UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Lake Wylie

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Ouachita

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Ouachita
Clent Davis

Most Forrest Wood Cup participants knew Lake Ouachita was going to be tough. Few realized just how tough. Catching a limit was a grind, even through the final day.

Yet, a number of pros – through solid patterning, hardheadedness or luck – managed to figure out Ouachita better than others, with none doing it better than winner Clent Davis, who spent all his time fishing brush piles out deep.

The rest of the top 10 fished a mixture of deep and shallow water to try to get enough bites each day to stay in contention.

Top 10 baits gallery

Complete results 

Davis’ winning pattern

 

2. Niggemeyer rides randomness up shallow

Every time James Niggemeyer thought he had something figured out, he realized he didn’t.

“I’d catch one off a point and think that was going to be it,” says Niggemeyer, who caught 29 pounds, 9 ounces over three days fishing shallow. “Then I’d catch one off a straight bank. Then one in a pocket. One off rock. One off clay. One off timber.

“It was just so random. I had to fish with an open mind the entire time and burn the bank.”

While he did most of his damage with a Strike King KVD Sexy Dawg and a buzzbait, Niggemeyer also caught a little magic with random schoolers that would come up at just the right moments to keep him going.

“I was really blessed this tournament,” Niggemeyer says. “I just turned my mind off and stayed on the trolling motor.”

 

3. Atkins nearly wins back-to-back Cups

Justin Atkins felt after practice he had a real shot at being the first to win back-to-back Cups. Had he executed, he might have done it.

“I let one good one get away every day,” says Atkins, who weighed in 28 pounds, 12 ounces total. “To win these tournaments when you’re only getting a few bites a day, you have to land them all. Execution is everything, and I just didn’t execute.”

On day one he lost a 4-pounder that ate a flutter spoon he was ripping on some offshore humps in the south fork of the Ouachita River. That deep bite was Atkins’ main deal for catching limits each day on the spoon and a Berkley PowerBait Fatty Bottom Hopper Worm Neko rigged with a nail weight in one end.

His better bites all came shallow. Unfortunately, one of those better bites on day two was another 4-pounder he hooked on a frog and broke off.

On Sunday, Atkins switched up to a Berkley Choppo and had another giant eat it on a long cast.

“I got her up close and got the net around her,” Atkins says. “She jumped and just came off. When it’s meant to be it’s meant to be, and it just wasn’t meant to be.”

 

4. LeBrun targets lily pads and grass

No one had more confidence in what he was doing after day one than Nick LeBrun – and for good reason.

The T-H Marine BFL All-American winner had executed his pattern excellently, targeting a lily pad patch in the back of Big Blakely Creek and working deep grass patches on offshore humps. He was actually done fishing by noon so he could save his stuff for day two. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much left to save.

LeBrun only brought in seven more fish over the final two days – three Saturday and four on Sunday – and if it hadn’t been for a random 6-pounder that came up chasing shad on day two, he might not have even made the top 10. His 13-pound, 5-ounce bag on day one accounted for nearly half of his 28-pound, 6-ounce total.

An 8-inch V&M Wild Thang worm in blue flex was LeBrun’s main bait throughout the event. He rigged it on a 1/2-ounce Elite Tungsten weight and a Hayabusa hook, dragging and swimming it through the vegetation. He also mixed in a V&M Flat Wild, a 6th Sense SplashBack popper and a plopper-style topwater throughout the event.

 

5. Lambert’s home run swing comes up short

Jason Lambert is one of the best offshore anglers in the world, and he certainly did plenty of offshore fishing at Ouachita. On the final day, however, he swung for the fences and just never connected.

“I had felt I was fishing from behind, and I needed a big bite make anything happen,” says Lambert, who brought in 27 pounds, 15 ounces. “To do that, I figured I had to go shallow, so I made the choice to run shallow most of the day. It just didn’t happen.”

Prior to his shallow stint, Lambert spent the majority of his time fishing near Atkins on some offshore ledges in the South Fork of the Ouachita River.

“They were just old channel swings,” Lambert says. “There was brush on them, but that was just in the way. They were sitting on the flat parts in 14 to 17 feet.”

