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

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Wheeler Lake Top 10 Patterns

Wheeler Lake Top 10 Patterns
Jared Dial

Bradley Dortch of Bay Minette, Ala., won the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event presented by Mercury on Wheeler Lake by catching postspawn bass that were leaving spawning pockets and funneling into the main river.

As it turns out, the Elk River was a popular place among the top 10 finishers. Some bass were still spawning in pockets up the Elk, where the water is generally cooler than in other parts of the lake, and an intermittent shad spawn was occurring as well. Here’s a closer look at how the rest of the top 10 fished at Wheeler.

 

Kim Carver

2. Carver targets shad and shade

Kim Carver of Milledgeville, Ga., targeted the shad spawn on Wheeler for most of the tournament to finish second with a three-day total of 44 pounds, 14 ounces.

The primary components of Carver’s shad pattern were bluff banks in the back ends of creeks, especially if the bluffs had floating debris pinned up against them. Carver pitched a 1/2-ounce white jig with a white Zoom Super Chunk on 65-pound-test braid to punch through the flotsam.

In the afternoons, Carver would switch to pitching docks with a 1/2-ounce green pumpkin jig, targeting the shade of the docks.

 

Dustin Smith

3. Smith fishes back in a creek for third

Similar to those fishing far up the Elk, Dustin Smith of Mount Dora, Fla., fished the remote sections of a creek farther up the lake to post a third-place finish with a total of 44 pounds, 5 ounces.

His go-to lure when “creek fishing” was a Missile Baits D Bomb in the super bug color with a 3/8-ounce weight pitched on 20-pound-test fluorocarbon.

“Earlier in the week I was fishing deeper wood in the middle of the creek,” Smith says. “Then I switched to fishing the bank of the creek, especially anywhere I could see little bluegill beds on little steps and shelves along the bank.”

 

Bryan New

4. New junks it up for fourth

Bryan New of Belmont, N.C., finished fourth with 42 pounds, 2 ounces for the week.

New says he junk-fished in several pockets up the Elk River. At the beginning of the week he flipped the pockets with a Charlie’s Worms Flippin’ Bug and a Brush Buster with 1/4- and 5/16-ounce weights tied to 25-pound-test Sunline Shooter fluorocarbon.

On the second day New noticed a “shad fry hatch” and switched more to moving baits.

“I didn’t notice it earlier because I was pitching slow baits,” New details. “But once I went to a moving bait, I could see the tiny shad fry scatter.”

After that observation, New switched to a 1/2-ounce white Greenfish Tackle Swim Jig on Sunline FX2 braid and a Greenfish buzzbait. He also swam a 3.8 Keitech Swing Impact Fat on a 1/8-ounce head.

Going to moving baits made the fry scatter as the bait swam through, which helped trigger bites.

 

Glenn Browne

5. Browne grinds shallow for fifth

Glenn Browne of Ocala, Fla., finished the week in fifth place with a total of 40 pounds, 8 ounces. His finish at Wheeler marked his third top-five finish in a row in the Southeastern Division of the Costa FLW Series and earned him the division’s Strike King Angler of the Year award.

Browne stuck to his strengths at Wheeler, fishing shallow grass, laydowns, cypress trees and docks in water less than 3 feet deep. His lure arsenal included a Gambler flipping tube with a 5/16-ounce Reins tungsten weight, a SPRO frog and a 3/8-ounce jig with a Zoom Big Salty Chunk trailer. He tied the flipping baits to Lew’s APT Speed Line Fluorocarbon and the frog to 30-pound-test APT Braid.

 

Allan Glasgow

6. Glasgow targets “crab grass” for sixth

Allan Glasgow of Ashville, Ala., finished sixth with a three-day total of 40 pounds, 2 ounces.

Interestingly, Glasgow fished what he called “crab grass” in Spring Creek for his catches during the week.

