UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Lake Norman

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

5 to Watch on Pickwick

The fourth stop of the Walmart FLW Tour marks the start of the Tennessee River swing. Pickwick Lake will host the event, which is presented by Quaker State, followed by a stop at Kentucky Lake next month.

The last Tour event on Pickwick was back in June 2014, and it was a whole different animal at that point. Greg Hackney earned the title after sacking up 97 pounds, 7 ounces over the course of four days, including a 31-06 day-two bag that helped separate him from the pack. Hackney opted to target fish gorging on spawning shad in the river, while the majority of the top 10 pounded the ledges down the lake.

Weights this week likely won’t rival those of last time, yet Pickwick is home to some giant 8- to 10-pound-class fish, so you never know what could happen. As usual in early May, there are fish to be found in nearly every stage of the spawn. Practice reports say there are plenty of fish up shallow relating to wood, grass and shell beds. Those opportunities should draw enough anglers shallow to provide the ledge gurus in the field with offshore postspawn spots to have to themselves. When it’s a full-blown ledge bite, the best spots tend to get covered up with boats.

The other curveball in this event is that Wilson Lake (located upstream of Pickwick) is also fair game – unlike last time, when the FLW Bass Fishing League All-American was being held at Wilson at the same time as the Pickwick Tour event. While Wilson is much smaller in size than Pickwick, it can be a fantastic place to target shallow bass for those willing to sacrifice 45 minutes to an hour to get through the lock.

Like the Tour competitors, FLW Fantasy Fishing players have a shot at cashing in on some great prizes this week too. At each Tour event – six regular-season tournaments and the Forrest Wood Cup – more than $7,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded to the top 50 Fantasy Fishing players. There will also be cash prizes awarded to the top 10 teams at the end of the season based on cumulative point totals, including a $10,000 top prize.

To help you finalize your Fantasy Fishing team for the Pickwick Lake event, which starts Thursday, here are five pros to consider.

Head on over to FantasyFishing.com to finalize your team now.

 

Jason Lambert

1. Jason Lambert

Now that the first part of the season and sight-fishing are out of the way it’s time for Lambert to flex his muscles. He’s a Pickwick local, so now is the time to turn around what has been a brutal tournament stretch since his win at the Costa FLW Series opener on Okeechobee. This is the tournament the Pickwick Dam, Tenn., pro has been waiting for. While it might not shake out to be the ledge-fishing slugfest some might have wanted, that’s OK for Lambert. He has so much history and knowledge of this system that the “in-between” nature of the fish might help him dial in on more subtle, off-the-wall patterns that could play. Not to mention he has knowledge of historical areas that congregate fish during this transition time. He’s been quiet so far this Tour season, but expect some noise from Lambert this week.

Fantasy Verdict: Lambert is as competitive as they come, and after taking a beating early in the season it is only a matter of time until he rebounds. Personally, I don’t want to miss the moment when he does, so I can stomach the $36 salary needed to add him to my roster.

 

Robbie Dodson worked his bed-fishing magic on Grand Lake for another top-10 finish winding up in sixth.

2. Robbie Dodson

What makes this Arkansas pro so appealing in this tournament is his surprisingly good track record on Pickwick. Dodson has two top-five finishes in the last two Tour events on Pickwick in 2014 and 2011. Granted, both of those events were held later in the season, but Dodson is a shallow angler at heart and should have a positive outlook for this tournament with shallow patterns in play. Dodson seems to have a knack for finding hidden gems in big tournaments, and with both Pickwick and Wilson to explore he ought to be able to find some quality fish.  

Fantasy Verdict: When you can spend only $31 on a guy with two top 10s on Pickwick it’s hard to pass that up. Conditions seem to be lining up just right for Dodson, so sign him up.

