UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - St. Lawrence River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Top 10 Patterns from the Red River

Top 10 Patterns from the Red River
NICK HATFIELD & COREY NEECE

University of Louisiana-Monroe’s Thomas Soileau and Hunter Freeman concentrated on easily accessible backwater areas in Pool 4 to win the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance C-Map Genesis on the Red River. Behind them, the rest of the top 10 caught fish a variety of ways – camping in smaller backwaters, fishing the main river, or mixing it up. The Red was certainly tough, but most teams managed a limit every day. That said, getting a kicker bite or two was a huge challenge.

ULM’s winning pattern

Complete results

 

2. Cody Huff and Garrett Enders – Bethel University – 35-2 (15)

With their second-place finish, Bethel University’s Cody Huff and Garrett Enders continued their upward movement, which started with a 32nd-place catch of 8-8 on day one, followed by day two’s biggest catch – 13-14 – and a big move up to third. In the final round, they added 12-12 and finished with 35-2.

Huff and Enders fished primarily in one backwater in Pool 4 and had to wait for their pattern to develop each day.

“We had a really slow start; we didn’t catch our first keeper until an hour and a half into it,” Huff says. “As soon as that sun got up, those fish really sucked to the bank and got in those shade lines and we caught them pretty quick.”

Huff says he and Enders were targeting the shade of overhanding willow trees, as well as the subsurface root structures. They caught their fish on a 1/2-ounce white Twin Tackle Swim Jig with a white Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Craw trailer and a Z-Man Custom ChatterBait.

“There were a lot of bluegill around those trees, but also a lot of bait relating to that cover,” Huff says. “The swim jig was better earlier in the week, but today, they seemed to eat the ChatterBait better.”

Enders says that early ChatterBait bites steered them toward the bait for the rest of the final day.

“We got bit right away this morning, so we just stuck with it,” he says. “It wasn’t fast and furious; you’d just go down the bank and catch one or two, then you’d go back down and catch one or two.

“The boat was sitting in 5-6 feet and that’s why we think they were on that bank. It was like a foot and a half, but some parts of the bank are undercut and the willow roots would come out. We think some of those big ones would get up under those roots, so the key was to get our ChatterBaits as close to the bank as we could.”

 

3. Nick Hatfield and Corey Neece – Tusculum College – 34-5 (15)

For the first two days, Tusculum College’s Nick Hatfield and Corey Neece kept themselves near the top of the standings before finishing third with 34-5. Day one saw the anglers catch a limit of 12-1 and place fourth. They’d follow up a day later with 13-9 and move up to second. In the final round, they finished out by adding 8-11.

A key backwater area in Pool 4 with abundant vegetation held Hatfield and Neece’s attention for most of the tournament. Punching a beaver style bait with a 1 1/2-ounce weights and working the surface with a popping frog and a buzzbait yielded all of their bites.

“We found this little backwater area that had clean water and alligator grass,” Hatfield says. “There was a healthy population of fish. Day one and day two we caught them good. Today, we went in there and we caught one good one right off the bat, but then I think it showed us we had depleted the area; we had run out of fish.”

Neece says his team’s strategy was to get away from the crowds and fish in solitude.

“Those fish live in the grass, so you have to get up close to catch them,” Neece says.

 

4. Nick Czajka and Jack Hippe – Adrian College – 30-14 (15)

With far fewer tournament boats on the water on the final day, Adrian College’s Jack Hippe and Nick Czajka took advantage of the opportunity to run and gun. Adding 8-12 to their first two scores of 10-3 and 11-15, they ended up in fourth place with 30-14.

“One days one and two we spent more time in our areas, picking them apart,” Hippe says. “On day three, we spent more time covering water and looking for bigger bites. Also, we could spread out and let our areas rest. The first two days, we had to guard our areas, but today, we could back off and let our fish reposition.

“We didn’t have a limit today until about 1 o’clock and then we made three or four culls afterward. Our adjustments worked, to an extent. We didn’t get nearly as big a bag, but I think we’re both happy with it.”

