UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Potomac River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Red will Challenge Championship Anglers

Red will Challenge Championship Anglers
Red River

It’s almost June in Louisiana and the highs are going to be in the mid- to upper-90s every day of the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance C-Map Genesis. Held on the Red River in Shreveport, La., 168 teams will contend for the title of National Champions, but don’t expect the fish to come easy – the Red River is going to be a tough nut to crack.

Complete details 

 

The conditions

In years past, the Red River had tons of hydrilla and lily pads in the backwaters making the fishing pretty consistent and very good in the spring. Back in 2013, Randall Tharp won the Forrest Wood Cup on the Red fishing shallow with a swim jig and tossed a frog in thick pads, and while that may get the job done this week, the options are going to be slimmer.

Due to spring floods in 2015 and 2016, the amount of vegetation – especially submerged vegetation – has dramatically decreased, and former College Fishing National Champion Brett Preuett has had a front-row seat.

“I grew up only 10 minutes from Pool 3, and growing up it had an abundance of hydrilla and pads and hyacinths,” says Preuett. “It was very common in local tournaments for people to catch 20-pound bags and for a lot of big bags to be weighed. Now there’s hardly any hydrilla or lily pads left, and it’s also silted in a lot of the good backwaters. Now people have a lot more success on the main river – rocks and stuff play more of a factor because the weights have dropped. It’s been super tough for two or three years now, but I’ve heard that this is the first year where some lily pads are starting to come back.”

Despite the lack of vegetation, even if it is making a comeback, there are still a lot of options for the college anglers despite the water temperature sitting over 85 degrees. The backwaters of the Red are loaded with stumps and laydowns, and the main river has lots of rock and manmade cover from industry. There’s also the possibility of spawning bream or shad, as well as some schooling activity that could be in play. Still, without the comfort and habitat that good grass provides, the Red is definitely off her game.

 

Running the river

Launching out of Red River South Marina, college anglers will have the run of the river. Going up the river, anglers can theoretically run far past Shreveport if they want to, but the down-river options are more likely. The Red River South Marina is in Pool 5, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a lot of anglers lock down to Pool 4 and some lock into Pool 3.

“Through the years, Pool 4 has been a really good area,” relays Preuett. “Chris Lane won the [Bassmaster] Classic there, and it’s always been productive. Pool 5 and 4 will be where the majority will be, and there are good oxbows and main-river stuff in both of them. I grew up around Pool 3, and it takes about an hour and a half to go down there, but there’s still some really good fishing there if someone finds an area that’s got ‘em.”

Pool 4 is easily accessible – it only takes about 10 to 20 minutes to run to from takeoff and a whole tournament field can usually lock through in about 25 minutes. Then, depending on how far you run, you could be fishing just 40 minutes after takeoff. After takeoff, anglers will have an opportunity to lock through into Pool 4 before 7:15 a.m. CT without interference from commercial traffic. After that, the anglers will have to lock back and forth with regular traffic – bad luck or bad time management could be costly, but that’s par for the course whenever locks are involved.

 

The practice report

After two and a half days of grueling practice, it seems like the fishing is going to be pretty tough.

“We’re feeling alright,” says Cody Stahl of the Savannah College of Art and Design. “It’s been real slow, but we’ve found a few areas to key on. Getting five bites is going to be key, I think as long as you get five you’ll be alright. No matter where you go it seems like there are one or two fish here and there, but getting those key bites is really hard.”

“It’s been really tough, bites have been few and far between,” says Jake Biram of Oklahoma State University, who fished a Southern Conference event on the Red last fall.  “You catch one and then you run 20 miles and catch another. We were here for three days in September, so it’s good to have some experience. I feel like whoever will average 11.5 pounds will probably win, I feel like a limit is going to go a long ways, and whoever gets that 3-pound bite, that will push them over the top.”

Still hot from a win in the Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship on Pickwick Lake last week, Cole Floyd and Carter McNeil of Bethel University have had a bit of a comedown.

“It’s been probably the worst practice I’ve ever had,” says Floyd. “I think we’ve caught three or four bass. Tomorrow we might just run new water and try something different, maybe try some more main-river stuff or go toward Shreveport. We’re just gonna go junk fishing tomorrow and maybe get lucky and catch a giant 10-pound bag.”

 

Tournament format

All 168 teams fish Wednesday and Thursday, with the top 10 teams based on cumulative weight making the cut to fish on Friday. The top team based on cumulative weight after Friday’s round will be crowned the champion, earning a first-place prize of a new Ranger Z175 with 115-hp outboard.

