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

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Fall Patterns Ramping Up at Clear Lake

Jim Moulton

Changes are afoot at Clear Lake, and watchful anglers will be hoping that fall’s onset will counteract potentially tough conditions as the Costa FLW Series Western Division concludes on this California powerhouse fishery Sept. 28-30.

 

What’s happening now

The grass common to Clear Lake’s shallow upper end has been greatly reduced this year, according to California pro Jared Lintner, who, during a recent scouting trip, also found heavy algae staining throughout much of the north end. The staining, he says, lightens as you head south, but he estimates no more than a foot of visibility anywhere on Clear Lake.

Another change anglers will encounter is the weather. A cool-down earlier this month brought relief from sweltering heat and high water temperatures, though highs climbed back into the 90s late last week. This week’s forecast is for another cool-down. Not only might the cooling water diminish the algae levels, but as divisional points leader Joe Uribe Jr. notes, it’s likely to kick off the early fall transition.

“As air temperatures drop into daytime highs of upper 70s to low 80s, with overnight temperatures in the low 50s, the fish should start schooling up on shad in the early mornings and late evenings,” Uribe says. “The shad should start moving to the mouths and backs of the creeks, coves and shallow docks.

“The weather will really dictate how good the bite will be as it either gets colder or warmer before the event,” Uribe adds. “Typically the colder it gets the better at Clear Lake, as the fish will really start to move up during the colder nights, and they’ll school up in the early brisk mornings around shallow cover to feed on shad.”

In normal years, Uribe would lean more toward the lake’s north end, but given the grass situation, he thinks the entire lake will be in play, with bait and bass broadly scattered.

“The south end offers deeper water and more rock, and the north end offers lots of shallow docks and sloughs,” Uribe says. “The mid-lake will probably be the most crowded as anglers will tend to group up on community areas with deep water and bigger boulder-type rock. Fishing there will come down to luck of the draw and a matter of posting up on the right sweet spots.”

Lintner says that high water could also impact the scene. The water was a couple of feet high early last week, and though it’s dropped a few inches, according to the USGS, it’s still about 1 1/2 to 2 feet above normal for fall.

“You put 2 more feet of water in the lake and that obviously opens up the shallow spots like the tules, docks and laydowns, along with little sloughs and creeks,” Lintner says. “But it also puts more water on those rock piles and corners of seawalls.”

 

Todd Woods

Baits and patterns

If the onset of fall patterns can outshine the lake’s conditions, anglers could see a wide-open playing field with something for just about any style. That said, Uribe warns against inflexible game plans.

“You really have to keep everything honest this time of the year by fishing shallow and fast one day and then slow and deep the next,” he says. “You can catch them really good on a drop-shot and jig around rock piles and docks, but then you can also catch them good shallow on topwater and crankbaits.

“The one thing I really like about Clear Lake is how diverse it fishes. For example, the top 10 anglers on the final day will all be doing something different, or they may all be fishing deep or shallow but with different baits catching good ones. In my opinion this is one of the best lakes in the country. You can literally catch a 10-pounder on a drop-shot, jig, crankbait, swimbait or any other reaction bait.”

 

Making it count

Concerned that the lack of grass could impact even the fall spike, Lintner says it’s going to be even more critical than ever to maximize those big bites.

“A lot of guys might expect this to be your typical Clear Lake where you can catch a bunch of big fish, like it’s always been,” he says. “So, know that those 4 1/2- to 6-pound bites are precious.

“There have been years when you weigh 22 to 23 pounds and you’re in the middle of the pack. Now, you have to figure out how to get one of those big bites each day. That’s going to separate you from the majority of the field.”

Uribe predicts 16 to 17 pounds a day will make the check cut, but he thinks an angler will need to average 19 to 20 to make the top 10 and 23 to 24 to win.

“This time of year, the key has typically been to find several schools of larger fish holding in areas and rotate on those spots throughout the day,” Uribe says. “Usually if you catch a few 4- to 5-pounders in one area there are more.

“There are lots of smaller fish showing this time of year, but certain areas you find will have quality,” he adds. “The bigger fish are usually caught in deeper water from 10 to 20 feet. The schooling fish will be shallow in 3 to 5 feet of water. You have to find quality on Clear Lake and fish for 20 to 25 pounds a day, versus 10 to 15 pounds a day.”

 

Tournament details

Format: All 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 in each category determined by the heaviest cumulative three-day weight.

Takeoff Time: 7:00 a.m. PT

Takeoff Location: Konocti Vista Casino Resort & Marina, 2755 Mission Rancheria Rd, Lakeport, CA

Weigh-In Time: 3:00 p.m. PT

Weigh-In Location: Konocti Vista Casino Resort & Marina

Complete details

Tags: david-a-brown  pre-tournament  2017-09-28-clear-lake 

Roaming Kissimmee with Douglas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Amistad

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Amistad

Wintertime patterns with just a touch of prespawn action dominated the Costa FLW Series opener presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Amistad. Crankbaits, jerkbaits, umbrella rigs, swimbaits and drop-shots were the go-to baits used by the top finishers. READ MORE »

Figuring Out Rayburn with Powell

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

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 »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Amistad

Top 10 Baits from Lake Amistad

Wintertime bass fishing tactics dominated at Lake Amistad in January, as the top finishers relied on jerkbaits, crankbaits, drop-shots, swimbaits and umbrella rigs to get the job done. READ MORE »

Practice Starts at Rayburn

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

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 »

Hanselmania Wins Again at Amistad

Hanselmania Wins Again at Amistad

Ray “Hanselmania” Hanselman won the 2019 Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Amistad today with a two-day total of 38 pounds. The tournament was shortened to two days after day one was cancelled due to severe weather. Hanselman opened the tournament Friday with a 25-pound, 15-ounce catch that put him 9-7 ahead of second place. He could’ve stayed home today and still won the tournament, but the local angler added 12-1 to finish the blowout win. Second-place finisher Tyson Patrick’s two-day total only equaled what Hanselman caught on day one. READ MORE »

Amistad Midday Update - Day 3

Amistad Midday Update - Day 3

Lake Amistad was in a stingy mood for the final day of Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division action, as evidenced by a lot of long-faced anglers with lots of vacancy in their livewells. A slightly warmer day began with flat, calm conditions, but a light breeze was gaining some consistency by early afternoon. It’s possible that the growing ripples may break up the surface enough to stimulate a few fish into chasing reaction baits. READ MORE »

Amistad Midday Update – Day 2

Amistad Midday Update – Day 2

Prespawn staging is probably just around the corner, but for now the big and small fish in Amistad are still in their winter patterns — holding on main lake points and structure, lounging in the low grass lining the mouths of creeks and pockets and filling their bellies. READ MORE »

High Water will Factor at Rayburn

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 »

Top 5 Patterns From Lake Amistad – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns From Lake Amistad – Day 2

Wintertime bass fishing tactics are in play at Lake Amistad for the Costa FLW Series opener. The tactics used today offer a good how-to lesson in dealing with early season conditions. READ MORE »

Hanselman Way in Front at Amistad

Hanselman Way in Front at Amistad

Ray "Hanselmania" Hanselman caught a massive 25-pound, 15-ounce limit of largemouth bass at Lake Amistad in south Texas to take the lead at the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division opener. READ MORE »