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


Grand Lake Top 10 Patterns

Toby Hartsell pitched behind just about every dock he could manage.

Zack Birge might have won the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Evinrude and hosted by the City of Grove on Grand Lake with a crankbait, but most of the top-10 spots were taken by anglers fishing jigs on rock banks leading into spawning pockets. There were some variations on that theme through the top of the field, but there is no doubt that a jig during the prespawn is still a force to reckoned with in the Ozarks. 

Birge’s winning pattern

Top 10 baits

Complete results


Hartsell's fish prepared for another jump.

2. Hartsell jigs docks for runner-up

Grand Lake was a heartbreaker for Toby Hartsell who weighed in four bass on the last day and missed winning the event by a pound and a half with a three-day total of 50-5.

Hartsell is considered by many to be an expert when it comes to fishing jigs around docks in the Ozarks. And he proved his dock-fishing savvy all week, targeting the areas behind big floating docks where few others bother to reach.

The problem when fishing around such objects, of course, is that some are going to get off, which is what cost Hartsell in the end.

To target areas behind the docks, Hartsell used two different jigs: a 3/8-ounce War Eagle Heavy Finesse jig and a 5/16-ounce Jewel Finesse Jig fished on 20-pound-test fluorocarbon line.

“I was not targeting certain kinds of docks, but rather the banks behind the docks,” Hartsell says. “The docks block off good transition banks where bass stage and spawn, and that’s where I was trying to get my jig into.”


Sammy Burks (18-7).

3. Burks ran far for solitude and water color

When Sammy Burks started practice for the Costa FLW Series event on Grand, he kept finding dirty water and lots of fishing pressure. He decided to get away from it all by running far, far up the river, burning over a multitude of sandbars to reach secluded backwaters.

The result?

Catches of 18-7, 16-4 and 13-12 for a three-day total of 48-7 to finish third.

“I was burning through a foot of water to get to some of these places,” Burks says. “At times I could feel the boat catching on the bars because they were so shallow. Once I got back into the main creek channel, it dropped off to 7 feet, and the water was Grand Lake green – perfect for spinnerbaits and flipping.”

For his spinnerbait, Burks used a 1/2-ounce Bass Pro Shops model, which features a big No. 5 Colorado blade for a thumping vibration on 17-pound-test P-Line fluorocarbon. He also pitched bushes with a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver (black/blue) on a 1/2-ounce weight with 20-pound-test P-Line Ultimate Fluorocarbon.


Matt Arey (4th, 48-3).

4. Arey ‘blind bed-fishes’ for fourth

Matt Arey’s scorecard for the week included weights of 19-8, 14-3 and 14-8 for a total of 48-3 for the event.

Arey finished second in the Grand Lake FLW Series event last year. At that time Grand was exceptionally clear and fish were bedding everywhere. Arey vividly remembers exactly where the fish bedded on docks. He used those memories to his advantage this time around to “blind bed-fish” for spawning bass he could not see but knew were there.

“Last year it seemed like every back dock corner, walkway and cable had a bed on it,” Arey says. “So I just pitched to those kinds of targets over and over again. If one was there, it would swipe at it and knock slack in my line. I might not catch it on the first pitch, but if I kept pitching in there, I could usually catch it eventually.”

To blind bed-fish Arey used a 7/16-ounce homemade jig with a twin-tail trailer and a 4-inch Lunkerhunt Revealer Tube with a 5/16-ounce weight.

“When those fish bit, they would move so fast with the bait and knock so much slack in my line that I had to switch to an Okuma Helios TCS reel with an 8.1:1 gear ratio to catch up to them,” Arey says. “Once I went to a faster reel, I caught some of those that were previously running at me and spitting the bait before I could hook them.”


Chad Warren hooks up!

5. One lure for Warren

Chad Warren checked in weights of 17-8, 17-11 and 11-14, catching a total of 47-1 for three days. And all but one of his fish came on a single lure: a 3/8-ounce homemade round-head jig with a Zoom UV Speed Craw (green pumpkin) tied to 16-pound-test line.

Warren used his jig on gravel banks in and around docks.

“I could not see any fish because of the water color,” Warren says. “But I’m pretty sure they were spawning around those docks. They like to bed around those floating docks because the docks offer stability, knocking down the wave action and turbulence, giving them a calm place to spawn.”


Somewhat surprisingly, Wolfe was relying heavily on a spinning rod on the final day.

