UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Lake Mead

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Top 10 Patterns from Kentucky Lake

The range of baits used by competitors in the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake shrank considerably between practice days earlier in the week and the tournament’s final round. Blame the deteriorating weather, which was characterized by passing cold fronts that dropped water temperatures and left gusting winds in its wake.

Though Kentucky Lake proved to be too stern a test for many of the college teams, Zach Hartnagel and Dalton Wesley of Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville found adjacent Lake Barkley to be more accommodating. They won the event with two productive days on the Cumberland River impoundment, which is connected to Kentucky Lake by a canal at their northern ends (See story here).

Otherwise, most of the top contenders who finished in the top 15 and earned a berth in the 2017 FLW College Fishing National Championship pinned their hopes on Kentucky Lake. Here’s how they did.

 

2. Bethel University, Carter McNeil and Cole Floyd, 33-1

The Wildcats from down the road at McKenzie, Tenn., brought 10 teams to the Open, but only one was in contention after the opening round. That was McNeil and Floyd, who jumped from 10th to second on the strength of a 17-pound, 1-ounce limit – the day’s best.

As anticipated, Coach Garry Mason’s roster spent most of the time fishing in familiar territory below the Paris Landing, Tenn., bridge, a boat ride of almost an hour and a half from tournament headquarters at Moors Resort & Marina.

McNeil and Floyd, both freshmen, settled on cranking Strike King Redeye Shad (bone white) in 2-3 feet of water.

“This was our first tournament in FLW College Fishing, so we were pretty pleased,” says Floyd.

 

3. Dallas Baptist University, Colt Benedict and Trent Newman, 32-6

For a team that had never laid eyes on Kentucky Lake before, the Patriots represented their school well with two solid stringers that only lacked a couple of fat prespawn females to put the anglers in contention for the title.

Benedict and Newman fished Sledd Creek and other bedding coves on the northwest side of the impoundment near the dam. They also keyed on bluff banks near the mouths of the coves.

“We had to fish really slow to catch anything,” says Newman. “We fished finesse jigs and shaky heads and probably our most productive spot was a big, deep flat that had a subtle ledge on the outside and softball-size rock on the bottom. We had a small limit by 8 o’clock [Saturday], but couldn’t upgrade.”  

 

4. University of Alabama, Ethan Flack and Caiden Sinclair, 32-1

Both anglers fished the 2015 Kentucky Lake Open, and Flack was on the Crimson Tide team that finished second. Flack and Sinclair parlayed the experience gained in that event to make their second trip to Kentucky Lake almost as successful.

“We never really got off the Alabama rig,” says Flack. “We used shad-colored swimbaits and just fished them down points and over humps in about 5 to 10 feet of water.”

Same script, different year for Flack, who also relied on an umbrella rig last year. Considering that Alabama only missed winning the 2015 Open by 8 ounces, it’s understandable.

“Actually, the fishing was better for us today [Saturday] than it was yesterday [Friday],” adds Flack. “We had our limit by 10 o’clock and then culled twice. The biggest difference for us is that we never really got on any good fish – fair limits, but nothing that’s going to lock up a tournament like this against competition like this.”

 

5. University of Louisiana- Monroe, Thomas Soileau and Hunter Freeman, 31-9

The Warhawks were one of several teams that made fruitful runs south to Tennessee waters and were able to move up in the standings from 15th place after day one. Soileau says the pair settled on fishing shallow bars in the New Johnsonville area where bass were staging in preparation for the spawn.

“We were dragging V&M football jigs [green pumpkin] with Rage Craw trailers across the bars,” notes Soileau. “It was slow going and we didn’t cull up any. We heard that the fishing had really been good here for the past couple of weeks, but it was sure tough for us. Still, we’re going to fish the national championship next year, so mission accomplished.”

 

6. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Stephen Smith and Graham Burke, 31-4

In college fishing circles, the first order of business is to catch enough bass in a tournament to contend. The second most important task usually involves keeping boating and fishing equipment in good working order. Given the limited budget and discretionary spending cap usually imposed on a college angler, however, that second requirement often goes wanting.

