UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Potomac River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

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 

Lake Champlain Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Lake Champlain Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

One of the windier tournament days in recent memory did a lot to reshape the leaderboard of the Costa FLW Series event on Lake Champlain. The run south to Ticonderoga was not impossible, but the wind up north kept a lot of pros from effectively fishing their best stuff. That made weights drop pretty much across the board on day two. READ MORE »

Thrift Still Ahead on Champlain

Thrift Still Ahead on Champlain

Day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on Champlain featured a bunch of wind and a lot of turnover on the leaderboard. Though he struggled to replicate his massive day-one success, Bryan Thrift still managed 16 pounds, 6 ounces for a 38-12 total to retain the lead. Behind him, Scott Dobson rose from ninth to second with a robust bag of smallmouths worth 18-10 for a 37-14 total. READ MORE »

Champlain Midday Update – Day 2

Champlain Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the Costa FLW Series event presented by Polaris on Lake Champlain is going to be quite a swing from day one. Typically turnover in the standings is common on Champlain because the weights stay so tight, but today’s turnover is going to have a lot to do with the weather. READ MORE »

Champlain Midday Update – Day 1

Champlain Midday Update – Day 1

Takeoff was a little blustery, but overall, it’s been a perfect start to the Costa FLW Series event on Lake Champlain. The event is the kickoff of the Northern Division, which is presented by Gajo Baits, and the tournament itself is presented by Polaris. READ MORE »

WeFishASA Podcast hosts latest FLW Tour winner Casey Scanlon on  Latest Episode

WeFishASA Podcast hosts latest FLW Tour winner Casey Scanlon on Latest Episode

WeFishASA has been saying all along that the sport of professional bass tournament fishing needs to develop more new stars. Well, it appears that Casey Scanlon is ready to fill that role... READ MORE »

Lake Champlain Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Lake Champlain Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Last year, every event in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division, which is presented by Gajo Baits, was won entirely with smallmouth bass. This season, the kickoff event on Champlain, which is presented by Polaris, looks destined to involve some largemouths. Everyone in the top five weighed green ones on day one, though somewhat surprisingly, the south end down by Ticonderoga didn’t play an overwhelming role, as only three of the top 10 anglers made the long run southward. READ MORE »

Scanlon Joins Jerry Kripp to Discuss Champlain Victory

Scanlon Joins Jerry Kripp to Discuss Champlain Victory

FLW Tour pro Casey Scanlon of Lake Ozark, Missouri, winner of the FLW Tour at Lake Champlain presented by T-H Marine, joined The Outdoor Connection with Jerry Kripp Sunday, July 14, to talk the about winning the event and... 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 »

Thrift Takes Command on Champlain

Thrift Takes Command on Champlain

Less than three weeks removed from a third-place finish on Lake Champlain in the FLW Tour’s 2019 season finale, Bryan Thrift hauled 22 pounds, 6 ounces of green fish to the weigh-in stage to take the day one lead in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division opener, which is presented by Polaris. In second, Brandt Tumberg weighed 21-10, and Joe Wood is just an ounce behind him with 21-9 for third.  READ MORE »

Check-in Time: Brian Latimer 

Check-in Time: Brian Latimer 

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with Brian Latimer.  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 »

Summertime on Champlain

Summertime on Champlain

For three years running now, the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits has kicked off on Lake Champlain. The tournament, which is presented by Polaris, should offer great fishing like usual, but it’s going to be far different than the last two FLW Series tilts on the big Northern lake. READ MORE »

Elrod Runs Tide, Wood on James River

Elrod Runs Tide, Wood on James River

Bryan Elrod of Mechanicsville, Virginia, won Saturday’s T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Piedmont Division tournament on the James River after catching five bass weighing 16 pounds, 10 ounces. For his efforts, Elrod took home $3,637. READ MORE »

Mittlestat Tops at St. Clair

Mittlestat Tops at St. Clair

Dan Mittlestat of Woodhaven, Michigan, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Michigan Division tournament on Lake St. Clair presented by Navionics Saturday after catching a five-bass limit weighing 22 pounds, 7 ounces. Mittlestat netted $6,552 for his win. READ MORE »

Schmitt Takes Champlain Title

Schmitt Takes Champlain Title

FLW Tour pro Bryan Schmitt of Deale, Maryland, won Saturday’s T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournament on Lake Champlain presented by Navionics after catching five bass weighing 19 pounds, 10 ounces. For his win, Schmitt earned $7,209 and 250 points in the Northeast Division presented by Gajo Baits standings. The winner of the division’s Angler of the Year title after five tournaments will win $3,000. READ MORE »

Mechanicsville’s Elrod Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on James River

Mechanicsville’s Elrod Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on James River

HENRICO, Va. – Boater Bryan Elrod of Mechanicsville, Virginia, won Saturday’s T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Piedmont Division tournament on the James River... READ MORE »

Woodhaven’s Mittlestat Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Lake St. Clair Presented by Navionics

Woodhaven’s Mittlestat Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Lake St. Clair Presented by Navionics

HARRISON TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Boater Dan Mittlestat of Woodhaven, Michigan, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Michigan Division tournament on Lake St. Clair presented by Navionics... READ MORE »

Schmitt Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Lake Champlain Presented by Navionics

Schmitt Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Lake Champlain Presented by Navionics

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – FLW Tour pro Bryan Schmitt of Deale, Maryland, won Saturday’s T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournament on Lake Champlain presented by Navionics after catching... READ MORE »

Big Little Boats

Big Little Boats

There is a massive surge in innovation in the fishing kayak industry, as evidenced by a showroom floor packed with canoes, kayaks, boats – and, in many cases, a combination of all of them – at ICAST 2019. READ MORE »

4 Hot New Reels from ICAST

4 Hot New Reels from ICAST

2019 is the year of the trolling motor at ICAST, but it wouldn’t be ICAST without at least a few next generation reels from some of the best manufacturers in the business. READ MORE »