Czajka says he and Hippe caught their fish on black Zoom Magnum Trick Worm. Downsizing from a 5/16-ounce weight to a 3/16-ounce allowed them to make more effective presentations.

“In the areas we were casting to, you either got bit or you got hung, but that’s where the fish were,” Czajka says. “If you threw it out there and if you moved it too much, you were getting hung in the rocks. You had to let the current do its thing and just drag it along really slowly. It was painfully slow.”

Late on day three, Hippe culled a fish with a 1/4-ounce white Terminator spinnerbait with white blades and a white Bass Pro Shops Speed Shad trailer. Earlier in the week, the pair dragged a tube as well.

 

5. Jackson Ebbers and Charlie Deshazer – University of Nebraska – 30-9 (15)

Day one saddled Charlie Deshazer and Jackson Ebbers with crippling boat issues, but the University of Nebraska anglers fought through the impediments and got their equipment back in full form for days two and three. That first day actually delivered their best weight — a limit of 13-11 that put them in second place. Adding 8-9 on day two and 8-5 on day three gave them a fifth-place total of 30-9.

“As the week went on, the big fish were being caught or they were being pressured, so we couldn’t catch a big one after day one,” Deshazer says. “We caught them on a spinnerbait and a squarebill crankbait. The crankbait excelled in the morning when they were up shallow and we threw the spinnerbait out deeper for big ones.”

Ebbers says boat positioning was key for the squarebill presentations. Sitting nearly on top of the rocks allowed them to get a light crankbait down into the strike zone.

 

6. Hunter Malmay and Robert Jones – Northwestern State – 28-3 (15)

Shallow, muddy water intimidates some, but not Robert Jones and Hunter Malmay, who worked shoreline wood cover and earned a sixth-place finish for Northwestern State. Weights of 11-14 and 12-5 kept them in fifth place for days one and two, until a slower day three brought only a limit of 6 pounds for a tournament total of 28-3.

“The muddy water played to our strengths,” Jones says. “We’re pitching and flipping guys; that’s what we love to do. We did that on day one and got some bites and that was basically our practice day because we didn’t practice for this tournament.”

Malmay says they noticed lots of crawfish and baitfish around the shallow cover so they “beat it to death” with a black and blue V&M J Bug. Sending baits deep into cover allowed the Northwestern anglers to reach fish others likely bypassed.

“We lost a good one doing that on day three, but you can’t be afraid to go after them,” Malmay says.

 

7. Cody Batterson and Chase Serafin – Adrian College – 27-4 (15)

The Adrian College team of Chase Serafin and Cody Batterson – winners of this year’s YETI FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake – placed 13th on day one with 10-6, moved into ninth on day two with 8-4 and ended in 7th after they added 8-10 for a 27-4 total. Making their first visit to the Red River, the Adrian College duo opted to grind it out on the heavily pressured main river rocks; a strategy that relied on current.

“We were on some good fish in practice, but as the tournament came, more and more guys started moving out to the main river as they realized the sloughs and backwaters weren’t as good as they were hoping,” Batterson says. “Everyone pushed out onto the main river. The first two tournament days we had a boat on just about every one of our spots.

“We would run down the river and look for one of our spots that was open, we’d catch fish and go on to the next one. The final day was a little better; we shared spots with maybe one or two other teams.”

Batterson notes that less fishing pressure allowed them the morning bite they had previously been denied. Serafin says he and his teammate caught most of their fish on a Ike’s rasta-colored Rapala DT 6. They also caught fish on a mud bug-colored  Luhr-Jensen Speed Trap.

“We mostly targeted wing dams with current coming over them,” Serafin says. “One day we followed a barge to three different spots. As the barge came through, the water pulled over the spot and it pulled the bait over and we’d catch a couple of fish. We’d run down to the next spot and wait for the barge to come through.”

 

8. Nick Montilino and Brock Spencer – Murray State University – 27-2 (15)

Pitching Missile Baits D Bombs and Strike King Rage Bugs earned the bites for Murray State’s Nick Montilino and Brock Spencer, who finished eighth with 27-2.

