UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Potomac River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Pickwick Lake Top 10 Patterns

Pickwick Lake Top 10 Patterns
Michael Neal

While Walmart FLW Tour rookie Buddy Gross took advantage of Pickwick Lake’s new crop of eelgrass for his first Tour win, those behind him fished shad spawns and offshore structure to finish in the top 10 in the Walmart FLW Tour presented by Quaker State and hosted by Florence/Lauderdale Tourism on Pickwick Lake. Here’s a closer look at how those pros in the 2 through 10 positions fared.

Gross’s winning pattern

Complete results

 

Michael Neal

2. Neal grinded offshore

In the end, Michael Neal of Dayton, Tenn., was the only angler to give tournament winner Buddy Gross a run for the winner’s purse at Pickwick.

Neal started the week with a 23-pound limit that put him on pace with Gross, but over the next two days he could only manage limits in the mid teens and Gross got way out in front of him with 20-pound plus bags.

On the final day, Gross checked in just two fish, but Neal’s final-round effort of 16-8 was not enough to take advantage of Gross’ stumble and Neal finished runner-up for the second time at Pickwick.

As the tournament progressed, Neal became more perplexed by Pickwick’s deep game, which seemed to lose steam over the week instead of gain steam.

 “There were literally more fish out during practice than there were during the tournament,” Neal says. “Instead of more coming out each day, it actually seemed like it got less and less each day. Normally, I can add places to my rotation during the event because they are moving out so fast. But this week I started with about 15 places and ended up with only three – that’s going backwards. And on the few places I did have, the fish were really scattered out and not grouped up real tight. It was really odd.”

Neal spent the week fishing 10- to 12-foot humps, drops and ledges in creeks and along the river. His primary ledge arsenal included a homemade 1-ounce bucktail jig, a 5-1/2-inch Big Bite Baits BB Kicker swimbait (blue gizzard) on a ½-ounce TrueSouth head and a magnum spoon. All those lures were fished on 20-pound test Sunline Sniper fluorocarbon.

He also caught a few weigh fish long-lining a Spro Little John DD using 10-pound test Sniper.

 

Scott Suggs

2. Shad spawn delivers for Suggs

Scott Suggs of Alexander, Ark., spent the week bouncing back and forth between a shad spawn in grass and shell bars out on the river channel to amass a total of 65 pounds, 1-ounce.  

Like others mentioned, Suggs says the offshore bites were very sporadic and unpredictable. Given that, he spent his mornings fishing a shad spawn in grass along a river bar in 6 to 8 feet of water. On the first day he scored big on the shad spawn, boating 21 pounds, 5 ounces. But as the tournament wore on, his shad spawn area just kicked out keepers and he had to drag along shell bars for upgrades.

When targeting the shad spawn Suggs used a ¾-ounce War Eagle Spinnerbait, a Zoom Swimmer swimbait threaded on a ½-ounce War Eagle swimbait head and a Keitech 4.8 Swing Impact FAT also on a ½-ounce swimbait head.

To drag along the shell bars, Suggs used either a Zoom Magnum Trick Worm or a Zoom Z-Craw threaded on a ¾-ounce Gene Larew Biffle HardHead.

“I used the fixed Hard Head, not the hinged one because I wanted the bait to kick up when it hit the shells,” Suggs says. “I also caught some on a new Berkley Dredger deep-diving crankbait on the shell bars, too.”

 

Jamie Horton

4. Jamie Horton goes shad spawn then deep

While most pros fishing the shad spawn at Pickwick were targeting grass, Jamie Horton found a sizeable shad spawn occurring along a sheer bluff rock wall in a creek. His shad spawn catches combined with a few bonus fish from river ledges added up to 64 pounds, 14 ounces for the week to finish fourth.

Horton says the key to the shad spawn in the creek was to get there in the morning when the bluff cast a large shadow to extend the darker conditions. He slow-rolled a ¾-ounce Nichols Pulsator double willow spinnerbait along the bluff wall, down to about 7 feet. He tied the spinner bait to 20-pound test Seaguar InvizX and fished it on a Phenix rod with a Daiwa Tatula reel.