The two members of the winning team will then participate in a fish-off on Saturday on an undisclosed body of water. The winner will earn a berth in the 2018 Forrest Wood Cup at Lake Ouachita.

Full roster/results

 

Takeoff and weigh-in

Takeoff each morning is at 6:30 a.m. CT at Red River South Marina, 250 Red River South Marina Rd., Bossier City, La. Weigh-ins will be held at the marina on Wednesday and Thursday at 2:30 p.m. Friday’s weigh-in will be held at the Bass Pro Shops at 100 Bass Pro Drive, Bossier City, La., at 3:30 p.m. prior to the day-two weigh-in of the 2018 T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League All-American, which is being held concurrently at Cross Lake.

Complete details 

Tags: jody-white  pre-tournament  2018-05-30-national-championship 

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 »

Slow Down in Brush for More Success

Slow Down in Brush for More Success

Many times, hitting as many brush piles as possible is the key to success, with Bryan Thrift’s 2015 FLW Tour win on Lake Eufaula serving as a prime example of that strategy. However, with the fishing pretty tough on Lake Hamilton, both Wade Strelic and Joel Willert turned to more methodical approaches to generate bites. 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 »

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 »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Champlain

Top 10 Baits from Lake Champlain

As usual, the fishing on Lake Champlain was great. Pros and co-anglers alike loaded the boat with smallmouths and largemouths each day of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event, and they did it with a wide array of techniques. If you’re wondering what to throw up north when there are green and brown fish on the table in the early summer, you could hardly go wrong with anything the pros in the top 10 used.  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 »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Champlain

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Champlain

Grueling wind on day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division opener on Lake Champlain didn’t do the field any favors, but otherwise, it was a heck of a tournament on the big northern fishery. The aftereffects of an odd spring with high water had things somewhat scrambled, putting some of the local participants on their off foot, but a variety of patterns proved to be successful. READ MORE »

Champlain Midday Update – Day 3

Champlain Midday Update – Day 3

While day two was windy and rough, day three has pretty much been calm from the get-go. It has also been hot as blazes. It’s made fishing a little tougher than expected, with a lot of anglers reporting missed or lost fish and a generally slower bite. That said, a slow bite on Champlain is a great bite most everywhere else, so we’re still going to see plenty of bass. READ MORE »

McKee Takes Co-Angler Title

McKee Takes Co-Angler Title

Weighing in 16 pounds, 2 ounces on day three, Henry McKee beat out co-angler superstar Gary Haraguchi for the win in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division on Champlain. With a 47-8 total, McKee won a $1,050 and a brand-new Ranger Z175 with a 90-horsepower outboard. READ MORE »

Thrift All the Way on Champlain

Thrift All the Way on Champlain

Taking the win in wire-to-wire fashion, Bryan Thrift tallied 18 pounds, 4 ounces on the final day for an even 57-pound total in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Champlain. For the win, Thrift earned $44,200 and a new Ranger boat, and it’s his 11th win with FLW. The Northern Division is presented by Gajo Baits and the tournament was presented by Polaris.  READ MORE »

Lake Champlain Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Lake Champlain Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

One of the windier tournament days in recent memory did a lot to reshape the leaderboard of the Costa FLW Series event on Lake Champlain. The run south to Ticonderoga was not impossible, but the wind up north kept a lot of pros from effectively fishing their best stuff. That made weights drop pretty much across the board on day two. READ MORE »

Thrift Still Ahead on Champlain

Thrift Still Ahead on Champlain

Day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on Champlain featured a bunch of wind and a lot of turnover on the leaderboard. Though he struggled to replicate his massive day-one success, Bryan Thrift still managed 16 pounds, 6 ounces for a 38-12 total to retain the lead. Behind him, Scott Dobson rose from ninth to second with a robust bag of smallmouths worth 18-10 for a 37-14 total. READ MORE »

Champlain Midday Update – Day 2

Champlain Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the Costa FLW Series event presented by Polaris on Lake Champlain is going to be quite a swing from day one. Typically turnover in the standings is common on Champlain because the weights stay so tight, but today’s turnover is going to have a lot to do with the weather. READ MORE »

Champlain Midday Update – Day 1

Champlain Midday Update – Day 1

Takeoff was a little blustery, but overall, it’s been a perfect start to the Costa FLW Series event on Lake Champlain. The event is the kickoff of the Northern Division, which is presented by Gajo Baits, and the tournament itself is presented by Polaris. READ MORE »