UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - California Delta

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Go Big or Go Home Worked for Farlow

Go Big or Go Home Worked for Farlow

In any tournament on the eastern end of Lake Erie, a competitor’s flight number often dictates whether he goes after numbers or size first thing. When Neil Farlow left Safe Harbor Marina in boat 156 on the opening morning of the Costa FLW Series North Division event presented by Polaris and hosted by Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission, his was an easy choice to make: He opted for quality over quantity.

It was a wise move for the 31-year-old Canadian from St. Catharines, as he went on to catch a limit of smallmouths totaling 24 pounds, 4 ounces and won what proved to be a one-day event. The competition was shortened by buffeting winds from the west, which prompted tournament director Ron Lappin to cancel the last two days because of unsafe boating conditions.

For his efforts, Farlow collected $87,500, which included a Ranger Z518 rigged with a 200-hp outboard. His win moved him into sixth place in the Northern Division standings and upped his annual earnings to more than $90,000.

“A bunch of guys were on the big schools way ahead of me. I knew as soon as I got out there and saw all the boats that I needed to go check out some of my old spots for bigger fish,” says Farlow. “It’s all rock and sand on the drops, but over time I’ve managed to find a few places that have something else going for them. If you get to the right depth, there are so many contour changes and rock that aren’t on the maps. That’s where you don’t find so many fish, but you find the size you need in a tournament where everybody’s catching fish.”

Starting on one of his isolated spots on the Canadian side, Farlow noticed something important almost immediately. His partner, Matt Thoin, caught five keepers before Farlow had even one. A change of baits didn’t seem to matter to the smallmouths, and then Farlow saw that Thoin was casting out his drop-shot rig, while Farlow was more or less fishing straight down.

“Matt was kicking my butt so I decided to start casting around like he was doing, and it worked,” says Farlow. “My second fish was the big one [6 pounds, 6 ounces], and everything sort of smoothed out after that. It was a subtle bite, and they didn’t want the boat near them. The casting angle didn’t seem to matter so much as where the boat was. Every time I got on top of the fish they either wouldn’t bite or it would be very slow.”

The Canadian’s drop-shot bait was a Reaction Innovations Flirt Worm in green pumpkin. Sometimes Farlow would shorten the length when he thought the smallmouths wanted a smaller profile. Using a Quantum Smoke spinning combo, he fished it on a 12-inch leader of 6- or 8-pound-test Gamma fluorocarbon tied to 10-pound-test braided line. Structure such as single boulders or irregular bottom in 20 to 30 feet of water produced best.

“Mainly I just cast it out and dragged it back slowly. Sometimes I would jump it up off the bottom just trying to get their attention, but I don’t know that it made much difference,” he says.

Farlow ran his milk run in Canada and the U.S., and even though the wind picked up later in the day, it wasn’t more than his Ranger 522D deep hull could handle. Picking off a fish here and another there, he caught only eight bass all day, but they were the right size. Thoin, who wound up with 19 pounds, finished 23rd on the co-angler side.

Farlow started fishing the Costa FLW Series in 2017, but wasn’t able to fish the last tournament of the season because of a conflict. This time around he plans to fish all three events, including the last one at 1000 Islands, and sees a possible career in the FLW Tour up ahead.

“I’ve been looking at the Tour for a few years. Now is not the best time, though,” he notes. “I eventually want to get there. I love the competition. Maybe in a few years I’ll take a closer look at the Tour.”

 

Ushio goes against the grain for co-angler win

Contrary to what just about everyone else seemed to be using, co-angler winner Sakae Ushio didn’t need tube jigs or drop-shot rigs to catch his 23-pound, 7-ounce limit in the first round on Lake Erie. Instead, his main bait was a 4-inch Z-Man Big TRD he was fishing on a Ned rig.

The 38-year-old deli employee was paired with FLW Tour pro Chris Johnston and made the most of the Canadian’s choice of fishing spots. During the day, Ushio boated more than 20 keepers, including a smallmouth that weighed 5 pounds, 14 ounces. His winning limit was third best overall in a one-day fishfest that saw 53 limits caught that weighed more than 20 pounds each.

“The most important thing was to keep the rig in contact with the bottom,” says Ushio, of Tanawanda, a suburb of Buffalo, N.Y. Ushio dedicated the tournament to his original hometown of Okayama, Japan, which was devastated by typhoon flooding 10 days ago. “If the wind blew the line so the bait would come up, or if the boat drifted back and pulled the line up, it was no good. The fish wanted it right on the bottom. If I kept it there, they would hammer it. They were very aggressive, but only at the bottom.”

Ushio and Johnston fished in water that ranged from about 28 feet deep to about 36 feet deep. The co-angler champ used a Fenwick spinning rod and Daiwa spinning reel loaded with 7-pound-test Toray fluorocarbon. He declined to name the color of the bait, but presumably it mimicked a round goby, the main forage fish in Lake Erie.

Ushio collected $27,250 for his efforts, which brought his 2018 Costa co-angler winnings to $29,250. His performance at Erie also boosted him into first place in the divisional standings with 493 points. With the Northern Division finale set for Sept. 6-8 on the St. Lawrence River out of Clayton, N.Y., Ushio is trailed by Wataru Iwahori in second with 490 points and Kevin Hesson in third with 486 points.

 

Tags: colin-moore  post-tournament  2018-07-26-lake-erie-buffalo 

Top 10 Patterns from the St. Lawrence River

Top 10 Patterns from the St. Lawrence River

There were two big choices anglers had to make this week: how far should they run and should they fish deep or shallow. READ MORE »

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 »

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 »

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 »

High School Championship Top 10 Baits

High School Championship Top 10 Baits

June is typically ledge-fishing season in the Tennessee Valley, especially at Pickwick, but the 2019 High School Fishing National Championship was a more diverse event than most folks might have expected. Patterns ranging from junk-fishing the bank to targeting docks and other shoreline cover to working the main-lake ledges all worked. Here are the baits used by the top 10 teams during the week. READ MORE »