Considering the various boat problems they had to deal with during the course of the Open, then, Smith and Burke did OK for themselves. After their outboard conked out on day one, they came in to Moors on trolling motor power with a 16-14 sack that put them in 8th place. On day two, their boat broke down again – this time a bit farther away – and Burke had to return to the weigh-in with their fish while Smith remained with their boat.  More than 16 pounds on day one and 14-pounds-plus on day two – every angler should have such breakdowns.

“We fished riprap points and banks with shaky heads and jigs and really just stayed around this area,” Burke told the weigh-in crowd at Moors. “We couldn’t really go very far, so we fished slow the whole time and probably that had a lot to do with why we did as well as we did.”

 

7. Mississippi State, Jeff Roman Clayton IV and Cody Peak, 30-5

The Bulldogs moved up 10 places in the final round to make their 50-mile run south worth the beating they took getting there and back.

“Friday we fished Strike King 2.5 crankbaits (chartreuse with black backs) and also caught one key fish on a Strike King 6XD,” according to Peak. “But it really slowed down today [Saturday]. Where we caught eight keepers on Friday, we only had five bites today.”

When the crankbaits stopped working, the pair switched to 3/8-ounce shaky heads rigged with Zoom Trick Worms (june bug red), and fished them at a slow crawl along rocky points and riprapped banks.

“Sometimes we would take about 5 minutes just to get one cast back in,” notes Peak, a junior forestry major. “That was the only way we could get bit.”

Clayton says the teammates found the area while fishing a tournament out of Danville, Tenn., a few weeks ago. Neither angler has fished a College National Championship before, but will have the opportunity in 2017.

 

Cole Atkinson and Tanner Atkinson

8. St. Ambrose University, Cole Atkinson and Tanner Atkinson, 29-13

With a nickname like “The Fighting Bees,” you’d figure St. Ambrose of Davenport, Ia., might not have the sting to compete in a top-level college tournament. You’d be wrong. Brothers Cole and Tanner Atkinson came out of the gate at a gallop with a 21-pound, 8-ounce limit and expressed confidence that they could repeat their performance in the final round. That was before a passing cold front intervened, however.

“We were catching our fish down in the Blood River area along rocky points in 1 to 8 feet of water,” says Tanner. “The problem was is that the way the best points laid out, the [west] wind was blowing against them and it muddied them up.

“So we were getting, maybe, a bite an hour but by 11 it had gotten so windy that we couldn’t hold the boat in place. We left that and tried to get on some other fish we had found, but that didn’t work out either.”

The brothers fished with SPRO or Rapala crankbaits in the standard shad patterns. In the opening round, they culled three times and had two fish that approached 6 pounds apiece. On day two, they had to settle for four keepers that weighed just over 8 pounds.

 

Taylor Umland and Justin Schick

9. Illinois State University, Taylor Umland and Justin Schick, 27-15

The Redbirds and St. Ambrose were the only two teams that had 20-pound-plus limits – that on day one. In the last round, Umland and Schick had two bass that weighed 7-9.

“We’d been catching our fish on A-rigs (umbrella rigs) with Bass Pro Speed Shads (shad) and Bass Pro vibrating jigs, but it was totally different on Saturday,” notes Umland. “The fish weren’t nearly as aggressive, and by noon we didn’t have a keeper in the boat. So we slowed way down and managed to catch our two keepers by dragging jigs.”

In the opening round, Umland and Schick focused their attention on secondary points toward the backends of coves. Wood cover was critical, and the clearer the water, the better.

“We also caught some fish by just dragging the vibrating jig over shallow rocks,” adds Umland. “We were throwing the A-rigs out in deeper water (16-20 feet) and they would hit it as it started to rise toward the boat.”

 

Jay Emmert and Anthony Johnson

10. University of Tennessee, Jay Emmert and Anthony Johnson, 26-15

Emmert and Johnson were in fourth place after day one, but didn’t stick around to learn that they had finished in the top 10. No matter; they’ll be fishing in the National Championship next year.