“I had no idea what it was,” Glasgow says of the grass. “Some of the other anglers in the tournament told me it was crab grass. It grew on the bottom out to about 3 or 4 feet. I could see dark clumps of it on the bottom, so I started fishing it with a ChatterBait, sort of slow-rolling it through the grass.”

In addition to fishing the grass, Glasgow also pitched to any bushes he came across.

For the grass, his setup was a 1/2-ounce ChatterBait with a sexy shad-colored Keitech Swing Impact Fat trailer tied to 17-pound-test Bass Pro Shops fluorocarbon. When pitching the bushes he used a Missile Baits D Bomb with a 1/4-ounce tungsten weight, also on 17-pound-test line.

 

Terry Tucker

7. Tucker cranks seawalls, jigs docks in the Elk

Terry Tucker of Gadsden, Ala., sacked up a total of 39 pounds, 11 ounces for the week to finish seventh.

Tucker spent the majority of his time in the Elk River fishing seawalls and docks on shallow flats. Each day the water seemed to rise and fall just a bit, and Tucker says the bass would move with the water-level change.

“In those flats, just 3 or 4 inches of water is a big deal,” Tucker says. “So when the water was higher I would fish up against seawalls, and when it fell out I would follow the fish out to the ends of docks where it was a little deeper and more shaded.”

Tucker’s primary lures for the week included a homemade crankbait in a perch pattern that runs 2 to 3 feet deep that he fished on 20-pound-test fluorocarbon and a 5/8-ounce homemade jig with a Prowler chunk in black and blue fished on 25-pound-test fluorocarbon.

He fished the crankbait up around the seawalls and pitched the jig at the ends of the docks.

 

Jared Dial

8. Dial stays shallow in Elk

Jared Dial of Winter Haven, Fla., fished backwater ponds and bays far up the Elk River to catch a three-day total of 38 pounds, 10 ounces.

Interestingly, Dial says each day his fish moved toward the river, and Bradley Dortch, the tournament winner, was positioned at the mouth of one pond, catching them when they came out.

“The first day, I caught them way in the back end of the bay,” Dial says. “The next day, I couldn’t get bit in the back, and I caught them in the midsection of the bay. On the final day, the water had dropped so much that I could hardly get around in there, and my bite got really tough. But he [Dortch] had been fishing out there on the main river at the mouth of the bay all week. I really think those fish he caught were funneling out of the bay out into the river because they were done spawning and the water was dropping.”

In the shallow grass and wood in the pockets and ponds, Dial fished a 1/2-ounce spinnerbait with a Zoom Split Tail Trailer. He also flipped a NetBait B Bug with a 3/16-ounce weight. He fished both lures on 20- and 25-pound-test HI-SEAS Fluorocarbon.

 

Bradford Beavers

9. Beavers sticks with bladed jig

Bradford Beavers of Ridgeville, S.C., finished the week with 37 pounds, 5 ounces to finish ninth.

Beavers fished mostly in the lower end of the Elk River and found success primarily with a 3/8-ounce Katch-Her Lures bladed jig teamed with a green pumpkin Zoom Super Fluke on 20-pound-test Seaguar Red Label fluorocarbon.

“I caught 90 percent of my fish in water that was 2 feet deep or less,” Beavers says. “I was fishing shallow points with rock and wood on them. If there was rock, wood and a dock on a point, it was even better. The shade under the docks got better later in the day.”

Beavers says he used the Super Fluke on his bladed jig to help it skip better under docks.

 

Bryant Adam

10. Adam goes ultra-shallow for top 10

Bryant Adam of Madison, Miss., rounded out the top 10 at Wheeler Lake with a total of 30 pounds, 5 ounces.

“If my trolling motor was grinding the bottom I knew I was in the right depth of water,” Adam says of where his fish were located. “I keyed on the shallowest water I could find that had gator grass and primrose growing in it.”

