UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Hartsell on Top at Grand with 19-4

Hartsell on Top at Grand with 19-4
Toby Hartsell

Blissfully unaware is a fitting description of Toby Hartsell’s impression of Grand Lake — the currently difficult body of water on which the Oklahoma pro’s first-day limit of 19 pounds, 4 ounces leads the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event hosted by the City of Grove and presented by Ranger.

Edging second-place pro Kevin Ledoux by 5 ounces, Hartsell says a physical limitation became his advantage on this Grand River impoundment, where recent fluctuations in water level and temperature have stalled the prespawn movement. Personally untainted by the reality of Grand’s conditions, he simply went fishing.

“I didn’t get any practice because I’ve been having some back problems,” Hartsell says. “I think that was a good thing, really, because I’ve heard everyone saying it’s been bad the past couple of weeks. I think that gave me an edge by not thinking it was going to be that bad. I caught a big one [a 6-14 that took Big Bass honors] and really didn’t expect to have 19, but I’ll take it.”

Hartsell says he fished all over the lake. He started near the Pensacola Dam, ran up to the Elk River and fished several spots in between.

“There wasn’t any rhyme or reason to any of it,” he says. “I caught them on four different baits. There wasn’t any pattern; it was just fishing.”

Targeting traditional prespawn staging areas, Hartsell says his fish were on the outer edge of this seasonal zone, which kept them in a replicable target area.

“I know the fish are close to moving up, but I don’t want them to move up all the way; halfway up is when I can catch them really good,” he says.

On the river end, Hartsell mostly targeted flats. He switched to channel swings and bluff ends down the lake.

He caught his fish on a mix of spinnerbaits, crankbaits, bladed jigs and 5/16-ounce flipping jigs. To the latter, he added an old-school Zoom Chunk.

“Fast-moving baits are what I caught the majority of my fish on, but I love throwing a jig, so I have to keep them honest,” Hartsell says.

While most of his river work took place in typical shallow habitat, Hartsell says that getting bit on the lower end was a more precise deal.

“It seemed like you had to have some deep water really close, especially down toward the dam,” he says. “Because it was a little cloudy this morning, I thought I’d take a chance and run down there by the dam, because that’s where the better quality fish are.”

Clearly indicative of the lake’s current instability, Hartsell says his bites were noticeably non-aggressive.

“There wasn’t hardly a bite,” he says. “Even on a spinnerbait, they don’t really knock it; they just load up.”

 

Top 5 patterns article

 

Top 10 pros

1. Toby Hartsell – Afton, Okla. – 19-4 (5)              

2. Kevin Ledoux – Choctaw, Okla. – 18-15 (5)                 

3. Colby Miller – Elmer, La. – 18-10 (5)                

4. Jeff Reynolds – Calera, Okla. – 16-8 (5)            

5. Nick Lebrun – Bossier City, La. – 16-3 (5)                     

6. Darrel Robertson – Jay, Okla. – 15-3 (4)                       

7. John Pilcher – Kansas, Okla. – 15-2 (5)             

8. Jordan Osborne – Longview, Texas – 14-0 (5)             

9. Troy O’Rourke – Natchitoches, La. – 13-15 (5)            

10. Chad Warren – Sand Springs, Okla. – 13-13 (5)

Complete results

 

Stealth mode gives George co-angler lead

Doing something different is the inherent mandate for co-anglers, but Kennith George took that beyond the relationship between front and back deck. It was his focus on outthinking his fellow co-anglers that landed him atop his division with 13 pounds, 12 ounces.

“Being a co-angler forces you to fish a different way, and that played into my hand,” George says. “By doing something that was different than my boater, that lead me to the fish I found.”

George opted to keep the details thin, but he says he fished slower baits and targeted “less obvious” spots in 10 to 15 feet of water.

“Most of the quality fish I caught were on targets people normally wouldn’t hit,” he says. “I definitely slowed down my retrieves.”

Notably, George had only three keepers today, so he was around quality fish. He had four bites and lost one big fish.

