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


Top 5 Patterns from Hartwell Day 3

John Cox waits with the net for a dandy.

The sight-fishing showdown continued on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour presented by Evinrude and hosted by the Anderson Convention & Visitors Bureau at Lake Hartwell. The inclement rainy conditions that were forecasted never materialized and leaders were able to spy new fish on beds.

Day three leader Clark Wendlandt was one who shrugged off a few clouds and a little bit of wind to find new fish moving up and locking on. He moved to the top of the leaderboard and every one under him basically shifted down a spot.

With the exception of Larry Nixon, everyone else in the top five also targeted spawners. Here is a look at how day three shook out.

Complete results 

Wendlandt's leading pattern

John Cox (51-4)

2. John Cox – DeBary, Fla. – 51-4 (15)

Day two leader John Cox slipped from the top spot with 14 pounds, 3 ounces to second. Cox says a number of his fish were either gone or hard to catch, but he still managed to pluck five off the beds to keep a possible win in his sights.

“This morning, I went straight to a 3-pounder I found yesterday, caught it pretty quick and I thought it’s all good,” Cox says. “Then I ran like 15 more beds I had marked and nothing. The beds were either empty or the fish was like sitting 10 feet off to the side and didn’t want to play.”

When the clouds rolled in, Cox took a break from sight fishing, called an audible and ran into the back of a creek to fish stained water. But that yielded little results.

“I caught two or three little keepers here and there and at the end of the day I ran back to where my two best fish were on beds,” Cox says. “I caught both of them – they were about 3 pounds piece – and it saved my day.”

Cox says he has a plan for tomorrow that he does not want to reveal but hinted he has been saving a piece of water all week for the final day.


3. Darrel Robertson – Jay, Okla. – 47-1 (15)

Darrel Robertson fell one spot to third with 12 pounds, 4 ounces.

Robertson, too, sight fished some fish and wacky-rigged some as well.

“No matter if I’m sight fishing or just going down the bank, I’m pretty much just throwing a wacky rig,” Robertson reveals. “I just skip it to docks and points and brush while I’m looking. If I see one on bed, I’ll fire it over there a couple of times until I get the fish to eat. But it’s been a pretty simple tournament for me lure wise.”

Robertson says he is still flirting with the idea of running up one of the rivers tomorrow, just for a change of pace.

“I’m tired of looking at some of this stuff down here,” he adds. “Maybe I’ll run up and see if they’ll bite a wacky worm up there.”


Both the fish and lure go airborne, but they're no longer attached.

4. Larry Nixon – Bee Branch, Ark. – 46-7 (15)

Larry Nixon also dropped one spot to fourth with a catch of 12 pounds, 10 ounces for a total of 46-7.

Nixon says his prespawn spotted bass pattern is starting to fizzle and he thinks it’s because the big females are finally starting to lock down on beds that are too deep to see.

“I’ve seen this before,” Nixon recalls. “Those big female spots move up to stage on points. And you can catch them good for a day or two. You don’t get many bites, but they’re all big ones – that was my first day. Then after that, as males move in to make beds, the number of fish goes up but the quality goes down. And that’s exactly what has happened to me the last two days. I caught more fish today, but they were much smaller.”


Bryan Thrift (46-4)

5. Bryan Thrift – Shelby, N.C. – 46-4 (15)

Bryan Thrift blog

Fair warning: Bryan Thrift is in fifth place, which is what place he was in before he won Santee Cooper last week. Yes, he is about 6 pounds behind at Hartwell, which is steep, but never count “Thrifty” out – especially in the Carolinas.

Thrift revealed today that most of his fish this week have come from fishing a 4-inch Damiki Stinger wacky-rigged. He skips it to any cover in front of him while looking for beds. When he finds a fish on bed, if it will not take the Stinger after a few casts, he goes after them with a Damiki Air Craw

Tags: lake-hartwell  rob-newell  headline-story  2016-03-17-lake-hartwell 


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