UPCOMING EVENT: YETI FLW COLLEGE FISHING - 2019 - Lake Erie

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Larry Nixon’s Run at the Cup

Larry Nixon’s Run at the Cup
Larry Nixon

At one point Saturday morning during the Forrest Wood Cup, Larry Nixon and Brandon Cobb wound up fishing fairly close to each other. Both anglers were fishing for bass that were chasing blueback herring across the surface, but within a few casts, Cobb put down his rod and reel, pulled up his trolling motor, and quickly left for parts unknown. The daily herring bite was waiting somewhere else. An armada of a couple of dozen boats fell in behind the South Carolina pro, all sweeping away down the lake like leaves blowing along an October street.

When asked why he didn’t leave when Cobb vamoosed, Nixon exaggerated good-naturedly: “Because I don’t have anywhere else to go.” To be sure, he didn’t need to go anywhere else on the first day of the championship, as his five best bass gleaned from the same area the day before comprised the sixth best stringer at 17 pounds, 13 ounces. The second day, however, Nixon dropped to 17th in the standings, while Cobb moved into first. They were two anglers headed in opposite directions: Nixon with two fish that totaled 4 pounds, 5 ounces and Cobb with a culled limit of 19-4 that helped him eventually finish in third place.

Larry Nixon

What changed? For one thing, the wind, but only slightly, and the sunlight, dramatically. Where it was cloudy on opening day, the sun was out in the second round, and the schooling activity diminished considerably where Nixon was fishing. Boat traffic, fickle bass, the change in the barometric pressure, the slight drop in the water depth? Who knows – Nixon is still trying to figure it all out, but for now chalks it up to the vagaries of bluebacks and their predisposition to ad lib without a script to follow. Where they went, the bass followed.

“I had maybe five or six cane piles located and a long point in the main lake where I caught most of my fish both days. That was pretty much it,” says the Arkansas pro. “Lake Murray is a very good lake, but typically in August the weights aren’t going to be that big. That’s what just blew me away. I didn’t figure on the herring bite being so good and how many fish were on those dadgum cane piles. I just wish I had caught them the second day like I did the first.”

Larry Nixon

It’s no secret that Nixon considers a Forrest Wood Cup championship to be the exclamation point to his long and storied career. It’s the one jewel missing from a crown of accomplishments, and he wants it badly. It’s also safe to say that most fishing fans want it badly for the popular pro before age (he’s 66) and various physical ailments overtake him.

Next year, the tournament will take place on Lake Ouachita, not all that far from Nixon’s home in north central Arkansas, and close enough to grant him automatic status as a favorite. Ouachita suits his style of fishing, and Nixon is on a first-name basis with the bass there, figuratively speaking.

Lake Murray was mainly a wait-and-cast sort of place for Nixon. It quickly became apparent in the opening round that to catch fish an angler had to have a target, either a cane pile or a bass chasing bluebacks across the top.

Larry Nixon

The herring Nixon’s bass spit up in his livewell on opening day were as long as 8 inches, so he chose a big Heddon One Knocker Spook and a 6-inch Ever Green Shower Blows 150 pencil popper to match. Accuracy and distance were critical for the surface-feeding fish. Nixon used the lures he did because neither plug would sail or spin. Weighted in the tail, they threw in a straight line and landed where Nixon wanted them to.

“That very first day, after I caught the big stringer fairly early, I tried calling them up at my places just to see. I never called up one single bass – just stripers,” recalls Nixon. “That told me my odds were better waiting until they blew up before casting. But when those sons-of-guns came up, if you put a lure right in front of them, usually they would nail it.”

Usually, but not always, as the 2014 Cup champion on Lake Murray, Anthony Gagliardi, demonstrated. He stopped briefly several dozen yards away from Nixon’s boat to try his luck. Nixon could see fish busting all around him, and Gagliardi kept casting at them without success. Finally, frustrated, he left. There was nothing else to do but make the rounds and hope that somewhere the fish were more aggressive and less discriminating.

Nixon, too, soldiered on that last day on Lake Murray. By late morning, sunshine and heat were beginning to pester him. It made the wait for the sporadic surface action seem longer, but in truth there was not much to wait for. Overhead, several ospreys glided in random circles over the lake, borne by the thermals. Occasionally one would begin a dive toward an unseen fish, but then would abort and regain altitude.

Even the raptors got tired of waiting. Gradually they drifted off in their wide, searching gyres toward other hunting grounds, until they were fading specks of brown on blue.

Tags: colin-moore  post-tournament  2017-08-11-forrest-wood-cup 

Top 10 Baits from the Potomac River

Top 10 Baits from the Potomac River

Late summer on the Potomac is often tough fishing, so the contenders in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event had to pull out all the stops. Fishing everything from grass to docks and rocks, the anglers mixed up all sorts of power and finesse presentations to get the job done in the second stop of the season presented by Lowrance. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Osborne Fished Finesse

Cup Top 10: Osborne Fished Finesse

Osborne spent the early visit graphing for brush in Hamilton’s lower end. In practice, it was more of the same, as Osborne spent only a couple of hours beating the bank. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Douglas Fished Brush and a Buzzbait

Cup Top 10: Douglas Fished Brush and a Buzzbait

Minnesota pro Josh Douglas is regarded as an electronics expert. But while he put his Lowrance units to the test at the FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton to find offshore brush piles, even Douglas couldn’t resist spending some time in the mornings hunting shallow bass. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Salzman Went Shallow to Deep

