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

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Coming Up: BFL All-American

Coming Up: BFL All-American
The boats are lined up and ready for the 2015 BFL All-American.

Western Kentucky’s lakes region is a bass fishing gem among tournament anglers, and its opportunities will be on full display June 9-12 when Kentucky Lake hosts stop No. 5 of the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour and sister reservoir Lake Barkley hosts the 2016 FLW Bass Fishing League All-American.

Combined, the two events will welcome some 200 boaters and 200 co-anglers to compete for hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money.

The All-American, which is a three-day event held June 9-11, is the pinnacle of FLW’s grassroots Bass Fishing League. Designed for weekend anglers who want to fish affordable tournaments close to home with a chance to qualify for regional and national championships, the BFL hosts tournaments in 24 divisions spread across the country. Top performers in 2015 competed in six BFL Regionals and the BFL Wild Card to qualify for this season’s All-American. They’ll be joined by seven boaters and seven co-anglers from the 2016 The Bass Federation National Championship.

The All-American champion not only earns a six-figure payday, but also a berth in the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup. For some, this championship event is a once-in-a-lifetime shot at launching a full-time professional career. For others, it’s simply the highpoint of a lifelong obsession with competitive bass fishing.

The All-American is one of the most prestigious and challenging events to qualify for and win, so someone is going to make history on Lake Barkley in a few weeks when the All-American champion is crowned.

 

Details

Tournament: 2016 FLW Bass Fishing League All-American

Location: Lake Barkley, Cadiz, Ky.

Date: June 9-11

Host: Cadiz-Trigg County Tourism

Field size: 49 boaters and co-anglers

Qualification: The field includes the top six boaters and co-anglers from each of the six 2015 BFL Regionals and the 2015 BFL Wild Card, plus the top boater and co-angler finisher from each TBF division at the 2016 TBF National Championship.

Takeoffs and weigh-ins: Lake Barkley State Resort Park Marina

Tournament boundaries: Waters inside the break wall at the takeoff site are off limits, as are all waters north of a line drawn from the northern point of Taylor Bay on the western bank to Rockcastle Point Recreation Area on the eastern bank.

Catch regulations: 15-inch minimum for largemouths; 18 inches for smallmouths

Off-limits period: May 30-June 7, 2016

Top-10 Cut: Everyone fishes on days one and two, and then the field is cut to the top 10 boaters and co-anglers for day three.

Winning boater prize: $120,000 and 2016 Forrest Wood Cup berth

Winning co-angler prize: $60,000

 

About Lake Barkley

Lake Barkley is a narrow lowland impoundment of the Cumberland River. The primary channel snakes slowly from south to north through western Tennessee and Kentucky toward Barkley Dam. At the far southern end, it’s quite narrow and fishes like a more traditional river, with main-channel cover and skinny backwaters providing good power-fishing opportunities. Farther north, several large bays and creeks offer good fishing, while main-lake ledges can hold schools of postspawn bass.

Barkley is connected to Kentucky Lake by a canal near each reservoir’s dam, though the extreme northern end of Barkley will be off limits to All-American competitors in this tournament. FLW Tour anglers will have access to the canal and Barkley’s most northern waters.

Barkley spans approximately 57,900 acres with more than 1,000 miles of shoreline when the water level is 359 feet above sea level, which is normal summer pool.

Barkley is generally a shallow reservoir, with a maximum depth in the river channel near the dam of 68 feet and an average depth of about 12 feet. Water clarity is 1 to 3 feet, though periods of higher turbidity are common. Anglers can expect water temperatures in the mid-70s in early June.

 

Fishing Lake Barkley

In 25 Words or Less: Lake Barkley is a shallow, turbid power-fishing reservoir that fishes like a traditional river with steady current, ample cover, channel ledges and numerous backwaters.

Probable Targets

1. Buck brush – Barkley’s buck brush is famous. When the lake floods above summer pool, largemouths swarm the brush. The bite can be fantastic around the spawn, which might linger into June, but even after the spawn there’s a year-round brush bite.

2. Stumps – The lake is full of them, both shallow and deep.

3. Laydowns and logjams – Ditto for laydowns. They’re all around the banks on both sides of the lake. Upstream, large logjams can form around the mouths of backwaters and creeks.

4. Current breaks, points and ledges – In June, postspawn bass will be setting up on secondary points, ledges and other deeper structure. Current concentrates them. Other types of current breaks such as deep points, stump-covered inside bends, islands and bridges also hold fish.

 

The Forage Base

  • gizzard shad
  • threadfin shad
  • bluegills
  • crawfish

 

Lake Barkley Baits

For offshore fishing: football jigs, swimbaits, crankbaits

For flipping brush and wood: Texas-rigged creature baits, jigs

For shallow fishing: square-bill crankbaits, swimbaits, poppers, spinnerbaits

 

Keys to Victory

1. Water level and current – If the water is up, there’s only one pattern: flipping. That is, until the water starts to recede, which can pull fish quickly from the bushes. In “normal” conditions, anglers will debate between fishing bank cover and targeting more traditional postspawn territory on the main river. The latter is better when the current is flowing and schools of bait are concentrated on the main lake.

2. Lots of water – Though Barkley is a third of the size of Kentucky Lake, it still has a ton of water to fish. Anglers will have to determine what section of the lake has the best quality fish and decide how far they’re willing to run to fish for them. Some of the best offshore fishing is close to takeoff, but those spots will get pressured quickly.

3. Mother Nature and timing – Early June is the start of the big-limit postspawn season in western Kentucky and Tennessee, and it’s possible that the All-American will be timed just right for a barnburner event. Local tournaments have produced hit-or-miss results of late, but that’s not bad news. The bass are currently in transition from the spawn to postspawn, and fishing is usually tough when bass are “in between.” Yet, whenever a tournament coincides with a period when “new fish” are arriving in postspawn spots, the fishing can be really, really good. All-American anglers should arrive in town just in time for a new fish arrival, hurried along by a forecast warming trend over the next two weeks.

Tags: bfl  all-american  lake-barkley  curtis-niedermier  pre-tournament  2016-06-09-lake-barkley 

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