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

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Another Prespawn Desert Battle

Another Prespawn Desert Battle

FLW fans have grown accustomed to the Costa FLW Series Western Division kicking off on Lake Havasu in recent years, and this year’s bout should be as good as ever. The tournament is presented by Ranger and hosted by the Lake Havasu City Convention & Visitors Bureau and features a full field of 154 boats – the largest Western Division field since 2013. It’s an increase in field size of about 20 percent over 2017 on a lake known for finicky fish, but the extra boats shouldn’t hurt things too badly – in 2015 the field was nearly 150 boats and 11th place actually weighed a pound more than in 2017.

 

About the fishery

The Colorado River along the California and Arizona border was dammed up back in 1938 to create Lake Havasu. At a little more than 19,000 surface acres, Havasu isn’t gigantic, but it’s big enough for a good-sized tournament and has a healthy population of largemouths and smallmouths. Flowing from the northwest to the southeast, the lake is split roughly into four portions: The Colorado River, the basin, the stretch running from the basin to the dam and the Bill Williams arm.

The Colorado River offers current and backwater that adventurous anglers can explore and is generally shallower and dirtier than the rest of the lake. The main basin has the best mix of smallmouths and largemouths and is deep and relatively clear. Running toward the dam, the water clarity increases and the shoreline steepens. The arm formed by the Bill Williams River is warmer and dirtier than the rest of the lake.

Tournaments on Havasu are usually won with a mix of smallmouths and largemouths, and there is a pretty fair variety of cover for anglers to fish. There’s plenty of rock, tules, timber, some grass and a ton of man-made cribs that are peppered all over the lake.

 

Current conditions

Havasu is currently almost 2 feet lower than it was last year and that has made navigation tricky in some areas and generally hampered the shallow tule-based bite. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t bass shallow. The water is warming into the upper 50s and low 60s and that naturally has some bass heading toward the bank.

Joe Uribe Jr., who has won the last two times FLW stopped at Havasu, summed things up quite nicely.

“The fishing has been a little tough,” says Uribe. “For the weather and the conditions we’re having it’s surprisingly tough. I think it’s the full moon that we had [last week] and the lack of grass – the grass is pretty much gone and the river and the lake are real low. A lot of areas people usually like to fish are pretty much too shallow.”

Uribe thinks that the winner will have to hit the fish somewhere en route to their spawning grounds.

“The main lake bite is still the most predominant, the difference between this year and last year is that it has been warmer than usual, so guys will be running around catching fish on beds,” says the Arizona pro. “But guys that know the lake, like myself, we’re going to be fishing staging fish, that’s how this will be won.”

 

Tactics in play

Because Havasu is running a bit clearer than normal and the wind is forecast to be fairly light during the event, finesse tactics should play strong. Small jigs, Ned rigs, drop-shots and little swimbaits will account for plenty of weight. Crankbaits are also popular on Havasu for targeting the many man-made cribs and brush piles. Additionally, larger swimbaits and other baits designed to trigger a big bite can’t be counted out – Uribe has proven that in the last two go-rounds.

 

Critical factors

  • Pressure – Havasu has a reputation for fast-learning bass and 150+ anglers should give them plenty of learning opportunities. Adapting location or presentation to trigger pressured fish could be key.
  • Cages and brush – Fishing unique targets in middepth areas seems to play a lot on Havasu and we could see those man-made bits shine this week. You’ve got to be pretty dialed to do it efficiently, but folks like Shaun Bailey and Uribe can do it with ease.
  • The morning bite – With fairly light winds in the forecast it’ll be key to get on the board early while the bite is good.

 

 

Dock talk

There’s a pretty good mix of optimism and pessimism to be found this week. Shaun Bailey thinks practice went quite well – he says he only fished subpar locations and still caught bass.

Things have not gone so well for Hunter Schlander.

“It’s been really tough, I’m struggling to get bites,” says Schlander. “I feel like this is going to be one of those where if you get four or five bites a day you can get a check and maybe make it into the cut.”

Todd Woods was positively giddy at registration and has his fingers crossed his fish don’t decide to move shallow with all this lovely warm weather.

“The way I’m catching them, the fish are still in their winter mode, they’re deep,” says Woods. “I believe there will be a number of 20-pound bags of smallmouth. It seems like the fish are really, really healthy and there are a lot of them. This is probably the most fish I’ve seen in the last few years.”

As for weights, look for similar results to 2015 and 2017. Havasu has plenty of nice fish, but 15 pounds goes a long way and averaging a bag in the upper teens should be enough for a win.

 

Tournament details

Format: All 154 boaters and co-anglers will compete for two days. The top 10 boaters and co-anglers based on cumulative weight after two days of competition will advance to the third and final round, with the winner determined by the heaviest cumulative three-day weight.

Takeoff Time: 7:30 a.m. MT

Takeoff Location: Lake Havasu State Park-Windsor Beach, 699 London Bridge Road, Lake Havasu City, Ariz. 86403

Weigh-In Time: 3:30 p.m. MT

Weigh-In Location: Lake Havasu State Park-Windsor Beach, 699 London Bridge Road, Lake Havasu City, Ariz. 86403

Complete details

Tags: jody-white  morning-story  2018-02-08-lake-havasu 

B. Lat, MDJ Win Pan Am

B. Lat, MDJ Win Pan Am

Brian Latimer and Mark Daniels Jr. are best friends off the water, and it looks like they’ve got the makings of a deadly team on the water. Weighing five smallmouths for 21.16 pounds in the first session and 23.92 pounds in the second session, the pair totaled 45.08 pounds to win the individual competition in the Pan American Bass Championship on Lake St. Francis. READ MORE »

