UPCOMING EVENT: YETI College Fishing - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir


Top 10 patterns from Fort Gibson

Zack Birge

Fluctuating water levels, plus a cold front presented challenging conditions for anglers fishing the final Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event on Fort Gibson Lake, but Derek Fulps persevered and pulled out the win with a three-day total of 45 pounds, 5 ounces.

Fulps pulled the majority of his fish from a large, submerged tree about six miles up the Grand River. The current of days one and two help his cause by positioning the fish tight to the structure, where they were more easily targeted.

Day three brought nearly no current and Fulps’ fish were relating more loosely to the tree. Fortunately, he managed to catch three good ones and seal the deal.

Fulps’ winning pattern

Top 10 baits from Fort Gibson

Complete results


Kyle Cortiana

2. Cortiana adjusts to changes, finishes second

Kyle Cortiana of Broken Arrow, Okla., earned his final-round spot by turning in a big second-day limit that weighed 16-11 and moved him up from 24th place to fifth. Adding 14-8 in the final round gave him a total weight of 43-4.

Cortiana caught some of his keepers on a 3/8-ounce PB&J Chompers Brush Jig with a Gene Larew Punch Out Craw trailer, but he did most of his damage with a Gene Larew Biffle Bug in the Sooner run color on a 5/8-ounce Hardhead.

“If you have water, rock, bass, mud and a boat, buy a Biffle Bug and you’ll catch some fish,” he says. “It’s a fish-catching fool; I caught most of my fish on it.”

Cortiana says he practiced for seven days, but found himself scratching his head. An unstable environment, he says, had the fish rattled.

“I have a lot of history on this lake and nothing that used to work worked,” Cortiana laments. “I think the current and the wind had a lot to do with it. The current was going up and down and the water level was fluctuating. The fish were starting to act like river fish and I don’t like that.

“Most of my fish came from stuff I’d never fished before. A couple of community holes produced some fish, but most of it was all new water.”


Brandon Mosley

3. Mosley bucks his style to finish third

The pro from Choctaw, Okla., is no stranger to Fort Gibson, but the tournament week’s varying conditions made him rethink his approach. Doing so allowed Brandon Mosley to finish third with 42-1.

“I’m a dragger; I like to be down-lake fishing offshore,” Mosley says. “But this is fall and things are changing. You can’t always get away with that.”

Running upriver, Mosley caught most of his fish on a full-sized watermelon candy Zoom Brush Hog. Targeting the usual shoreline mix of laydowns, logs and stumps, he Texas rigged his bait with a 5/0 hook and a 3/8-ounce weight.

Mosley also caught a few keepers on a 5/8-ounce magnum shaky head with a Zoom Magnum Trick Worm, also in watermelon candy.


Jim Tutt

4. Bladed jig lifts Tutt to fourth

Walmart FLW Tour pro Jim Tutt got off to a solid start by catching 13-10 to place 18th on day one, but remaining consistent over the next two days yielded limits of 13-4 and 14-12 and a fourth-place total of 41-10.

Running up the Grand River, Tutt caught his bass on a 5/8-ounce Santone Blade Jig with a Yamamoto Zako trailer and a 1/8-ounce Gambler Giggy Head with a Zoom Trick Worm. Tutt had already qualified for the Costa FLW Series Championship through the Northern Division, so with that priority secured, he was able to look past a poor practice and fish aggressively.

“I got pretty fortunate because I struggled in practice,” Tutt says. “But I already knew I’d qualified for the Championship, so I swung for the fence. I picked up one bait and threw it pretty much the whole time on day three.

“I caught all my fish on day three and all except for three on day two on that Santone Blade Jig. I was fishing super, super shallow laydowns — I mean 0-6 inches. When it got tough on day one, I pulled out the shaky head, so I was able to adjust every day.”

One of Tutt’s bait prep particulars is his method of adding chartreuse accents to his Trick Worms. Avoiding long painting strokes with his scented dye pen, he lightly strokes the very tip of his worm’s tail for the subtle accents that he believes most closely match natural forage coloration.


Zack Birge

5. Key dock bites anchor Birge’s fifth-place finish

FLW Tour pro Zack Birge says he’s more of a Grand River guy, but on day one, he made a key decision that helped position him for a fifth-place finish with 41-3. Knowing that the current wouldn’t start hitting his river spots until mid-morning, Birge started out flipping docks in the back of a marina next to the tournament’s main lake takeoff site.

Texas-rigging a Missile Baits D Bomb (super bug color) on a 5/0 hook with a 1/2-ounce weight, Birge nabbed a few key fish before heading upriver where he’d flesh out a limit of 17-15. He says he spotted one his day’s biggest fish by using his Garmin Panoptix.