 

Brad Knight (15-06)

3. Brad Knight

The reigning Forrest Wood Cup champion has yet to win a regular-season Tour event in eight years as a pro, but that could change this week. Knight is a Tennessee River rat – Watts Bar and Chickamauga are his home lakes – and he’s pretty in tune with how all of the reservoirs on the river fish. Sure, ledge fishing is one of the many things Knight can do, though he is more comfortable when he can power-fish up shallow. From sifting through shallow grass to keying on a shad spawn, it all fits into Knight’s comfort zone. Plus, there is a chance a big swimbait could factor in this event, and Knight is one of the most knowledgeable when it comes to chucking big baits. All things considered, this looks to be a prime tournament for the champ.

Fantasy Verdict: It’s hard to fathom that only six percent of Fantasy Fishing players have Knight on their team when his salary is only $28. Seems like a good deal for a guy with his experience.

 

4. Michael Wooley

Though Wooley doesn’t live as close to Pickwick as Lambert or Haynes, he still is a stick on this pond – or any Tennessee River lake for that matter. He showed last year with a win on Chickamauga that he can compete with the best in an offshore derby, and he’s fresh off a top 20 in the Kentucky Lake Costa FLW Series event that might have helped clue him into something before he even arrived at Pickwick. Wooley has had strong finishes on Pickwick throughout FLW competition from spring through fall, so he understands how the lake sets up and ultimately how the fish move as they transition.

Fantasy Verdict: Take a look at his resume on Pickwick and you won’t think twice about dropping $30 for this young ledge-fishing master.

 

5. Luke Dunkin

While there are a few rookies to keep an eye on in this tournament, none will be on more radars than Dunkin. After spending the 2015 season as a co-angler on Tour, Dunkin decided to make the jump to pro this season – a decision made easier considering the Tour would be stopping in his backyard at Pickwick. He has spent years practicing techniques on this stretch of river and knows a thing or two about where to find and catch big ones in this area. Dunkin has waited all year for his shot at matching wits with the best in the business on his home lake, and he is more than up for the challenge. Considering how the lake is setting up, a little local knowhow could go a long way. This tournament is a great opportunity for this rookie to show the bass fishing world what he is made of.

Fantasy Verdict: I see no issue with spending $17 on Dunkin for this event. What he lacks in FLW Tour experience, he more than makes up for with time spent on the water at Pickwick, so don’t let his rookie status deter you from adding him to your roster.

Tags: jason-lambert  michael-wooley  robbie-dodson  luke-dunkin  brad-knight  5-to-watch  kyle-wood  pre-tournament  2016-05-05-pickwick-lake 

Roaming Kissimmee with Douglas

Roaming Kissimmee with Douglas

Hailing from Minnesota, Josh Douglas is in his third year on the FLW Tour and looking for his first FLW Cup qualification. Were it not for a disqualification in the final event of the year at St. Clair in 2018, Douglas would have sailed into the Cup. After a tough start to the year at Rayburn, he’s planning to get back on track at the FLW Tour event presented by Ranger on Lake Toho. READ MORE »

Burghoff Checks Out Toho on Day 2

Burghoff Checks Out Toho on Day 2

FLW Tour rookie Miles “Sonar” Burghoff kicked off his freshman season with a strong performance on Sam Rayburn, where he just missed fishing the final day with a 12th-place finish. Now, the Tour is on a system he is more than familiar with, having spent countless hours on Lakes Toho and Kissimmee while attending college at the University of Central Florida. 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 »

A Look at Lake Toho

A Look at Lake Toho

Stop No. 2 of the 2019 FLW Tour takes us to Lake Toho and the several other lakes strung along the Kissimmee River. Presented by Ranger Boats, the tournament will take off from Big Toho Marina on the north end of the namesake lake, but competitors will be able to spread out down the Kissimmee River into Cypress Lake, Lake Hatchineha (Hatch), Lake Kissimmee, and perhaps even Tiger Lake and Lake Rosalie if they’re feeling adventurous. 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 »

Niles Rallies for Co-angler Title

Niles Rallies for Co-angler Title

The Southeastern Division event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Power-Pole was a grind no matter if you were in the front of the boat or back. Bites were few and far between, and as a co-angler just catching a keeper or two kept you in the hunt. Niles started strong with an opening-day limit worth 18-9 to have him in the lead. On day two, he cooled off and brought a goose egg to the stage. Still, his day-one weight carried him to the final round where he started the day in fourth. Paired with Brett Preuett, Niles got to work Saturday. READ MORE »

