UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Santee Cooper

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Bring ’em Big or Bust at Santee Cooper

Bring ’em Big or Bust at Santee Cooper

The Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division wraps up its season this week on Santee Cooper. The final tournament, which is presented by Bass Pro Shops and hosted by the Clarendon County Chamber of Commerce, kicked off this morning out of John C. Land III Landing. A field of nearly 200 pros and co-anglers will likely enjoy some of the best fishing the Costa FLW Series has to offer all year. With stable conditions, water temperatures in the 60s and a full moon peaking just four nights ago, there are a lot of big fish “up” at Santee Cooper right now, and the word on the water is you better bring ’em big or bust.

Complete details

 

About the fishery

Santee Cooper is actually made up of two lakes, Marion and Moultrie, which are connected by a diversion canal. Both lakes are generally shallow and feature numerous acres of backwater ponds and spawning flats, making Santee Cooper a mecca for springtime bass fishing.

Santee Cooper has no shortage of fishing cover, either. Targets include weedy backwater ponds, stumpy flats, riprap along the canal and the bridges, docks, and cypress trees. Both lakes are extremely healthy right now, and either one could produce the winning fish.

 

Current conditions

When legendary Santee Cooper pro Ken Ellis of Bowman, S.C., says the conditions are “pretty good” on lakes Marion and Moultrie, you can bet the Costa FLW Series weigh-in bags are going to get stretched to the max this week.

“It’s going to be a great tournament,” Ellis says. “Seventy-five pounds to win is not out of the question. A lot of big limits have been coming in. Thirty-three pounds won a tournament here last weekend, and lots of 25-pound-plus bags have come in over the last several weeks. It’s been amazing.”

Ellis reports that both lakes are in really good shape. The upper lake (Marion) is a little low and abnormally clear for this time of year, while the lower lake (Moultrie) is about normal level and a little bit more off-colored from wind.

Water temps in the backwater ponds are in the 67- to 70-degree range, and main-lake temps are more like 61 to 63. The recent full moon triggered a major spawn in Santee’s numerous backwater ponds, but the peak of the main-lake spawn has not happened just yet.

“That’s what’s neat about this place right now,” Ellis says. “You can pick any stage of the spawn you want to fish. If you like sight-fishing, fry-guarders and postspawners, you can fish the ponds. If you prefer more prespawn stuff, the main lake is still heating up.”

 

Tactics in play

Sight-fishing is always a favored tactic at Santee Cooper in the spring, especially with so much clear water in play. But swim jigs in the pads and Yamamoto Senkos skipped around cypress trees are probably going to fool some big ones this week as well.

 

Critical factors

Ellis believes wind is going to be the determining factor as to how far the big weights reach down the weigh-in sheet. Heavy wind will hurt the cause, but if it’s calm and slick, big bags will abound. A small frontal passage brought hard west winds for the final day of practice, but those winds are forecast to subside to just 5 to 10 mph out of the north today.

 

Dock talk

Most of the dock talk has been about the massive limits Santee Cooper has produced over the last few weeks. And though most of those big weights have come from team tournaments where anglers work together to catch the best five fish they can, there is still plenty of reason to believe that this week’s tournament will produce some hefty limits.

 

Tourament details

Format: All 196 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 a.m. ET

Takeoff Location: John C. Land III Landing, 4404 Greenhall Road, Summerton, SC 29148

Weigh-In Time: 3 p.m. ET

Weigh-In Location: John C. Land III Landing

Championship qualification: The top 40 boaters and co-anglers in the end-of-season standings in the Southeastern Division will qualify for the Costa FLW Series Championship, which will be held this fall on Lake Guntersville. Current standings can be seen here.

Complete details

Tags: rob-newell  morning-story  2018-04-05-santee-cooper 

Everything’s in Play on Kentucky Lake

Everything’s in Play on Kentucky Lake

A squad of 147 boaters and their co-anglers partners enjoyed a pleasant spring morning in western Kentucky for the start of the Costa FLW Series Central Division tournament presented by Lowrance on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. READ MORE »

Big Bags on Horizon at Chickamauga

Big Bags on Horizon at Chickamauga

Day one of the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event presented by T-H Marine is underway, and by all indications, the fishery is set up to churn out some mega-bags throughout the event. Even during practice, with the water falling well below normal levels, 7-, 8- and 9-pounders weren’t uncommon. Now, with the best anglers in the southeast hard at it, you can expect fireworks. READ MORE »

College Open Weigh-in to Start at Noon

College Open Weigh-in to Start at Noon

Day one of the YETI FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake was phenomenal in terms of the fishing, and while that may be the case for day two, strong winds forced FLW officials to cut the tournament short by a few hours. READ MORE »

Good Conditions Greet College Open Field

Good Conditions Greet College Open Field

The YETI FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky and Barkley Lakes returns to FLW’s home waters this morning, as a full field of anglers prepare to take off for the fifth iteration of the two-day event, hosted by the Kentucky Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau and Moors Resort & Marina. READ MORE »

Rise and Grind Time at Lake Mead

Rise and Grind Time at Lake Mead

Strong winds on the heels of a prolonged cold-weather period may prove to turn the Costa FLW Series Western Division opener into a true grind fest this week as pros and co-anglers take off from Callville Bay – Forever Resorts on Lake Mead in southern Nevada. READ MORE »

A Different Okeechobee

A Different Okeechobee

Cold fronts, dirty water and lower water levels make for an interesting start to the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division season. READ MORE »

Perfect Weather Now on Tap in Texas

Perfect Weather Now on Tap in Texas

Amistad is one of south Texas’ most famous reservoirs – the other being Falcon. Though it’s not the juggernaut that it was in the not too distant past, Amistad is still an incredible tournament fishery, with room to spread out and plenty of grass and rocky structure to target for big giant wintertime bass. READ MORE »

