UPCOMING EVENT: TACKLE WAREHOUSE PRO CIRCUIT - 2020 - Harris Chain of Lakes

Lucky Lure Earns Aswegan the W

Lucky Lure Earns Aswegan the W

Not to say that bass fishermen are overly superstitious, but most agree that sometimes it’s a good idea not to tempt fate when something is working, particularly a lucky lure.

Chris Aswegan can vouch for the inexplicable power of a special lure. The Tiffin, Iowa, boater won the FLW Bass Fishing League Regional on Kentucky Lake Oct. 13-15, and his primary lure was a Heddon Zara Spook given to him by his 5-year-old son, John, for Father’s Day.

“Normally I always throw a bone-colored Zara Spook,” says Aswegan. “He knows I like to fish a Spook and a frog, but he bought me a shad-colored Zara Spook. When summer rolled around up on the Mississippi, I said, ‘Yeah, I’m tying it on.’ Some people say color doesn’t matter. I don’t know. Maybe it was just good vibes. But I wasn’t about to put it down.”

Aswegan used the lucky topwater walker and a buzzbait to tally 47 pounds, 4 ounces in the three-day event and punched his ticket to the 2017 FLW Bass Fishing League All-American on Pickwick Lake. He also earned $20,000 and a new Ranger bass boat.

For Aswegan and the top finishers this week, it was a typical Kentucky Lake bass tournament in the fall. Topwater and shallow reaction baits dominated in a challenging event where mid- to upper teen weights were enough to put anglers in contention on a fishery that regularly churns out much heavier limits earlier in the year.

Likewise, fall on Kentucky Lake is a season of greatly varying weather conditions, and that played out this week. Following several days of summery conditions, Mother Nature swept in with a cold front that dropped the temperature – highs in the mid-50s – for the first two days of competition. On day three, the temperature shot up to 80, the wind blew straight out of the south at 10 to 15 mph and high skies beamed across the region.

The changeup caused Marty Sisk, the boater leader on days one and two, to stumble and bring in just one keeper on the final day. Sisk says he should have known better than to stick with his topwater program amid the change, but Aswegan’s success says otherwise.

Aswegan located a shallow flat on his fourth day of practice that ended up giving up all of his key fish during the three-day event. A subtle drop-off from about 8 inches to 18 inches deep on the flat was the key. It stretched about 100 yards, and there were visible schools of bait along it. Aswegan’s only real adjustment was to pinpoint the exact spot on that break that he needed to cast to get fish to bite.

“The majority of that 100 yards I didn’t catch a fish off of,” says Aswegan, who fished about 50 miles south of the Moors Resort takeoff site. “It was a different stretch each day. Most of my bites each day came from a spot about triple the size of a boat.”

Aswegan says that fishing the spot reminded him of fishing shallow sandbars on the Mississippi back home – a technique he used to make the top 10 in two Great Lakes Division BFLs this season (he finished third in the points in that division this year). The biggest difference is that there’s a lot less current on Kentucky Lake.

In either case, Aswegan suspects that bass don’t hang out in deeper water and rush up to ambush bait. Rather, he believes they hang tight along those shallow depressions and feed when the opportunity presents itself.

He was able to visually locate the depression during periods of bright sun and calm wind. He stayed on the spot by memory and with his GPS when the wind blew or the sky was overcast, casting around until he pinpointed that day’s sweet spot.

“I didn’t see them working a lot of bait,” Aswegan adds. “Most of the good bites I got were not when they were busting.”

On stage at weigh-in, Aswegan recalled his first trip to Kentucky Lake, and how he was blown away by the vastness of the 160,000-acre reservoir. He says he wondered where to even begin back then.

This time around, he found comfort in a familiar pattern, with confidence techniques and a bait graced with a little bit of luck.

“I know how I like to fish and feel really confident in the fall,” says Aswegan. “I knew I was going to fish topwater.”

