UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Grand Lake

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

First Time is the Charm for Ashley

First Time is the Charm for Ashley
Taylor Ashley

Lake Okeechobee has been the career launching pad for several young rookie pros through the years. Full-time pros like JT Kenney, Bryan Thrift and Drew Benton all took their first big career wins on the Big O before the fishing world had ever heard their names. Now you can add the name Taylor Ashley of Warrior, Ala., to that list.

At just 19 years old, Ashley won the Costa FLW Series Southeast Division opener presented by Power-Pole on Lake Okeechobee. It was the first FLW Series event Ashley had ever entered. It was the first time Ashley had ever been to Lake Okeechobee. And it ended with his first big career win.

Complete results

Top 10 baits 

Poitevint's winning co-angler pattern

Taylor Ashley

“Four days ago, there was no way in the world I would have said I could have won this tournament,” Ashley says. “There is nothing that can prepare you for coming to this lake for the first time. I studied Google Earth for hours, but it does you no good because everything changes so fast here – the grass, the water levels, nothing looks like you think it's going to look.”

Ashley’s first couple of days on the lake during practice were demoralizing.

“I got so lost on this place,” he admits. “I’ve never been that lost on the water before. It’s so big it’s just overwhelming. By the third day I had gotten so lost and had not caught any fish – I was seriously ready to quit.”

With one day left to practice, Ashley decided to stay close to Clewiston along the East Wall out of desperation. A friend had given him a waypoint in the area and told him he had caught some 2-pounders there years ago.

“I had nowhere left to go,” he says. “I had burned a bunch of gas and not found a thing to fish. My only choice was to sort of stay close so I wouldn’t get lost again and figure something out so maybe I could just scratch out a check.”

With nowhere left to turn, Ashley put his trolling motor down, picked up his favorite lure – a swim jig – and just started fishing for miles through vegetation fields near Clewiston.

Late in the day on that final day of practice, two big bites on his swim jig gave him all he needed: a place to just start the tournament.

And from there the rest is history. Each day Ashley learned more and more about his area, sacking up daily weights of 21-0, 25-6 and 22-6 to win with a three-day total of 68-12.

Taylor Ashley

The main focus of his winning pattern centered on a single boat lane amid a network of boat lanes through fields of scattered vegetation. The particular lane he favored terminated into the main lake, acting as a conduit for female bass moving into spawn.

“I could fish all out in those vegetation fields and catch bucks,” he says. “But whenever I got near that one particular lane – I’d get a big bite. All I can figure is those bigger females had to be using that one lane to travel in.”

With that in mind, Ashley began fishing a zigzag pattern, weaving back and forth across the big bass pipeline.

Taylor Ashley, Dean Harcourt

Ashley’s lures of choice were a pair of 3/8-ounce Dirty Jigs No-Jack Swim Jigs – one white and one green pumpkin. He trailered them with Zoom Super Speed Craws in matching colors and fished them on 65-pound test Power-Pro braid.

Having put in many hours of swim jigging along Alabama’s Coosa River, Ashley fished the swim jig “Alabama style,” constantly twitching and popping the rod tip as he reeled it across the scattered vegetation alongside the productive boat lane.

“I was working it just like I do back home,” he adds. “But instead of twitching it around bank grass, I twitched it around reeds and lily pads – it’s the first time I’ve ever fished down here so I just fished the best way I knew how to.”

And it appears the first time was certainly the charm for Ashley all week at Okeechobee.

 

Top 10 pros

1. Taylor Ashley – Warrior, Ala. – 68-12 (15) – $60,400

2. Joshua Weaver – Macon, Ga. – 61-2 (15) – $25,900

3. Derek Yasinski – Senoia, Ga. – 61-1 (15) – $17,000

4. Gary Milicevic – Labelle, Fla. – 57-12 (15) – $15,000

5. Scott Byrd – Ocklawaha, Fla. – 52-5 (15) – $14,000

6. Robert Beatty – Clermont, Fla. – 51-4 (15) – $10,500

7. Brian Holder – Denver, N.C. – 49-3 (15) – $9,300

8. Buddy Gross – Chickamauga, Ga. – 45-2 (15) – $8,000

9. Bill Tervin – Pocola, Okla. – 44-14 (15) – $7,000

10. Ron Nelson – Berrien Springs, Mich. – 44-1 (12) – $5,000

Complete results

Tags: rob-newell  headline-story  2017-01-26-lake-okeechobee 

Beavers Wins Potomac Regional

Beavers Wins Potomac Regional

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New Dominates Seminole Regional

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Hays Rallies for Ozark Title

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Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 3

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Top 5 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks – Day 2

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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 »

Rampey Stays Red Hot on Hartwell

Rampey Stays Red Hot on Hartwell

After winning a T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Super Tournament on Lake Hartwell a few weeks ago, Jayme Rampey of Liberty, S.C., was certainly one of the favorites heading into the BFL Regional on the same pond this past weekend. Lo and behold, he wouldn’t disappoint, and notched his 11th career BFL win – five of which have come on Hartwell – and won a Ranger Z518L with a 200-horsepower motor, plus $20,000 cash for his efforts. READ MORE »

Warren Mounts Furious Comeback on Grand

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Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 2

When conditions changed, Cody Bird of Granbury, Texas completely scrapped his day-one pattern, caught a limit that weighed 13-11 and took over the lead of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event, presented by T-H Marine, with a two-day total of 32-14. Here’s what the rest of the top five was up to on day two. READ MORE »

Bird Moves Ahead on Grand

Bird Moves Ahead on Grand

After his sizzling day-one pattern fizzled, Cody Bird adjusted his focus to a completely different scenario and sacked up a limit of 13-11 on day two to take over the lead in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine, with a two day total of 32-14. Going into Saturday’s final round, Bird holds a 7-ounce lead over day-one leader and Grand Lake stick Jason Christie. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 1

Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., leveraged his intimate understanding of Grand Lake’s tendencies to catch a five-bass limit that weighed 22 pounds, 10 ounces to take the lead on day one of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event Presented by T-H Marine. Here are the details of the rest of the top five. READ MORE »

Christie Blasts 22-10 on Grand

Christie Blasts 22-10 on Grand

Oklahoma stick Jason Christie overcame the unsettling effects of a passing cold front to sack up a five-bass limit that weighed 22 pounds, 10 ounces for the day one lead in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake. READ MORE »

Grand Lake Midday Update - Day 1

Grand Lake Midday Update - Day 1

After several weeks of hot, sunny conditions, anglers launched with cloudy skies, stout winds and air temperatures in the low 60s. By midday, the temperature rose into the mid to upper 60s and the wind started to subside, however, the first couple of hours saw Grand Lake’s temperamental side. READ MORE »

Beavers Focused on Bluebacks

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Sac State Wins on the Delta

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Carolina Rig Carries Lewellen

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Stracner Wins Again, Clinches AOY

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