He caught 18 keepers out there the first day on a Roboworm Straight Tail Worm on a drop-shot. Unfortunately, the bite seemed to die as the tournament went on.

“I just couldn’t upgrade,” Lambert says. “I was just upgrading by ounces.”

Up shallow he tossed a River2Sea Whopper Plopper.

 

6. Birge hangs tough up shallow

After three days on Ouachita, Zack Birge doesn’t want to make a cast for a month.

“I made so many casts this week, but that’s what you have to do here,” says Birge, who was one of only four pros to bring in a limit all three days. He had 26 pounds, 13 ounces total.

Like many, Birge committed himself up shallow. He used a YUM Tip Toad, rigged either weightless or on a buzzbait, reeling both as fast as he could to cover water.

“My trolling motor batteries are shot after this tournament,” Birge says.

Birge originally focused on three stretches around the Blakely creeks, but eventually no area showed to be better than the rest. The only consistent thing was keying in on short pockets close to the main river with flats in the back. If he saw it on his map, he ran over to fish it.

He also had a schooling spot the first morning where he caught some key fish, but by day two all those fish were gone.

 

7. Logan’s bite dies on final day

For two days, Wes Logan’s first Cup couldn’t have been going better. He found himself leading after day two, but it all fell apart on championship Sunday.

“My timing was off all day,” says the 24-year-old Tour rookie, who weighed in just one fish on day three to finish with 25 pounds, 9 ounces for the tournament.

Logan was running a two-pronged pattern both deep and shallow on the west end of the lake.

The deep spots were his most consistent, as he was hitting multiple points and humps in 17 to 25 feet of water with brush piles on them. He tossed a NetBait Contour Worm on a drop-shot, and he was able to pull multiple keepers each of the first two days from the cover, typically later in the day.

The shallow bite was simply a matter of putting the trolling motor on high and running any bank he saw with either a Brian’s Prop Bee or a Dirty Jigs Scott Canterbury Buzzbait.

“I got the vibe [on Sunday] it wasn’t going to be a good day when I had 12 pounds swim past me and then a pair of 5-pounders cruise right by me down the bank,” says Logan. “And when I had a bunch of schoolers come up all around me and I couldn’t catch one, I knew it probably wasn’t going to happen.”

 

8. Cox focuses shallow despite tough bite

It should come as little surprise that John Cox spent all his time shallow, but at one point during practice he actually thought about screwing his transducer back on his boat so he could fish out deep.

He put the thought out of his mind on the final day when the shallow bite finally showed what it could produce. Cox caught nearly 20 pounds that day.

“After that I was committed shallow,” says the 2016 Cup winner.

From there, Cox simply put the trolling motor on high and bounced around the lake tossing a Berkley J-Walker and Berkley Choppo. While he was able to catch a limit the first day, Cox only caught four keepers each of the next two days, with his four fish on day three weighing a scant 4 pounds, 9 ounces. He finished with 24 pounds, 7 ounces total.

 

9. Cobb makes fourth straight Cup top 10

Brandon Cobb is probably going to win a Cup at some point. He’s certainly proven that he can put himself in position. Cobb made his fourth straight Cup top 10 this year.

“This is my dream tournament,” Cobb says. “I love fishing like this, getting one bite at a time. That’s all I thought about this week, just fishing to my strengths, burning my trolling motor up and focusing on catching just one at a time.”

Cobb managed limits each of the first two days on a Greenfish Tackle Toad Toter buzzbait with a Zoom Horny Toad trailer. He also mixed in a Zoom Trick Worm and a Yo-Zuri 3DR Series Pencil topwater.

Despite what seemed like ideal topwater conditions to start day three, Cobb managed only five bites all day and lost three of them.

“They kept biting the legs off my toad,” says Cobb, who finished with 23 pounds, 1 ounce total.

 

10. Beavers’ day-one giant carries him

Bradford Beavers only caught one limit over his three days at Ouachita: a 7-pound, 15-ounce bag on day two. He nearly matched that weight in one fish on day one.

