UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Potomac River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

High School Championships Underway

High School Championships Underway

Pickwick Lake’s diverse fishery will present a mix of opportunity and challenge for the field of 405 teams competing this week in the High School Fishing National Championship and High School Fishing World Finals presented by The Bass Federation and FLW.

The championships (details here) begin on Wednesday with two days of full-field competition for both events. The National Championship field is cut to the top 10 for day three, which is the final round of that tournament, and the winner is determined by heaviest three-day cumulative weight on Friday. 

Each member of the winning team receives a $5,000 scholarship to the school of his or her choice, or a four-year $40,000 scholarship to Kentucky Christian University. All 10 finalists automatically advance to Saturday’s final round of the World Finals.

Teams are also competing for over more than $2 million dollars in scholarships and prizes at the World Finals. 

The World Finals field is cut after two days to the top two teams from each state. Those anglers compete on Friday (when weights are zeroed) in the semi-final round.

Any teams that missed the cut in the National Championship or World Finals will compete on Friday in a separate second-chance round for a shot at making it back into the World Finals competition on Saturday.

Saturday’s field will consist of the 10 National Championship finalists, the top 10 teams from Friday’s semi-final round, and the next 10 teams (highest day-three weight) from the semi-final round and second-chance rounds combined. A Friday night party will include a Lucky Dog Last Chance Wildcard drawing for one team, not already qualified, to compete on day four – bringing the total to 31 teams. Weights are zeroed on the last day, and the World Finals winners are determined by the heaviest catch.

 

About the fishery

The eighth of nine Tennessee River reservoirs, Pickwick Lake was created in 1938 by Pickwick Landing Damat mile 207. Stretching 53 miles from the Wilson Dam tailwaters, Pickwick has an average depth of 21 feet, with its deepest reaches plunging to about 59.

Covering 43,100 acres, Pickwick features a mix of sand, gravel and rock bottom, with bridges, bluff walls, and occasional areas of shallow grass and shoreline wood. Traditionally, summer means offshore ledge fishing, but Pickwick will likely deliver a mix of opportunities in a wide range of depths.

This time of year, the mid- to lower end of the lake tends to get most of the attention, as it presents more of the traditional offshore ledge look. Currently, the Wilson Dam lock is closed, but while anglers are limited to Pickwick only, we may see some of the field running upstream from the McFarland Park takeoff to avoid the crowds.

 

Current conditions

Standing at about 413 1/2 feet, Pickwick’s water level is close to the normal pool level of 414. In recent days, Pickwick Landing Dam has been releasing approximately 40,200 to 40,800 cubic feet per second (CFS). Afternoons tend to see an uptick in power generation as folks return home and flip on the ACs, TVs and microwaves.

Day one of the tournament should see about the same release volume as earlier this week, but Thursday’s schedule shows an increase to 45,595 CFS.

 

Tactics in play

Jacob Bigelow of Shawano High School says he and his partner, Harmon Marien, of Northland Pines High School, have located the fish they need, but they may have to work at getting them to cooperate.

“The TVA is not pulling as much water as they were in last year’s tournament, and it’s not setting up exactly like I want it to. That’s making it a little tougher,” Bigelow says. “We found a couple of schools, and I think that if we play it out right and sit on a couple of schools we should be OK.”

As Bigelow explains, he would prefer to have his fish positioning on steeper structure and facing into the current, but he and Marien have been working on making the adjustments that will help them harvest the opportunity.

“We weren’t getting much on faster-moving baits, but we definitely found we could get bit on slower baits,” Bigelow says.

Sarah Morehead and Hunter Valerius, one of two teams in the tournament from McCracken County High School, the other being James Harper Burkeen and Austin Braboy, will also work offshore spots, but theirs will be a two-pronged game plan.

“There’s some new grass in the lake, and I think that’s putting us in a better position than last year’s tournament,” Morehead says. “I think there are some offshore patterns and some shallow patterns, and we’re going to try to target both. I feel like we have a pattern, but our pattern is different than everyone else’s.”

Valerius says that during practice, he and Morehead caught shallow fish in the mornings and then moved offshore by midday. The shallow fish responded to moving baits early, but slowing down with focused presentations proved most productive. 

“I think the key will be to keep your head in the game,” Morehead adds. “I feel good about our game plan, so we just need to stick to that game plan and stay focused.”

 

Critical factors

- Weather –Tournament days will see air temperatures in the low to mid-90s, so hydration will be a must. Last night saw heavy rains, but the week’s forecast only calls for showers on Thursday. That’s always subject to change, and Valerius says he’s hopeful that the recent thunderstorms don’t affect how his shallow fish are positioned. 

- Power generation schedules – Current is currency on TVA reservoirs, and when the water starts moving, or increases in strength, fish start biting. Anglers must remain alert and realize that long, stagnant periods can be interrupted by flurries of activity.