When the breeze blew into the shallow pockets, Adam opted for a 1/4-ounce ChatterBait in black and blue teamed with a Strike King Rage Tail Menace Grub on 20-pound-test Bass Pro Shops XPS fluorocarbon, fished on a Duce 7-foot, heavy-action rod. If it got calm and the pockets slicked off, he went to a Hoax Fish Scam Shad (black and blue) rigged with a 3/16-ounce pegged weight and pitched in the shallows on a Duce 7-foot, 6-inch rod.

Tags: wheeler-lake  rob-newell  post-tournament  2016-05-12-wheeler-lake 

Top 10 Patterns from Clear Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Clear Lake

An unwavering commitment to one fish-laden area enabled Kyle Grover to earn his first Costa FLW Series win with a three-day total of 66 pounds, 13 ounces at the Western Division event at Clear Lake. The tournament was presented by Ranger Boaters and hosted by Konocti Vista Casino Resort & Marina. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Clear Lake

Top 10 Baits from Clear Lake

Even though cold, windy and rainy conditions challenged the field throughout the event, Clear Lake still showed the caliber of fish that swim in it during the second stop of the Costa FLW Series Western Division season, which was presented by Ranger Boats.   READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns From Table Rock

Top 10 Patterns From Table Rock

Fishing at Table Rock during the Costa FLW Series Central Division event, presented by Power-Pole, was pretty remarkable, at least until it wasn’t. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Table Rock

Top 10 Baits from Table Rock

It really didn’t matter what pros threw at Table Rock. The fish were probably going to eat it. Yet, despite a banner practice, things certainly got tougher throughout the Costa FLW Series Central Division event, which was presented by Power-Pole. Thus, pros needed to continually adapt to the conditions with their offerings.Here’s a look at the lures that helped the top 10 anglers.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Chickamauga

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Chickamauga

The timing of the FLW Tour event at Lake Chickamauga was both a curse and a blessing for the top 10 finishers. There were plenty of fish to be had – and on a multitude of patterns – but the big double-digit females Chick is known for were hard to track down. READ MORE »

ROY Update: Lake Chickamauga

ROY Update: Lake Chickamauga

We didn’t bother with an update on the Polaris FLW Tour Rookie of the Year race after the fifth stop of the FLW Tour season at Cherokee Lake. At that point, Miles Burghoff had the overall lead in the AOY standings and a 108-point lead for ROY. It looked like it was locked up. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Chickamauga

Top 10 Baits from Lake Chickamauga

Most people probably don’t equate Lake Chickamauga to spinning rods and finesse techniques, but both were prevalent during the FLW Tour event presented by Evinrude on Chick. Plenty of pros threw swimbaits, jigs and crankbaits, but the common thread among most of the top 10 is the use of a stick bait (usually wacky- or Texas-rigged) to target bedding or postspawn fish still hanging in the shallows.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Santee Cooper

Top 10 Patterns from Santee Cooper

Santee Cooper is full of 30-pound stringers. It’s also been known as a lake that will humble an angler quick. Bradford Beavers had experienced that before, having twice before weighed in 30-plus-pound stringers in tournaments on his home lake only to bomb the next day. Well, third time was the charm. After weighing in 31-02 on day one of the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event presented by Power-Pole, he managed to back it up on day two by fishing both lakes for his first signature victory. Of course, he had to hold off some hard charges from some veteran locals to do it. Here’s how they and the other top pros managed to carve out their own patterns and stay consistent on Santee. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Santee Cooper

Top 10 Baits from Santee Cooper

There were three predominant patterns at Santee Cooper: Pitching wacky rigs to cypress trees, sight-fishing and the shad spawn. Yet, they weren’t the only patterns, as a couple locals managed to do plenty of damage with some locals-only offshore patterns at the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division season finale presented by Power-Pole. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Cherokee Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Cherokee Lake