Here Comes Fall in the Ozarks

Here Comes Fall in the Ozarks

Mother Nature will deliver a big part of the story this week as the 2018 Costa FLW Series season comes to a close on Lake of the Ozarks. The tournament, which is presented by Evinrude, will wrap up the Central Division and finalize the field for the 2018 Costa FLW Series Championship scheduled for Nov. 1-3 at Lake Guntersville. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Fort Gibson

Top 10 Patterns from Fort Gibson

The Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury on Fort Gibson was one of the more challenging tournaments in recent memory. Consider that with 115 pros fishing over three days, there were only 13 limits caught, and it took just 18 pounds, 2 ounces for two days to make the top-10 cut. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Fort Gibson

Top 10 Baits from Fort Gibson

The final Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event of the year was a true grinder. In fact, both first and second place only landed 13 keepers all week on Fort Gibson. When it’s that tough, little differences between baits can sometimes make a difference. Below is what the top 10 threw to get it done. READ MORE »

First Top 10 is a Win for Burke

First Top 10 is a Win for Burke

For three years, Johnny Burke, a 63-year-old retired county commissioner from Creek County, Oklahoma, has been fishing the Costa FLW Series as a co-angler just hoping he might score a top 10. Today, Burke not only scored his first top-10 finish, but he took it all the way to the top spot for the win. READ MORE »

Dickerson Wins by Tiebreaker

Dickerson Wins by Tiebreaker

For the second time this season in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division, a tournament was settled by tiebreaker after the top two pros finished the tournament with identical three-day weights. Tommy Dickerson of Orange, Texas, came into the final day at Fort Gibson in first place. Kyle Cortiana of Coweta, Okla., started the day in fourth. The two anglers finished the tournament with 32 pounds, 6 ounces. Because Dickerson was higher in the standings after day two, he was declared the champion. Dickerson, who is Ranger Cup qualified, earned a prize package worth more than $80,000, including a new Ranger bass boat. READ MORE »

Fort Gibson Midday Update – Day 3

Fort Gibson Midday Update – Day 3

Things got a little crazy in the final-day action of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury on Fort Gibson. First, falling water levels overnight threw a major curveball to tournament leader Tommy Dickerson and third-place angler Cody Bird. For the last two days both pros have been shimmying their way through a rocky shoal far up a feeder creek. Yesterday, both said if the water dropped just 3 or 4 inches, the small crevice they’ve been following through the shoal would dry up and they would be denied access. When they awoke and checked water levels this morning, indeed the water had dropped. READ MORE »

Fort Gibson Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Fort Gibson Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Getting off the beaten path. Finding something off the wall. Thinking outside the box. Trying something unconventional. These have all been the common themes of the top pros facing a very obstinate Fort Gibson Lake this week for the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury. To give some idea of just how stubborn Fort Gibson has been, only three pros have caught a limit both days of the tournament. Even more stunning is that the top-10 cut weight after two days among pros stands at just 18 pounds, 2 ounces. READ MORE »

Fort Gibson Midday Update – Day 2

Fort Gibson Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury on Fort Gibson dawned much sunnier and breezier this morning. Anglers had high hopes that the wind might help improve the bite a smidge, but it’s remained tough. Tournament leader Kyle Cortiana got off to a fast start in his primary spot with two immediate keepers, but then his action died. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Fort Gibson – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Fort Gibson – Day 1

When looking out across Fort Gibson Lake on day one of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury, one word came to mind: stagnant. For the last couple of weeks, the late-summer doldrums have set in across northeastern Oklahoma with warm, humid conditions. Current is virtually nonexistent in the lake. Aside from a couple of showers this morning and a little afternoon breeze, the lake was calm for much of the day. In all, things were pretty stale. During the day, anglers struggled to crack the stagnant code. Local pros leaned heavily on their home field knowledge, pulling out all the stops by fishing brush piles, obscure rock formations and anywhere there might be a breath of current. Local pro Kyle Cortiana compounded his home court edge into the tournament lead with 15 pounds, 8 ounces. Behind him, 11- and 12-pound limits were enough to earn a top-five spot on day one. READ MORE »

The Search is on at Fort Gibson

The Search is on at Fort Gibson

The last event of the 2018 Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division kicked off under rain clouds this morning out of Taylor’s Ferry Landing on Fort Gibson Lake. The event, which is presented by Mercury and hosted by the Wagoner County Chamber of Commerce, includes a field of 116 pros and co-anglers who will be scouring Fort Gibson’s highly pressured waters during the doldrums of late summer, trying to find an overlooked pattern or technique. READ MORE »

Cortiana Leads the Pack at Fort Gibson

Cortiana Leads the Pack at Fort Gibson

Kyle Cortiana has the early lead at the Costa FLW Series event presented by Mercury at Fort Gibson. The Oklahoma pro weighed in 15 pounds, 8 ounces on what was a very challenging first day of competition. He leads Tommy Dickerson of Orange, Texas, by 1 pound, 1 ounce. Tulsa’s Robin Babb leads co-anglers with 8-7. READ MORE »

Fort Gibson Midday Update – Day 1

Fort Gibson Midday Update – Day 1

Fort Gibson is testing the pros and co-anglers alike on day one of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern event presented by Mercury. Morning reports indicate very, very few fish being caught. Lots of pros were sitting on zero or with just one fish by the noon hour. The biggest catch discovered belonged to local angler Ryan Wilbanks who had boated four keepers with at least one of them being sizable. READ MORE »

Promising Tides on Tap at the Cal Delta

Promising Tides on Tap at the Cal Delta

It’s kind of a good news-bad news deal on the California Delta this week as anglers take on this vast and storied fishery for the final event of the Costa FLW Series Western Division. READ MORE »