UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - James River

Gagliardi’s Final Day of Lanier Practice

Gagliardi’s Final Day of Lanier Practice

Fresh off a top 10 finish just a few weeks ago on the Harris Chain, Anthony Gagliardi is poised to repeat that performance this week on a fishery that favors his knack for catching prespawn bass as well as schooling fish. Currently, Gagliardi sits 6th in the Pennzoil Marine Angler of the Year standings and being that the rest of the schedule looks promising for him, he could be looking at grabbing his second AOY title.

Since the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup champion is off to such a great start, I thought I’d jump in the boat with him on the final day of practice for the FLW Tour presented by Ranger on Lake Lanier.

 

We meet at a small ramp near the middle of the lake at 6:45 a.m. Gagliardi wastes no time dumping the boat in the water in hopes of making a run down the lake before the next wave of rain moves in. It rained some overnight, but currently there is a small window of peace and calm, so he bundles up and takes off down the lake.

 

As we roll into a creek, Gagliardi spots some birds diving and quickly runs to them. It takes all of three minutes for him to hook up. It’s not a big one, but it is as fat as it can get. He quickly unhooks it and tosses it back looking to capitalize on the next fish.

 

Just a few casts later he’s tied up with another. This one is a little bigger and he takes his time fighting it on light line. It’s honestly amazing at how fast the big spot can swim and how well it can jump considering the size of its gut.

You can tell Gagliardi is having a blast. He’s smiling from ear to ear and just enjoying being on the lake and catching fish. I suppose you can’t be in this sport for almost 20 years and not have fun doing it.

He holds the chunky 3-pound plus spotted bass up for a quick photo before tossing her back to fight another day.

 

We move just around the corner to another area Gagliardi could see some fish schooling in the distance. He fires some casts around randomly, but mostly waits till they break the surface before sending the bait out.

“There were a lot of fish busting back here, but I kind of think they may have been stripers,” says Gagliardi. “I’d just like to catch a couple to see what species they are and how big they are.”

No sooner does he say that before a small spot eats his swimbait. At least he knows now that there are spotted bass schooling in the area, though the size leaves something to be desired.

 

Around 7:45 the rain begins to fall. It’s not terribly annoying to start, but the heavier stuff is on the way.

“I hate practicing in the rain,” Gagliardi laughs. “It makes me not want to move around like I normally would because I hate driving in it.”

He moves towards some docks with a crankbait and spinnerbait hoping to pass some time before making a move.

 

Gagliardi finally fires up the Evinrude and moves back towards the mouth of the creek until  more birds grab his eye and he sets down. Not long after David Dudley comes rolling in the creek having spotted the same group of birds and he comes over to have a chat with Gagliardi.

The two go over how their day has been so far and how much fishing in the rain is a bummer. Then the two get on the topic of catching schoolers and baits and the next thing you know Dudley is climbing into Gagliardi’s boat. The two are buddies and Dudley is hoping Gagliardi will share a little advice on catching schooling fish, while Gagliardi also gets some advice from Dudley.

The two fish for a few minutes, but mostly talk about fishing before Dudley is back in his boat and headed off.

 

As Dudley moves off, Gagliardi decides to work his way into another pocket where some fish had been busting. The rain has let up some, making it easier to see fish break the surface.

“The problem with this schooling bite is that it doesn’t last too long in the morning,” says Gagliardi. “Clouds will help it keep going, but rain like this makes it so tough to see fish that just swirl on the surface.”

He slowly trolls his way around the pocket waiting for one to break the surface, but the birds and bait have left the area.

 

As he starts working his way out, a few fish blow up on bait and he quickly slings his wakebait out to them. It takes about five cranks of the reel before one crushes his bait.

“I know I should probably leave these schoolers alone, but they are just so much fun to catch. It is my absolute favorite way to catch them and if I can’t run around that much because of the rain I might as well have a little fun.”

It’s another bloated spot that probably weighs close to 2 ½ pounds. After releasing it, he puts the trolling motor up and we’re off to the other side of the lake.

 

The rain is coming down harder now and the air temperature seems to be dropping, which signals it’s time to boost morale with a sandwich. It’s nothing fancy, just a hamburger bun and some turkey – basically the remnants of what’s left in the fridge from the week.

He idles around a few places while the rain pours down, making short moves to avoid too much pelting from the big drops before settling on a main lake point.

 

The wind is picking up now and Gagliardi tries dragging some stuff on the bottom of the wind-blown point to no avail. He then picks up his swimbait to make a few casts, hoping the wind might help that bite, but still no takers.

He’s only got a few rods on the deck and it’s a basic lineup. Shaky heads, flukes, a crankbait and topwaters make up the primary selection today.

 

After a few minutes with no bites it’s time to strap the rods down and make a move. The rain has let off a little now, so Gagliardi plans to make a decent run up the lake.

 

As he pulls up to his next spot, Gagliardi’s roommate Scott Suggs calls to check in. Gagliardi slowly works his Carolina rig while the two chat about their day. But the rain starts to pick up so the phone call gets ended quickly.

Now the serious rain hits and the camera has to go back in its case for safety. Gagliardi winds up working a few more points, but hasn’t had a bite in a few hours.