After the sun chased the shadow off the bluff wall, Horton moved out to river ledges to crank Strike King 10XD and 6XD crankbaits for a quality bite. Three of the four days Horton caught a kicker out deep on the cranks. In order to handle the big 10XD, he fished it on an 8-foot Phenix flipping stick with 15-pound test Seaguar InvizX.

 

Mike Surman

5. Shad spawn lifts Surman to fifth

Mike Surman of Boca Raton, Fla., saved his best catch for the last day, bringing in 20 pounds to top off a total of 63 pounds, 11 ounces for the week.

Surman fished a 5-mile stretch of thick grass along a main river ridge. The grass along the ridge grew in 4 to 8 feet of water and Surman found several key spots along the ridge where shad were spawning.

“There was a shad spawn going on for sure, but I don’t think the fish I was catching were actively feeding on the shad spawn at the time I caught them,” Surman notes. “I say that because I really caught most of my bigger fish out on the deeper clumps of hydrilla that crept out to about 7 to 10 feet – it’s not like I caught them up there actively chasing shad directly on the spawning activity.”

In order to get his better bites from the deeper clumps, Surman slow-rolled a 3/4-ounce Gambler spinnerbait with a big #6 willow down deeper to contact the outside clumps. He also scored some big bites, including a 7-14 on day one, on a Yo-Zuri 3DB squarebill crankbait (chartreuse and black). Again, Surman’s goal was to contact the tops of the deepest clumps with the squarebill. For the spinnerbait, he used 20-pound test Yo-Zuri Hybrid and for the crankbait he scaled down to 15-pound test.

 

Barry Wilson

6. Wilson stayed near tailrace

Barry Wilson of Birmingham, Ala. spent most of his tournament week fishing up near the Wilson Dam tailrace in the area called “the Horseshoe” to piled up 57 pounds, 13 ounces.

Wilson targeted the area primarily with a ½-ounce Z-Man ChatterBait teamed with a YUM Pulse Swimbait, both white in color.

With very little current being generated, Wilson relied on lock activity to generate current. Every time the lock functioned, it released water into the river. This caused the water in the area to raise and lower, like a small tide, which stirred up fish activity for about 15 minutes.

 

Wesley Strader

7. Strader targeted shad spawn and the bank

Like others in the top-10, Wesley Strader of Spring City, Tenn., also targeted a shad spawn on 5 to 7 foot ridges on the river, which featured the thickest grass.

“My best shad spawn area was a high spot in the grass that ran about 50 yards,” Strader says. “It was located along a river channel ridge and it was actually the tallest, thickest grass along the ridge. Those shad would spawn there all day long, but the morning time was the only time the bass seemed interested in eating them.”

After the shad-spawn bass became seemingly full and inactive, Strader would start running shallow banks in creeks, pitching to laydowns and swimming a jig in grass.

His spinnerbait for the shad spawn was a 5/8-ounce Stan Sloan Bango Blade spinnerbait fished on 16-pound Gamma Edge fluorocarbon. His pitching was done with a Zoom Z-Craw with a 3/8-ounce Reins tungsten sinker. And the swimjig was a white Booza Bug fished on 50-pound test Gamma Torque braid. His rods were Powell Max rods (765 and 768) teamed with Lew’s reels.

 

Travis Fox

8. Fox bounced back and forth

Travis Fox of Rogers, Ark., finished the week with a total of 56 pounds to finish 8th.

From the beginning of the event, Fox said he never found anything special at Pickwick and consequently he went into “survival junk fishing mode” to keep clawing his way past the cuts and into the top-10.

Foxed bounced between a shallow bay, some shad spawn areas and shallow river bars to compile his catches.

In the shallow area, he pitched duck blinds, stumps and cypress trees with soft plastics topped with a ½-ounce VMC tungsten weight on 20-pound test Sufix line. On the shad spawn he used a 5-inch swimbait with a ¾-ounce head. And when cranking out, he went deep with a Rapala DT-16 in Helsinki shad.