Canada Wins Gold at Pan Am

Canada Wins Gold at Pan Am

Though Team USA locked up the top three places, Team Canada placed six teams in the top 10 and averaged 38.98 pounds to win the Pan American Bass Championship on Lake St. Francis. Results were tallied based on the average weight brought in by each team in the two sessions of fishing, which almost guaranteed an extremely close finish. Earning a silver medal, Team USA finished just a hundredth of a pound back with a 38.97 average. READ MORE »

Canada Leads at Pan Am

Canada Leads at Pan Am

The first session of competition in the Pan American Bass Championship on Lake St. Francis was a roaring success. After the morning weigh-in, Team Canada is leading with an average of 21.16 pounds, Team USA is in second with a 19.6 average, Team Akwesasne First Nation is in third with 18.62 and Mexico had an up and down morning to accrue a 17.24-pound average. READ MORE »

Do you need a generator for bass fishing?

Do you need a generator for bass fishing?

Austin Felix has been running a generator for a few years now, and his primary use is during the spring in the North, when he’s spending mega-days on the water practicing for tournaments that feature bedding smallmouths. READ MORE »

Day 1 Delayed at Pan Am

Day 1 Delayed at Pan Am

Because of steady rain and hard winds at around 20 mph or more, day one of the Pan American Bass Championship has been canceled. With gusts up to 40 mph in the forecast, the organizers have decided to fish two sessions on Friday instead. READ MORE »

Pan Am Gets Underway in Canada

Pan Am Gets Underway in Canada

With the official training day in the rearview, the Pan American Bass Championship starts Thursday, Oct. 16, on Lake St. Francis in Cornwall, Ontario. Teams from Mexico, the Akwesasne First Nation, Canada and the United States will be competing the next two days for glory and country, but also to help along the movement to make bass fishing an Olympic sport. READ MORE »

Umbrella Rigs for Great Lakes Smallies   

Umbrella Rigs for Great Lakes Smallies   

The days of catching seemingly infinite bass on an umbrella rig are mostly gone, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't fish with one. The rig is a great tool for catching fall smallmouth bass on the big waters of the Great Lakes and elsewhere up north. READ MORE »

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 1

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 1

All the talk leading up the final leg of the Costa FLW Series Central Division presented by Evinrude on Lake of the Ozarks was about the weather. And Mother Nature did not disappoint. READ MORE »

Stormy Start at Lake of the Ozarks

Stormy Start at Lake of the Ozarks

The final leg of the Costa FLW Series Central Division presented by Evinrude on Lake of the Ozarks will launch right as a massive cold front arrives. How massive? The forecast has been calling for heavy rain and a high of 74 today, and so far hasn’t been wrong. A major thunderstorm greeted anglers this morning and delayed takeoff by an hour and fifteen minutes thanks to abundant lightning. Tomorrow? A high in the mid 40s. READ MORE »

Hunting Big Bronze in Wisconsin

Hunting Big Bronze in Wisconsin

“On a normal day, if the best five aren’t over 25 pounds, it isn’t a good day,” Stefan says. “My best days with a buddy have been where the best five have gone 29 to 32 pounds. We get lots of 6-pounders a year, and we’ve caught some right at the 7-pound mark. I’ve had a few on that we haven’t landed that were bigger.” 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 »

How to Fish a Blade Bait for Smallmouth

How to Fish a Blade Bait for Smallmouth

You can catch smallmouths on a lot of baits in the early fall, but one of the most consistent producers later in the year is a blade bait, and Scott Dobson is an expert with it. His go-to is the old-fashioned Silver Buddy, but he has some distinct preferences and tweaks for better success. 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 »

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 »

Changes Afoot at Grand Lake

Changes Afoot at Grand Lake

Fall is a time of change and movement; two notions bound to impact the outcome of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine, on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake. Typical fall migrations are underway, but an approaching cold front will likely complicate the already challenging nature of autumn’s transition. READ MORE »

Dobson Wins First FLW Series AOY

Dobson Wins First FLW Series AOY

Scott Dobson has earned a pile of accolades up north, but this year, he earned his biggest title yet. Winning the Strike King Angler of the Year in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits, the Clarkston, Mich., angler finished third at Lake Champlain, 13th on the Potomac River and wrapped the season and the title with a second-place showing on the St. Lawrence River. READ MORE »

Underway on the Delta

Underway on the Delta

No matter the weather, no matter the environmental concerns, no matter the fishing pressure, the California Delta remains one of the nation’s most diverse and fertile freshwater fisheries — a truth that should play out in dramatic form during the Costa FLW Series Western Division event. READ MORE »

How Schmitt Targets Late-Summer Tidal Bass

How Schmitt Targets Late-Summer Tidal Bass

As we’ve seen pretty much every year in the FLW Cup, which is usually held in the South, going way up creeks to find slightly cooler water is a productive pattern in the heat of late summer. The same strategy can pay off on tidal fisheries such as the Potomac River and James River as well, albeit with some tweaks for the situation. READ MORE »

St. Lawrence Midday Update – Day 3

St. Lawrence Midday Update – Day 3

Weights were already tight going into the final day of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division finale on the St. Lawrence River, which is presented by Gajo Baits. Little more than a pound separated leader Jonathan Kelley from Casey Smith in fifth place. READ MORE »

St. Lawrence Midday Update – Day 2

St. Lawrence Midday Update – Day 2

With slightly warmer weather and similar sun and wind conditions, day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits on the St. Lawrence River should’ve presented optimal conditions for smallmouth. Instead, nearly every angler our on-the-water crew encountered today said the same thing: It’s tougher. READ MORE »