UPCOMING EVENT: TACKLE WAREHOUSE PRO CIRCUIT - 2020 - Harris Chain of Lakes

Practice with Yasinski

Practice with Yasinski

Derek Yasinski fished the FLW Tour as a pro in 2013, but aside from that he has largely focused his efforts on the lower levels of competition, splitting his time between T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League events, Bassmaster Opens and the Costa FLW Series. This year he fished both the Northern and Southeastern divisions of the FLW Series and had one of his best years yet in the big and tough Southeastern Division, earning a pair of top-20 finishes and more than $20,000 and finishing fourth in the points. Yasinski last fished Kentucky Lake for the 2011 Costa FLW Series Championship when he finished 91st, so I hopped in the boat for a chilly morning see how he approached the big Tennesee River reservoir for round two.

 

Derek Yasinski

Yasinski and co-angler Austin Baskette start the day off a little after 8 a.m. at Paris Landing State Park. With four days of practice and temperatures still in the 30s, Yasinski doesn’t see the need for a super-early start, and that’s fine by all parties involved. After bundling up less than you might expect, Yasinski launches his boat and heads out, turning right at the bridge and heading southward to begin the day.

 

Though he started the day with a full arsenal on deck, Yasinski pauses after dropping the trolling motor at his first spot. Rummaging around a bit, he pulls out the venerable umbrella rig (a legal three-armed model), rigs it up and ties it on before beginning. Dan Morehead used an umbrella rig to win the Costa FLW Series Championship held this time of year on Kentucky Lake in 2011, so it’s probably a decent idea.

Once he gets tied up, Yasinski begins working his way around the point he started on and continues back into and across a small pocket. Shelving the umbrella rig after a while, he picks up a lipless crankbait and boats his first bass, a non-keeper largemouth that bites near the opposite point. After a few more casts, he picks up and heads farther south.

 

Yasinski’s next stop is pretty similar but on a larger scale. Starting in the main lake, he works his way back into the pocket, alternating between a square-bill crankbait, a topwater and a lipless crankbait.

Baskette picks one off the point with a topwater on the way back, and the duo is suddenly up to two fish, though no keepers. Unfortunately, that’s already better results than on day one.

“They think I’m a sandbagger,” says Yasinski. “But, I don’t ever catch them in practice. That’s not when it counts.”

 

Moving farther in and then across the creek, Yasinski picks up a decent keeper on the square-bill to get things going. So far, he’s fished entirely in and around creeks, which is a bit surprising, considering that many fall tournaments on this fishery are won fishing bars on the main lake.

“I wish you could catch them in the backs of these pockets like you can back home,” says Yasinski, who lives near West Point Lake and fishes Lake Eufaula a lot. “I want to figure out the topwater on those bars. That’s how I caught them last time. I figured it’d be the same deal this time. I think maybe once it gets warmer you’ll catch them on it.”

 

Yasinski’s feet are the only part of him that looks warm. He only gloves up for runs, and you could easily confuse the Georgia angler for a Canadian. Fishing in thermals, jeans and a sweatshirt, he’s somehow functioning well despite cold hands. Perhaps the key to the whole package is his pair of fuzzy moccasins.

 

Around 11 o’clock Yasinski decides to hit a bar and idles out of the pocket he’s in, scarfing down a peanut butter cup along the way. Out on the lake, the sun is finally shining bright as Yasinski works a topwater along a shallow gravel bar. After no results, it’s time for a move.

 

With only four total days on Kentucky Lake in his life, Yasinski’s task of breaking down the big lake is pretty tough.

“I’ll venture a little ways, but I’ll probably stick with the parts I’ve seen before,” explains Yasinski as he stops just inside the mouth of Big Sandy Creek.

In Yasinski’s case, that means mostly heading south to New Johnsonville, Tenn., and beyond, rather than north or over into Lake Barkley. It’s about 30 miles from the takeoff ramp at Paris Landing to the bridge at New Johnsonville, so even that is a pretty hefty chunk of water to search. Odds are there are some catchable bass somewhere in there.

As he fishes along a point, Yasinski takes a call from fellow competitor Dylan Fulk and promptly hooks up. He puts the phone down to play the fish in and then resumes his conversation. From the sound of it, Fulk’s morning has been even slower than Yasinski’s.