 

Top 10 co-anglers

1. Kennith George – Edmond, Okla. – 13-12 (3)              

2. Steven Meador – Bentonville, Ark. – 12-15 (5)            

3. Rick Blosser – Tulsa, Okla. – 12-9 (5)                

4. Frank Divis Sr. – Farmington, Ark. – 11-10 (3)             

5. James Callaghan – De Berry, Texas – 11-5 (3)             

6. Shane Patrick – Springdale, Ark. – 10-9 (2)                 

7. Ben Wickham – Ponca City, Okla. – 10-4 (2)                

8. Jordan Burks – Joplin, Mo. – 9-4 (5)                  

9. Jason Clark – Bixby, Okla. – 7-10 (2)                 

9. Rich Dalbey – Greenville, Texas – 7-10 (2)

Complete results

Tournament details

 

Photo galleries

Day 1 takeoff gallery

Day 1 on-the-water gallery

Day 1 weigh-in gallery

Tags: headline-story  david-a-brown  2018-03-22-grand-lake 

Miller Wins Wild Card on Kentucky Lake

Miller Wins Wild Card on Kentucky Lake

Weighing limits of 15 pounds, 13 ounces on day one and 15-3 on day two, Michael Miller of Greenville, S.C., overcame a tough-fishing Kentucky Lake to win the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Wild Card and qualify for the All-American. READ MORE »

Coastal Carolina Wins on Hartwell  

Coastal Carolina Wins on Hartwell  

The Coastal Carolina University duo of Max McQuaide of Tyngsborough, Mass., and Grant Tattersall, of Conway, S.C., won the YETI FLW College Fishing tournament at Lake Hartwell presented by Costa with a five-bass limit weighing 13 pounds, 11 ounces. The victory earned the Chanticleers’ bass club $2,000 and a slot in the 2020 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

Allison Comes from Behind on Cumberland

Allison Comes from Behind on Cumberland

By catching four quality smallmouth bass on the final day of the Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland, Missourian Chad Allison was able to come back from 10th place and win the co-angler division, earning more than $30,000. READ MORE »

Upshaw Closes on Cumberland

Upshaw Closes on Cumberland

For the second time this season, Andrew Upshaw is an FLW champion thanks to consistent days spent targeting big Southern smallmouths. The Tulsa, Okla., pro won the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland in Burnside, Ky., with a three-day total weight of 42 pounds, 15 ounces. The win comes less than seven months after Upshaw won the FLW Tour event on Cherokee Lake in east Tennessee. READ MORE »

FLW Live Leaderboard - Lake Cumberland

FLW Live Leaderboard - Lake Cumberland

FLW media staff provides unofficial weight estimates for the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland READ MORE »

Cumberland Day 3 Coverage

Cumberland Day 3 Coverage

Andrew Upshaw continues to roll on Cumberland. READ MORE »

Upshaw Moves Ahead at Cumberland

Upshaw Moves Ahead at Cumberland

Day two of the Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland was a bit tougher for some, given the post-frontal conditions featuring lighter winds, sun and cold temperatures. As projected, consistency has been the key and Andrew Upshaw continued to dial in his program adding 15 pounds, 1 ounce to his day-one bag of 14-15 for a total of 30 pounds even. READ MORE »

Cumberland Day 2 Coverage

Cumberland Day 2 Coverage

Day one of the Costa FLW Series Championship proved to be about as challenging as many anglers anticipated after a tough practice period, but it wasn’t all bad. Zimbabwe’s Roger Cousens certainly wasn’t complaining. His tournament-leading 17-pound, 2-ounce bag was exactly what he had hoped for as the tournament kicked off, and he’s gunning for another big stringer today. READ MORE »

Zimbabwe’s Cousens Grabs Lead

Zimbabwe’s Cousens Grabs Lead

The FLW International Division is well represented in the Costa FLW Series Championship, and perhaps none represented the division better than Roger Cousens of Zimbabwe, who didn’t seem bothered by the stingy conditions of Lake Cumberland on day one. With the only bag that topped 17 pounds for the day (17-2), Cousens enters day two with a 3-ounce lead over Robert Nakatomi, who qualified from the Western Division. READ MORE »