“I’m coming around the corner of a dock and shoot over by the next pole and there’s a big ol’ blob sitting next to it,” Birge says. “I flip over next to it and my bait doesn’t fall a foot. I set the hook and that was a 5 1/2-pounder. That was a bonus fish.

“I scrambled around and caught a couple more and then ran up the river. I caught a 5-12 up there and that pretty much made my bag.”

Birge repeated the plan of fishing down-lake until the current started on day two, but went straight to the river on day three. In the Grand, Birge targeted shallow wood by alternating between the D Bomb and a 6th Sense Movement 80X in the bone reactor color.


Brett Brumnett

6. Fueled by big day-one bag, Brumnett takes sixth

Local pro Brett Brumnett turned in solid efforts on days two and three, but it was the second-place catch of 17-15 on day one that positioned him for a top-10 finish with 40-15.

“I didn’t have a great practice with the lake going up and down,” Brumnett says. “I caught them a lot better on that first day than I expected.”

Brumnett caught his fish on a selection of baits: a jig, a War Eagle spinnerbait, a River2Sea Whopper Plopper and a Texas-rigged Berkley Havoc Pit Boss. His preference — the topwater.

“I should have had 20 pounds on that Whopper Plopper on day one,” he says. “I just lost a few.”

Notably, Brumnett’s son Tate won the co-angler division.

Winning co-angler pattern


Brian Potter

7. Integrating topwater bites leads Potter to seventh

Having struggled to catch fish down-lake in practice, Brian Potter of Claremore, Okla., committed to fishing upriver where he targeted current-blown cover. The water started moving around 9 a.m. on day one, but a later start on day two prompted him to make a move. That adjustment paid off for him on that second day, but not so much on day three.

“I wasn’t getting my bites until about 11-11:30, so yesterday I had to change it up; so I went and threw a Whopper Plopper in the morning and my first three fish weighed 10 pounds.

“On day three, I threw that topwater for four hours and only caught one little fish. So I just went flipping the rest of the day and caught those four more and lost a big one — all out of the same tree.”

In addition to his topwater work, Potter also fished a 1/4-ounce shaky head with a Gene Larew Tattletail Worm, a 5/16- to 1/2-ounce Gene Larew Hardhead with a Biffle Bug. With a total weight of 37-14, Potter finished seventh.


Jeff Sprague

8. Sprague struggles on day three

Making his Fort Gibson debut, Keystone Light pro Jeff Sprague turned in strong performances of 14-15 and 16-4 on days one and two. The final round proved tough for the Texas pro, as he only caught two fish for 3-8. However, his early successes were sufficient to secure a top-10 finish with 34-11.

“I read up on the lake and when I got here, I ran in all these flat pockets with long, flat points that all these guys were talking about, but I couldn’t catch a bass in a flat pocket,” Sprague says. “I think these bass were scared of those spots because the water kept dropping and rising and dropping again.”

Spending most of his time up-river, Sprague flipped wood with a V&M Pacemaker Adrenaline Flippin’ Jig and cranked rock banks with a Black Label Balsa Ricochet crankbait and a 6th Sense Movement 80X. With no water running on day three, Sprague struggled and caught only two fish for 3 1/2 pounds.


Chad Warren

9. Warren gains one spot to finish ninth

Sand Springs, Okla., pro Chad Warren got off to a solid start with 12-14 and 13-7 on days one and two. However, the lack of current on day three seemed to limit his opportunities and he managed only two keepers that weighed 4-4 in the final round. Posting a tournament total of 30-9, Warren moved up from 10th place.

Warren caught most of his fish on a 7/16-ounce Gene Larew Hardhead with a Biffle Bug in the Sooner Run color. He also caught fish on a watermelon black/red flake Yamamoto Senko, Texas rigged with a 3/8-ounce weight and a 6/0 hook.

“I’d just throw my bait up on the bank and slowly drag it out,” he says. “When it would come off that edge, they’d eat it.”


Jeff Dobson

10. Lack of wind drops Dobson to tenth

With plans of stepping up to the FLW Tour in 2017, Jeff Dobson moved to Wagoner, Okla., two months before the tournament to prepare for a strong finish. En route to achieving this objective with 30-1 and a 10th-place finish, he split his fishing time between a Rebel Pop-R in the foxy shad color and his homemade J.D. Fishing brown/blue football jig with a green pumpkin Zoom Super Chunk Jr.

“Every morning, I had a good topwater bite that only lasted an hour to an hour and a half,” Dobson says. “Once that went away, I’d pick up that football head and go to work.”

Dobson fished wind-blown banks where the bluster of days one and two created localized current that stimulated the fish. He said that the day-three forecast for light breezes would likely limit him and in the end, those conditions held him to just one keeper.

Tags: fort-gibson  david-a-brown  post-tournament  2016-09-29-fort-gibson-lake 


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