 

Moving again, Yasinski decides to let the bar game lie for a bit and heads back into a creek.

“Yesterday there was a lot of bait around the bars I was on,” he says. “I haven’t seen anything today though.”

After catching a skipjack off some riprap and idling back into a few pockets without casting Yasinski finds a pocket with some marina docks that trips his trigger. He drops the trolling motor and spots a few shad flicking, and shortly thereafter catches a decent keeper. Covering the rest of the cove pretty thoroughly, he gets another to swirl on his topwater, but it doesn’t hook up all the way. After finishing out the docks and working along the shoreline a bit he cranks up.

 

After a brief run, we idle back into Paris Landing. It’s nearly 2:30, and time for me to get to work and for Yasinski to cover some more water. With more than two days left to unlock Kentucky Lake he’s got plenty of time, but he hasn’t found the winning fish yet. 

Tags: jody-white  pre-tournament  2017-11-02-championship-kentucky-lake 

Exploring Harris with Tim Frederick

Exploring Harris with Tim Frederick

To say Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro Tim Frederick loves fishing in Florida would be an understatement. The Leesburg local and fifth-year Pro Circuit veteran calls the Harris Chain of Lakes home, and his only FLW win came just a bit farther south on Okeechobee in 2018. After a 22nd-place finish in the Toyota Series Southern Division opener on the St. Johns River last week, Frederick has fully turned his attention to his home bodies of water. READ MORE »

Prespawn Showdown Set for Hartwell

Prespawn Showdown Set for Hartwell

Spring can be one of the best times to launch a boat in the clear waters of Lake Hartwell. That’s why the Georgia-South Carolina border reservoir might be the perfect venue to start the Eastern Division of the Toyota Series on March 3.  READ MORE »

Perfect Practice Conditions at Harris

Perfect Practice Conditions at Harris

Ask Matt Becker how his practice is going for this week’s Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Harris Chain, and the Pennsylvania pro has nothing to complain about. For starters, he’s in the Sunshine State, and it’s about 80 degrees. The 50-degree swing compared to what folks back home in Finleyville, Pa., are experiencing is certainly pleasant. The fishing has also been pretty good through a day and a half of practice. 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 »

Timing Right for Giant Weights at Chickamauga

Timing Right for Giant Weights at Chickamauga

If it’s big bass you want, late winter and early spring are ideal times to catch them at Lake Chickamauga, which is why the 2020 Toyota Series Central Division opener is perfectly timed to be a big-bass slugfest. The tournament, which runs Feb. 27-29, could produce some of the biggest five-bass limits FLW will see all year. Just how good the fishing will be depends on the weather, and whether the region ever sees an end to the rain that’s been falling recently.  READ MORE »

Dortch’s Flipping Setup

Dortch’s Flipping Setup

After growing up on the Tensaw River in Alabama and spending much of his early fishing career in Florida, Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro Bradley Dortch naturally has a very good handle on flipping. Especially around matted cover, Dortch is quick to put a big stick into action, and his preferences fit him perfectly. If you’re looking for a new flipping plan, or maybe just thinking about tweaking around the edges, his advice could be applicable to you. READ MORE »

Choo Choo Season Continues at Lewis Smith

Choo Choo Season Continues at Lewis Smith

Stop No. 2 of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Choo Choo Division is Lewis Smith Lake. Smith is one of the best spotted bass fisheries in the east, and late winter should provide some really good fishing. READ MORE »

Big Bags Expected at Bama Division Kickoff on Lake Martin

Big Bags Expected at Bama Division Kickoff on Lake Martin

Big largemouths and lots of spots are the main attractions at Alabama’s Lake Martin, where the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Bama Division kicks off its 2020 season Feb. 8. Local hammer David Gaston, who’s won the last two Bama events at Martin, expects a typical wintertime tournament this season with solid weights across the board. READ MORE »