Cumberland Day 1 Coverage

Cumberland Day 1 Coverage

With rain early and a cold snap forecasted to move in this afternoon, the first day of the Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland could present some unique challenges for the 193-boat field, especially after a fairly mild and pleasant practice period.  READ MORE »

Fitzpatrick All the Way on Grand

Fitzpatrick All the Way on Grand

Roger Fitzpatrick has had quite a fall fishing season. He won the BFL Super Tournament on Lake of the Ozarks in September, then qualified for the All-American by winning the BFL Regional on Grand Lake in October. READ MORE »

Drury Wins on Lake of the Ozarks

Drury Wins on Lake of the Ozarks

The Drury University duo of Cole Breeden of Eldridge, Missouri and Cameron Smith, of Nixa, Missouri, won the YETI FLW College Fishing event on Lake of the Ozarks presented by Bass Pro Shops with a five-bass limit weighing 18 pounds, 9 ounces. The victory earned the Panthers’ bass club $2,650 and a slot in the 2020 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

Myers Makes Long Run for Kentucky Win

Myers Makes Long Run for Kentucky Win

Mark Myers of Cedar Falls, Iowa, is no stranger to the victory circle with FLW, having previously won a BFL as a boater to go with two FLW Tour victories as a co-angler and two more as a co-angler in Costa FLW Series competition. But, his latest win at the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Regional on Kentucky and Barkley Lakes is the realization of his long-time goal to qualify for the All-American. READ MORE »

Beavers Wins Potomac Regional

Beavers Wins Potomac Regional

A severe storm backed up the tides and drained many of the best areas on the Potomac. Adjusting to the unusual conditions and grinding out daily limits were the keys to success in the BFL Regional. READ MORE »

New Dominates Seminole Regional

New Dominates Seminole Regional

Belmont, N.C., angler Bryan New, who’s regularly one of FLW’s top performers in the grassroots ranks, had established a dominant pace. New weighed in 22 pounds, 9 ounces on day one and added 20-2 on day two to carry a lead of 6 pounds, 15 ounces into the finals. A roughly 7-pound margin isn’t necessarily a sure thing on Seminole, but the fall bite was a bit slower than what the lake can produce, and it was obvious New was cruising. READ MORE »

Hays Rallies for Ozark Title

Hays Rallies for Ozark Title

The final day of the Costa FLW Series Central Division event on Lake of the Ozarks presented by Evinrude was no walk in the park for the top 10 pros. With a cold front passing through at the start of the event, a high-pressure system settled in for the final round of fishing. While most struggled, Dylan Hays of El Dorado, Ark., sacked up 14 pounds, 6 ounces today – the biggest limit brought in during the final day – and finally was able to wrangle his first FLW title. READ MORE »

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 3

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 3

The final day of the Costa FLW Series Central Division on Lake of the Ozarks presented by Evinrude is fixing to get fun based on what’s already happened today and what could happen. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks – Day 2

Sure enough, with conditions changing from rain and clouds to sun and wind, the Costa FLW Series Central Division on Lake of the Ozarks, which is presented by Evinrude, has made it tough on guys. Of course, day-two leader James Watson predicted that some of the biggest bags of the event would come in today despite the conditions, and he was right. READ MORE »

Consistency Puts Watson Out Front

Consistency Puts Watson Out Front

Weather has been the storyline leading up to the Costa FLW Series Central Division finale on Lake of the Ozarks presented by Evinrude. With storms and rain blowing through yesterday ahead of a cold front, the cooler weather set in today making fishing tough on some, but others took advantage of the change. READ MORE »

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 2

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 2

A cold front that brought temperatures in the 40s, rain and wind has the bass in a funk on day two of the Costa FLW Series Central Division event presented by Evinrude on Lake of the Ozarks. READ MORE »