UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Lake Wylie

Go Time at Lake of the Ozarks

Go Time at Lake of the Ozarks

Day one of the Costa FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Lake of the Ozarks dawned cool and misty, but not cold and foggy as many anticipated. Taking off on time, 155 pros and co-anglers look to have a beautiful day ahead of them for the start of the final event in the Central Division.

 

About the fishery

Created in 1931 with the damming of the Osage River, Lake of the Ozarks is huge.  Running more than 90 miles long with over 1000 miles of shoreline, it offers everything an angler could want outside of grass. About 100 feet deep at the deepest, Lake of the Ozarks is a fairly steep lake, with hundreds of creeks and pockets off the main lake to choose from, with the vast majority being upward of 20 feet deep in the middle. Located in the northern part of the Ozark region, Lake of the Ozarks isn’t exactly similar to lakes like Beaver and Table Rock on the White River. It’s more developed and the water color is more brown and not quite the bright, clear blue that the lower reaches of Beaver and Table Rock are. The primary forage in the lake is shad (threadfin and gizzard), but there are plenty of crawfish as well as a few bluegill in the mix. Docks are the defining feature of the lake, but there is plenty of brush available offshore, along with rock and all the usual non-grass options up shallow.

 

Current conditions

Up until Wednesday, anglers have labored under unseasonably warm conditions, but a cool front rolled in for the final day of practice and it’s in the 50s to start things off. Unfortunately, the colder weather might be a little late to truly ignite a fall bite.

“I think it’s closer to late summer than any sort of fall pattern,” says Marcus Sykora, who has six T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) wins under his belt on Lake of the Ozarks. “It reminds me of the end of August or early September. But the thing about this place is it can change overnight. And it’s so full of fish that guys that want to catch them shallow will catch them shallow and guys that want to catch them deep will catch them deep.”

Brian Maloney is a Lake of the Ozarks local and finished sixth in last year’s FLW Series showdown here (held October 6-8) after leading the second day. Like Sykora, he thinks the fish are even closer to summer patterns than they were last fall.

“Right now we’re warmer than we normally are this time of year, so they’re still transitioning back to the flats,” says Maloney. “The shad have made their move, and the bass are right behind them. If this cold front had come in last week and we could have gotten two or three days of cold it’d be lights-out.”

Though the water temperature has fallen a bit with the cooler weather, and should continue to drop for at least day one of the tournament, it’s still in the 70s. Because of the cool front, we might see a dramatic shift from practice, but it isn’t probable.

 

Tactics in play

There’s likely to be a pretty good variety working this week. Because the bass haven’t totally committed to the fall, there will almost certainly be some caught deeper off brush and drops with jigs and worms. Those same baits will work shallower and around docks, but some topwaters and shaky heads might get in the mix shallow as well. Finally, it wouldn’t be a shocker to see someone make hay with a squarebill crankbait or a spinnerbait in the right situation, particularly shallow around the plentiful shad.

 

Critical factors

  • Being consistent – Maloney expects the winner to catch them steady, and says that backing up a 20-pound day will be a huge challenge with how variable the lake is right now. You might make the cut with one great day, but one heroic day is unlikely to carry anyone to the win.
  • Making adjustments – Due to pressure from last week’s Big Bass Bash, the fish are a little smarter than usual at the moment, so small adjustments might be key. More wholesale pattern changes could play a role as well if the prevailing cool front shakes things up more than expected.

 

Dock talk

Anglers seem to agree that it’ll take between 50 and about 53 pounds to win, but it seems like the event won’t necessarily be a catch-fest.

“I know this lake is slap full of fish, but it’s not been great for me,” says Brandon Hunter, who is currently 16th in the points and looking to secure his spot in the Costa FLW Series Championship on Kentucky Lake. “Every time I catch one it’s fat and healthy, but I’m not catching a lot. I was hoping it was going to be closer to fall, and there would be that good topwater bite going. But I’m going to go running and gunning and try and get a few and get back to Kentucky.”

Leading the points and also looking toward Kentucky Lake is Cole Floyd.