- Crowded waters – With more than 400 boats sharing Pickwick, competition for key spots will present a challenge for many. Timing is often key on TVA lakes, as the offshore fish tend to have narrow feeding windows. Current flow definitely influences this, but teams will have to plan well so they’re on “the juice” when conditions are right.

- Big bites – With a three-bass limit, as opposed to the common five-bass tournament bag, anglers should feel less pressure to generate quantity. Instead, the liberty to focus on the difference-makers could pay off big for some.

 

Dock Talk

Morehead says she believes a three-fish limit weighing 12 pounds would be a competitive daily performance. Bigelow expects more. He thinks 15 a day will put his team in contention.

Marien adds this: “The key will be focusing on getting big bites, instead of a five-fish limit. Being able to get those 4- to 6-pound bites will be the key. We did not get those bites in practice because once we saw a spot’s potential, we got out of there and saved it for the tournament.

“They’re definitely not huge schools; if I had to guess, I’d say 30 to 40 fish. That’s obviously plenty, but we’re focused on getting those big bites.”

 

Tournament details

Dates: June 19-22, 2019

Takeoff Time: 5:30 a.m. CT

Takeoff Location: McFarland Park, 200 Jim Spain Drive, Florence, Ala.

Weigh-In Time: 1:30 p.m. CT

Weigh-In Location: McFarland Park

Complete details

Tags: pickwick  -ledge-fishing  david-a-brown  morning-story  2019-06-19-national-championship 

From the All-American to the Cup

From the All-American to the Cup

Brennon McCord is a self-described quiet, easygoing guy, but the 22-year-old T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League All-American champion hopes to make some Lake Hamilton noise in his first FLW Cup appearance. For the moment, understandably so, he’s still basking in the afterglow of a victory that earned what he calls the biggest honor of his career. READ MORE »

Go-Time Again on Champlain

Go-Time Again on Champlain

Each of the last three years have seen the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits kick off on Champlain. This tournament, which is presented by Polaris, should offer great fishing like usual, but the dominant pattern certainly won’t be spawning smallmouths. Instead, it could be a largemouth slugfest, as the fishing has continued to prove strong on the south end of the lake. READ MORE »

McCaghren Ready for Hamilton

McCaghren Ready for Hamilton

Billy McCaghren spends a lot of his free time coaching 8- to 10-year-old boys on how to swing and catch; but when the FLW Cup visits Hot Springs August 9-11, the Arkansas pro is hopeful that some of his young baseball players will be able to swing by and see the Lake Hamilton bass he plans on catching. READ MORE »

TBF/FLW High School National Champions Speak with Outdoor Radio Veteran Jerry Kripp

TBF/FLW High School National Champions Speak with Outdoor Radio Veteran Jerry Kripp

The Northlake Christian School (Covington, La.) bass fishing duo of Sam Acosta, of Madisonville, La., and Christopher Capdeboscq, of Covington, spoke with longtime radio host Jerry Kripp Sunday, July 7, about their win... READ MORE »

Louisiana's Northlake Christian School Wins 2019 TBF/FLW High School Fishing National Championship on Pickwick Lake

Louisiana's Northlake Christian School Wins 2019 TBF/FLW High School Fishing National Championship on Pickwick Lake

FLORENCE, Ala. – The Northlake Christian School Fishing Team of Christopher Capdeboscq of Covington, Louisiana, and Sam Acosta of Madisonville, Louisiana, brought in three bass totaling 9 pounds, 7 ounces on the final day of competition to win the 2019 TBF/FLW High School Fishing National Championship on Pickwick Lake. The duo’s three-day total of nine bass weighing 35... READ MORE »

Pennsylvania’s Elizabethtown High School Wins 2019 TBF/FLW High School Fishing World Finals on Pickwick Lake

Pennsylvania’s Elizabethtown High School Wins 2019 TBF/FLW High School Fishing World Finals on Pickwick Lake

FLORENCE, Ala. (June 24, 2019) – Pennsylvania’s Elizabethtown High School duo of Anthony Cicero IV and Dakota Snyder, both of Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, caught three bass weighing in at 16 pounds, 6 ounces to win the 2019 TBF Student Angler Federation High School Fishing World Finals on Pickwick Lake. Edging their closest competitors by 1 pound, 9 ounces, the Elizabethtown High... READ MORE »

High School Championship Top 10 Baits

High School Championship Top 10 Baits

June is typically ledge-fishing season in the Tennessee Valley, especially at Pickwick, but the 2019 High School Fishing National Championship was a more diverse event than most folks might have expected. Patterns ranging from junk-fishing the bank to targeting docks and other shoreline cover to working the main-lake ledges all worked. Here are the baits used by the top 10 teams during the week. READ MORE »