Cup Top 10: Salzman Went Shallow to Deep

Ryan Salzman earned an eighth-place finish at the FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton with a well-executed two-part strategy. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Webster Wormed Brush

Cup Top 10: Webster Wormed Brush

Among the FLW Cup pros that committed the entire tournament to one pattern was Joseph Webster, who weighed in a three-day total of 28 pounds, 2 ounces at Lake Hamilton. He finished seventh. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Felix Keyed on Clear Water

Cup Top 10: Felix Keyed on Clear Water

Eden Prairie, Minn., pro Austin Felix finished sixth in this year’s FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton, but he’s convinced that if the engineers operating Blakely Mountain Dam had released water on a more consistent schedule, the results might have been even better for him. Felix spent most of the tournament keying on the clear waters of Hamilton’s upper end. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Martin went up the River

Cup Top 10: Martin went up the River

Prior to practice, Scott Martin had no idea that the far upper end of Lake Hamilton, where the cold waters from the bottom of Lake Ouachita flow in through Blakely Mountain Dam, was such a drastically different mini-fishery within the reservoir. Then he started scouting it in practice and realized there was potential to win the tournament in the tailrace in areas where the water temperature was below 60 degrees. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Lawyer Mixes it Up for Fourth

Cup Top 10: Lawyer Mixes it Up for Fourth

Fourth-place pro Jeremy Lawyer was the highest finisher to utilize the shallow-early, brush-later strategy. Lawyer stacked together limits of 12 pounds, 1 ounce and 12-5 on the first two days to go into the final day in fourth place. He weighed in just 7 pounds on Sunday. READ MORE »

Green Has Experience of Lifetime at Cup

Green Has Experience of Lifetime at Cup

Winning $2,500 might be the highlight of a trip for a lot of people, but for Leroy Green, winner of the FLW Tour Marshal program at the 2019 FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton, the cash prize was secondary to the relationships he forged out on the water. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Ebare Fished the Tailrace

Cup Top 10: Ebare Fished the Tailrace

Most of the time, fishing Southern impoundments in August is all about slowly dragging worms through brush piles. That’s what Dakota Ebare planned to do at the FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton. How he wound up catching enough fish to finish in third place felt more like Southern stream fishing. Ebare spent three days fishing the tailrace below Blakely Mountain Dam where the cold, clear waters drained through from the bottom of Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Cup at Hamilton

Top 10 Baits from the Cup at Hamilton

While there weren’t too many patterns in play at the 2019 FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark., the nature of an August tournament in the South forced most of the top finishers to mix in a bunch of baits to catch their fish. Here’s what the top 10 used to catch schoolers and ply brush, docks and various types of shallow grass. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Walters Committed to Brush

Cup Top 10: Walters Committed to Brush

Coming into the FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton, Florida pro Kyle Walters figured the only chance he had to win was to stay away from the bank, where competing with the best in the sport was a tall order, and commit to finding as many brush piles as he could. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Champlain

Top 10 Baits from Lake Champlain

As usual, the fishing on Lake Champlain was great. Pros and co-anglers alike loaded the boat with smallmouths and largemouths each day of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event, and they did it with a wide array of techniques. If you’re wondering what to throw up north when there are green and brown fish on the table in the early summer, you could hardly go wrong with anything the pros in the top 10 used.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Champlain

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Champlain

Grueling wind on day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division opener on Lake Champlain didn’t do the field any favors, but otherwise, it was a heck of a tournament on the big northern fishery. The aftereffects of an odd spring with high water had things somewhat scrambled, putting some of the local participants on their off foot, but a variety of patterns proved to be successful. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Champlain

Top 10 Baits from Lake Champlain

June is a fantastic month to be on Lake Champlain, as the FLW Tour pros showcased at last week’s season finale, which was presented by T-H Marine. Smallmouths were spawning all over the place, but the winning pattern was catching postspawn largemouths down at Ticonderoga. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Champlain

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain is the kind of fishery that forces pros to make difficult decisions about where to go and what color of bass to target. This time around, in the FLW Tour 2019 finale, which was presented by T-H Marine, on the big Northern fishery, the decision was more interesting because there were spawning smallmouths everywhere up north, but the forecast was favorable for making the long run south to Ticonderoga to catch largemouths. READ MORE »

High School Championship Top 10 Baits

High School Championship Top 10 Baits

June is typically ledge-fishing season in the Tennessee Valley, especially at Pickwick, but the 2019 High School Fishing National Championship was a more diverse event than most folks might have expected. Patterns ranging from junk-fishing the bank to targeting docks and other shoreline cover to working the main-lake ledges all worked. Here are the baits used by the top 10 teams during the week. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Pros caught fish everywhere from in the middle of flooded jungles of brush to deep main-lake drops. The top finishers pretty much all power fished with soft plastics, crankbaits and frogs. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Sam Rayburn

Top 10 Patterns from Sam Rayburn

The top 10 fished a little of everything, but mostly stuck to areas within a few miles of the 147 bridge. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the National Championship

Top 10 Patterns from the National Championship

Though there was some carryover from the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American the week before, the fishing on the Potomac River was a lot better for the anglers in the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance. With better fishing came more robust grass patterns, but plenty of bass (some of the biggest of the event) were caught off hard cover as well. All in all, it was a mixed week of very good fishing on the Potomac. READ MORE »