UPCOMING EVENT: HIGH SCHOOL FISHING - 2019 - Pickwick Lake

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Breaking Down Ouachita

Breaking Down Ouachita

Set in the Ouachita Mountains about 35 minutes from Hot Springs, Ark., Lake Ouachita is a tremendously scenic and diverse venue for the Forrest Wood Cup. It’s likely that depending on how the competitors want to fish, limits could be caught shallow or deep, and in grass, brush or timber. Though the fishing will be tough because of the time of year, the 56 pros that qualified won’t face a shortage of options.

 

Built in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Blakely Mountain Dam created a reservoir that is deep and clear with about 975 miles of shoreline, depending on the water level. About the longest run pros will be able to make this week is from takeoff at Brady Mountain Resort and Marina to the upper reaches of the Ouachita River near the town of Washita. Even that is less than 20 miles. Nonetheless, there’s a lot of diversity contained within the lake, and though it isn’t huge, there is truly a ton of fishable water.

 

 

One of Ouachita’s signature features is standing timber. Back in 2007, Scott Suggs targeted fish suspending in timber when he won the Cup on Ouachita, and it’s a proven pattern, but one that’s difficult for a non-local to dial in. Fish suspending in timber that’s in 30-plus feet of water are very tricky. There’s plenty of timber up closer to the bank to provide additional cover or knock an unsuspecting angler out of the boat. 

 

 

Another winning pattern from years past is catching fish in brush piles. Ouachita has a tremendous number of them, and from Scott Martin’s win in 2011 to Ramie Colson’s charge in 2015 (he finished second), brush piles have given up a lot of big fish in FLW’s championship events. Historically, most of the brush fish have been caught on bigger baits such as worms or crankbaits, but there’s plenty of finesse potential as well. A lot of the pros have reported catching mostly crappie in the brush piles this week, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t bass around them.

 

One of the wild cards this week is the grass. Ouachita has a fair amount of hydrilla and milfoil in it now, and most of it looks pretty amazing. If it does play in the tournament it’s going to be the first time grass has really accounted for a lot of weight in a Cup on Ouachita. That said, with topped-out grass in a few feet and submerged grass in 15 feet, it sure seems like there’s something to be figured out. You can find it growing in many parts of the eastern portion of the lake, on points, in pockets, around timber and solo.

 

Back in 2015, schooling bass were a major focus of the top finishers. This year, most practice reports indicate the schooling bite is off some from last time, but there still seems to be plenty of reasons for the bass to school. The lake is loaded with bait, from pockets to the main lake, and summertime bass seem to love to suspend and chase shad.

 

The backs of Ouachita’s many creeks and rivers will surely see some attention this week. The way-back stretches of the lake usually have slightly cooler and more oxygenated water this time of year due to the inflowing creeks, and going dirt shallow nearly always plays some in August. We probably saw the pinnacle of that in 2016, when John Cox won up a creek on Wheeler Lake and JT Kenney caught the biggest bag of the tournament in a creek about twice as wide as his Ranger. Ouachita has a lot of options in that respect – from the Ouachita River and its South Fork to smaller creeks that dump in to shorter coves.

 

In addition to the grass, another new factor on Ouachita is the marina docks. In 2015 pros weren’t allowed to fish in marinas due to Arkansas state law, but this year any marinas that aren’t posted against fishing are fair game. Shade could certainly concentrate some summer bass, and fishing docks is a time-honored tactic on Ozark lakes.

 

Running the bank with a topwater has played each of the last few years on Ouachita. Pros armed with a buzzbait or a Whopper Plopper can burn down the bank looking for cruising bass, wolf packs or bass sitting around bluegill beds. There’s not really any set feature that the bass concentrate on for the shallow-running pattern. Sometimes the big ones get caught in steeper pockets, and other times they’re caught on flat points. The best approach can be just about covering water, but finding a set of conditions or a milk run of areas that work better than average could push a pro a long way in this one.

 

In addition to the bank game, there is plenty of potential out deep, from more riverine ledges and drops (think along the lines of how Jason Lambert has caught them at Norris Lake and Table Rock), to drops and flats in the main lake. Sometimes the offshore targets could include brush or timber, but there are rock piles and schools of fish just set up on break lines. One problem with offshore on Ouachita is the species mix. A lot of what you mark isn’t bass. Instead, there are drum and walleyes and stripers galore out deep.

Past years on Ouachita have resulted in a few proven patterns, but there’s really no telling how it’ll be won this week. The lake is loaded with fish and bait, and though big fish won’t come easy, someone is going to figure them out well enough for a $300,000 payday and the title of FLW Cup champion.

Tags: jody-white  pre-tournament  2018-08-10-forrest-wood-cup- 

Review: LIVETARGET Tennessee Craw

Review: LIVETARGET Tennessee Craw

With the number of great crankbaits on the market or discontinued and still in high-demand, new crankbaits have to be pretty good to earn a space in a tacklebox. While I wouldn’t say the LIVETARGET Tennessee Craw is a surefire classic, after a few days of fishing it, I know I’ll be throwing it a lot more. READ MORE »

2019 Lake Champlain Preview

2019 Lake Champlain Preview

Champlain is such a fun location for a tournament in large part because of the unpredictability involved. Nelson winning last year’s Costa FLW Series tilt with all smallmouths was something of a surprise, but given the conditions, it made plenty of sense. Exactly what will go down this year is legitimately up in the air. READ MORE »

By the Numbers: Lake Champlain

By the Numbers: Lake Champlain

The 2019 FLW Tour season comes to a close later this month on Lake Champlain, a lake that just about guarantees a fun finish and lots of smallmouths. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 1