Targeting spawning smallmouth bass was by far the dominant pattern when the FLW Tour visited Cherokee Lake in east Tennessee in April. With a few exceptions, the top 10 pros targeted various combinations of rock and gravel banks where the fish were bedding. Finesse baits such as shaky heads, Ned rigs and small swimbaits saw the most work. READ MORE »

Cherokee Has Been Good to Jason Bridwell

Cherokee Has Been Good to Jason Bridwell

Jason Bridwell fishes in the Volunteer Division of the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League, and his track record on Cherokee, a lake at which he considers himself a local, is nearly spotless, especially after a win in the FLW Tour Marshal program contest. READ MORE »

AOY Update: Cherokee Lake

AOY Update: Cherokee Lake

This year’s FLW Tour Angler of the Year race is hurtling toward one of the most dramatic finishes ever. After finishing 46th at Cherokee Lake, rookie pro Miles “Sonar” Burghoff took advantage of a stumble by Terry Bolton to move into the top spot in the standings. If Burghoff can hold on through the final two events, he’ll be the first rookie since Shinichi Fukae in 2004 to win the AOY award. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Cherokee Lake

Top 10 Baits from Cherokee Lake

The smallmouth bass spawn was on at Cherokee Lake in east Tennessee when the FLW Tour came to town in April. Most of the top pros caught their fish on Ned rigs and shaky heads, as well as swimbaits and jigs. READ MORE »

Upshaw Still Up at Cherokee

Upshaw Still Up at Cherokee

Day two of the FLW Tour presented by Lowrance on Cherokee Lake featured great fishing again and remarkable consistency from many of the leaders. Still on top, Andrew Upshaw weighed 17 pounds, 14 ounces of smallmouths to up his total to 36-4. In second, Dylan Hays dropped off the pace slightly and weighed 16-11 for a 34-8 total to lurk a bit less than 2 pounds behind Upshaw. Overall, 18 pros weighed more than 16 pounds on day two, and 28 pros have amassed totals over 30 pounds. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Kentucky Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Kentucky Lake

Power-fishing tactics with spinnerbaits, jigs, Texas rigs and ChatterBaits on prespawn cover and structure dominated the top 10 at Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley in April. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Kentucky Lake

Top 10 Baits from Kentucky Lake

April is transition time in the Tennessee Valley, when bass make their push from prespawn staging areas toward spawning grounds. They set up on rocky banks, shallow points and any kind of wood cover near shore in areas adjacent to spawning pockets. As we saw at the Costa FLW Series Central Division opener presented by Lowrance on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley, some of the best baits for catching bass this time of year are old-school springtime classics: spinnerbaits, jigs, shallow-running crankbaits and Texas rigs. Add in vibrating jigs and wobble-head jigs, and you have about all you need. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Grand Lake has a history of being feast or famine, and it was a lot more famine this past week for the FLW Tour’s fourth stop of the 2019 season, presented by Mercury. Falling water and inconsistent weather made just catching a limit a herculean task, as nearly as many pros didn’t weigh in a fish as brought in a limit every day of the event. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

If you’re going to fish Grand Lake this time of year, you’d better be good with a spinnerbait. The FLW Tour event at Grand Lake last week sure showcased that. READ MORE »

AOY Update: Grand Lake

AOY Update: Grand Lake

Terry Bolton is now more than halfway to his first FLW Tour Angler of the Year title after another top-30 cut at Grand Lake last weekend. For those of you keeping track at home, that’s four top-30 cuts in four events, including two top 10s and his first FLW Tour win. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits From Chickamauga

Top 10 Baits From Chickamauga

Prespawn on Lake Chickamauga usually means a healthy dose of lipless crankbaits and umbrella rigs, so it wasn’t surprising that those were exactly the baits that dominated for the top 10 at the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event presented by T-H Marine on the east Tennessee fishery. Square-bill crankbaits had their place, as did vibrating jigs and a variety of other baits. In the end, though, the common thread connecting many of the anglers in the top 10 was either a trap or a rig. READ MORE »