UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

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 

Make a Tiny Swimbait Your Winter Go-To

Make a Tiny Swimbait Your Winter Go-To

Wintertime and late fall fishing can be super fun, especially up north, when smallmouths are often fat and fairly grouped up. However, it’s not the time of year when you want a ton of rods on deck, and having a confidence bait or two is a must. For Casey Smith, the go-to winter weapon is super simple: a little bitty swimbait on a jighead. READ MORE »

South Carolina’s Miller Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Wild Card Tournament on Kentucky/Barkley Lakes

South Carolina’s Miller Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Wild Card Tournament on Kentucky/Barkley Lakes

GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. – Boater Michael Miller of Greenville, South Carolina, caught a two-day cumulative total of 10 bass weighing 31 pounds even to win the no-entry fee T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Wild Card tournament on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. For his efforts, Miller earned one of the final berths into the 2020 BFL All-American Championship... READ MORE »

Miller Wins Wild Card on Kentucky Lake

Miller Wins Wild Card on Kentucky Lake

Weighing limits of 15 pounds, 13 ounces on day one and 15-3 on day two, Michael Miller of Greenville, S.C., overcame a tough-fishing Kentucky Lake to win the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Wild Card and qualify for the All-American. READ MORE »

2019 BFL AOY Winners

2019 BFL AOY Winners

The T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) has long been one of the hardest-fought grassroots tournament circuits and the breeding ground for future pros and local legends. With five tournaments in each division, anglers have to contend against the best in their local area, often fishing against full-time guides or local anglers with dozens of tournament wins to their name on a given body of water. As such, winning the season-long Angler of the Year title in one of the 24 divisions is a monumental feat, something that only a couple BFL anglers have done more than a few times. READ MORE »

Major League Fishing Closes Acquisition of Fishing League Worldwide

Major League Fishing Closes Acquisition of Fishing League Worldwide

TULSA, Okla. - Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today that the acquisition of Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) has closed. This agreement brings together the league behind the no-entry-fee Bass Pro Tour and the largest grassroots organization... READ MORE »

Check-in Time: Jeremy Lawyer

Check-in Time: Jeremy Lawyer

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 Missouri pro Jeremy Lawyer.  READ MORE »

Adrian College Wins YETI FLW College Fishing National School of the Year Title

Adrian College Wins YETI FLW College Fishing National School of the Year Title

TULSA, Okla. – The bass-fishing club at Adrian College is the best in the country, capping off the 2019 YETI FLW College Fishing season in 1st place overall with 2,350 points, and earning the team the title of 2019 YETI FLW College Fishing National School of the Year... READ MORE »

Adrian College Wins School of the Year

Adrian College Wins School of the Year

The bass-fishing club at Adrian College is the best in the country, capping off the 2019 YETI FLW College Fishing season in first place overall with 2,350 points, and earning the team the title of 2019 YETI FLW College Fishing National School of the Year.  READ MORE »

Rapala Varsity Bass Ep. 4 Airs Wednesday

Rapala Varsity Bass Ep. 4 Airs Wednesday

Join FLW for a watch party for the premiere of Episode 4 of Rapala Varsity Bass presented by General Tire. The episode will air Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 2 p.m. CT. READ MORE »

How to Rock Fall Largemouths

How to Rock Fall Largemouths

Smith says that the best time for fall largemouth fishing happens after the first big cold snap, when the water finally drops below 60 degrees.   READ MORE »

Marietta High School Wins Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Lake Hartwell Open

Marietta High School Wins Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Lake Hartwell Open

HARTWELL, Ga. – The Marietta High School duo of Carter Koza of Maretta, Georgia, and Paul Marks, of Cumming, Georgia, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 13 pounds, 10 ounces to win the 2019 Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Lake Hartwell Open... READ MORE »

Coastal Carolina University Wins YETI FLW College Fishing Tournament on Lake Hartwell presented by Costa

Coastal Carolina University Wins YETI FLW College Fishing Tournament on Lake Hartwell presented by Costa

HARTWELL, Ga. – The Coastal Carolina University duo of Max McQuaide of Tyngsborough, Massachusetts, and Grant Tattersall, of Sterling, Virginia, won the YETI FLW College Fishing tournament at Lake Hartwell presented by Costa with a five-bass limit weighing 13 pounds, 11 ounces. The victory earned the Chanticleers’ bass club $2,000 and a slot in the 2020 FLW College... READ MORE »

Coastal Carolina Wins on Hartwell  

Coastal Carolina Wins on Hartwell  

The Coastal Carolina University duo of Max McQuaide of Tyngsborough, Mass., and Grant Tattersall, of Conway, S.C., won the YETI FLW College Fishing tournament at Lake Hartwell presented by Costa with a five-bass limit weighing 13 pounds, 11 ounces. The victory earned the Chanticleers’ bass club $2,000 and a slot in the 2020 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Cumberland

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Cumberland

Smallmouths dominated at the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland. Oklahoma’s Andrew Upshaw led the way with brown bass caught on a jig and a Ned rig on bluff bank transitions in the reservoir’s lower end. Behind him, only a couple of pros hedged their bets on targeting largemouths. The rest fished for smallies and considered green bass to be bonus fish and spotted bass to be limit fillers on the tough days. READ MORE »

Jerry McKinnis Passes Away at Age 82

Jerry McKinnis Passes Away at Age 82

Jerry McKinnis, a legend in the bass fishing world, passed away this morning at age 82.  READ MORE »

Lake Cumberland Top 10 Baits

Lake Cumberland Top 10 Baits

In classic Southern smallmouth fashion, crankbaits and jigs dominated the top 10 at Lake Cumberland during the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship. The only exceptions were a few finesse baits and the tackle used by two pros who targeted largemouths. Here’s what worked. READ MORE »

Allison Comes from Behind on Cumberland

Allison Comes from Behind on Cumberland

By catching four quality smallmouth bass on the final day of the Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland, Missourian Chad Allison was able to come back from 10th place and win the co-angler division, earning more than $30,000. READ MORE »

Oklahoma's Upshaw Wins Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland

Oklahoma's Upshaw Wins Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland

BURNSIDE, Ky. – Strike King pro Andrew Upshaw of Tulsa, Oklahoma, brought a five-bass limit to the stage weighing 12 pounds, 15 ounces, Saturday to claim the title of 2019 FLW Series Champion at the Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland. Upshaw, with a three-day total of 15 bass for 42 pounds, 15 ounces, won by a 1-pound, 10-ounce margin over second... READ MORE »

Upshaw Closes on Cumberland

Upshaw Closes on Cumberland

For the second time this season, Andrew Upshaw is an FLW champion thanks to consistent days spent targeting big Southern smallmouths. The Tulsa, Okla., pro won the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland in Burnside, Ky., with a three-day total weight of 42 pounds, 15 ounces. The win comes less than seven months after Upshaw won the FLW Tour event on Cherokee Lake in east Tennessee. READ MORE »

FLW Live Leaderboard - Lake Cumberland

FLW Live Leaderboard - Lake Cumberland

FLW media staff provides unofficial weight estimates for the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland READ MORE »