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

The Search is on at Fort Gibson

The Search is on at Fort Gibson

The last event of the 2018 Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division kicked off under rain clouds this morning out of Taylor’s Ferry Landing on Fort Gibson Lake. The event, which is presented by Mercury and hosted by the Wagoner County Chamber of Commerce, includes a field of 116 pros and co-anglers who will be scouring Fort Gibson’s highly pressured waters during the doldrums of late summer, trying to find an overlooked pattern or technique.

Tournament details 

About the fishery

At just 20,000 acres, Fort Gibson is a rather small, compact fishery with 255 miles of shoreline and an average depth of 15 feet. The lake is primarily fed by the Grand (Nesho) River but includes a handful of small feeder creeks.

Like many Oklahoma lakes, Fort Gibson is flat and shallow with rock, wood and brush piles serving as the primary bass habitat. Due to the lake’s size and proximity to Tulsa, Fort Gibson gets an extreme amount of fishing pressure, and bass are pretty conditioned to the usual offerings. For that reason, finding anything new or out of the norm from the ubiquitous routine can be advantageous at Fort Gibson, whether it’s a different lure, color or even a new piece of cover.

The last time the Costa FLW Series visited Fort Gibson in 2016, Derek Fulps of Broken Arrow, Okla., won the event with a three-day total of 45-5. The key to his victory was finding a “new” submerged tree up in the currents of the Grand River. Fulps caught nearly every one of his winning fish from the tree and says he believes it was a “new” tree because it still had leaves on it.

The river bottom at Fort Gibson is littered with aged laydowns that have been worn smooth by thousands of lures. The new addition that Fulps found was a fresh target few others knew about it.  

Current conditions

Fulps believes things will be a lot different at Fort Gibson this time around, mostly due to the lack of current.

“Last time we had a lot of current running through the lake for several weeks leading up to the event,” Fulps says. “This time we just don’t have that current to help position the fish. We had some locally heavy rains here recently, and I thought this lake was going to come up a couple of feet. I originally thought that would bring it up a few feet above pool, flood some of the shallow cover and really level the playing field. But that just hasn’t happened yet, and now I don’t think it’s going to.”

Aside from that, this morning dawned with overcast skies and scattered showers. Long term, the weather patterns have stalled in Oklahoma, putting Fort Gibson into a state of late summer, early fall doldrums.

“The water level is about normal, maybe a foot over normal pool,” Fulps says. “The water temperature is in the mid-70s over most of the lake. The weather has been in the 60s at night and near 80 degrees during the day, and it got warmer as practice was winding down. So there is nothing really to position the fish in a predictable manner. We had some breezy conditions the last couple of days, but it didn’t seem to help much.”

Tactics in play

Given the rather stale conditions at Fort Gibson right now, it looks like the tournament might become a “one fish here, one fish there” game that will favor the locals. Junking it up with a variety of techniques at multiple locations spread across a vast array of cover types will likely fill some of the top 10 slots come Saturday.

FLW Tour pro Zack Birge says of all the lakes he fishes in the Sooner State, Fort Gibson is the most “unduplicate-able” of them all.

“I can catch a good bag doing something one day, maybe two, and then it just evaporates on me,” he says. “At Grand Lake, I can usually duplicate what I’m doing in other parts of the lake and keep my bite alive. But here, it just dies. And I don’t understand why that happens. Fort Gibson has done that to me a bunch over the years, and it’s pretty frustrating. I think it has something to do with the inconsistencies of the water level and flow in this lake.”

Fulps completely agrees.

“Other lakes like Grand and Tenkiller pattern so much better than Fort Gibson,” he says. “This one is fickle and inconsistent to the point of almost being random. It seems like the best bags will come from a flurry in a certain area or with a certain lure, and then it’s over – I mean over. Done. If you try to make it work in similar areas, it’s like getting pulled down a rabbit trail. You’re better off going somewhere totally new, picking up a totally different lure and just starting over.”