 

Brueggen takes second with big final day

He only got five bites on the final day of competition, but Mike Brueggen didn’t need any more than that. The Wisconsin angler, widely considered to be one of the best BFL competitors in the nation, weighed in 17 pounds, 10 ounces today to finish the tournament with 46-9. One of his five bites today was from a 6-pound, 7-ounce kicker.

“I was throwing topwater and a swim jig,” says Brueggen, who caught his fish down around New Johnsonville, Tenn. “My fish pretty much had dropped out by yesterday. I just had to put the trolling motor down and go fishing today.”

Brueggen fished shallow and dialed in on a specific type of bottom content that produced many, but not all of his fish. He says he fished near the main lake.

 

Pickett finishes third, sets himself up as All-American favorite

It’s great when a plan comes together like it did for veteran FLW angler Lloyd Pickett Jr. of Bartlett, Tenn. Pickett fished the Illini Division of the BFL this season for a shot at fishing the Regional on Kentucky Lake, where he has quite a lot of experience. He says the Illini Division presented some of the toughest fishing he’s ever encountered, yet Pickett qualified for the Regional and made it count with a third-place finish this week.

The bigger picture is that Pickett owns a house on Pickwick and knows its waters intimately. He’ll be one of the tournament favorites next season when the All-American is held there.

For the Regional, it was typical Lloyd Pickett Jr. fishing. He’s known for being a Carolina rigger and admits to dragging a rig for three days to total up 45 pounds, 1 ounce.

“I was Carolina rigging drops mainly, anywhere from half a foot to 5 foot,” he says. “But those cold fronts killed me.

“I’ve been out on the river [the main lake],” Pickett continues. “I could get bit in the creeks, but they were mostly fish that were just pushing keepers – 15 or 16 inches long.”

Pickett’s better quality bites all came out, and included a near 7-pounder on day one and a 5-pounder on day two.

“Today I needed a big bite and never got it,” he adds.

During the first two days, Pickett bounced around and covered quite a few “holes.” Today, he fished only three because of the stiff south wind.

His primary baits were an 8-inch lizard and a Chompers creature bait.

 

Top 10 boaters

1. Chris Aswegan – Tiffin, Iowa – 47-04 (15) – $65,200

2. Mike Brueggen – La Crosse, Wis. – 46-09 (15) – $10,000

3. Lloyd Pickett Jr. – Bartlett, Tenn. – 45-01 (15) – $5,000

4. Clayton Reitz – Morton, Ill. – 40-09 (14) – $3,000

5. Ronald Nutter – Newark, Ohio – 39-10 (14) – $2,100

6. Bradley Leifermann – Andover, Minn. – 38-12 (14) – $1,800

7. Scott Cooke – Marengo, Ohio – 38-02 (12) – $2,600

8. Marty Sisk – Evansville, Ind. – 37-08 (11) – $1,400

9. John Devries – Fishers, Ind. – 37-06 (10) – $1,200

10. David Spivey – Hamilton, Ohio – 36-11 (13) – $1,000

Complete results

 

Budde beats all co-anglers

Illinois co-angler Jim Budde earned the win from the back of the boat thanks mostly to a Zara Spook topwater fished around shallow bars.

A key moment for him came on day two when his boater partner Mike Arnold gave Budde the assist he needed to make the cut to the final day.

“We started in [Lake] Barkley and each got a keeper,” Budde recalls. “Then we came back and fished bars. I ended up with five keepers. Then my boater did something I’ve never experienced before. In the last 45 minutes of the day, he put all his rods away. He said, ‘I don’t have a chance to make it, but one more keeper and you can make the final day.’”

Sure enough, Budde caught one more keeper to up his limit to 10-10, then followed with four fish for 12-12 today to move into first place with 30-4 total.

In addition to the Spook, Budde threw a spinnerbait, and his two best fish on the final day came on a buzzbait.

Budde put in extensive practice time leading up to the Regional, but the real key to his strategy was between the ears, not between the banks of Kentucky Lake.

“You just have to remain calm and confident,” he says.