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 1

In today’s morning story, James Biggs made several predictions for the first day of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Based on what our media team saw this morning, Biggs’ predictions are basically spot on. Two-thirds of the field is fishing up shallow, and there aren't many big bass to speak of. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the National Championship

Top 10 Patterns from the National Championship

Though there was some carryover from the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American the week before, the fishing on the Potomac River was a lot better for the anglers in the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance. With better fishing came more robust grass patterns, but plenty of bass (some of the biggest of the event) were caught off hard cover as well. All in all, it was a mixed week of very good fishing on the Potomac. READ MORE »

High Water, Good Fishing at Rayburn

High Water, Good Fishing at Rayburn

Thanks to Mother Nature, the second stop of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division, which was originally scheduled to take place on Grand Lake, will now take place at Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Rayburn was supposed to host the division finale, but extreme high water on Grand forced the swap. The tournament, which is presented by Mercury Marine, kicks off on Thursday. READ MORE »

National Championship Top 10 Baits

National Championship Top 10 Baits

Competitors in the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance undoubtedly took some cues from the top finishers in the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American the week before, but they also blazed some new ground. With better fishing overall and a better grass bite, a few more winding baits got mixed into the fray. READ MORE »

College Championship Midday Update – Day 3

College Championship Midday Update – Day 3

As expected, the fishing has been great for the final day of the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance on the Potomac River. Sunny skies and moderate winds have set everyone up for success, and so far the top 10 teams are making the most of it. READ MORE »

Racers Lock Up National Championship

Racers Lock Up National Championship

The final day of the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance on the Potomac River was quite the show, especially if you watched FLW Live. After catching the biggest limit of the event worth 18 pounds, 14 ounces on day two to take the lead, the Murray State duo of Adam Puckett and Blake Albertson gave it all they had on the final day to squeak out their smallest, yet most important limit of the week. Today, Murray State caught 15-8, which was enough to edge out the Bethel University team of Tristan McCormick and Dakota Pierce by just 3 ounces to bring home the title. Along with winning a Ranger Z175 with a 115-horsepower motor for the club, Puckett and Albertson also get entry into the 2019 FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark., this August 9-11. READ MORE »

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Day one of the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance on the Potomac River had a wide variety of patterns in play among the leaders. Today, with overcast skies and gusty winds, the folks fishing grass started to pull ahead. In the lead, Adam Puckett and Blake Albertson of Murray State have managed more than 16 pounds each day, but the rest of the top-10 crew is hot on their heels. Additionally, the fishing seems to be getting better by the day, so a big bag from a team down the standings a little bit wouldn’t exactly be a shock on the final day.  READ MORE »

Murray State Races Ahead

Murray State Races Ahead

Thanks to a day-two limit worth 18 pounds, 14 ounces, Adam Puckett and Blake Albertson of Murray State University have the lead going into the final round of the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance at the Potomac River. The Racers weighed 16-13 on day one to place seventh, but moved up the leaderboard today with the tournament’s biggest limit so far. READ MORE »

College Championship Midday Update – Day 2

College Championship Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance on the Potomac River has been quite different from day one. With strong souths winds kicking up the main channel and keeping the tide back, teams have had to adjust. READ MORE »

National Championship Gets Going

National Championship Gets Going

Bright and early this morning, 148 teams of the best college bass anglers in the country rolled out for day one of the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance on the Potomac River. The 10th annual National Championship is the culmination of the 2018 season, and the winning duo qualifies for the 2019 FLW Cup and earns a new Ranger boat for its club.  READ MORE »

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Though the fishing seems markedly better than it was just a few days ago, the techniques getting it done are just as mixed as before. Unlike some years on the Potomac, slightly underdeveloped grass beds have the river fishing in a pretty diverse way. If all you want to do is fish grass, that isn’t ideal, but it has made for a lot of opportunity elsewhere. READ MORE »

Minor, Raines Lead College Field

Minor, Raines Lead College Field

Nolan Minor and Thomas Raines of West Virginia University have the day-one lead at the 2019 YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance at the Potomac River. The Mountaineers’ 18-5 bag gives them a 9-ounce cushion over second-place anglers Jarrett Martin and Nickolas Marsh of Adrian College.  READ MORE »

College Championship Midday Update – Day 1

College Championship Midday Update – Day 1

Day one of the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship on the Potomac River has been pretty good so far. The event, which is presented by Lowrance, pits 148 of the best college teams in the country against each other, and the winning team will represent all of College Fishing in the FLW Cup. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River

Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River

With notably less developed grass than usual on the Potomac River, the anglers in the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American had a slightly different river to deal with. The tournament, which was presented by General Tire, featured a lot more hard cover action than grass bed fishing, and that trend was reflected in the top 10. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Potomac River

Top 10 Baits from the Potomac River

The T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American, which was presented by General Tire, featured a mixed bag of staple river tactics. As such, a pretty good variety of jigs, vibrating jigs and plastics came into play, with some finesse and hard baits mixed in. READ MORE »

FLW Live for College Championship

FLW Live for College Championship

This week FLW Live is back for the 2019 YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship on the Potomac River. The event, which is presented by Lowrance and hosted by The Commissioners of Charles County, Md., and Dept. of Recreation, Parks & Tourism, runs Tuesday, June 4 through Thursday, June 6. READ MORE »

Co-angler Dacey Wins Wire-to-Wire

Co-angler Dacey Wins Wire-to-Wire

Winning the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American is a feat in itself, but to win wire-to-wire from the back of the boat is a whole different level. With 11 pounds and 11 ounces on the final day, Ben Dacey of Chesterfield, Va., closed out his win with a total of 38-2. For the win, Dacey earned $50,000 and also qualified for the Costa FLW Series Championship this fall. READ MORE »