent Ware of Guntersville, Ala., who has been runner-up in the FLW Series and Walmart Bass Fishing League on Santee Cooper, loves the two big lakes. As a former fisheries biologist for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Ware used to live in Wadmalaw Island, S.C. During those years he fished Santee Cooper quite often. He says reinvigorated vegetation in the upper lake combined with higher water levels the last few years have led to better spawns, making the upper lake a viable option.

Current reports on water temperature say it’s hovering in the 52- to 54-degree range in the main lake with 57 degrees a possibility in the backwaters. Water levels have been high, and the water color has been on the stained side of normal for Santee.

“If it stays warm through practice we may see a wave of spawners move into the ponds, but I doubt it will be the main wave,” Ware says. “The big wave usually doesn’t happen until the end of March and through April. That’s when Santee really shines.”

Both Ellis and Ware agree that the best-case scenario for a slugfest this week will come in the form of calm conditions with little wind. Both believe that if anglers can get in open water and effectively fish the migration ditches and staging brush piles for big female prespawners all day, there could be some big numbers posted atop the leaderboard.

 

Tournament Details

The Costa FLW Series Southeast Division event on Santee Cooper is a three-day tournament held March 10-12. All pros and co-anglers fish the first two days, and the top 10 anglers in each division based on cumulative two-day weight qualify to fish on day three. The heaviest three-day cumulative weight wins.

Anglers will take off from John C. Land III Landing 4404 Greenall Road, Summerton, S.C. 29148 at 7:00 a.m. ET each morning. Day one and two weigh-ins are at the John C. Land III Landing at 3 p.m. The final day weigh-in will be held at Walmart on 2010 Paxville Hwy, Manning, S.C. 29102 at 4:00 p.m. ET.

Fans at home can tune in to the weigh-ins via FLW Live.

Click here for complete details.

 

Follow FLW

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Periscope

Tags: rob-newell  pre-tournament  2016-03-10-santee-cooper 

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 »

Summertime on Champlain

Summertime on Champlain

For three years running now, the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits has kicked off on Lake Champlain. The tournament, which is presented by Polaris, should offer great fishing like usual, but it’s going to be far different than the last two FLW Series tilts on the big Northern lake. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Champlain

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Champlain

FLW Live is back for the season finale of the FLW Tour on Lake Champlain. The event, which is presented by T-H Marine and hosted by the City of Plattsburgh and Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau runs Thursday, June 27 through Sunday, June 30. READ MORE »

Exploring Champlain with Strelic

Exploring Champlain with Strelic

Living about as far as possible from Champlain, Wade Strelic is looking to finish his rookie season strong at the FLW Tour finale. Hailing from Alpine, Calif., near San Diego, Strelic is sitting 28th in points and has made the check cut in three out of six events so far – another good derby will lock him in to the FLW Cup. READ MORE »

Nelson Wraps Champlain Practice

Nelson Wraps Champlain Practice

Ron Nelson is easily in the group of favorites in the event and a bonafide Northern expert, so I was eager to hop in the boat for a morning with the smallie snatcher. Champlain isn’t fishing quite like it was the years he won, but Nelson is still guaranteed to have a lot of eyes on him come day one. READ MORE »

Scouting for Smallies with Felix

Scouting for Smallies with Felix

Over the years, a lot of anglers have established impressive records on Lake Champlain, but few have done it as quickly and authoritatively as Austin Felix. READ MORE »

Get to Know Lake Champlain

Get to Know Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain is a giant of a lake. It stretches 100-plus miles from its beginning down south at Whitehall, N.Y., and runs all the way up to the Canadian border between the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Adirondacks in New York. Though the competitors aren’t allowed to venture into Canada, there is still plenty for anglers to break down for the final event of the 2019 FLW Tour season. READ MORE »

Top High Schoolers Headed for Pickwick

Top High Schoolers Headed for Pickwick

This week, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) reservoir touching Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama pulls double duty for a joint production of the High School Fishing National Championship (Wednesday-Friday) and the 10th annual Student Angler Federation High School Fishing World Finals (Wednesday-Saturday). READ MORE »