 

Stephen Patek

9. Patek commits to shad spawn

Stephen Patek of Dallas, Texas turned in his first top-10 performance as an FLW Tour pro with a ninth place finish at Pickwick with 50 pounds, 3 ounces.

Patek targeted the shad spawn along a 2-mile long grass ridge in 5 to 7 feet. His primary lure was a ½-ounce Z-Man Custom ChatterBait tied to 16-pound Sunline Sniper fluorocarbon and fished on a Phenix X13 Crankbait ?rod. Interestingly, Patek chose the color green pumpkin instead of white for the shad spawn saying he couldn’t get bit near as well on white. When the shad-spawn bite got stingy on the final day, he switched to a ½-ounce double willow spinnerbait.

 

Peter T

10. Peter T top-10’s with shad spawn, too

Rounding out the top-10 was Peter Thliveros of Saint Augustine, Fla., with a total of 49 pounds, 7 ounces.

Most of Peter T’s weight for the week came from a shad spawn along grass-laden the river ridges in 3 to 7 feet of water. For the shad spawn he relied on a ½-ounce double-willow spinnerbait and an old-school Allen Lures Milo lipless bait. He fished the spinnerbait on 17-pound test Lew’s APT fluorocarbon and the Milo on 14-pound test APT. Both lures were fished with Lew's crankbait rods and Lew’s reels.

When the shad spawn died at about 11 a.m. each day, Peter T would resort to the inside grass lines in 3 to 5 feet with his namesake “Petey Rig” rigged with a Zoom Super Fluke in green pumpkin.

Tags: pickwick-lake  shad-spawn    rob-newell  post-tournament  2016-05-05-pickwick-lake 

Champlain Midday Update – Day 3

Champlain Midday Update – Day 3

While day two was windy and rough, day three has pretty much been calm from the get-go. It has also been hot as blazes. It’s made fishing a little tougher than expected, with a lot of anglers reporting missed or lost fish and a generally slower bite. That said, a slow bite on Champlain is a great bite most everywhere else, so we’re still going to see plenty of bass. READ MORE »

McKee Takes Co-Angler Title

McKee Takes Co-Angler Title

Weighing in 16 pounds, 2 ounces on day three, Henry McKee beat out co-angler superstar Gary Haraguchi for the win in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division on Champlain. With a 47-8 total, McKee won a $1,050 and a brand-new Ranger Z175 with a 90-horsepower outboard. READ MORE »

Thrift All the Way on Champlain

Thrift All the Way on Champlain

Taking the win in wire-to-wire fashion, Bryan Thrift tallied 18 pounds, 4 ounces on the final day for an even 57-pound total in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Champlain. For the win, Thrift earned $44,200 and a new Ranger boat, and it’s his 11th win with FLW. The Northern Division is presented by Gajo Baits and the tournament was presented by Polaris.  READ MORE »

Thrift Goes Wire-To-Wire, Wins Costa FLW Series Tournament on Lake Champlain presented by Polaris

Thrift Goes Wire-To-Wire, Wins Costa FLW Series Tournament on Lake Champlain presented by Polaris

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – FLW Tour pro Bryan Thrift of Shelby, North Carolina, caught a five-bass limit Saturday weighing 18 pounds, 4 ounces, to lead the event from start to finish and win the three-day Costa FLW Series on Lake Champlain presented by Polaris... READ MORE »

Lake Champlain Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Lake Champlain Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

One of the windier tournament days in recent memory did a lot to reshape the leaderboard of the Costa FLW Series event on Lake Champlain. The run south to Ticonderoga was not impossible, but the wind up north kept a lot of pros from effectively fishing their best stuff. That made weights drop pretty much across the board on day two. READ MORE »

Thrift Still Ahead on Champlain

Thrift Still Ahead on Champlain

Day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on Champlain featured a bunch of wind and a lot of turnover on the leaderboard. Though he struggled to replicate his massive day-one success, Bryan Thrift still managed 16 pounds, 6 ounces for a 38-12 total to retain the lead. Behind him, Scott Dobson rose from ninth to second with a robust bag of smallmouths worth 18-10 for a 37-14 total. READ MORE »

