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

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

The Fall Report on Kentucky Lake

When the 2017 Costa FLW Series Championship kicks off Thursday on Kentucky Lake, the anglers will hit a lake that is somewhat in flux. After a brutal cold snap to start the week, with four consecutive nights of temperatures dropping down into the 30s, there is a lot more rain and warmth in the forecast for the tournament.

Weather isn’t the only factor in play, however. Kentucky Lake can be an intimidating lake at the best of times, but it’s a particularly tricky beast in the fall. Unlike the peak of the ledge-fishing season in June, there are multiple patterns in play in fall. Though the weights won’t equal summertime ledge tournaments, the fishing should still be quite good for those who figure it out in this week’s derby.

 

Dan Morehead thinks the best is yet to come on the Alabama rig at the EverStart Series Championship on Kentucky Lake.

The history 

The last time the Costa FLW Series Championship was held on Kentucky Lake was about this time of year in 2011. Dan Morehead won it slinging an umbrella rig just days after Paul Elias blasted ’em with the rig in the FLW Tour Open on Lake Guntersville. Morehead and others in the top five eschewed the tried-and-true shallow bar game to target fish that were mostly a little deeper, keying on breaks and the like predominantly around the mouths of coves. Throwing a Heddon Spook on bars on the main river, Lendell Martin led the first two days, but dropped to third by the final day, weighing about 5 pounds less than Morehead overall.

Even with the injection of the umbrella rig, the weights weren’t incredible back in 2011. Morehead won with just a hair over 15 pounds per day, and only about one-third of the field limited each of the first two days.

Of course, those fish numbers are far better than what the lake kicked out in early October for the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Regional. Marty Sisk won it with about a 17-pound average, but only three pros managed a limit all three days of the event. Unlike the 2011 championship, the recent Regional was utterly dominated by the shallow bar game, as was the BFL LBL Division Super Tournament in early September, when Cole Floyd averaged more than 20 pounds per day en route to a blowout win.

 

Watch the bars this time around

The talk in the run-up to this event has been all about the shallow bar game – fishing shallow river channel edges and other structure on the main lake with topwater. And it’s with good reason, according to Brent Anderson, who guides on Kentucky Lake, finished second in the BFL Regional and has a stellar record in the fall on Kentucky Lake.

“In a way I’m not a good person to ask about this because I live and die with that topwater until you can’t do it anymore. But I still don’t think there’s no other way to win,” says Anderson. “It was a lot colder in 2011, and the A-rig was fresh; they hadn’t seen it. Danny Morehead won that, and he pre-practiced with a good buddy of mine, and they caught like 27 pounds on a Spook. That water needs to be in the low 50s for the A-rig bite to really kick in. If it’s around 60 it’s a topwater deal. I went three days last week, and it was pretty easy, and you could catch some big ones, too.”

Though the water dipped into the 50s at the beginning of practice, it’s back into the low 60s now, and should stay there throughout the event. Conditions could be setting up perfectly for the shallow bars to show out.

Even so, Anderson says the bite isn’t as reliable as it was a few years ago. Back then, he could return to places on a bar and fish for stationary schools of bass, something that’s nearly impossible now.

“They’re in packs, and they’re swimming,” says Anderson. “You may have to fish a football field area, and you’ll run into them and catch two, and then you have to find them again. It used to be easy, but now you may go two hours without a bite and then catch 19 pounds.”

How Sam Lashlee fishes bars

 

If the bars don’t produce

Though Anderson is about as sure as can be about the bar bite, there are no guarantees in fishing. With four days of practice, you’ve got to believe Randy Haynes spent a day scanning out deep, and Ron Nelson and Marcus Sykora both say they’ve found some dandies out deep.

“I like having a school of 2-pounders deep, but a lot of times I can’t find that,” says Anderson of the fall bite. “I had one school of 2-pounders going into that Regional, and I spent a whole day looking. It’s bait related this time of year. The ones I found before the Regional were in a creek, but they were on a place I’ve never seen them before. I went in there and looked at the three sweet spots in the creek and saw nothing, and on the way out I saw three seagulls. I went and scanned where they were, and there was a school of bass sitting there.”

Anderson says he stopped by that spot about a week ago to test it and caught a 4-pounder and a 5-pounder in his first few casts, but he’s still not convinced of the offshore bite’s reliability. One thing he does expect to hold true is the typical location of deeper schools. Instead of on the main channel, he says most of the late-season schools are on creek channels.