With that, something like throwing a topwater on shallow flats in the morning, then hitting a few docks with a jig, then scrubbing a couple of points with a Gene Larew Biffle Hardhead, then throwing a big worm in a brush pile or two, then square-billing a few stumps might be just the recipe for a top 10.

“Locals will do well here this week,” Fulps says. “Especially guys who know some key brush piles.”

“Even just knowing a dozen or so of those oddball spots that usually hold a single fish is a big advantage,” Birge adds.

Critical factors

FLW Tour pro Kyle Cortiana of Coweta, Okla., finished second in the 2016 Costa FLW Series event at Fort Gibson. He believes a key to winning this time around will be catching a big bag on the first day and then hanging on to win.

“Getting a jumpstart on day one with 17 or 18 pounds will be huge,” he says. “If a guy can do that and follow it up with 12 pounds a day after that, he is going to be in contention.”

Like Fulps, Cortiana believes finding something off the beaten path will be crucial to doing well this week.

“All the normal stuff – laydowns, docks, points – have all been pounded in practice,” he says. “You can watch a good laydown in practice, and there is a nonstop train of boats sampling it all the time. One boat hits it, moves on and another one comes right behind it. Getting off that beaten path somehow or some way is critical.”  

Dock talk

When it comes to weight estimates, these anglers believe 24 to 25 pounds will score a top-10 finish, and the winning weight will be in the 38- to 40-pound range.

“It’s really tough,” Cortiana says. “There will possibly be quite a few zeros, and I could just as easily be one of them. I’ve had nine keepers in four or five days of practice. So the lake is being pretty stingy. I have only one out-of-the-way spot where I caught two nice ones in a row. Other than that, I don’t have confidence in much else.”

Tournament details

Format: All 116 boaters and co-anglers will compete for two days. The top 10 boaters and co-anglers based on cumulative weight after two days of competition will advance to the third and final round, with the winner determined by the heaviest cumulative three-day weight.

Takeoff Time: 7 a.m. CT

Takeoff Location: Taylor’s Ferry North, Dock Road, Wagoner, OK 74467

Weigh-In Time: Days one and two at 3 p.m. CT; 4:00 p.m. CT on day three

Weigh-In Location: Days one and two at Taylor’s Ferry North; day three at Walmart, 410 S. Dewey Ave., Wagoner, OK 74467

 Complete details 

 

Tags: rob-newell  headline-story  2018-10-04-ft-gibson-lake 

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 »

Lake Martin Day 4 Coverage

Lake Martin Day 4 Coverage

Complete coverage of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit's third stop at Lake Martin in Alexander, Ala. 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 »

Lake Martin Day 3 Coverage

Lake Martin Day 3 Coverage

Complete coverage of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit's third stop at Lake Martin in Alexander, Ala. 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 »

Lake Martin Day 2 Coverage

Lake Martin Day 2 Coverage

Complete coverage of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit's third stop at Lake Martin in Alexander, Ala. 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 »

Lake Martin Day 1 Coverage

Lake Martin Day 1 Coverage

Complete coverage of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit's third stop at Lake Martin kicks off a day early from Alexander, Ala. READ MORE »

FLW Live Leaderboard - Lake Martin

FLW Live Leaderboard - Lake Martin

FLW media staff provide unofficial weight estimates for the third stop of the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Lake Martin. READ MORE »

FLW Shifts Start Date at Lake Martin

FLW Shifts Start Date at Lake Martin

FLW announced today that this week’s Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event at Lake Martin, originally scheduled to start Thursday, has been shifted and will now begin competition Wednesday. Hosted by the Alexander City Chamber, the tournament will remain a four-day event and will now run through Saturday. This decision is based on a desire to allow pros, who began practicing for the tournament March 15, to safely complete the event and return home as quickly as possible amid evolving COVID-19 guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits and Patterns from Havasu

