UPCOMING EVENT: FLW Pro Circuit - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Some Like It Hot

Some Like It Hot
Luke Dunkin

Luke Dunkin had heard about them, but he didn’t really think they were real. After all, who thinks bass will hang out in 100-degree water?

Count Dunkin among the believers in Lake Norman’s two “hot holes” now, based on what he experienced at the Walmart FLW Tour Invitational on Norman last week.

Luke Dunkin

Norman’s bass don’t bend to conventional wisdom in many ways, or so it seems. The saying with most locals is it’s just “stupid Norman.” Yet, of all its oddities, Norman’s “hot holes” – the areas near the discharges from its two power plants – might be the biggest head scratchers.

Warm-water discharges are not unusual, nor is the common occurrence of bass and baitfish congregating around them. What is unusual about the hot holes at Norman is that, according to local Shane LeHew, bass use them when the temps on the main body of the lake are the hottest of the year.

“It doesn’t make any sense, but when the lake is tough is when the hot holes are the best; usually from now until early November,” says LeHew, who fished the hot hole near the nuclear plant throughout the Invitational. “The bait run up there because of the current, and the bass are stupid enough to follow them. I mean, so much bait gets in there that if it was on the surface you could walk across it.”

Shane Lehew

So how hot are we talking in terms of water temperature? The water in LeHew’s hot hole was 95 to 97 degrees, and where Dunkin fished it was cracking 100 degrees. Dunkin says there was steam coming off the water all day, and dead shad would float up constantly, basically boiled in the even hotter water closest to the discharge.

Despite the heat, the abundance of bait makes both locations incredible schooling areas, with both spotted bass and largemouths busting bait all day long. Dunkin says he and Wesley Strader went in there in practice, having heard they could be good, but at first both thought there was no way a bass could live up there, and if it could, it’d be a small spotted bass. A school came up busting as they were checking it out, and Dunkin was rewarded with a 3-pounder and 4-pounder – hooked on the same lure. That was enough to sway him.

Yet, as great as the fishing can be, the stress of fishing in those holes can be too much for some.

“It was so stressful for two reasons: fish care and lost fish,” Dunkin says.

Hot water stresses bass out, and that hot water in a livewell is even worse. Dunkin says he had to plan ahead for special measures to keep fish alive, bringing three bags of ice, five frozen water bottles and plenty of G-Juice livewell treatment to keep the water and bass cool in his livewell.

The heat also makes bass’ mouths softer, according to Dunkin. He believes that hooks pull out easier in such situations, especially on bigger fish. Despite making the top 20, Dunkin figures he could’ve made the top 10 had he not lost as many fish is he did during the three days.

Still, it was an experience he’ll never forget.

“Never in my life did I think I’d get on a 95-degree dead-shad pattern in summer,” Dunkin jokes.

Tags: lake-norman  september  sean-ostruszka  post-tournament  2016-09-15-lake-norman 

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 »

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 »

Beavers Wins Potomac Regional

Beavers Wins Potomac Regional

A severe storm backed up the tides and drained many of the best areas on the Potomac. Adjusting to the unusual conditions and grinding out daily limits were the keys to success in the BFL Regional. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks

Top 10 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks

Considering this was the fourth year in a row Lake of the Ozarks had hosted a Costa FLW Series Central Division event in October, everyone pretty much knew what to expect. And then the weather happened. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake of the Ozarks

Top 10 Baits from Lake of the Ozarks

Fall in the Ozarks is prime time to throw a buzzbait. Sure enough, plenty of the top guys did just that during the Costa FLW Series Central Division finale presented by Evinrude on Lake of the Ozarks. READ MORE »

Co-Angler Fernengel Finishes Strong

Co-Angler Fernengel Finishes Strong

He got bumped from the top spot by an ounce on day one, and slipped the third on day two. But Erick Fernengel of Lake Waukomis, Mo., finally ended up on top when it mattered most.  READ MORE »

Hays Rallies for Ozark Title

Hays Rallies for Ozark Title

The final day of the Costa FLW Series Central Division event on Lake of the Ozarks presented by Evinrude was no walk in the park for the top 10 pros. With a cold front passing through at the start of the event, a high-pressure system settled in for the final round of fishing. While most struggled, Dylan Hays of El Dorado, Ark., sacked up 14 pounds, 6 ounces today – the biggest limit brought in during the final day – and finally was able to wrangle his first FLW title. READ MORE »