 

 

The other conditions

Outside of the cool snap, Kentucky Lake looks fairly typical for the fall. The Tennessee Valley Authority begins to draw the lake down every September, and at 354 feet the lake is essentially at winter pool now. That means navigation is tricky if you don’t know where you’re going (or even if you do), and that vast chunks of the lake that you could burn over with impunity in summer now require idling or very precise running.

One factor to keep an eye on is the unusual lack of bait in the creeks. Typically, balls of threadfin shad push into the backs this time of year, and for whatever reason there are very few to be seen. Back in 2011 and 2012 the lake was full of bait to an extraordinary degree, and there might be a bit more of a premium on spots with bait now.

It’s also worth watching the rain, at least to an extent. It probably won’t rain enough to really muddy things up, but it might rain enough to keep the TVA pulling current. Though there aren’t enough fish on the main-lake ledges for a major ledge bite to be a huge consideration, more current is nearly always better than less on the Tennessee River. A dousing warm rain could make things interesting in the backs of the pockets or creeks as well. Warm, inflowing water is often a target for baitfish and bass. It wouldn’t be unheard of for someone to stumble on some feeding fish around some current under the right conditions.

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

/tips/2019-02-12-aoy-update-lake-toho

AOY Update: Lake Toho

 With the first two events of the 2019 FLW Tour season in the books, it’s time to take a look at how the Angler of the Year race is shaping up. At Sam Rayburn and Lake Toho the pros were tested with very different conditions, and the standings include anglers different specialties and skill sets than at this time last year, when the Tour’s first two events were both held in Florida. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-11-top-10-baits-from-toho

Top 10 Baits from Toho

The second stop of the 2019 FLW Tour landed right on the spawn on Lake Toho and the other lakes on the Kissimmee Chain. Top finishers caught bass in all phases of the spawn. Collectively, they used just about every bait you’ll ever need if you want to catch a bass this time of year in the Sunshine State. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-06-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 »

/news/2019-02-05-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 »

/news/2019-02-04-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 »

/news/2019-01-29-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 »

/news/2019-01-29-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 »

/news/2019-01-25-2019-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 »

/news/2019-01-15-top-10-baits-from-sam-rayburn

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Fishing deep-diving crankbait, dragging Carolina rigs and working finesse baits such as drop-shots were the keys to success at the FLW Tour opener at Sam Rayburn. Here are the bass-fishing baits that the top pros used. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-09-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 »

/news/2019-01-08-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 »

/news/2019-01-07-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 »

/news/2019-01-07-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 »

/news/2019-01-06-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 »

/news/2019-01-05-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 »

/news/2019-01-04-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 »

/news/2019-01-03-by-the-numbers-sam-rayburn

By the Numbers: Sam Rayburn

The 2019 FLW Tour takes to the waters of Sam Rayburn Reservoir Jan. 10-13 for the opening event of the new season. Rayburn can produce some absolute giants in January, and if the weather cooperates, there’s potential for an abundance of massive bags. READ MORE »

/tips/2019-01-02-2019-rookie-rundown

2019 Rookie Rundown

No matter how you get to the FLW Tour, you’re only a rookie once. This year, 34 pros are taking their talents on Tour for the first time. READ MORE »

/news/2018-12-28-big-bass-expected-at-opener-on-amistad

Big Bass Expected at Opener on Amistad

Lake Amistad might not kick out quite as many massive stringers of largemouth bass as it used to, but the legendary south Texas border reservoir is still a factory for big fish. According to local guide and always tournament favorite Ray “Hanselmania” Hanselman, there are some real giants to be caught at Amistad, but they’ll be at a premium when the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division rolls into Del Rio to kick off the 2019 season on Jan. 3 READ MORE »

/tips/2018-12-19-how-to-catch-winter-spotted-bass

How to Catch Winter Spotted Bass

Some of the best fishing of the year in the South occurs on the reservoirs with spotted bass in Georgia and the Carolinas. As a guide on Lake Lanier, FLW Tour pro Rob Jordan is adept at staying on the spots all winter. He knows when to fish deep or go shallow, and how to apply a jigging spoon, jig, underspin and crankbait to take full advantage of the opportunities. READ MORE »