“Bites have been far and few between. I did so many different things trying to figure out different patterns and nothing ever clicked. I’d catch one fish on a place and then fish 20 places like it and then never get a bite. I’ve caught some big ones, but I don’t know.”

“There are a lot of different ways to catch them right now, but the question is if guys can catch them the next day,” says Maloney. “I don’t think the consistency is here right now. Everything is moving every day. I’m curious to see what happens, I think I’m dialed in pretty good, but you never know.”

 

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. CT

Takeoff Location: Public Beach #2, 711 Public Beach Road, Osage Beach, Mo.

Weigh-In Time: Days 1 and 2 at 3 p.m. CT; Day 3 at 4 p.m. CT

Weigh-In Location: Days 1 and 2 at Public Beach #2; Day 3 at Walmart 4252, Highway 54, Osage Beach, Mo.

Complete details 

Tags: jody-white  morning-story  2017-10-12-lake-of-the-ozarks 

How to Catch Tailrace Smallmouths

How to Catch Tailrace Smallmouths

The reservoirs strung along the Tennessee River are tremendous fisheries, but they perhaps don’t get as much shine for being smallmouth producers as they should. Every year, in the tailwaters of the dams, more 8-pound smallmouths are caught than in any of the Great Lakes. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Martin

Top 10 Baits from Lake Martin

Bites were easy to come by at Lake Martin. It was getting the quality bites that separated the field. READ MORE »

Top Patterns and Baits from Okeechobee

Top Patterns and Baits from Okeechobee

Though the total weights didn’t live up to some expectations, the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Lake Okeechobee was still a lot of fun. The weather was great, there were plenty of fish caught the first two days, and there was a truly dramatic race for the win on the final day. READ MORE »

Niles Goes Back-To-Back

Niles Goes Back-To-Back

Hailing from Ocean Springs, Miss., Andy Niles has now won on Okeechobee two years in a row. In 2019, he picked up the win in the Southeastern Division event on Okeechobee, and this year he got the win in the second Toyota Series Southern Division event of the year. Weighing a total of 44 pounds, 7 ounces, Niles takes home a new Phoenix bass boat for his efforts. Friday was Niles’ son Cooper’s 8th birthday, and though he’s probably not going to get the boat for a present, he’ll at least get a very happy dad. READ MORE »

Medlock Brings it Home on Big O

Medlock Brings it Home on Big O

Weighing the biggest limit of the final day worth 19 pounds, 4 ounces, Brandon Medlock locked up his third Toyota Series title in the Southern Division event on Lake Okeechobee. With 54-4 overall, Medlock won comfortably and was essentially the only pro to put together two very good days of fishing, with a 13-9 catch on day one as his worst day. READ MORE »

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 3

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 3

The final day of the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Okeechobee is proving to be just as tense as expected. With the entire top 10 less than 4 pounds apart, anything can happen, and it’s entirely possible that someone in ninth or 10th catches a big bag to come from behind. READ MORE »

Medlock Ahead on Okeechobee

Medlock Ahead on Okeechobee

Despite nice weather this week, which has been a rarity for FLW tournaments in Florida this year, the fishing on Okeechobee just hasn’t been what the lake is capable of producing. Still, Okeechobee hammer Brandon Medlock rallied on day two dropping 21 pounds, 7 ounces on the scale to take the lead in the Toyota Series Southern Division event on the Big O with 35 pounds even. READ MORE »

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 2

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 2

The weather is still splendid, but day two of the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Lake Okeechobee has been tougher than day one. While keepers were pretty easy to come by early yesterday, that hasn’t quite been the case today. Still, the weather is good and there’s plenty of time left for the lake to turn on. READ MORE »

Honnerlaw in Front at Big O

Honnerlaw in Front at Big O

Day one of the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Okeechobee was great from a fish-catching standpoint, but somewhat lacking from a big fish perspective. In the lead, Bryan Honnerlaw of Moore Haven, Fla., put 19 pounds, 14 ounces on the scale. Behind him, three other pros also managed 19 pounds or better, and there is an absolute stack of anglers in the mid-teen range. READ MORE »