Warm, Wet Winter Setting up Big Weights at Murray

Warm, Wet Winter Setting up Big Weights at Murray

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine kicks off its 2020 South Carolina Division schedule at the Jewel of South Carolina, Lake Murray, which is the former host site for multiple FLW Cup events. Murray is full of big bass and can churn out weights in the upper 20s if conditions line up right. Thus far in 2020, warm, wet conditions have been great for bass fishing. Though patterns might vary slightly from a “normal” winter, competitors can expect to have a good time fishing shallow with power-fishing baits.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Even when the bite is tough, Sam Rayburn is a power-fishing lake through and through. Sure, a spinning rod showed up here and there throughout the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit opener, but it was Carolina rigs, lipless crankbaits and vibrating jigs that dominated in the hands of the top 10 pros. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Sam Rayburn

FLW Live Schedule for Sam Rayburn

The 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit kicks off this week in Brookeland, Texas, at Sam Rayburn Reservoir, which means it’s also time for another season of FLW Live with hosts Travis Moran and Todd Hollowell. Here's how and when to watch. READ MORE »

The Weather Factor: Rayburn

The Weather Factor: Rayburn

Weather is a storyline in almost every tournament throughout the course of the year, but from winter through spring it can often be the biggest influencing factor in a tournament. Warming trends and cold snaps can send fish flooding to the bank or retreating to the safety of deeper water in no time. READ MORE »

Wrapping up Practice with Osborne

Wrapping up Practice with Osborne

Last season, Jordan Osborne made the top 10 in the season opener on Sam Rayburn, and he’s got the chance to kick things off in a similar style this week. READ MORE »

Day 2 of Practice with Miller

Day 2 of Practice with Miller

At just 20 years old, Colby Miller is pretty young to be a rookie on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit. However, the Elmer, La., native isn’t lacking in accolades, as he’s now finished 24th or better in points in the Southwestern Division of the FLW Series two years in a row. Additionally, he’s starting the season close to home – Miller guides for bass and crappie on nearby Toledo Bend, and he’s got a lot of tournament time in on Sam Rayburn. READ MORE »

Riding Rayburn with Tutt

Riding Rayburn with Tutt

One of the nicest and most experienced pros on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, Jim Tutt has fished about everywhere, but he calls Texas home. Last year, Tutt finished fifth in the season-opener on Sam Rayburn, and it’s also where he earned one of his three FLW Series-level wins. READ MORE »

How to Prep Like a Pro

How to Prep Like a Pro

When it comes to getting ready for a season of tournaments, there are plenty of ways to do it. But, there’s no denying that for most people, being prepared will lead to better performance on the water. READ MORE »

2020 Cherokee Lake Preview

2020 Cherokee Lake Preview

Built in the 1940s by the Tennessee Valley Authority, Cherokee Lake is nestled in the hills of east Tennessee. The Holston River impoundment lies roughly between Norris Lake to the northwest and Douglas Lake to the southeast. The clear waters of Cherokee can fluctuate about 30 feet between winter pool and spring flooding, which sounds like a lot, but isn’t out of the ordinary for the average east Tennessee reservoir. So, depending on the water level, Cherokee has about 400 miles of shoreline and 28,780 surface acres. READ MORE »

2020 Harris Chain Preview

2020 Harris Chain Preview

One of the most fun places FLW visits, the Harris Chain is a collection of lakes in central Florida that includes Lake Harris, Lake Apopka, Lake Griffin, Lake Eustis, Lake Dora, Lake Carlton, Horseshoe Lake, Little Lake Harris, Lake Denham and Lake Beauclair. In all, the pros have the run of 10 lakes, plus the myriad residential canals, rivers and backwaters that spread out off of them. READ MORE »

2020 Lake Hartwell Preview

2020 Lake Hartwell Preview

Built on the Savannah, Tugaloo and Seneca rivers on the border of South Carolina and Georgia, Lake Hartwell is a fairly typical example of a Southeastern spotted bass and largemouth fishery. Though there are shad and bream, the primary forage is blueback herring. Hartwell has very little vegetation outside of flooded dog fennel, and the primary cover types are docks, rock, shoreline wood, brush and cane piles. READ MORE »

2020 Detroit River Preview

2020 Detroit River Preview

Though the Pro Circuit finale takes off from the Detroit River, that’s hardly the only place the pros will be fishing. Takeoff is near the southern mouth of the river, giving pros easy access to the west end of Lake Erie. At the other end of the river is Lake St. Clair, which has been home to some of the most epic smallmouth beatdowns on record in recent years. READ MORE »