6. Wolfe seeks reaction bite on creature baits

After sacking up weights of 19-13 and 19-7 the first two days, Jesse Wolfe led going into the last day. But he caught just 7-12 on the final day to fall to sixth with a total of 47-0.

Wolfe fished spawning cuts and pockets, too, but instead of dragging a jig he snapped and hopped a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver on a 3/16-ounce jighead with a spinning rod and 10-pound-test line for a reaction bite. He also caught some fish on a 3/8-ounce War Eagle Spinnerbait and pitching a 1/2-ounce Super K jig.


Bill Tervin (18-11).

7. Tervin swims for seventh

Bill Tervin of Pocola, Okla., scored weights of 18-11, 15-12 and 10-4 over three days to finish seventh with 44-11. Tervin’s jig choice at Grand was a 1/2-ounce Buckeye Lures Flat Top Finesse Jig with a Strike King Rage Craw (green pumpkin purple) tied to 12-pound-test Vicious Fluorocarbon.

In addition to fishing a jig, Tervin also scored some quality weigh fish on a Reaction Innovations Little Dipper swimbait (sprayed grass), which is the technique Tervin used to win the Costa FLW Series event on Grand in 2014.

Tervin rigs the Little Dipper on a 1/8-ounce weight, 3/0 hook and 10-pound-test Vicious Fluorocarbon and slow-rolls it along the bottom, bumping rocks and small ledges.

“I keep the boat in about 8 feet of water and cast parallel to the bank and slow-roll it down through that 1- to 3-foot zone where the fish bed and stage up,” Tervin details. “I used a Halo casting rod for the technique and just reeled it very slowly, feeling for the rocks.”


Matt Cooper (35-4).

8. Jig on rocks worked for Cooper

Matt Cooper did his part in keeping the jig theme alive and well on Grand Lake with daily weights of 16-8, 18-12 and 4-3, finishing eighth with a total of 39-7.

Cooper’s primary jig was a 5/16-ounce Jewel Finesse Jig (peanut butter and jelly) tipped with a green pumpkin Berkley Havoc Rocket Craw with the claw tips died orange. He fished the jig on 10-pound-test Seaguar InvizX fluorocarbon.

Cooper concentrated his jigging efforts on big rocks and outcroppings that formed points down the banks leading into spawning pockets.

“The first third going into a spawning cove was the most productive for me,” Cooper says. “Any rockslides or outcroppings that formed a deviation anywhere along the bank seemed to be better.”


Russell Cecil (19-14).

9. Cecil cranks for ninth

This was Russell Cecil’s first trip to Grand Lake, and consequently he tried to put his own pattern together instead of mimicking the locals. He settled on shallow cranking as his main gig and used it to catch 19-14 on day one and 13-3 on day two, and then his pattern fizzled for a final-day catch of 3-15 for a three-day total of 37-0.

“I knew I couldn’t come here and compete with the local flipping experts who know exactly what banks and docks to fish,” Cecil says. “I was going to be at a serious disadvantage trying to beat these boys at their own game. So instead I tried to find something here that fit the way I like to fish: cranking flat points with a square-bill.”

Cecil’s crankbaits of choice included a 6th Sense Movement 80X and a 6th Sense Crush Flat 75X fished on 12-pound-test fluorocarbon.

“I was targeting flat points that had softball-size rock on them,” he says. “The key depth was to 2 to 5 feet. I mostly used the Flat Crush in that zone, and if I would see a shallow piece of wood up there on the point, I’d crank it with the Movement, which runs shallower.”


10. Hoskins rounds out top 10

Earl Hoskins checked in weights of 14-2, 19-0 and came up fishless on the last day to finish 10th with 33-2.

Hoskins relied on a 7/16-ounce Jewel Finesse Jig (green pumpkin) teamed with a Zoom UV Speed Craw with the pincers died orange, as well as an 8-inch lizard made by New Wave Soft Plastics and sold by Basskwondo. He fished the jig and the lizard on 25-pound-test Seaguar on JD rods.

Hoskin’s prime targets on Grand were chunk-rock banks, and he keyed in on the 8-foot zone for his bites. 

Tags: grand-lake  spring  rob-newell  post-tournament  2016-04-07-grand-lake 


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

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

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 »


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

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 »


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


Spring Hills High School Wins Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Lake Murray Open Presented by Berkley

PROSPERITY, S.C. (Oct. 15, 2018) – The Spring Hill High School duo of Aaron Weed and Robert Wise, both of Columbia, South Carolina, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing... READ MORE »


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 »


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 »


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 »