UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Grand Lake

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

2018 Lake Cumberland Preview

2018 Lake Cumberland Preview
Lake Cumberland

Lake Cumberland

Burnside, Ky.

April 12-15, 2018

Presented by General Tire

Hosted by Somerset Tourist & Convention Commission

 

About the fishery

Central Kentucky’s Lake Cumberland is a 50,000-acre mountain reservoir that, in terms of surface acreage, doesn’t compare to the Bluegrass State’s western powerhouse reservoir of Kentucky Lake (162,000 acres). Even so, Cumberland’s maze of countless small coves and pockets makes the lake seem bigger and more confounding to figure out. Distance is a factor, too. Much of the best fishing is on the lower end, a long distance away from the General Burnside Island State Park takeoff site, which is 56 miles upstream from the dam.

Cumberland’s average depth is 90 feet deep, and its deepest point is about 200 feet, but it’s prone to extreme fluctuations, particularly following springtime’s heavy rains. A sudden rise of 10 feet or more typically results in challenging fishing and problematic navigation, as floating debris fills the channels. This year, the lake has been running quite high since February, and the water is about 12 feet higher than it was in 2017. 

Water clarity can range from 10 feet of visibility in the lower end to quite stained in the creeks and upstream areas.

The most notable feature of Cumberland at tournament time is the rim of flooded brush and trees partially submerged near the shoreline. Cumberland was drawn down from 2006 to 2013 so the dam could be reinforced to prevent seepage. Woody growth developed along the shoreline, which has since been re-flooded. The new habitat has improved spawning success and led to a population boom that makes Cumberland a destination for anglers seeking largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass.

 

Last time

Scott Martin earned his eighth career Tour victory when he topped the field at Lake Cumberland in early April 2016. He weighed in 60 pounds, 1 ounce over four days by focusing on creeks on the lower end of the reservoir.

Martin relied mostly on a deep-diving jerkbait, but also flipped a jig here and there throughout the week. On the final day, his most memorable move was switching to a stick bait-style wake bait.

Martin primarily fished bushes and wood cover on points and in the backs of pockets and drains in the creeks, as did most of the top 10 pros. Jerkbaits were by far the most productive, though others fished shallower with spinnerbaits, crankbaits and finesse plastics. A few deeper patterns worked, too, including dragging jigs or slow-rolling swimbaits for prespawn fish.

Cumberland in 2017 was a mixed-bag event with smallmouths, largemouths and spots.

 

What to expect this time

Local pro Rex Huff expects Cumberland to produce similar results again this season, when the event will be held about a week later in the month. He thinks some fish will be on beds when the Tour arrives, but unless central Kentucky experiences a mild winter and spring, the timing is just a bit early for a full-on bed-fishing bout.

“As of right now, it should be the same, but Cumberland is real bad about coming up really fast if you get a lot of rain,” says Huff. “So as long as the water stays level before all the rains get here, it should be good.”

According to Huff, the fishery at Cumberland is excellent. He thinks most of the fish – all species – will be caught 15 feet deep or shallower, and possibly 10 feet deep or shallower.

While Huff predicts a multi-species showdown, it is possible to weigh in a bag of five largemouths or smallmouths (though, Huff says the fish mix together this time of year, and it’s not uncommon for a 5-pound largemouth to show up while smallmouth fishing). For largemouths, the best action probably will occur around shallow cover leading into spawning pockets, or directly in the spawning areas. Smallmouths can be caught a little deeper around points, wood cover and staging banks. Spots, typically smaller, can be found in schools on points and deep banks and will likely serve as limit fillers.

The lower end of the lake has been the best for producing all three species, particularly big smallmouths. As we saw last year when Clark Wendlandt blanked on the final day after leading on day three, the lower end also can burn an angler.

“Probably 75 percent of the time tournaments are won down the lake,” adds Huff. “But every now and then there’ll be a tournament won up. But most of the time, because the smallmouths play into it, down the lake is the ticket if you want to try and win it.”

 

Baits and techniques

Jerkbaits – If this derby is anything like last year’s at Cumberland, jerkbaits will get a thorough workout for all three species in prespawn staging areas.

Spinnerbaits and ChatterBaits – Fished in the backs of pockets around flooded cover, either option is a largemouth producer.

Wake baits – Though wake baits are likely to produce only in narrow windows of opportunity, Scott Martin’s success with one last year didn’t go unnoticed, and surely pros will have some on hand this time.

Other – Weightless worms and jigs fished around spawning areas could be in play if the fish are just starting to move up and situate around cover. A buzzbait is another producer in this scenario, typically midday once the sun has warmed the shallows.

 

3 critical factors

1. Water level – You can’t stop it, but you better be prepared for it if the water jumps up drastically before the tournament. Huff says the fish usually suspend in such situations, which contradicts the shallow, cover-oriented patterns normally associated with similar conditions.

