UPCOMING EVENT: YETI College Fishing - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

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 

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