“If I don’t have that one 7 1/2-pounder, I only bring in two fish [one day one] and have nothing much,” says Beavers, who also brought in only one fish the final day and finished with 20 pounds, 8 ounces.

In a tough tournament, even a random giant can be worth a lot of money, and it certainly was for Beavers. The fish came on a 1/2-ounce Treeshaker Buzz Toad, but based on his lack of fish weighed in, it’s clear he was never on a truly solid pattern.

“My practice went terrible,” Beavers says. “Every day I just went fishing. I fished deep brush, standing timber, grass, ran the bank – whatever looked right at the time.”

Beavers figures he hit upward of 70 spots a day, constantly running new water, “hoping to run into them.”

Along with the buzzbait, Beavers alternated between a handful of walking baits up shallow. On the deeper stuff he threw a drop-shot with a Roboworm Straight Tail Worm.

Tags: sean-ostruszka  post-tournament  2018-08-10-forrest-wood-cup- 

Vlog: Becker's 3 Patterns from Martin

Vlog: Becker's 3 Patterns from Martin

Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro Matt Becker recently shared a great video that details the three patterns he used to earn a fourth-place finish at the season’s third stop on Lake Martin. Becker, who’s currently second in the Angler of the Year race, caught both largemouth and spotted bass and capitalized on a variety of tactics for a top finish. His patterns included targeting staging and spawning spotted bass on shoals, skipping docks and sight-fishing for spawning largemouths.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Martin

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Martin

Spotted bass dominated the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit on Lake Martin, but they didn’t win it. Sure, the sheer abundance of spotted bass in Martin left most pros’ thumbs bloody and raw from catching so many fish. Yet, it was the key largemouth that really separated the field, and what helped Jason Abram earn his first victory. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Martin

Top 10 Baits from Lake Martin

Bites were easy to come by at Lake Martin. It was getting the quality bites that separated the field. READ MORE »

Abram’s Dream Comes True

Abram’s Dream Comes True

All week on Lake Martin for the third stop of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit the weights have been close, so it was only fitting that the final weigh-in followed suit. READ MORE »

Abram One Day Away

Abram One Day Away

Day three of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event on Lake Martin was a bit tougher for the 30 pros on the water, and while quality has been tough to come by all week, that was especially the case today READ MORE »

Abram Out Front on Martin

Abram Out Front on Martin

Same story, different day on Lake Martin for the third stop of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit. When it comes to catching fish, Martin is on fire at the moment. However, just like on day one, big bites are tough to come by on the Alabama fishery. READ MORE »

Adams Leads at Martin

Adams Leads at Martin

Catching fish wasn’t going to be the issue for the third stop of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event on Lake Martin and after day one that certainly was the case. With the entire field catching a limit, the weights are stacked with a little over 4 pounds separating 100th and 10th. Finding a Lake Martin kicker was Barron Adams, who sacked 17 pounds, 2 ounces to take the lead – thanks in large part to his 8-13 Berkley Big Bass. Just 15 ounces back is Derrick Snavely and the weights tighten up a lot from there. READ MORE »

Top Patterns and Baits from Okeechobee

Top Patterns and Baits from Okeechobee

Though the total weights didn’t live up to some expectations, the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Lake Okeechobee was still a lot of fun. The weather was great, there were plenty of fish caught the first two days, and there was a truly dramatic race for the win on the final day. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Hartwell

Top 10 Baits from Hartwell

Because of high water and cooler conditions, bass on Lake Hartwell haven’t quite gotten fully into the mood to spawn. During the Toyota Series Eastern Division opener on Lake Hartwell, there were plenty of shallow fish to be had, but catching them wasn’t as simple as finding one pattern or one primary bait. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Hartwell

Top 10 Patterns from Hartwell

Early March on Lake Hartwell can be feast or famine. The bite often depends on weather patterns, as both largemouth and spotted bass are staging before the spawn. MLF Bass Pro Tour pro Marty Robinson pulled off a wire-to-wire win, but the victory wasn’t easy. The final field of 10 contained a lot of local knowledge and experienced anglers who were ready to knock Robinson off should he falter. Here’s a look at how the rest of the top 10 caught their fish and earned their paychecks. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Chickamauga