“We were fishing shallow cover in backwater areas,” Montilino says. “The key to that was finding areas with access to deep water. We caught a few on the main river, but deeper backwaters are what we were focusing on.

“We were fishing the bank, but the key was staying near a deep hole somewhere in the backwater.”

Spencer says wood and hyacinth mats were the key targets in the backwaters.

 

9. Michael Dunn and Henry Colberg – University of Pittsburgh – 26-4 (14)

Adjusting to a changing bite led the University of Pittsburgh’s Michael Dunn and Henry Colberg to a top 10 finish. They placed 12th on day one with 10-8, moved up to eighth on day two with 8-2 and added 7-10 in the final round to end up ninth with 26-4.

“Day one was good, day two we had to change it up a little bit and day three we didn’t catch a fish until 12:30,” Dunn says.

As Colberg explains, shifting gears in that final afternoon proved pivotal.

“We cranked rock with a squarebill day on one and day two and on day three, we cranked rock almost all day,” he says. “In the last hour, we switched to a shaky head and picked up five.”

According to Dunn, the extensive pressure in Pool 5 eventually took its toll on their cranking bite. Switching to 1/4-ounce shaky heads with Z-Man Finesse WormZ coaxed the tough bites. Colberg says multiple casts to the same spots on current-washed jetties was essential to getting bit.

 

 

10. Gabriel Dubois and Brandon Heizer – University of Missouri – 25-3 (13)

For the University of Missouri’s Gabriel Dubois and Brandon Heizer, making the top 10 was like starting all over. Days one and two saw them fishing an oxbow, which produced limit catches of 10-2 and 8-7 for 17th and 16th places. Day three yielded only three bass for 6-10 for a tenth-place finish with 25-3.

“We clawed our way here,” Dubois says. “We only got five keeper bites yesterday and when we made it to the day three, Brandon and I looked at one another and said ‘What do we do now?’”

“We finally found some water that produced for us. We just kept grinding and grinding and we finally got the ones that we weighed in in the last 30 minutes. We had to leave our spot at 12:45 to make the lock. At 12:25 I caught our first keeper, at 12:30 I caught our second keeper and at 12:35, Brandon caught our biggest one and that was our day.”

Dubois says he and Heizer caught all of their fish on 7-inch junebug-colored ribbon tail worms.

“We felt like kids again, fishing in the pond, but it got us here,” he says.

 

Tags: david-a-brown  post-tournament  2018-05-30-national-championship 

Bryan Schmitt’s Potomac Review

Bryan Schmitt’s Potomac Review

On the Potomac, hands down, I want to fish grass. The grass holds the numbers. But if you look at the event this week on the Potomac, the tournament was won on structure. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River

Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River

The Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event on the Potomac River was not the slugfest the season opener on Champlain was or the season finale on the St. Lawrence River is almost sure to be. As has been the case in many of the FLW events on the Potomac this year, the fishing was pretty stingy, and hard cover played an outsized role. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Potomac River

Top 10 Baits from the Potomac River

Late summer on the Potomac is often tough fishing, so the contenders in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event had to pull out all the stops. Fishing everything from grass to docks and rocks, the anglers mixed up all sorts of power and finesse presentations to get the job done in the second stop of the season presented by Lowrance. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Osborne Fished Finesse

Cup Top 10: Osborne Fished Finesse

Osborne spent the early visit graphing for brush in Hamilton’s lower end. In practice, it was more of the same, as Osborne spent only a couple of hours beating the bank. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Douglas Fished Brush and a Buzzbait

Cup Top 10: Douglas Fished Brush and a Buzzbait

Minnesota pro Josh Douglas is regarded as an electronics expert. But while he put his Lowrance units to the test at the FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton to find offshore brush piles, even Douglas couldn’t resist spending some time in the mornings hunting shallow bass. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Salzman Went Shallow to Deep