Budde earned a brand-new Ranger boat for his win. It’s good timing. He says his current boat is less than reliable, and the new ride will get him back out on the water.

 

Complete results

Top 10 co-anglers

1. Jim Budde – Waterloo, Ill. – 30-04 (11) – $45,200

2. Jim Stone – Greenwood, Ind. – 29-13 (11) – $5,050

3. Randy Westerfield – Constantine, Mich. – 28-12 (11) – $2,500

4. Tim Gilliland – Wellston, Ohio – 28-09 (9) – $1,500

5. Carl Lingle – Dongola, Ill. – 27-12 (11) – $1,000

6. Mike Raber – Wolcottville, Ind. – 26-09 (11) – $900

7. Eddie Dean – Ashton, W.Va. – 22-15 (10) – $800

8. Mark Miller – Baltic, Ohio – 21-08 (7) – $700

9. Jarred Metje – Woodlawn, Ill. – 21-06 (7) – $600

10. Roy Lester – Hamilton, Ohio – 20-14 (8) – $500

 

All-American qualification

The Kentucky Lake Regional featured the top boaters from the Buckeye, Great Lakes, Illini and Michigan divisions. The top six boaters and co-anglers qualified to compete in the 2017 FLW Bass Fishing League All-American, which is a televised event with a six-figure payday and a boater berth in the Forrest Wood Cup on the line.

Tags: kentucky-lake  chris-aswegan  curtis-niedermier  headline-story  2016-10-13-kentucky-lake 

Fitzgerald Finishes Strong at St. Johns

Fitzgerald Finishes Strong at St. Johns

Trevor Fitzgerald of Belleview, Fla., moved ahead one spot in the standings on the final day of competition at the St. Johns River to earn his first Toyota Series victory. His three-day catch of 57 pounds, 12 ounces earned him the win by a 6-pound margin. READ MORE »

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 3

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 3

Day two of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener on the St. Johns River brought more fish, bigger fish and eight bags over 20 pounds – a marked improvement over what we saw on day one. Day three could go either direction, though, as a small cold front overnight left behind bluebird skies and abundant sunshine today. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 2

It’s been a question of when, not if: When is the first big wave of spawners going to move up on the St. Johns River? That question may have been answered on day two of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener, as more and more anglers brought big fish across the weigh-in stage, with many of the bass coming from beds or shallow cover where fish are staging to make their big move. READ MORE »

Big Day Puts Blair Ahead at St. Johns

Big Day Puts Blair Ahead at St. Johns

Jason Blair caught 22 pounds, 3 ounces – the biggest limit of the tournament so far – to take over the lead at the Toyota Series Southern Division season opener on the St. Johns River. The West Palm Beach, Fla., pro has a two-day total of 39-15 and a 1-pound, 11-ounce lead over yesterday’s leader, Trevor Fitzgerald. READ MORE »

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 2

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 2

After a warm but windy day to start the Toyota Series Southern Division opener on the St. Johns River, day two brought lower temperatures, rain and a shifting wind that blew right up the chute early this morning. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 1

The St. Johns River is fishing tough, and while weights were down across the board on day one of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener, the top five found a way to get the job done with some impressive stringers of big Florida bass. READ MORE »

Fitzgerald in Front on St. Johns

Fitzgerald in Front on St. Johns

Trevor Fitzgerald of Belleview, Fla., took the lead on day one of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener at the St. Johns River with a five-bass limit that weighed 21 pounds, 2 ounces. Fitzgerald has previously won a Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event on the St. Johns and is in contention to make his 12th top-10 finish with FLW. READ MORE »

Timing Right for Giant Weights at Chickamauga

Timing Right for Giant Weights at Chickamauga

If it’s big bass you want, late winter and early spring are ideal times to catch them at Lake Chickamauga, which is why the 2020 Toyota Series Central Division opener is perfectly timed to be a big-bass slugfest. The tournament, which runs Feb. 27-29, could produce some of the biggest five-bass limits FLW will see all year. Just how good the fishing will be depends on the weather, and whether the region ever sees an end to the rain that’s been falling recently.  READ MORE »