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Chickamauga

In February, with water temperatures in the high 40s, no one expected a fast and furious bite during the 2020 Toyota Series Central Division tournament on Lake Chickamauga. What everyone hoped for was quality fish. There were two 10-pound-plus bass brought to the weigh-in stand, but it appeared consistency was the name of the game, at least for the winner, Jim Neece Jr. of Bristol, Tenn.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the Harris Chain

Top 10 Patterns from the Harris Chain

In past FLW events on the chain, the grass was best in Griffin and Harris, but this time Dora, Beauclair, Eustis and Harris provided most of the top bags. Targeting hydrilla, eelgrass and hard spots, prespawn and postspawn fish were the focus for the vast majority of the top schools. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Chickamauga

Top 10 Baits from Lake Chickamauga

It was February, so low temperatures were the norm for the 2020 Toyota Series Central Division tournament on Lake Chickamauga. Water temperatures were in the high 40s, which meant the bass were generally not overly aggressive or active. Not all, but most fish were taken in shallow water where the bass were moving up to feed and/or take advantage of warmer, shallower water. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Harris Chain

Top 10 Baits from the Harris Chain

Between cold fronts and pressure, the Harris Chain has been a tough nut to crack, yet the top teams in the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship presented by Lowrance got it done with a combination of plastic and hard baits. Certainly, the teams learned a thing or two from the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event held the week prior on the chain, but you still can never go wrong with a Texas-rigged worm, vibrating jig or lipless crankbait in Florida. READ MORE »

Kritsberg Hits Jackpot With Strickland Mega-Bag

Kritsberg Hits Jackpot With Strickland Mega-Bag

Warren “Butch” Kritsberg has only lived in Florida for a few years, and he’s still learning a lot about fishing the Harris Chain of Lakes. Fortunately, he now has a lot of new intel about where and how to catch giants after riding along with Laramy Strickland on the second tournament day of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event, which was presented by Bad Boy Mowers. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the Harris Chain

Top 10 Patterns from the Harris Chain

Each day of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Harris Chain of Lakes was markedly different from the day prior. Most of the field struggled a bit, and the final 30 anglers were left scrambling to figure out how to find and catch fish in the post-frontal conditions that are often so detrimental for Florida largemouths.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Harris Chain

Top 10 Baits from the Harris Chain

At Florida’s Harris Chain, in late winter, it’s a good bet the same handful of baits are going to produce more than any others, from Lake Harris down to Apopka. During the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event on the Harris Chain, presented by Bad Boy Mowers, it was Texas rigs with black and blue plastics, jerkbaits, Carolina rigs and a few other moving baits that most often got the call.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the St. Johns

Top 10 Patterns from the St. Johns

The Toyota Series Southern Division opener on the St. Johns River potentially missed some stellar fishing opportunities. Despite being the time of year when big green fish start to move up to the banks en masse to spawn, changing weather conditions and multiple cold fronts kept fish coming and going all week, opening small windows on which pros and co-anglers needed to capitalize. READ MORE »

Sharp Blasts 40 Pounds to Win on Rayburn

Sharp Blasts 40 Pounds to Win on Rayburn

Winning a tournament is always pretty cool, but winning the way Anthony Sharp did in the second Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event in the Cowboy Division presented by A.R.E. is next-level. Weighing 40 pounds, 6 ounces of Sam Rayburn bass, the Village Mills, Texas, angler beat second place by more than 21 pounds. For the win, which was his first with FLW, Sharp took home a total of $7,000.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the St. Johns

Top 10 Baits from the St. Johns

The St. Johns River was in a bit of a funk for the Toyota Series Southern Division opener. Instead of a full-on spawning slugfest, a couple cold fronts and quickly changing wind and water conditions kept fish moving in and out. The anglers chasing them had to stay on their toes. Plenty of pros did find quality fish, though, and they did so with a lot of familiar baits when it comes to late-winter fishing in Florida. Right now, it’s all about the black and blue plastics on the St. Johns. READ MORE »