2. Bring on the limits – A lot of pros had good luck finding smallmouths last year, but they had not-so-great luck finding smallmouths that measured 18 inches. This year, the pros can keep any bass that's 12 inches or better, so the dynamic of the fishery is bound to shift. 

3. The spawn – Though Huff thinks the spawn won’t quite be rolling when the Tour arrives, FLW’s top pros have shown again and again that they can sniff out the earliest spawners the very hour that they move up. It’s quite likely that someone picks a few off beds in this derby and makes the cut because of it.

 

Fantasy Fishing picks

Lake Cumberland is tailor-made for the multi-species reservoir experts from Kentucky and Tennessee. Expect Andy Morgan, Terry Bolton, Ramie Colson Jr., Rex Huff and others from the region to have a strong showing.

John Cox and Zack Birge are experts at sniffing out early spawners with a buzzbait or wacky worm, and they’ll probably disappear into the backs of pockets in search of that bite this week.  Watch for them, too.

Scott Martin, Barry Wilson and Clark Wendlandt, who made the top 10 at Cumberland last season, will be hoping to repeat their success this time, and there’s no reason to suspect they won’t.

Finally, if anyone is going to get right by running a pattern all over a vast reservoir full of points and pockets, it’s Bryan Thrift – the easiest Fantasy Fishing pick on Tour.

 

Tags: flw  pre-tournament  2018-04-12-lake-cumberland 

South Carolina’s Bradford Beavers Wins T-H Marine BFL Regional Championship on Potomac River

South Carolina’s Bradford Beavers Wins T-H Marine BFL Regional Championship on Potomac River

MARBURY, Md. – Summerville, South Carolina’s Bradford Beavers, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 28 pounds, 8 ounces, to win the weather-shortened, no-entry fee T-H Marine FLW BFL Regional Championship on the Potomac River Saturday. The event was originally scheduled for three days, but tournament officials canceled competition on day one... READ MORE »

Ohio's Cole Floyd Wins T-H Marine BFL Regional Championship on Lake Guntersville presented by Mercury Marine

Ohio's Cole Floyd Wins T-H Marine BFL Regional Championship on Lake Guntersville presented by Mercury Marine

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. – Boater Cole Floyd of Leesburg, Ohio, – an FLW College Fishing standout from Bethel University – brought a three-day total of 15 bass to the scale weighing 44 pounds, 15 ounces, to win the no-entry fee T-H Marine FLW BFL Regional Championship on Lake Guntersville presented by Mercury Marine Saturday. For the win, Floyd earned $71,200, including... READ MORE »

Floyd Cashes in on Guntersville

Floyd Cashes in on Guntersville

Last weekend, Floyd added to his already lengthy list of accomplishments with a T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Regional victory on Lake Guntersville – the tournament was presented by Mercury – with a 44-pound, 15-ounce three-day total, and it all came down to consistency and some really good decision-making. READ MORE »

More Than 400 Anglers to Visit Somerset and Burnside for Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland

More Than 400 Anglers to Visit Somerset and Burnside for Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland

BURNSIDE, Ky. (Oct. 17, 2019) – The Costa FLW Series will close out the 2019 season next week, Oct. 31-Nov. 2, in Burnside, Kentucky, at the Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland. The no-entry fee bass-fishing championship, hosted by the Somerset Tourist & Convention Commission and the Burnside Tourism Commission, will feature more than 400 of the best regional... READ MORE »

North Carolina’s Bryan New Wins T-H Marine BFL Regional Championship on Lake Seminole

North Carolina’s Bryan New Wins T-H Marine BFL Regional Championship on Lake Seminole

BAINBRIDGE, Ga. – Boater Bryan New of Belmont, North Carolina, brought a three-day total of 15 bass to the scale weighing 63 pounds, 4 ounces, to win the no-entry fee T-H Marine FLW BFL Regional Championship on Lake Seminole Saturday. For the win, New earned $71,200, including a new Ranger Z518L with a 200-horsepower Mercury or Evinrude outboard and automatic... READ MORE »

Arkansas' Dylan Hays Wins Costa FLW Series Tournament at Lake of the Ozarks presented by Evinrude

Arkansas' Dylan Hays Wins Costa FLW Series Tournament at Lake of the Ozarks presented by Evinrude

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. – Beginning the day in fourth place, Nitro Boats pro Dylan Hays of El Dorado, Arkansas, caught a five-bass limit Saturday weighing 14 pounds, 6 ounces, to jump to the top of the leaderboard and win the three-day Costa FLW Series at Lake of the Ozarks presented by Evinrude... READ MORE »

Major League Fishing to Acquire FLW

Major League Fishing to Acquire FLW

TULSA, Okla. - Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today that it has reached an agreement to acquire Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization. The Letter of Intent (LOI) sets in motion the most significant brand merger in competitive bass fishing history, linking a... READ MORE »