Cicero and Snyder Win World Finals

Cicero and Snyder Win World Finals

Anthony Cicero IV and Dakota Snyder went right to their spot, locked up a big limit early and about six and a half hours later, brought what would be the winning sack of 16 pounds, 6 ounces to McFarland Park where the Elizabethtown High School duo won the 10th Annual High School Fishing World Finals. READ MORE »

World Finals Midday Update - Day 4

World Finals Midday Update - Day 4

Pickwick is big lake, but even this 53-mile long TVA reservoir gets weary and the first half of the day told a tale of occasional opportunity, but a lot of waiting and hoping as 31 teams competed in the final day of the 10th annual High School Fishing World Finals. READ MORE »

Northlake Christian Wins By An Ounce

Northlake Christian Wins By An Ounce

Northlake Christian High School’s Christopher Capdeboscq and Sam Acosta weighed 9 pounds, 7 ounces (three fish) on the final day to win the High School Fishing National Championship on Pickwick Lake. With a three-day total weight of 35-12, Capdeboscq and Acosta had just a 1-ounce margin over the second-place team of Colin McCullough and Justin Hamlin who tallied 35-11 for Cedar Bluff High School. READ MORE »

High School Midday Update - Day 3

High School Midday Update - Day 3

Timing is typically the key to success on most TVA reservoirs and Pickwick Lake seems to be dishing out the lessons during day three of the High School Fishing National Championship, held in conjunction with the 10th Annual High School Fishing World Finals.  READ MORE »

High School Midday Update – Day 2

High School Midday Update – Day 2

Pickwick showed off its impressive diversity during day two of the High School Fishing National Championship, which is held in conjunction with the High School Fishing World Finals. End-to-end, this Tennessee River reservoir stretches about 53 miles, and, while the offshore ledge game gets most of the attention, anglers were also leveraging the lake's many other fishable features. READ MORE »

Northlake Christian Takes the Lead

Northlake Christian Takes the Lead

Weights are stacked tight atop the standings of the 2019 High School Fishing National Championship on Pickwick Lake. Moving into the lead position is the Northlake Christian team of Christopher Capdeboscq and Sam Acosta, who added 12 pounds, 14 ounces today for a two-day total of 26-5. Will Daniels and Kade Suratt added an impressive three-bass limit worth 15-12 today to move up one spot and into the lead in the High School Fishing World Finals. READ MORE »

Bedford, Brown Lead at Pickwick

Bedford, Brown Lead at Pickwick

Weighing in a three-fish limit of bass that averaged more than 4 1/2 pounds apiece has JD Bedford and Walker Brown of Lawrence County High School in the driver’s seat at the 2019 High School Fishing National Championship on Pickwick Lake. Keegan Fort and Clayton Page lead the High School Fishing World Finals with a three-fish limit worth 14 pounds, 5 ounces. READ MORE »

High School Midday Update – Day 1

High School Midday Update – Day 1

Some things on Pickwick Lake were as expected, but some were less so during day one of the dual High School Fishing National Championship and High School Fishing World Finals. Predictably, offshore patterns seem to be dominating the day, particularly traditional ledge scenarios below the Natchez Trace Bridge. Crankbaits, jigs, swimbaits and big worms were the common presentations. READ MORE »

Top High Schoolers Headed for Pickwick

Top High Schoolers Headed for Pickwick

This week, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) reservoir touching Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama pulls double duty for a joint production of the High School Fishing National Championship (Wednesday-Friday) and the 10th annual Student Angler Federation High School Fishing World Finals (Wednesday-Saturday). READ MORE »

Let the Rayburn Catchfest Begin

Let the Rayburn Catchfest Begin

We’re five months later into the year now, and while the water level at Rayburn has fluctuated in the months since the Tour event, it’s still about 4 1/2 feet above full pool as anglers take to Big Sam for the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury. READ MORE »

National Championship Gets Going

National Championship Gets Going

Bright and early this morning, 148 teams of the best college bass anglers in the country rolled out for day one of the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance on the Potomac River. The 10th annual National Championship is the culmination of the 2018 season, and the winning duo qualifies for the 2019 FLW Cup and earns a new Ranger boat for its club.  READ MORE »

All-American Underway on the Potomac

All-American Underway on the Potomac

Winning the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American is a lifetime accomplishment, and this week, 49 boaters and co-anglers will have the chance to do it on the Potomac River. Presented by General Tire, the crowning event of the BFL season runs May 30 through June 1, and the winner on the boater side will walk away with $120,000 and a trip to the FLW Cup. READ MORE »

Quaintance Makes it Two on Pickwick

Quaintance Makes it Two on Pickwick

Chris Quaintance of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Mississippi Division tournament on Pickwick Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 21 pounds, 5 ounces. Quaintance netted $4,119 for his victory. READ MORE »