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 1

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 1

As expected, the St. Johns River is still fishing pretty tough in the Toyota Series Southern Division opener, which kicked off this morning. The St. Johns holds plenty of good fish, but she’s not all that willing to give them up. READ MORE »

Littich Nets Big O Title

Littich Nets Big O Title

Boater Thomas Littich of Cape Coral, Florida, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 23 pounds, 14 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston, Florida. For his victory, Littich earned a total of $7,220, including a $2,500 FLW PHOENIX BONUS contingency award. READ MORE »

Dover Wins on Keowee

Dover Wins on Keowee

Boater Randy Dover of Buford, Georgia, brought five to the scale Saturday totaling 15 pounds, 10 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake Keowee in Seneca, South Carolina. For his victory, Dover earned a total of $5,627. READ MORE »

Robinson Slings a Blade on Martin

Robinson Slings a Blade on Martin

Boater Dusty Robinson of Eclectic, Alabama, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 13 pounds, 4 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake Martin in Alexander City, Alabama. For his victory, Robinson earned a total of $5,686, including a $1,000 Mercury contingency award. READ MORE »

Bethel Wins on Seminole

Bethel Wins on Seminole

The Bethel University duo of Brad Ableman of Latham, New York, and Wilson Smith of Southaven, Mississippi, won the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI event at Lake Seminole Friday with a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 1 ounce. READ MORE »

South Forsyth Wins on Seminole

South Forsyth Wins on Seminole

The South Forsyth High School duo of Brett Morlanne and Michael Landernaeu, both of Cumming, Georgia, brought four bass to the scale Saturday weighing 12 pounds, 5 ounces to win the 2020 FLW High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing Lake Seminole Open. READ MORE »

Johnson Gets No. 1 on Lanier

Johnson Gets No. 1 on Lanier

Boater Jason Johnson of Dawsonville, Georgia, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 19 pounds, 1 ounce to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine at Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Georgia. For his victory, Johnson earned a total of $13,596, including the lucrative $7,000 FLW PHOENIX Bonus contingency award. The victory was the first win of Johnson’s FLW career. READ MORE »

Huff Wins it on Toledo

Huff Wins it on Toledo

Cody Huff has had a heck of a run these last few weeks on Toledo Bend. It started when he and Dakota Pierce of Bethel University won the Bassmaster College Series event last week. This week, Huff went solo and loaded up a 61-pound, 11-ounce total for a $35,395  payday in the opening event of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Toledo Bend – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Toledo Bend – Day 2

Cody Huff has been red hot on Toledo Bend for the last week and with one more day to go it’s his tournament to lose. That being said, there is a laundry list of local pros looking to take full advantage of any slip he may have in the final round of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division season opener. READ MORE »

Huff Hauls Ahead at Toledo Bend 

Huff Hauls Ahead at Toledo Bend 

Cody Huff appears to be unstoppable on Toledo Bend. Last week, the Bethel University angler won the Bassmaster College Series event on Toledo with his partner Dakota Peirce. This week, he's weighed 43 pounds, 12 ounces through two days and appears to be cruising toward the win in the first Toyota Series Southwestern Division event of the year. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Toledo Bend – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Toledo Bend – Day 1

Everyone knew this tournament wouldn’t be the slugfest Toledo Bend is known for, but that didn’t stop the top pros from assembling some decent catches on day one of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division opener. READ MORE »

Johnston In Front at Toledo Bend

Johnston In Front at Toledo Bend

Toledo Bend isn't fishing like its normal self at the moment, but the lake still kicked out some solid bags to start the Toyota Series Southwestern Division season opener. Leading the pack after day one is Stephen Johnston of Hemphill, Texas, who set the pace with a 23-pound, 8-ounce limit thanks to the help of a 10-7 kicker. Behind him are several locals waiting to make their move, with the rest of the top five all within nearly 4 pounds of Johnston. READ MORE »