2019 Lake Champlain Preview

2019 Lake Champlain Preview

Champlain is such a fun location for a tournament in large part because of the unpredictability involved. Nelson winning last year’s Costa FLW Series tilt with all smallmouths was something of a surprise, but given the conditions, it made plenty of sense. Exactly what will go down this year is legitimately up in the air. READ MORE »

By the Numbers: Lake Champlain

By the Numbers: Lake Champlain

The 2019 FLW Tour season comes to a close later this month on Lake Champlain, a lake that just about guarantees a fun finish and lots of smallmouths. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 1

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 1

In today’s morning story, James Biggs made several predictions for the first day of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Based on what our media team saw this morning, Biggs’ predictions are basically spot on. Two-thirds of the field is fishing up shallow, and there aren't many big bass to speak of. READ MORE »

High Water, Good Fishing at Rayburn

High Water, Good Fishing at Rayburn

Thanks to Mother Nature, the second stop of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division, which was originally scheduled to take place on Grand Lake, will now take place at Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Rayburn was supposed to host the division finale, but extreme high water on Grand forced the swap. The tournament, which is presented by Mercury Marine, kicks off on Thursday. READ MORE »

FLW Live for College Championship

FLW Live for College Championship

This week FLW Live is back for the 2019 YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship on the Potomac River. The event, which is presented by Lowrance and hosted by The Commissioners of Charles County, Md., and Dept. of Recreation, Parks & Tourism, runs Tuesday, June 4 through Thursday, June 6. READ MORE »

Breaking Down the All-American Field

Breaking Down the All-American Field

When the anglers in the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American start competition on the Potomac they’ll be up against the absolute cream of the crop of FLW’s grassroots ranks. READ MORE »

Table Rock Midday Update – Day 2

Table Rock Midday Update – Day 2

Fishing pressure and a cold front have shut down the bite at Table Rock Lake for stop No. 2 of the Costa FLW Series Central Division season. The lake's largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass are not coming easy. READ MORE »

Spawn in Full Bloom on Table Rock

Spawn in Full Bloom on Table Rock

Stop No. 2 of the Costa FLW Series Central Division should shape up to be quite the catchfest. Coming off of the division opener on Kentucky Lake, where pros were challenged with tough fishing, this week’s event, which is presented by Power-Pole and hosted by Explore Branson, should be stellar in terms of both numbers and quality of fish.  READ MORE »

Going Shallow with Lawyer

Going Shallow with Lawyer

Heading into the sixth stop of the year on Chickamauga, which is presented by Evinrude, Lawyer says he’s looking to go easy and make sure he’s on the road to Hot Springs this August for his third shot at a Cup title. With that in mind, I was happy to hop aboard and see the shallow side of Chickamauga. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Chickamauga

FLW Live Schedule for Chickamauga

FLW Live is back for 2019 FLW Tour stop No. 6 on the big-fish waters of Lake Chickamauga. The event, which is presented by Evinrude and hosted by Fish Dayton and the Rhea Economic & Tourism Council, runs Thursday, May 2 through Sunday, May 5. READ MORE »

Get to Know Lake Chickamauga

Get to Know Lake Chickamauga

The 2019 FLW Tour event at Lake Chickamauga, which is presented by Evinrude, is hitting the lake before the primary offshore migration has occurred, which means that some ledge fishing will take place, but a whole mess of other patterns should play as well. Here’s a look at where the anglers will be competing this week. READ MORE »

By the Numbers: Lake Chickamauga

By the Numbers: Lake Chickamauga

The FLW Tour’s sixth stop of the season is Lake Chickamauga in east Tennessee. One of the gems of the South for hunting monster bass, the Lake of the Giants promises big fish – and lots of them – and perhaps the best chance of seeing the century mark broken this season. READ MORE »