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 3

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 3

The final day of the Costa FLW Series Central Division on Lake of the Ozarks presented by Evinrude is fixing to get fun based on what’s already happened today and what could happen. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks – Day 2

Sure enough, with conditions changing from rain and clouds to sun and wind, the Costa FLW Series Central Division on Lake of the Ozarks, which is presented by Evinrude, has made it tough on guys. Of course, day-two leader James Watson predicted that some of the biggest bags of the event would come in today despite the conditions, and he was right. READ MORE »

Consistency Puts Watson Out Front

Consistency Puts Watson Out Front

Weather has been the storyline leading up to the Costa FLW Series Central Division finale on Lake of the Ozarks presented by Evinrude. With storms and rain blowing through yesterday ahead of a cold front, the cooler weather set in today making fishing tough on some, but others took advantage of the change. READ MORE »

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 2

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 2

A cold front that brought temperatures in the 40s, rain and wind has the bass in a funk on day two of the Costa FLW Series Central Division event presented by Evinrude on Lake of the Ozarks. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks – Day 1

Even some of the best locals were driving the struggle bus all day trying to find ways to adapt to fish that moved thanks to the heavy storms. Yet, some guys did adapt well, with the best being Ladd Shannon and his 19-pound, 6-ounce tournament-leading bag. READ MORE »

Shannon Leads the Ozark Charge

Shannon Leads the Ozark Charge

After losing over an hour of fishing time due to a massive thunderstorm that rolled through the area early this morning causing a lightning delay, day one of the Costa FLW Series Central Division finale on Lake of the Ozarks looked to be a grinder of an event. The tournament, which is presented by Evinrude, saw plenty of fish catching by midday, but no size to speak of. Ladd Shannon of Atkins, Ark., managed to scrape up a limit worth 19 pounds, 6 ounces by the end of the day and sits in first by 1-11 over FLW pro Greg Bohannan. READ MORE »

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 1

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 1

All the talk leading up the final leg of the Costa FLW Series Central Division presented by Evinrude on Lake of the Ozarks was about the weather. And Mother Nature did not disappoint. READ MORE »

Stormy Start at Lake of the Ozarks

Stormy Start at Lake of the Ozarks

The final leg of the Costa FLW Series Central Division presented by Evinrude on Lake of the Ozarks will launch right as a massive cold front arrives. How massive? The forecast has been calling for heavy rain and a high of 74 today, and so far hasn’t been wrong. A major thunderstorm greeted anglers this morning and delayed takeoff by an hour and fifteen minutes thanks to abundant lightning. Tomorrow? A high in the mid 40s. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Curt Warren knew what he wanted to do, and it had nothing to do with weeding through a bunch of small fish up shallow. Rather, he focused his attention on deeper Grand Lake spots with chunk rock and brush and amassed a three-day total of 46 pounds, 7 ounces to win the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine. Here’s how the rest of the top 10 caught their fish and earned their checks on Grand. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

A cold front moving in at the start of Grand Lake’s fall transition put a damper on seeing a bunch of big weights during the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, which was presented by T-H Marine, but plenty of pros managed to find the right fish to make things exciting on the final day. READ MORE »

How to Find the Best Docks in Early Fall

How to Find the Best Docks in Early Fall

While there’s almost no bad time of year to find a dock pattern, early fall is a prime season for it. The catch is that as shad transition throughout a reservoir in the fall, some bass go on the move with them. So dialing in a key stretch of docks or a dock pattern can at times be challenging, particularly on lakes with a lot of docks. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the Cal Delta

Top 10 Patterns from the Cal Delta

The Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta featured all the typical Delta tactics. Punching, vibrating jigs, finesse and even a frog made an appearance in the top 10. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Cal Delta

Top 10 Baits from the Cal Delta

The Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta had a lot of punching as usual, but it was far from the only thing going. Due to the lush grass and windy and touch conditions, vibrating jigs and finesse played a big role as well. READ MORE »