Cup Top 10: Salzman Went Shallow to Deep

Ryan Salzman earned an eighth-place finish at the FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton with a well-executed two-part strategy. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Webster Wormed Brush

Cup Top 10: Webster Wormed Brush

Among the FLW Cup pros that committed the entire tournament to one pattern was Joseph Webster, who weighed in a three-day total of 28 pounds, 2 ounces at Lake Hamilton. He finished seventh. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Felix Keyed on Clear Water

Cup Top 10: Felix Keyed on Clear Water

Eden Prairie, Minn., pro Austin Felix finished sixth in this year’s FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton, but he’s convinced that if the engineers operating Blakely Mountain Dam had released water on a more consistent schedule, the results might have been even better for him. Felix spent most of the tournament keying on the clear waters of Hamilton’s upper end. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Martin went up the River

Cup Top 10: Martin went up the River

Prior to practice, Scott Martin had no idea that the far upper end of Lake Hamilton, where the cold waters from the bottom of Lake Ouachita flow in through Blakely Mountain Dam, was such a drastically different mini-fishery within the reservoir. Then he started scouting it in practice and realized there was potential to win the tournament in the tailrace in areas where the water temperature was below 60 degrees. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Lawyer Mixes it Up for Fourth

Cup Top 10: Lawyer Mixes it Up for Fourth

Fourth-place pro Jeremy Lawyer was the highest finisher to utilize the shallow-early, brush-later strategy. Lawyer stacked together limits of 12 pounds, 1 ounce and 12-5 on the first two days to go into the final day in fourth place. He weighed in just 7 pounds on Sunday. READ MORE »

Green Has Experience of Lifetime at Cup

Green Has Experience of Lifetime at Cup

Winning $2,500 might be the highlight of a trip for a lot of people, but for Leroy Green, winner of the FLW Tour Marshal program at the 2019 FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton, the cash prize was secondary to the relationships he forged out on the water. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Ebare Fished the Tailrace

Cup Top 10: Ebare Fished the Tailrace

Most of the time, fishing Southern impoundments in August is all about slowly dragging worms through brush piles. That’s what Dakota Ebare planned to do at the FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton. How he wound up catching enough fish to finish in third place felt more like Southern stream fishing. Ebare spent three days fishing the tailrace below Blakely Mountain Dam where the cold, clear waters drained through from the bottom of Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Cup at Hamilton

Top 10 Baits from the Cup at Hamilton

While there weren’t too many patterns in play at the 2019 FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark., the nature of an August tournament in the South forced most of the top finishers to mix in a bunch of baits to catch their fish. Here’s what the top 10 used to catch schoolers and ply brush, docks and various types of shallow grass. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Walters Committed to Brush

Cup Top 10: Walters Committed to Brush

Coming into the FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton, Florida pro Kyle Walters figured the only chance he had to win was to stay away from the bank, where competing with the best in the sport was a tall order, and commit to finding as many brush piles as he could. READ MORE »

From the All-American to the Cup

From the All-American to the Cup

Brennon McCord is a self-described quiet, easygoing guy, but the 22-year-old T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League All-American champion hopes to make some Lake Hamilton noise in his first FLW Cup appearance. For the moment, understandably so, he’s still basking in the afterglow of a victory that earned what he calls the biggest honor of his career. 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 »

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 »

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 »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Champlain

Top 10 Baits from Lake Champlain

June is a fantastic month to be on Lake Champlain, as the FLW Tour pros showcased at last week’s season finale, which was presented by T-H Marine. Smallmouths were spawning all over the place, but the winning pattern was catching postspawn largemouths down at Ticonderoga. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Champlain

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain is the kind of fishery that forces pros to make difficult decisions about where to go and what color of bass to target. This time around, in the FLW Tour 2019 finale, which was presented by T-H Marine, on the big Northern fishery, the decision was more interesting because there were spawning smallmouths everywhere up north, but the forecast was favorable for making the long run south to Ticonderoga to catch largemouths. READ MORE »