Champlain Midday Update – Day 2

Champlain Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the Costa FLW Series event presented by Polaris on Lake Champlain is going to be quite a swing from day one. Typically turnover in the standings is common on Champlain because the weights stay so tight, but today’s turnover is going to have a lot to do with the weather. READ MORE »

Champlain Midday Update – Day 1

Champlain Midday Update – Day 1

Takeoff was a little blustery, but overall, it’s been a perfect start to the Costa FLW Series event on Lake Champlain. The event is the kickoff of the Northern Division, which is presented by Gajo Baits, and the tournament itself is presented by Polaris. READ MORE »

WeFishASA Podcast hosts latest FLW Tour winner Casey Scanlon on  Latest Episode

WeFishASA Podcast hosts latest FLW Tour winner Casey Scanlon on Latest Episode

WeFishASA has been saying all along that the sport of professional bass tournament fishing needs to develop more new stars. Well, it appears that Casey Scanlon is ready to fill that role... READ MORE »

Lake Champlain Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Lake Champlain Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Last year, every event in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division, which is presented by Gajo Baits, was won entirely with smallmouth bass. This season, the kickoff event on Champlain, which is presented by Polaris, looks destined to involve some largemouths. Everyone in the top five weighed green ones on day one, though somewhat surprisingly, the south end down by Ticonderoga didn’t play an overwhelming role, as only three of the top 10 anglers made the long run southward. READ MORE »

Scanlon Joins Jerry Kripp to Discuss Champlain Victory

Scanlon Joins Jerry Kripp to Discuss Champlain Victory

FLW Tour pro Casey Scanlon of Lake Ozark, Missouri, winner of the FLW Tour at Lake Champlain presented by T-H Marine, joined The Outdoor Connection with Jerry Kripp Sunday, July 14, to talk the about winning the event and... READ MORE »

Go-Time Again on Champlain

Go-Time Again on Champlain

Each of the last three years have seen the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits kick off on Champlain. This tournament, which is presented by Polaris, should offer great fishing like usual, but the dominant pattern certainly won’t be spawning smallmouths. Instead, it could be a largemouth slugfest, as the fishing has continued to prove strong on the south end of the lake. READ MORE »

Thrift Takes Command on Champlain

Thrift Takes Command on Champlain

Less than three weeks removed from a third-place finish on Lake Champlain in the FLW Tour’s 2019 season finale, Bryan Thrift hauled 22 pounds, 6 ounces of green fish to the weigh-in stage to take the day one lead in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division opener, which is presented by Polaris. In second, Brandt Tumberg weighed 21-10, and Joe Wood is just an ounce behind him with 21-9 for third.  READ MORE »

Check-in Time: Brian Latimer 

Check-in Time: Brian Latimer 

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with Brian Latimer.  READ MORE »

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 »

Elrod Runs Tide, Wood on James River

Elrod Runs Tide, Wood on James River

Bryan Elrod of Mechanicsville, Virginia, won Saturday’s T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Piedmont Division tournament on the James River after catching five bass weighing 16 pounds, 10 ounces. For his efforts, Elrod took home $3,637. READ MORE »

Mittlestat Tops at St. Clair

Mittlestat Tops at St. Clair

Dan Mittlestat of Woodhaven, Michigan, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Michigan Division tournament on Lake St. Clair presented by Navionics Saturday after catching a five-bass limit weighing 22 pounds, 7 ounces. Mittlestat netted $6,552 for his win. READ MORE »

Schmitt Takes Champlain Title

Schmitt Takes Champlain Title

FLW Tour pro Bryan Schmitt of Deale, Maryland, won Saturday’s T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournament on Lake Champlain presented by Navionics after catching five bass weighing 19 pounds, 10 ounces. For his win, Schmitt earned $7,209 and 250 points in the Northeast Division presented by Gajo Baits standings. The winner of the division’s Angler of the Year title after five tournaments will win $3,000. READ MORE »

Mechanicsville’s Elrod Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on James River

Mechanicsville’s Elrod Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on James River

HENRICO, Va. – Boater Bryan Elrod of Mechanicsville, Virginia, won Saturday’s T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Piedmont Division tournament on the James River... READ MORE »