UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Erie

Exploring the Big O with Setzer

Exploring the Big O with Setzer

Entering his third season on the FLW Tour, Braxton Setzer is ready to get the ball rolling on Lake Okeechobee, a body of water he is quite familiar with. Though he hails from Alabama, this former Tour co-angler has been to Okeechobee more than a handful of times throughout his career, and he’s hoping past experience will help him piece together a great start to the 2018 season.

Setzer was more than accommodating when he let me jump in his Ranger for day two of practice so I could see how the young pro dissects one of the biggest lakes in the country.

 

 

The day begins at around 7 a.m. ET when Setzer and I meet at the boat ramp near Roland & Mary Ann Martin’s Marina & Resort. While he isn’t the first guy on the water for the day, he definitely isn’t the last. After topping off his Evinrude with some oil, he splashes the boat in and mounts up his Lowrance HDS-16 Carbon on the helm.

 

We idle toward the lock into the big lake, and Setzer studies his GPS. The plan for the day is to look at some stuff close to Clewiston before eventually making his way down to South Bay. There will likely be more driving and looking than fishing in hopes of finding clean, sheltered water.

 

He doesn’t run far before Setzer shuts it down and begins to pull some rods out of storage. The water doesn’t look great, but he wants to give it a shot since he’s caught some fish from here before. A swim jig and vibrating jig are his primary two weapons in this area, which features some hay grass and cattails.

 

As the clouds begin to part, Setzer pulls up the trolling motor and decides to look for greener pastures, literally and figuratively. He cruises at a steady pace, with his head on a constant swivel, looking for clean water and good grass.

 

Eventually the pro turns down one of the many small boat lanes on Okeechobee, but quickly finds out it dead-ends in a wall of cattails. Setzer idles back out to a clearing where he puts the Power-Poles down and begins to do a little grass removal from the prop. It’s a real look at the glamorous life of a pro angler.

 

Setzer rips down the lake a bit farther before running into some good water. There are lily pads and hay grass mixed together with pennywort mats and cattails. It looks like bass fishing heaven. The bonus is clean water.

 

Setzer slings a swim jig around a bit before heading over to a mat that looks more than inviting to flip. He breaks out the big rod, puts on a fresh Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver and is ready to work. Unfortunately, there are no bites to be had, so he goes on the move again.

 

As Setzer idles down a boat lane, I take a minute to scope out his baits. Moving baits are a great way to cover water, and all of these are solid choices in Florida. His favorite is the Nichols Sledgehammer Swim Jig (pictured in the foreground), but he’s also a big flipping fan and has to have the big weight ready to go.

 

Setzer runs deeper into South Bay to try and determine how far the clean water extends. It quickly becomes obvious that where you find clear water, you also find plenty of boats. Setzer decides to idle back near where he first sat down to make a drift through the hay field. It’s also prime time to eat a sandwich and make a few phone calls.

 

It doesn’t take long for Setzer to get bit once he starts fishing again. Though the fish isn’t a big one, Setzer is more than happy to finally break the ice. He finishes the drift once he hits some dirty water, gets only one other bite and calls an audible. It’s time to make a run.

 

Setzer weaves his way from South Bay back into the rim canal. In some places the water is muddier than it was on the outer edge of the grass, and that is rare. Usually the rim canal stays clean because it is so well protected from the wind, but it’s obvious that the hurricane took its toll last year. Setzer keeps running closer to Clewiston before stopping along the edge of the canal to make a few casts.

He digs around, sifting through several boxes of Yo-Zuri baits before finding what he’s looking for – a gold shiner-colored Yo-Zuri Rattl’n Vibe that looks like a tasty treat for a bass.

The rim canal is usually a great place to scrounge out a small limit and get bites, but the dirty water is making it tough. After a few minutes with no takers, Setzer decides to call it and run back to the ramp to make a move.

 

It’s early afternoon when Setzer idles back to the dock, where a friendly bird drops in looking for a snack. It’s a prime photo opportunity for both Setzer and me, and we welcome it.

The plan is to load the boat and go launch up north for the rest of the day. Setzer spent some time up that way on Sunday and wants to look around some more to help formulate a solid game plan for the final day of practice.

He’s seen a little bit of what he likes, but more importantly he has scratched a lot of water off his list. It’s obvious that Okeechobee is far different this time around, but Setzer knows he has plenty of time left to pick up more pieces of the puzzle.

Tags:   kyle-wood  pre-tournament  2018-01-25-lake-okeechobee 

Erie Midday Update – Day 2

Erie Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the Toyota Series Northern Division event has been pretty slow across the board, and particularly for the leaders. Though the weather isn’t too bad and the wind is fairly manageable, the fishing in Erie is slower than it was yesterday. READ MORE »

Stokes Pulls Ahead on Erie

Stokes Pulls Ahead on Erie

One of a number of pros who elected to make the run from Sandusky to the Detroit River, Troy Stokes pulled into the lead on day two of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. READ MORE »

Big Bags on Tap at Pickwick

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After a four-month hiatus, it’s almost time for the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Mississippi Division to get back after it. The season resumes on July 18 and July 19 with back-to-back tournaments on Pickwick Lake. While each tournament may fish a bit like a two-day event, each day of competition is a standalone tournament with a winner crowned after each day. READ MORE »