Thliveros Brings it Home

Thliveros Brings it Home

Nick Thliveros led after day two on Okeechobee and after weighing his lowest weight of the week, he was able to seal the deal for his first Costa FLW Series win as a pro. READ MORE »

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 3

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 3

The third and final day of the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Power-Pole has the weather anglers have been hoping for since they started practice. A light breeze, plenty of sun and temperatures near 80 degrees have the top 10 pros and co-anglers licking their chops for a chance at the biggest bag of the tournament. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Okeechobee – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Okeechobee – Day 2

Fishing as a whole is still tough on the Big O, but there was definitely an improvement today – especially for the guys at the top of the leaderboard. READ MORE »

Thliveros in Charge on Okeechobee

Thliveros in Charge on Okeechobee

Nick Thliveros is one day away from taking the title in the Costa FLW Series event on Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 2

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 2

Every ounce counts in a tournament, and that will certainly ring true today. The second day of Costa FLW Series competition on Lake Okeechobee presented by Power-Pole may be off to a better start, but big bites are still few and far between. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Okeechobee – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Okeechobee – Day 1

Things are tough on Okeechobee, but these pros cracked some of the code to wrangle solid catches. READ MORE »

Roder Out Front on Big O

Roder Out Front on Big O

Okeechobee is normally the place of dreams. This week, however, it isn’t quite living up to its reputation. Day one of the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event on the Big O saw plenty of fish, though the quality bites were hard to come by. Troy Roder of Brookeland, Texas, set the pace early with a 19-pound, 15-ounce limit to grab the lead in the season opener – presented by Power-Pole – with a lead of over 4 pounds heading into Friday. READ MORE »

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 1

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 1

Power fishing and flipping lead the charge for the first few hours of fishing on Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

A Different Okeechobee

A Different Okeechobee

Cold fronts, dirty water and lower water levels make for an interesting start to the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division season. READ MORE »

Spawn on the Horizon at Okeechobee

Spawn on the Horizon at Okeechobee

Florida is a familiar place for FLW competition, and Lake Okeechobee is probably the best-known fishery the Sunshine State has to offer. So there shouldn’t be many surprises when the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division kicks off the season Jan. 31–Feb. 2 on the Big O with an event presented by Power-Pole. READ MORE »

By the Numbers: Lake Toho

By the Numbers: Lake Toho

The FLW Tour season opener on Sam Rayburn was a slugfest for sure. Fortunately for fans and anglers alike, the second stop of the season could be just as good, as the Tour heads to Central Florida and Lake Toho and the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes in Kissimmee, Fla., on February 7. READ MORE »

2019 Lake Toho Preview

2019 Lake Toho Preview

Lake Tohopekaliga (Toho for short) is the first of four lakes on the menu for pros in the second stop of the FLW Tour. At the south end of Toho, a lock and a series of canals leads to Cypress Lake, Lake Hatchineha (Hatch) and Lake Kissimmee, which are all fair game for the pros. READ MORE »

How to Bass Fish High Water in Winter

How to Bass Fish High Water in Winter

High water isn’t unusual in the spring or summer, but dealing with rising water this early in the year was somewhat of a new experience for many of the pros – as it is for the weekend warrior. Therefore, the Rayburn Tour event is a case study on how to handle this situation and still put loads of bass in the boat. READ MORE »

Cecil’s Final Morning of Practice

Cecil’s Final Morning of Practice

Russell Cecil is one of a number of standout Texas anglers fishing the FLW Tour opener this week on Sam Rayburn. After a lackluster rookie campaign in 2018, fishing near home is a great opportunity for the Willis, Texas, pro to get the year started off strong. Though the conditions are far from normal, a few hours on the final day of practice reveal that Cecil certainly has a read on the bass. READ MORE »