UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Lake Mead

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Transition Time at Havasu

Some of the biggest bags of the year come in the prespawn, which means big things are in store for the Costa FLW Series Western Division opener at Lake Havasu, which is presented by Ranger and hosted by the Lake Havasu City Convention & Visitors Bureau. The tournament comes on a week when spring is in the air in the Arizona desert. The temperature on the final day of practice nearly reached 80 degrees, and the low at night isn’t projected to drop below 55 degrees during the tournament. The big warm spell means that spring is coming fast, and that the transition from prespawn to spawn is underway.

Details

Pairings

Practice with Joe Uribe Jr.

 

About the fishery

The Colorado River along the California and Arizona border was dammed up back in 1938 to create Lake Havasu. At a little more than 19,000 surface acres, Havasu isn’t gigantic, but it’s plenty big enough for a good-sized derby. It’s split roughly into four portions: The Colorado River, the basin, the stretch running from the basin to the dam and the Bill Williams arm.

The Colorado River offers current and backwater that adventurous anglers can explore and is generally shallower and dirtier than the rest of the lake. The main basin has the best mix of smallmouths and largemouths and is deep and relatively clear. Running toward the dam, the water clarity increases and the shoreline steepens. The arm formed by the Bill Williams River is warmer and dirtier than the rest of the lake.

As for what’s in it, Havasu is known for a healthy mix of largemouths and smallmouths, and either or both have been known to win tournaments on the lake. There’s some grass and tules and timber, but a lot of the cover comes from man-made cribs that are peppered all over the lake.

 

Current conditions

Defending Western Division Angler of the Year Roy Hawk is sleeping in his own bed this week and is as in tune with the lake as anyone.

“Overall I would say, from 1 to 5, it’s fishing at about a 3,” says Hawk. “They’re in a transition getting ready to spawn, and they’re just in a funk. If it was a little cooler it would be a little better, and if it was a little warmer there would be more bedding.

“In my opinion there will be a major influx of bed-fish caught Thursday with the still conditions,” continues Hawk. “The moon is coming into effect, and I think there will be a lot of fish on beds. But as the week progresses it’s going to get cooler and cloudier and not as conducive to bed-fishing. I think it will be won prespawn, and the guys that get on that bite and can ride it through on a couple areas will be the ones who could win.”

Throughout the lake, the water is just a touch lower than usual with the water temperature running in the high 50s and low 60s. Though there are definitely some fish beginning to spawn, you’d be hard-pressed to find a competitor who believes that sight-fishing will be the dominant pattern.

 

Tactics in play

One of the hallmarks of Havasu is the diversity it offers. Depending on what you like to do, there’s a good chance your preferred tactics will work at some point on Havasu. This week, we can expect to see jerkbaits, swimbaits, finesse options, flipping and pitching soft plastics, and umbrella rigs all come into play. The beautiful thing about Havasu is that you can basically pick any category of lure and it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see it catch fish.

 

Critical factors

  • Pressure – Roy Hawk and Joe Uribe Jr., who won the last FLW Series event at Havasu in 2015, both say that the fish on Havasu get wise in a hurry. Adapting location or presentation to trigger pressured fish will likely be a key factor.
  • The weather – According to the forecast, each day of the event is going to offer different conditions. Day one is supposed to be calm, clear and warm – a possible sight-fishing bonanza. Day two is supposed to be warm, cloudy and windy. The final day is forecast to be cooler, sunnier and even more blustery than day two. Rolling with the punches might well produce a winner who relies on a different tactic each day.

 

Tanner Mort, Andrew Loberg

Dock talk

As usual, most of the field is a little pessimistic about practice, though they are likely to catch them pretty well in the derby. Recent tournaments on Havasu have not been catch-fests.

“The biggest wild card of this whole thing is somebody that finds a couple really big fish on beds,” says Hawk. “If someone has a 7- or 8-pounder staked out on a bed that could be a really big game-changer.”

Andrew Loberg, who has graduated from college fishing to the front of the boat, says the fishing has been tough.

“I think to win you need a combo of smallmouths and largemouths for sure, though I’m sure there are going to be more smallmouths caught,” says Loberg. “Getting five bites is going to be huge in this tournament.”

However it turns out, it should be a fun tournament. Havasu is one of the prettiest lakes in the country, and it looks like the weather should be both pleasant for living and decent for fishing on every day of the event.

 

Tournament details

Format: All 125 boaters and co-anglers will compete for two days. The top 10 boaters and co-anglers based on cumulative weight after two days of competition will advance to the third and final round, with the winner determined by the heaviest cumulative three-day weight.

Takeoff Time: 7:30 a.m. MT

Takeoff Location: Lake Havasu State Park-Windsor Beach, 699 London Bridge Road, Lake Havasu City, Ariz. 86403

Weigh-In Time: 3:00 p.m. MT

Weigh-In Location: Lake Havasu State Park-Windsor Beach, 699 London Bridge Road, Lake Havasu City, Ariz. 86403

Complete details

Tags: jody-white  morning-story  2017-02-09-lake-havasu 

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