Lake Erie Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Lake Erie Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Day one of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie was not dominated by St. Clair as some expected. Though St. Clair did produce the lead for Scott Dobson, a hodgepodge of techniques and locations got it done for the other top pros on Erie. READ MORE »

Michigan Division Kicks Off on St. Clair

Michigan Division Kicks Off on St. Clair

There’s nothing better than clear water and big smallmouths, and that’s exactly what the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Michigan Division plans to deliver this year. The division, which is presented by ARE, is set to open the season July 18 on Lake St. Clair in what should be a heavyweight showdown of smallmouths. READ MORE »

Erie Midday Update – Day 1

Erie Midday Update – Day 1

From a weather standpoint, day one of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie has been almost too perfect. Slick and hot from the start, anglers have been able to go wherever they want and fish however they want. READ MORE »

Dobson Takes Slim Lead on Erie

Dobson Takes Slim Lead on Erie

The weights on day one of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie were about what folks expected: plenty of quality fish, but a lack of the plump 4- and 5-pounders that Erie is so known for. Weighing one of only two bags over 20 pounds, Scott Dobson put 20-12 on the scale after a day of fishing that took him as far from Sandusky as the mouth of the St. Clair River. READ MORE »

Ready to Rock on Erie

Ready to Rock on Erie

The Toyota Series Northern Division has undergone more than its share of schedule shuffling this year, but the kickoff is finally here. Taking off out of Sandusky, Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie, the time to chase smallmouths has arrived. READ MORE »

Piedmont Division Heads to Kerr

Piedmont Division Heads to Kerr

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Piedmont Division continues its season with back-to-back tournaments on Kerr Lake on July 18 and 19. READ MORE »

Hoosier Division Heads for Ohio River

Hoosier Division Heads for Ohio River

After kicking off the season on Lake Monroe with a double-header at the end of June, the Hoosier Division of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine turns east for stop No. 3 on the Ohio River at Tanners Creek. READ MORE »

Everything in Play on Mighty Miss

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The Mississippi River is the staple venue of the Great Lakes Division in Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine competition. Come July 18, the division will take its first crack at the Mighty Miss in what could shape up to be a diverse event. READ MORE »

Kentucky Lake Could be Won Deep or Shallow

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As we saw a couple weeks ago at the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga, the Tennessee River is capable of churning out big bags of bass both deep and shallow. We’ll probably be reminded of the Chickamauga event on July 18, when the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine LBL Division competes on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. Conditions should be similar, with both deep and shallow patterns in the mix.   READ MORE »

FLW Classics – Week 5

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Even though tournament action is back in full swing, we decided to keep dipping into the archives for some tournament highlights from yesteryear. Below is a batch of classic FLW TV shows from 2008 to 2010, with more on the way.  READ MORE »

Review: Strike King Popping Perch

Review: Strike King Popping Perch

The frog world is pretty stacked with good options these days, but the Strike King Popping Perch still manages to stand out. READ MORE »

Virtual FLW Tournament to Benefit Keep America Fishing

Virtual FLW Tournament to Benefit Keep America Fishing

As part of the American Sportfishing Association’s first-ever ICAST Online fishing tackle tradeshow later this month, FLW is partnering with Keep America Fishing to host a special virtual ICAST Cup fishing tournament.  READ MORE »

A Dream Come True

A Dream Come True

On June 27, 16-year-old Noah Crogan’s big wish came to fruition at the Apple Island Marina on Lake Champlain when he became the owner of a brand-new Tracker aluminum bass boat. Thanks to Make-A-Wish Vermont, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and local anglers – including Phoenix Bass Fishing League and Toyota Series angler Cole Harris – Crogan was surprised at the marina with the boat, along with plenty of rods and tackle to get him on the water. READ MORE »

BFL Winning Patterns – June 27-28

BFL Winning Patterns – June 27-28

Wrapping up competition for the month of June, the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine saw four divisions compete this past weekend, which included a pair of double-headers. Due to the heat and a desire for the best fish care possible, one of the tournaments took place with a three-bass limit instead of the usual five-bass limit. READ MORE »

Toyota Series Set to Visit Lake Erie for Northern Division Opener

Toyota Series Set to Visit Lake Erie for Northern Division Opener

SANDUSKY, Ohio – The 2020 Toyota Series will open the Northern Division with a tournament next week at Lake Erie, July 9-11, with the Toyota Series at Lake Erie. Hosted by the City of Sandusky, the three-day tournament will feature the region’s best bass-fishing pros and co-anglers casting for a... READ MORE »

Iowa’s Riceville High School Wins 2020 TBF/FLW High School Fishing National Championship on Mississippi River

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STODDARD, Wis. – Iowa’s Riceville High School duo of Lawson Losee and Kooper Tweite brought a three-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 11 pounds, 2 ounces to win the 2020 TBF/FLW High School Fishing National Championship on the Mississippi River in Stoddard, Wisconsin. Riceville’s three-day total of nine bass totaling 30-4 gave them the win by a 1... READ MORE »

Northern Division Heads to Sandusky

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Swiftly rescheduled due to New York’s recently announced travel restrictions, the Toyota Series Northern Division is now kicking off on Lake Erie, launching out of Sandusky, Ohio, July 9-11. The event is the first of three in the division, with the others scheduled for August on Lake Champlain and on the Detroit River in September. READ MORE »