The next window of opportunity hits with some light rain and Gagliardi decides to run me back to the ramp while we have a moment. Considering the weather, that’s fine by me.

 

It’s early afternoon by the time we get back to the ramp and it seems as though the rain may finally be passing, which figures it would as soon as I leave the boat. Though, it will give Gagliardi most of the afternoon to run around as much as he’d like to solidify what he’d like to do in the tournament. Despite the rainy, cold day it’s been pretty enjoyable. Gagliardi may not have accomplished as much as he wanted, but he sure has had fun. Maybe now he can get down to business and dial in how to catch those 5- and 6-pound spots that roam these waters.

Tags: kyle-wood  pre-tournament  2018-03-08-lake-lanier 

Pro Circuit Heads to Sandusky

Pro Circuit Heads to Sandusky

The season finale of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit will take place on Lake Erie, out of Sandusky, Ohio, on August 11-14. The third of three special Super Tournaments, over 200 pros from FLW and Major League Fishing (MLF) will fish in the event. The winner will take home $125,000 and the event will decide who wins the Angler of the Year title, the Polaris Rookie of the Year title and which Pro Circuit anglers qualify for the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota on Sturgeon Bay. READ MORE »

Wheeler Lake Midday Update - Day 2

Wheeler Lake Midday Update - Day 2

Fishing creek ends continued to be the theme on day two of the Toyota Series Southeastern Division event on Wheeler Lake. Although the current was not running as much in the creeks as yesterday, the cooler shadier waters in the back of creeks were still producing for top anglers once again.  READ MORE »

Mississippi River Practice with Buck

Mississippi River Practice with Buck

In his fourth year on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, Grae Buck has really come into his own. A standout collegiate angler at Penn State, he’s now in the thick of the Angler of the Year race and cruising toward qualification for the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota. READ MORE »

Scouting Pool 8 with Ormond

Scouting Pool 8 with Ormond

For Jake Ormond, this is his first time fishing north of Tennessee, and thus his first time fishing the upper Mississippi. He’s not the only one lacking Mississippi River experience in the field, but considering many of the Major League Fishing (MLF) anglers that are part of the Super Tournament field have competed on the river a number of times, he’s got his work cut out for him. READ MORE »

Summertime Shootout on Tap at Wheeler

Summertime Shootout on Tap at Wheeler

Summertime on the Tennessee River may not be the prime time to hit the water, but the second stop of the Toyota Series Southeastern Division on Wheeler Lake will certainly showcase how diverse of a fishery it can be when the tournament takes place July 30 - Aug. 1. READ MORE »

Looking Ahead to the Mississippi River 

Looking Ahead to the Mississippi River 

With just two events left in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit season, it’s time to turn attention to the northern part of the country. Presented by OPTIMA Batteries, the Pro Circuit Super Tournament on the Mississippi River out of Stoddard, Wis., will not only crown a winner with a $125,000 payday but also shape the Angler of the Year race. READ MORE »

Review: Favorite Soleus XCS

Review: Favorite Soleus XCS

Favorite Fishing stormed the rod market a few years back and has held its own against even the most established brands. Now, the company is diving into the reel market with the launch of their new baitcasting lineup this past fall – with the Favorite Soleus XCS leading the charge. READ MORE »

Big Bags on Tap at Pickwick

Big Bags on Tap at Pickwick

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 »

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 »

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

Everything in Play on Mighty Miss

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

Kentucky Lake Could be Won Deep or Shallow

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 »

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 »

Northern Division Heads to Sandusky

Northern Division Heads to Sandusky

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 »

FLW Shifts Toyota Series Northern Event to Lake Erie

FLW Shifts Toyota Series Northern Event to Lake Erie

Due to New York’s recently announced travel restrictions, FLW will shift its July 9-11 Toyota Series Northern Division opener from the St. Lawrence River at Massena, N.Y., to Lake Erie at Sandusky, Ohio. READ MORE »

Okie Division Heads to Arkansas River

Okie Division Heads to Arkansas River

The Okie Division looks to end the month of June just how it started it – with back-to-back Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine events. READ MORE »

Checking Shallow and Deep with Hays

Checking Shallow and Deep with Hays

Dylan Hays has been fairly consistent throughout his four years as a pro on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, and he’s currently on pace to have his best season to date. He made the last two top-30 cuts and finished 31st at Rayburn to start the year, and because of his consistency, the Arkansas pro currently finds himself fifth in the Angler of the Year race. READ MORE »

Several Patterns in Play at Ouachita BFL

Several Patterns in Play at Ouachita BFL

FLW has a long history of hosting multiple-day summertime tournaments on Lake Ouachita, where pros have to grind it out for three days in what are usually tough conditions. On June 27, when the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Arkie Division takes to Ouachita, the Natural State’s best bass anglers will need to game plan a little differently. With only one day to fish and a three-bass limit, they’ll have to swing for the fences with big-bass patterns to have a shot at winning. READ MORE »

Hoosier Division Kicks off with Doubleheader

Hoosier Division Kicks off with Doubleheader

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Hoosier Division starts its season with back-to-back tournaments on Indiana’s Lake Monroe June 27 and 28, and it’s looking like big bags will be on tap. READ MORE »