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

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Early Reports from Wheeler

Early Reports from Wheeler
Cody Meyer

Starting this Sunday, the 50 Forrest Wood Cup competitors will hit Wheeler Lake bright and early for the first of three days of official practice. It’ll be the first time the anglers have been allowed on the Tennessee River reservoir since the pre-practice cut off date of July 17.

With their busy schedules, many of the anglers fishing the championship of bass fishing only got in a few days of pre-practice before the lake went off-limits. That’s a short amount of time to get a grasp on what’s happening on the vast 60-mile-long fishery, where largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass hang out in an array of depths and cover. It’s the kind of test that will separate the best from the rest.

To get a better idea of what’s going on at Wheeler, we asked six anglers to report on their pre-practice trips and to share a bit about their game plans for the official practice period.

 

Jeff Sprague

Jeff Sprague

I got out to Wheeler for three days before ICAST. I knew this tournament was going to be tough, but I found a couple things that could come together.

I did a bit of everything. I looked offshore, in the shallow creeks and in a lot of the well-known areas. Now when I go back for official practice I can really look for something off the wall to potentially win it.

This is my first Cup, and I’m excited to be there. It’s a big deal for me, but I’m not really nervous. I’m happy to have made it to this point. I’ve got a 1-in-50 shot, and I’m definitely going to swing for the win.

 

Jacob Wheeler

Jacob Wheeler

I got out for two and a half days. I looked around to see what the lake has to offer and get an idea of how it’s going to fish.

I ran around and skimmed everything. I got what I liked and what I didn’t like. You don’t want to make an opinion on what happens in July. Even though it’s the hot part of summer, you’d be surprised what can change on the Tennessee River.

Last year a lot of guys got caught up on what happened in pre-practice. The water was higher, which helped the grass bite. When the water dropped, the grass didn’t play. You can’t go all in on something.

I typically go down and see what’s going on and tend to have a good game plan. This pre-practice threw me for a loop. I don’t know how it’s going to be won. There are so many patterns that could come into play.  

Last time (at Wheeler), when Mark Rose won it offshore (in a September 2012 Tour event), second place was shallow. The water temperature was 61 to 71 degrees then. When we get there it’ll be 85 to 90. There hasn’t been a major tournament there that time of year. You can guess weights based on that (2012 event), but the patterns aren’t going to be the same.

If I can catch 12 a day and catch 20 one day, I could win.

 

Hampton Anderson

I went down the last two weekends. I’ve been up and down the entire lake. It was my first time there, so the first couple days I ran around the whole lake and checked it out.

It was pretty tough. I like to fish out deep but haven’t found any size there. I fished shallow and can catch quality fish, but there are lower numbers. I caught one good one in practice over 6 pounds, but they are few and far in between.

I started to figure some stuff out, but I’ve got a lot of hard work to do in official practice. I want to pick one area of the lake to concentrate on. With how hot it’s been, I’m going to put my head down and fish slow.

 

Scott Martin

Scott Martin

I only got one and a half days of pre-practice. It would have been nice to find something, but I just wanted to see the water, smell the air and just be there. I got a good Alabama sweat and a feel for what the lake is looking like.

I never get a chance to pre-practice, but I like to for the Cup. It helps my confidence level. I’ll pull up to the ramp and think I was just here a little bit ago. With only three days of practice, I need to be focused and make good decisions.

It’s going to be challenging. It’s going to take some good strategy and a blessing to locate something special. It could be deep or shallow, but that special spot will make the difference.

 

Ray Hanselman

Ray Hanselman

I got out for three and a half days. It’s not going to be an easy tournament. I think everyone is going to find his own little deal and grind out what he can.

I fished a lot of stuff. I’d catch one here doing this and one there doing that. I didn’t find one solid pattern. I certainly don’t have one rod on the deck.

There were typical summer patterns and not much current. They weren’t tight to anything and fairly deep. I think a lot of fish are going to be offshore.

I don’t want to jinx myself, but I think I can catch 12 to 15 pounds a day. It’s hard to predict.

 

Cody Meyer

Cody Meyer

A day and a quarter of pre-practice was all I got. I never made a single cast. It’s such a big place. I have only been there once, as a co-angler, and didn’t remember the lake. You see such a small fraction of the lake when you start fishing.

I ran all the creeks and pockets, the main lake and graphed around. I found a few things I liked. I’ve narrowed it down to a few select areas where I think I have the best chance.

In official practice, I’ve got a lot of deep stuff to check and a lot of shallow stuff to check. I’ll do one on day one and the other the next. The final day I’ll do whatever worked and expand on that.

Tags: forrest-wood-cup  wheeler-lake  chris-burgan  pre-tournament  2016-08-04-forrest-wood-cup 

Breaking Down the All-American Field

Breaking Down the All-American Field

When the anglers in the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American start competition on the Potomac they’ll be up against the absolute cream of the crop of FLW’s grassroots ranks. READ MORE »

Table Rock Midday Update – Day 2

Table Rock Midday Update – Day 2

Fishing pressure and a cold front have shut down the bite at Table Rock Lake for stop No. 2 of the Costa FLW Series Central Division season. The lake's largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass are not coming easy. READ MORE »

Spawn in Full Bloom on Table Rock

Spawn in Full Bloom on Table Rock

Stop No. 2 of the Costa FLW Series Central Division should shape up to be quite the catchfest. Coming off of the division opener on Kentucky Lake, where pros were challenged with tough fishing, this week’s event, which is presented by Power-Pole and hosted by Explore Branson, should be stellar in terms of both numbers and quality of fish.  READ MORE »

