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


Final Invitational Set for Norris

Norris Lake

The final Walmart FLW Tour Invitational of the year is set for Norris Lake Oct. 20-22. A Forrest Wood Cup berth and cash prizes will be on the line at the event, which is hosted by the Anderson County Tourism Council and presented by Quaker State.

Winding through the hills of east Tennessee, Norris Lake is huge, seldom fished by major tournaments and home to some of the better smallmouth fishing in Tennessee. Though there are plenty of locals in the 103-boat field, Norris isn’t well known to many of the competitors. The FLW Tour has never before visited Norris Lake, and an FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) event in 2016 was the first FLW tournament ever held there. Though weights would certainly be higher later in the year or in the spring, we’re going to learn a lot about Norris when the Invitational gets underway.


Norris Lake

The layout

“Norris Lake is a fantastic fishery, but it’s going to be a little tricky in this tournament,” says Luke Dunkin of Lawrenceburg, Tenn., who finished in 16th place at the first FLW Tour Invitational last month at Lake Norman. “The lake is facing some major drawdowns. It can be close to 20 feet at times that the lake comes down. It’s also still been pretty warm here, and the fish are just starting to transition into their fall patterns. It’s going to be a typical early fall grinder-type tournament.”

Currently, Norris is about 20 feet below full pool, which is nothing out of the ordinary for Norris and many of the surrounding east Tennessee mountain reservoirs. As such, the bass are used to it, and low water conditions usually don’t hurt the fishing much.

“The lake isn’t very wide, but it’s huge,” Dunkin says. “It’s one of those deals where when you pick an area, you’re there. You can run well over an hour up each of the two rivers [Clinch and Powell] and still not be all the way up them. Decision-making is going to be huge, and this is going to be a very interesting tournament for the fans to follow because it’s a total unknown.”


Norris Lake

The fishing

The actual fishing on Norris figures to be very diverse. Not only because early fall tends to scatter fish, but also because of the variety of bass in the lake.

“We’re going to see all three species of bass weighed in, but I think the winner will likely have a majority of largemouths,” says Dunkin. “There are some giant smallmouths there, and there are some good spots [spotted bass], but it is very difficult to pattern them and catch five good ones, especially this time of year. Those east Tennessee smallmouths are so different than in any other place in the country. They like to move around, and they can break your heart.”

Dunkin says that topwater baits, jigs, square-bill crankbaits and swimbaits will all be popular baits for competitors in this tournament. Additionally, there’s a chance that some anglers will choose to focus in on smallmouths, and that might require finesse techniques.

“I think if a guy can put together 12 to 14 pounds each day, he’ll be right there at the end,” says Dunkin. “The way the weather has been as of late, we’re just in a grind. I’m going to say the winner will have a three-day total of 38 pounds. The potential for some big weights is there, though, and with the right conditions it could take a lot more.”

While mild late-summer temperatures have prevailed of late, the right conditions would be some rain, wind and cool weather. If fall decides to bear down in earnest on Norris while the tournament is underway we could be in for a smallmouth slugfest.


Tournament details

Format: FLW Tour Invitational events are pro-only tournaments. The entire field fishes on days one and two. The top 10 anglers based on cumulative two-day weight qualify to fish the final day. The winner is determined by the heaviest three-day cumulative weight.

A Cup berth: In addition to a cash prize, the winning pro earns a spot at the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup.

Takeoff: Anglers will take off at 7:30 a.m. ET from Anderson County Park, 2191 Park Lane, Andersonville, Tenn.

Weigh-in: Daily weigh-ins take place at Anderson County Park at 3 p.m. ET.

Tags: pre-tournament  2016-10-20-norris-lake 


Roaming Kissimmee with Douglas

Hailing from Minnesota, Josh Douglas is in his third year on the FLW Tour and looking for his first FLW Cup qualification. Were it not for a disqualification in the final event of the year at St. Clair in 2018, Douglas would have sailed into the Cup. After a tough start to the year at Rayburn, he’s planning to get back on track at the FLW Tour event presented by Ranger on Lake Toho. READ MORE »


Burghoff Checks Out Toho on Day 2

FLW Tour rookie Miles “Sonar” Burghoff kicked off his freshman season with a strong performance on Sam Rayburn, where he just missed fishing the final day with a 12th-place finish. Now, the Tour is on a system he is more than familiar with, having spent countless hours on Lakes Toho and Kissimmee while attending college at the University of Central Florida. READ MORE »


A Look at Lake Toho

Stop No. 2 of the 2019 FLW Tour takes us to Lake Toho and the several other lakes strung along the Kissimmee River. Presented by Ranger Boats, the tournament will take off from Big Toho Marina on the north end of the namesake lake, but competitors will be able to spread out down the Kissimmee River into Cypress Lake, Lake Hatchineha (Hatch), Lake Kissimmee, and perhaps even Tiger Lake and Lake Rosalie if they’re feeling adventurous. READ MORE »


Spawn on the Horizon at Okeechobee

Florida is a familiar place for FLW competition, and Lake Okeechobee is probably the best-known fishery the Sunshine State has to offer. So there shouldn’t be many surprises when the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division kicks off the season Jan. 31–Feb. 2 on the Big O with an event presented by Power-Pole. READ MORE »


