UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Potomac River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

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 

Another Potomac Rumble Looms

Another Potomac Rumble Looms

Moving south from Lake Champlain, the second stop of the 2019 Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits is on the Potomac River. The tournament, which is presented by Lowrance and runs Aug. 22-24, should offer a fairly standard set of August conditions for the anglers, with plenty of quality largemouths to go around. READ MORE »

Smith Honored with Sportsmanship, Community Leadership Award

Smith Honored with Sportsmanship, Community Leadership Award

Capt. Blake Smith was presented with the 2019 Forrest L. Wood Sportsmanship & Community Leadership Award by the award’s namesake, Forrest Wood, at the 2019 FLW Cup pre-tournament banquet in Hot Springs, Ark. Smith, of Lakeland, Fla., has fished the FLW Tour since 2015. READ MORE »

Day 3 of Practice with Scanlon

Day 3 of Practice with Scanlon

Casey Scanlon won the FLW Tour season finale at Lake Champlain, which he almost had to do to make the FLW Cup. Now that he’s here at Lake Hamilton, he’s got a shot at $300,000 and a possible edge over the competition due to his momentum and extensive Ozark experience. READ MORE »

Hard Lessons and the FLW Cup

Hard Lessons and the FLW Cup

Two terrible tournaments to end the season cost Miles Burghoff his shot at the Polaris Rookie of the Year title. This week at the FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton, he's hoping to apply the lessons learned at the end of the season to his preparation for the championship event. READ MORE »

Thrift Roams Hamilton on Day 2

Thrift Roams Hamilton on Day 2

In seemingly any tournament that Bryan Thrift shows up to he is without a doubt one of the favorites to win. With two FLW Tour Angler of the Year titles, six Tour wins and five Costa FLW Series wins – including his most recent on Lake Champlain just a few weeks ago – it’s easy to understand why. READ MORE »

Riding Around Practice on Day 2

Riding Around Practice on Day 2

In a Ranger Z520L with a 250-hp Evinrude G2, it takes about 15 minutes to run from Carpenter Dam, which impounds Lake Hamilton, to the Blakely Mountain Dam that separates Hamilton from Lake Ouachita. If you stop and chat with 11 pros along the way, however, you’ll need most of the morning, but you’ll also wind up with a pretty sound idea of what’s going on at Hamilton for this week’s FLW Cup. READ MORE »

The First Morning with B. Lat

The First Morning with B. Lat

You won’t hear Brian Latimer complain about hot weather and tough fishing in Arkansas during this week’s FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton. For B. Lat, sweating it out on the water is vastly better than working in the heat installing landscaping and mowing lawns for a living, which is what he was doing just a few years ago. A lot’s changed since those days. Now, Latimer is an FLW Tour champion, with a growing fishing media company and his first shot at a Cup title. READ MORE »

Review: Storm 360GT Largo Shad

Review: Storm 360GT Largo Shad

While the 360GT Searchbait made some noise in the bass world, the Coastal line offers a swimbait that looks more than juicy for bass of all shapes and sizes. Enter the Largo Shad. After hearing some rumors about how good the swimbait is – and even some comparisons to Keitechs – I got my hands on a few packs and took them for a test ride. READ MORE »

FLW Cup Schedule of Events

FLW Cup Schedule of Events

The FLW Cup goes down August 9-11 on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark. As the crowning event of the FLW Tour season, there’s naturally a lot that goes with it, from takeoffs, the FLW Expo, a Trace Adkins concert and of course the weigh-ins at the Bank OZK Arena. Below you’ll find everything you’ll need to follow or attend the Cup, from the times to each event and seminar to each giveaway going on. Keep in mind, everything is free to attend and all times are Central. READ MORE »

Pre-Practice Report from Hamilton

Pre-Practice Report from Hamilton

For some, preparation has been in the form of map study and online research, while others have made the trek to Lake Hamilton to get eyes on the playing field, which went off limits July 22. READ MORE »

The FLW Cup Playing Field

The FLW Cup Playing Field

It’s been 14 seasons since the FLW Cup has been held at Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark. In the years since, FLW fans have likely developed some familiarity with nearby Lake Ouachita, which has been a frequent destination for the Cup and, in fact, hosted last year’s championship event. Hamilton is less-known because it hasn’t gotten the nod to host the finale since July 2005, when George Cochran won his third bass-fishing world championship . 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 »

Review: Strike King Thunder Cricket

Review: Strike King Thunder Cricket

Ever since Z-Man released the ChatterBait anglers haven’t really had the need to broaden their vibrating jig horizon – and not for lack of options, but simply because the ChatterBait is so good that you don’t really need anything else. With the launch of the Z-Man ChatterBait Jack Hammer a few years ago and the instant buzz surrounding it, the bar was set high for any other vibrating jigs entering the market. READ MORE »

Dudley Wins Historic 4th AOY

Dudley Wins Historic 4th AOY

Taking to the second to last day of the 2019 FLW Tour season, David Dudley finally did it again, triumphing over John Cox to win a historic fourth FLW Tour Angler of the Year title. Winning his first AOY in 2008, and then going back-to-back in 2011 and 2012, Dudley is now the only pro with four titles to their credit, surpassing both Clark Wendlandt and Andy Morgan. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Champlain

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Champlain

FLW Live is back for the season finale of the FLW Tour on Lake Champlain. The event, which is presented by T-H Marine and hosted by the City of Plattsburgh and Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau runs Thursday, June 27 through Sunday, June 30. READ MORE »

Exploring Champlain with Strelic

Exploring Champlain with Strelic

Living about as far as possible from Champlain, Wade Strelic is looking to finish his rookie season strong at the FLW Tour finale. Hailing from Alpine, Calif., near San Diego, Strelic is sitting 28th in points and has made the check cut in three out of six events so far – another good derby will lock him in to the FLW Cup. READ MORE »

Nelson Wraps Champlain Practice

Nelson Wraps Champlain Practice

Ron Nelson is easily in the group of favorites in the event and a bonafide Northern expert, so I was eager to hop in the boat for a morning with the smallie snatcher. Champlain isn’t fishing quite like it was the years he won, but Nelson is still guaranteed to have a lot of eyes on him come day one. READ MORE »

Scouting for Smallies with Felix

Scouting for Smallies with Felix

Over the years, a lot of anglers have established impressive records on Lake Champlain, but few have done it as quickly and authoritatively as Austin Felix. READ MORE »

Get to Know Lake Champlain

Get to Know Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain is a giant of a lake. It stretches 100-plus miles from its beginning down south at Whitehall, N.Y., and runs all the way up to the Canadian border between the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Adirondacks in New York. Though the competitors aren’t allowed to venture into Canada, there is still plenty for anglers to break down for the final event of the 2019 FLW Tour season. READ MORE »