Top 10 Baits and Patterns from Havasu

Results from the Toyota Series Western Division event at Lake Havasu probably didn’t surprise any Western anglers who are familiar with the fishery. For folks in other parts of the country that might only have followed FLW’s early February events on the Colorado River reservoir, the tournament results might have opened some eyes to just how good the fishing can be on Havasu. Particularly on day one, the lake delivered, kicking out 12 limits of more than 20 pounds, including Tai Au’s limit of 26 pounds, 1 ounce. The success on day one resulted from a perfect storm of conditions for catching spawning bass on beds.  READ MORE »

Dice Gets it Done on Smith Mountain

Dice Gets it Done on Smith Mountain

Jack Dice of Lynchburg, Virginia, brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 22 pounds even to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Smith Mountain Lake in Huddleston, Virginia. For his victory, Dice earned a total of $5,246. READ MORE »

Steckler Claims Ozark Title

Steckler Claims Ozark Title

Cory Steckler of Rocky Mount, Missouri, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 18 pounds, 7 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake of the Ozarks in Osage Beach, Missouri. For his victory, Steckler earned a total of $13,457, including the lucrative $7,000 FLW PHOENIX Bonus contingency award. The victory was the second win of Steckler’s FLW career. READ MORE »

Helton Wins on Dale Hollow

Helton Wins on Dale Hollow

Brett Graham of Cold Spring, Kentucky, brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 18 pounds, 11 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Mountain division opener at Dale Hollow Reservoir in Byrdstown, Tennessee. For his victory, Graham earned a total of $6,000. READ MORE »

Au Finishes Strong at Lake Havasu

Au Finishes Strong at Lake Havasu

Tai Au of Glendale, Ariz., weighed in a five-bass limit worth 16 pounds, 15 ounces today to finish off a wire-to-wire win at the Toyota Series Western Division season opener on Lake Havasu. Au’s three-day total was 61-3.  READ MORE »

Medlock Brings it Home on Big O

Medlock Brings it Home on Big O

Weighing the biggest limit of the final day worth 19 pounds, 4 ounces, Brandon Medlock locked up his third Toyota Series title in the Southern Division event on Lake Okeechobee. With 54-4 overall, Medlock won comfortably and was essentially the only pro to put together two very good days of fishing, with a 13-9 catch on day one as his worst day. READ MORE »

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 3

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 3

The final day of the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Okeechobee is proving to be just as tense as expected. With the entire top 10 less than 4 pounds apart, anything can happen, and it’s entirely possible that someone in ninth or 10th catches a big bag to come from behind. READ MORE »

Au Stays Ahead on Tougher Day Two

Au Stays Ahead on Tougher Day Two

Tournament leader Tai Au managed to stay in first place by recognizing key environmental factors and knowing when to change up his baits. Yesterday, four of the five bass that Au weighed in were bass he caught sight-fishing. Today, he didn’t look at any of the bass he brought to the scale. Au still managed to weigh in 18 pounds, 3 ounces, taking his two-day total to 44-4. He’s searching for his first FLW victory this week.  READ MORE »

Medlock Ahead on Okeechobee

Medlock Ahead on Okeechobee

Despite nice weather this week, which has been a rarity for FLW tournaments in Florida this year, the fishing on Okeechobee just hasn’t been what the lake is capable of producing. Still, Okeechobee hammer Brandon Medlock rallied on day two dropping 21 pounds, 7 ounces on the scale to take the lead in the Toyota Series Southern Division event on the Big O with 35 pounds even. READ MORE »

Lake Havasu Midday Update – Day 2

Lake Havasu Midday Update – Day 2

After an afternoon and evening of intense rainfall yesterday, the Lake Havasu City area finally got a break from the precipitation today. But instead of rain, the anglers fishing the Toyota Series Western Division opener on Lake Havasu have had to deal with a stiff southerly wind that’s made it tough to sight-fish, some dirtier water in areas (particularly in the upper end) and a drop in water temperature of a couple of degrees. Not surprisingly of a post-frontal day, the fishing has been much more difficult so far on Friday.  READ MORE »