By the Numbers: Lake Toho

The FLW Tour season opener on Sam Rayburn was a slugfest for sure. Fortunately for fans and anglers alike, the second stop of the season could be just as good, as the Tour heads to Central Florida and Lake Toho and the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes in Kissimmee, Fla., on February 7. READ MORE »


2019 Lake Toho Preview

Lake Tohopekaliga (Toho for short) is the first of four lakes on the menu for pros in the second stop of the FLW Tour. At the south end of Toho, a lock and a series of canals leads to Cypress Lake, Lake Hatchineha (Hatch) and Lake Kissimmee, which are all fair game for the pros. READ MORE »


Cecil’s Final Morning of Practice

Russell Cecil is one of a number of standout Texas anglers fishing the FLW Tour opener this week on Sam Rayburn. After a lackluster rookie campaign in 2018, fishing near home is a great opportunity for the Willis, Texas, pro to get the year started off strong. Though the conditions are far from normal, a few hours on the final day of practice reveal that Cecil certainly has a read on the bass. READ MORE »


FLW Live Schedule for Sam Rayburn

The 2019 FLW Live seasons kicks off on the big bass factory of Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Brookeland, Texas. Watch your favorite stars such as Scott Martin and Bryan Thrift weigh-in at the FLW Tour season opener, and then follow the weekend action live with the top pros. READ MORE »


Figuring Out Rayburn with Powell

Hensley Powell has quickly and quietly amassed quite a record with FLW. In just three years fishing the Costa FLW Series, he’s earned over $90,000, and he got a win at Table Rock in the Central Division in 2018. READ MORE »


Sam Rayburn Lake Tour

This year, the FLW Tour kicks off in Texas with a showdown presented by Polaris on Sam Rayburn. Big Sam hasn’t hosted too many FLW Tour events in the past, but it’s loaded with bass and bass fishing history. The lake is much higher than normal right now, which will no doubt produce different fishing than is typical for winter on Rayburn. READ MORE »


Practice Starts at Rayburn

Day one of practice for the FLW Tour presented by Polaris on Sam Rayburn started this morning. We hung around takeoff to see friends we haven't seen in months and to get the season underway.  READ MORE »


Childs Holds on for Co-angler Win

Jay Childs caught two giant largemouths on day one, along with a smaller keeper, to take the early lead at Lake Amistad. Then he survived today for the win with a pair of keepers that included one smallmouth. READ MORE »


High Water will Factor at Rayburn

Typical winter fishing on Sam Rayburn would call for a lot of lipless crankbaits, Carolina rigs and a focus on offshore structure and submerged grass. However, for the FLW Tour opener January 10-13 a lot of that may be out the window – or at least a lot different than many of the Rayburn sticks in the field are used to. Sam Rayburn has risen steadily since December 10th, and as of January 3, the lake is at 171.43 feet, which is 7 feet over full pool of 164.4 feet. READ MORE »


By the Numbers: Sam Rayburn

The 2019 FLW Tour takes to the waters of Sam Rayburn Reservoir Jan. 10-13 for the opening event of the new season. Rayburn can produce some absolute giants in January, and if the weather cooperates, there’s potential for an abundance of massive bags. READ MORE »


Big Bass Expected at Opener on Amistad

Lake Amistad might not kick out quite as many massive stringers of largemouth bass as it used to, but the legendary south Texas border reservoir is still a factory for big fish. According to local guide and always tournament favorite Ray “Hanselmania” Hanselman, there are some real giants to be caught at Amistad, but they’ll be at a premium when the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division rolls into Del Rio to kick off the 2019 season on Jan. 3 READ MORE »


Guntersville Lake Tour

Winding through Tennessee, north Alabama and Kentucky, the Tennessee River is studded with some of the most legendary reservoirs in bass-fishing history. Many would argue that Lake Guntersville is the best of the bunch, and though that is up for debate on any given year, Guntersville’s place in fishing history is undeniable. This week, the lake is under heavy pressure from a local championship event, anglers out to have fun and the 198 pros and co-anglers in the Costa FLW Series Championship. Here’s a look at what they’ll encounter on the water. READ MORE »


Guntersville Showing Out for Costa Finale

Few things are certainties in life, but you can certainly count on anglers catching a ton of huge fish when the Costa FLW Series Championship rolls into Guntersville this week. With bass settled into fall patterns and gobs of vegetation still giving plenty of cover to fish feeding in the shallows, there’s a good chance the lake produces 20-plus-pound limits early and often in the championship event. READ MORE »


Costa Championship Fact Sheet

Up to 430 of the world’s best bass anglers will descend on Alabama’s Lake Guntersville Nov. 1-3 for the no-entry-fee 2018 Costa FLW Series Championship. READ MORE »


Dock Talk All About Docks at Ozarks

Greg Bohannan, the 2017 Central Division Angler of the Year, believes the warmer-than-usual weather as of late will make the topwater bite a secondary tactic. In his opinion, it’s going to be docks that deliver the winning fish this year. READ MORE »


Question Marks Abound at Fort Gibson

Fort Gibson Lake has the quality and quantity of fish to churn out massive bags nearly all year long, but finding those fish might be harder now than it’s been all year. That’s not great news for anglers ahead of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division tournament on Oct. 4. READ MORE »