Going Shallow with Lawyer

Going Shallow with Lawyer

Heading into the sixth stop of the year on Chickamauga, which is presented by Evinrude, Lawyer says he’s looking to go easy and make sure he’s on the road to Hot Springs this August for his third shot at a Cup title. With that in mind, I was happy to hop aboard and see the shallow side of Chickamauga. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Chickamauga

FLW Live Schedule for Chickamauga

FLW Live is back for 2019 FLW Tour stop No. 6 on the big-fish waters of Lake Chickamauga. The event, which is presented by Evinrude and hosted by Fish Dayton and the Rhea Economic & Tourism Council, runs Thursday, May 2 through Sunday, May 5. READ MORE »

Get to Know Lake Chickamauga

Get to Know Lake Chickamauga

The 2019 FLW Tour event at Lake Chickamauga, which is presented by Evinrude, is hitting the lake before the primary offshore migration has occurred, which means that some ledge fishing will take place, but a whole mess of other patterns should play as well. Here’s a look at where the anglers will be competing this week. READ MORE »

By the Numbers: Lake Chickamauga

By the Numbers: Lake Chickamauga

The FLW Tour’s sixth stop of the season is Lake Chickamauga in east Tennessee. One of the gems of the South for hunting monster bass, the Lake of the Giants promises big fish – and lots of them – and perhaps the best chance of seeing the century mark broken this season. READ MORE »

Hunting Offshore With Setzer

Hunting Offshore With Setzer

If Braxton Setzer wins the FLW Tour’s sixth stop of the season fishing offshore, he has a faulty trolling motor to thank for it. READ MORE »

2019 Lake Chickamauga Preview

2019 Lake Chickamauga Preview

Lake Chickamauga in east Tennessee is a big-bass playground where anglers regularly catch trophy fish that surpass 10 pounds. In early May, it'll host the FLW Tour for the third time in six years. Previous events were held in June, so this stop promises to offer a different look at the Chick. READ MORE »

Big Weights Expected at Santee Cooper

Big Weights Expected at Santee Cooper

The Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division finishes up its 2019 season at the Santee Cooper lakes, Marion and Moultrie, in South Carolina this week. Forty pros and co-anglers will qualify for the championship, and an Angler of the Year will be crowned as the field fishes for hefty postspawn largemouths. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Cherokee Lake

FLW Live Schedule for Cherokee Lake

FLW Live is back for 2019 FLW Tour stop No. 5 at beautiful Cherokee Lake. The event, which is presented by Lowrance and hosted by the Jefferson County Economic Development Alliance, runs Thursday, April 11 through Sunday, April 14. READ MORE »

Get to Know Cherokee Lake

Get to Know Cherokee Lake

The fifth stop of the FLW Tour is presented by Lowrance and sure to be fun if you like east Tennessee, smallmouths and good fishing (who doesn’t?). Cherokee Lake plays host and promises to both challenge and delight anglers. READ MORE »

Beavers Breaks Down Cherokee

Beavers Breaks Down Cherokee

Beavers started the year off about as badly as he could, finishing 121st at Rayburn, but he’s been on a tear ever since, finishing 54th at Toho before banking back-to-back top 10s at Seminole and Grand. READ MORE »

Scouting Cherokee with LeBrun

Scouting Cherokee with LeBrun

Now in the second half of the Tour season, LeBrun is up against another new lake, and sort of a new species. He says he’s never seen a smallmouth on a bed in his life, and has spent just two days on Cherokee in pre-practice. READ MORE »

2019 Cherokee Lake Preview

2019 Cherokee Lake Preview

Nestled in the hills of east Tennessee, Cherokee Lake is a TVA impoundment on the Holston River, and it sits roughly between Norris Lake (to the northwest) and Douglas Lake (to the southeast). READ MORE »

Prespawn Throwdown on Tap at KY Lake

Prespawn Throwdown on Tap at KY Lake

The Costa FLW Series Central Division hosts its season opener at Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley April 4-6. Instead of a postspawn ledge showdown, like is typical of major multi-day bass-fishing tournaments in the region, this derby should be a prespawn or spawn slugfest, with crankbaits, spinnerbaits, ChatterBaits, umbrella rigs, swimbait and jigs all playing a major role in the outcome. READ MORE »

Get to Know Grand Lake

Get to Know Grand Lake

The fourth stop of the 2019 FLW Tour is presented by Mercury at Grand Lake. Though the Tour last hit the big Oklahoma lake in 2013, Grand sees plenty of tournament action, especially in the spring, and it never fails to deliver drama. READ MORE »

Poking Around Grand with Cortiana

Poking Around Grand with Cortiana

Since starting to fish Costa FLW Series events in 2016, Kyle Cortiana has banked over $100,000 with FLW and finished in the top 10 of the Southwestern Division three times. On the FLW Tour, he’s been a bit less successful, with no top 10s and no FLW Cup qualifications … yet. This year, he’s sitting 35th in the points, with a good chance to go to the Cup, and the FLW Tour presented by Mercury on Grand Lake finally gives him a shot at a Tour event with home field advantage. READ MORE »

Day 1 Practice on Grand with Warren

Day 1 Practice on Grand with Warren

There’s a good crew of Oklahoma anglers on the FLW Tour, but of them, Chad Warren is definitely one of the favorites at Grand Lake. Stop No. 4 of the 2019 FLW Tour, which is presented by Mercury, heads to Grand in the early spring for a prespawn tournament that might feature really good fishing. READ MORE »

2019 Grand Lake Preview

2019 Grand Lake Preview

Grand Lake is situated in Northeast Oklahoma among the foothills of the Ozarks. The impoundment was created in 1940 when the Pensacola Dam was finished along the Grand River. The 46,500-surface-acre reservoir now hosts plenty of recreational opportunities, but more importantly, is also home to some of the best bass fishing in the country. READ MORE »