Newberry Wins Southwestern Division AOY

Newberry Wins Southwestern Division AOY

It was sweet redemption in many ways for the Texas legend who still owns and operates his Houston-based HVAC company despite spending so much time on the tournament-fishing circuit. Redemption for missing out on the FLW Cup in his first season. Redemption for what Grand did to him earlier this year on Tour (dropping from sixth to 41st with only one fish on day two). And, in a way, validation for a career filled with big accomplishments. READ MORE »

Osage Beach Readies for Weekend of FLW Youth Bass-Fishing Tournaments

Osage Beach Readies for Weekend of FLW Youth Bass-Fishing Tournaments

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. – Already playing host to Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) this week, FLW will remain in town next weekend with two events for young anglers, Oct. 18-19, with the YETI FLW College Fishing tournament at Lake of the Ozarks presented by Bass Pro Shops and the Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Open at Lake of the Ozarks presented by Costa... READ MORE »

Eyes on the Weather at Lake of the Ozarks

Eyes on the Weather at Lake of the Ozarks

Wrapping up the Costa FLW Series Central Division with an early fall stop at Lake of the Ozarks has become a tradition over the last few years. This year, the final stop of the season is presented by Evinrude and takes place Oct. 10-12, which should be good timing for a number of patterns to play. READ MORE »

Rampey Wins T-H Marine BFL Regional Championship on Lake Hartwell presented by Navionics

Rampey Wins T-H Marine BFL Regional Championship on Lake Hartwell presented by Navionics

SENECA, S.C. – Boater Jayme Rampey of Liberty, South Carolina, brought a three-day total of 15 bass to the scale weighing 43 pounds, 12 ounces, to win the no-entry fee T-H Marine FLW BFL Regional Championship on Lake Hartwell presented by Navionics Saturday. For the win, Rampey earned $70,000, including a new Ranger Z518L with a 200-horsepower Mercury or Evinrude... READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Curt Warren knew what he wanted to do, and it had nothing to do with weeding through a bunch of small fish up shallow. Rather, he focused his attention on deeper Grand Lake spots with chunk rock and brush and amassed a three-day total of 46 pounds, 7 ounces to win the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine. Here’s how the rest of the top 10 caught their fish and earned their checks on Grand. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

A cold front moving in at the start of Grand Lake’s fall transition put a damper on seeing a bunch of big weights during the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, which was presented by T-H Marine, but plenty of pros managed to find the right fish to make things exciting on the final day. READ MORE »

Meador Repeats Co-Angler Win on Grand

Meador Repeats Co-Angler Win on Grand

Defending his title as co-angler winner in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, which was presented by T-H Marine, was impressive enough, but the way Steven Meador did it was truly remarkable. After earning the 2018 win on Grand by 3 pounds, 6 ounces, the Bentonville, Ark., co-angler repeated the victory with a three-day total of 27-15 for a much slimmer winning margin this time around – just 10 ounces. READ MORE »

Rose, Oklahoma's Warren wins Costa FLW Series Tournament at Grand Lake presented by T-H Marine

Rose, Oklahoma's Warren wins Costa FLW Series Tournament at Grand Lake presented by T-H Marine

GROVE, Okla. – After starting the day in third place, pro Curt Warren of Rose, Oklahoma, caught a five-bass limit Saturday weighing 15 pounds, 9 ounces, to vault to the top of the leaderboard and win the three-day Costa FLW Series at Grand Lake presented by T-H Marine... READ MORE »

Warren Mounts Furious Comeback on Grand

Warren Mounts Furious Comeback on Grand

Curt Warren was a paragon of consistency over three days at Grand Lake, and the result was a victory in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine. Warren turned in limits of 14-5 on day one and 16-9 on day two, but it was his day-three limit of 15-9 that was the most impressive – no other pro even cracked the 13-pound mark battling the tough post-frontal conditions Grand had to offer on day three. READ MORE »

Grand Lake Midday Update – Day 3

Grand Lake Midday Update – Day 3

Typically, the first day or two following a cold front put bass in a bad mood, and today, Grand Lake’s fish are following the script. This has created a challenging scenario for the top-10 finalists in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 2

When conditions changed, Cody Bird of Granbury, Texas completely scrapped his day-one pattern, caught a limit that weighed 13-11 and took over the lead of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event, presented by T-H Marine, with a two-day total of 32-14. Here’s what the rest of the top five was up to on day two. READ MORE »

Grand Lake Midday Update – Day 2

Grand Lake Midday Update – Day 2

You know fishing’s tough when the most common greeting we receive is the goose egg hand signal. No question, day two of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine, had a lot of anglers scratching for bites and scratching their heads. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 1

Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., leveraged his intimate understanding of Grand Lake’s tendencies to catch a five-bass limit that weighed 22 pounds, 10 ounces to take the lead on day one of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event Presented by T-H Marine. Here are the details of the rest of the top five. READ MORE »