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 1

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 1

Day one of the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Lake Okeechobee has been a beauty so far. Takeoff went off without a hitch in the morning, and there’s basically been just a light breeze and sunny skies all day. Though it hasn’t been oppressively hot, it has been quite warm, and after setting down on their first spot, many anglers probably never put their hoodies back on. READ MORE »

Two Species Spawning at Havasu 

Two Species Spawning at Havasu 

The weatherman did it again. About two weeks prior to today’s kickoff for the Toyota Series Western Division season at Lake Havasu, the forecast called for highs in the mid-80s and sunshine for three straight days during the tournament. Instead, practice was rainy, and the current forecast calls for precipitation for at least the first two days and highs that likely won’t top 70 degrees.  READ MORE »

Game Day on Okeechobee

Game Day on Okeechobee

The second stop of the Toyota Series Southern Division is hitting Lake Okeechobee later in the year than usual for FLW. Typically, big, multi-day FLW events on the Big O go down in January and February, but this one runs March 12-14 and should offer a different look at the familiar and ever-changing body of water. READ MORE »

ETBU Gets School of the Year Rings

ETBU Gets School of the Year Rings

Tallying up 1,752 points for the season, ETBU beat out Tarleton State-Stephenville by 16 points to earn the Southern Conference School of the Year title. READ MORE »

An Okeechobee Slugfest Could Happen

An Okeechobee Slugfest Could Happen

Pre-tournament optimism can be hard to find, but this year, if the weather holds, the fishing might be really good for the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

Volunteer Division Starts on Douglas

Volunteer Division Starts on Douglas

The kickoff event of the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Volunteer Division takes place on Douglas Lake on March 7. One of the most scenic lakes in the country, Douglas promises some good prespawn fishing. READ MORE »

AOY Update: Harris Chain 

AOY Update: Harris Chain 

Through two events, the leader of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Angler of the Year race isn’t unexpected, but the standings behind Ron Nelson are in absolute turmoil. With Lake Martin and Cherokee Lake on tap, things could begin to clarify a bit as spotted bass, smallmouths and lakes that actually have rock become factors. So, while we’re about to run through the top contenders, it’s highly likely that the next few events really reshape the standings.  READ MORE »

It’s Anyone’s Game on Overfull Hartwell

It’s Anyone’s Game on Overfull Hartwell

South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell kicks off the 2020 Toyota Series Eastern Division season this week with a three-day, mid-week showdown of the area’s best bass anglers, hosted by Visit Oconee South Carolina. Hartwell definitely has the potential to produce 20-plus-pound bags, but Mother Nature has decided to create some havoc with lake levels this winter, and it’s anyone’s guess as to how well the fishery shows out. READ MORE »

Despite Cold, Expect Mega-Bags at Chick

Despite Cold, Expect Mega-Bags at Chick

Freezing temperatures greeted anglers for the 2020 Toyota Series Central Division tournament on Lake Chickamauga this morning. As usual on Lake Chickamauga this time of year, every angler is hoping for a 30-pound-plus bag of bass during the Feb. 27-29 tournament. READ MORE »

College Championship Kicks Off on Harris

College Championship Kicks Off on Harris

Championship week for any sport is as exciting as it gets and it’s no different for the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship presented by Lowrance this week on the Harris Chain. Competing for a $30,000 prize package, including a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower outboard, 162 college bass fishing clubs will have free range of the chain to vie for the title. READ MORE »

Sharp Blasts 40 Pounds to Win on Rayburn

Sharp Blasts 40 Pounds to Win on Rayburn

Winning a tournament is always pretty cool, but winning the way Anthony Sharp did in the second Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event in the Cowboy Division presented by A.R.E. is next-level. Weighing 40 pounds, 6 ounces of Sam Rayburn bass, the Village Mills, Texas, angler beat second place by more than 21 pounds. For the win, which was his first with FLW, Sharp took home a total of $7,000.  READ MORE »