As was the case for everyone, the Volunteers were victimized by the drop in temperature and building west wind in the final round. They had a limit of 18-5 in the opening round, but could only scrounge up three fish for 8-10 on day two.

“We wound up dragging Carolina-rigged Zoom lizards (pumpkinseed) along secondary points inside the big spawning coves,” says Emmert. “The bite was really slow. We broke off three fish that would have helped us, but I guess just about everybody else could say the same thing.”

Tags: college-fishing  kentucky-lake  colin-moore  post-tournament  2016-04-01-kentucky-barkley-lake 

Lake Mead Set For Weekend of Fishing League Worldwide Bass-Fishing Tournaments

Lake Mead Set For Weekend of Fishing League Worldwide Bass-Fishing Tournaments

HENDERSON, Nev. – Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) is set to visit the Las Vegas and Henderson area next week, Feb. 28- March 2, for three bass-fishing tournaments that will award anglers of all ages and skill levels thousands of dollars in cash and prizes... READ MORE »

Lake Guntersville Readies for Weekend of FLW Youth Bass-Fishing Tournaments

Lake Guntersville Readies for Weekend of FLW Youth Bass-Fishing Tournaments

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. – Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) is set to visit the Guntersville area next week, March 1-2, with the YETI FLW College Fishing event at Lake Guntersville presented by Bass Pro Shops and the Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Open at Lake Guntersville presented by Costa. The tournaments, hosted by the Marshall County Convention and Visitors... READ MORE »

Toho on YouTube

Toho on YouTube

The second stop of the FLW Tour season on Lake Toho was a big-bass bonanza. Thanks to mandatory POV cameras and marshals, plenty of big bass were caught on camera. Aside from individual catches, pros also documented their practice and tournament days to give the viewer and inside look at how their event unfolded. Below is the full list of videos released by the pros at this point.  READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Reservoir Set for Weekend of FLW Youth Bass-Fishing Tournaments

Sam Rayburn Reservoir Set for Weekend of FLW Youth Bass-Fishing Tournaments

LUFKIN, Texas – Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) is set to visit east Texas next week, Feb. 22-23, with the YETI FLW College Fishing event at Sam Rayburn Reservoir and the Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Open at Sam Rayburn Reservoir. The tournaments, hosted by the Lufkin Convention and Visitors Bureau, will showcase some of the top young anglers from across the... READ MORE »

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 »

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 »

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 »

University of Montevallo Wins YETI FLW College Fishing Southeastern Conference Opener on Lake Seminole

University of Montevallo Wins YETI FLW College Fishing Southeastern Conference Opener on Lake Seminole

BAINBRIDGE, Ga. – The University of Montevallo duo of Justin Barnes of Monroeville, Alabama, and Adam Carroll of Carrollton, Georgia, won the YETI FLW College Fishing event on Lake Seminole Saturday with a five-bass limit weighing 23 pounds, 1 ounce. The victory earned the Falcon’s bass club $2,000 and a slot in the 2020 FLW College Fishing National Championship... READ MORE »

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 »

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 »

Lake Seminole Readies for Weekend of FLW Youth Bass-Fishing Tournaments

Lake Seminole Readies for Weekend of FLW Youth Bass-Fishing Tournaments

BAINBRIDGE, Ga. – Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) is set to visit the Bainbridge area next week, Feb. 8-9, with the YETI FLW College Fishing event at Lake Seminole and the Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Open at Lake Seminole. The tournaments, hosted by the Bainbridge Convention and Visitors Bureau, will showcase some of the top young anglers from across the... READ MORE »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

East Texas Baptist University Wins YETI FLW College Fishing Southern Conference Finale on Toledo Bend presented by Bass Pro Shops

East Texas Baptist University Wins YETI FLW College Fishing Southern Conference Finale on Toledo Bend presented by Bass Pro Shops

MANY, La. – 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... READ MORE »