UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - California Delta

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Pickett Goes Wire-to-Wire on Kentucky

Pickett Goes Wire-to-Wire on Kentucky

Fall is a notoriously tough time to fish Kentucky Lake, especially this season since there’s no grass in the fishery. Slinging topwaters around grass is a staple technique on the lake’s southern waters this time of year.

For Tennessee boater Lloyd Pickett Jr., the lack of grass actually worked in his favor at the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Regional presented by Evinrude this week. Pickett is widely regarded as an expert Carolina rigger. It’s basically his signature technique, and with no grass to deal with, the lake was wide open for him to drag his way to a Regional win and his seventh All-American qualification.

Complete results

Pickett, a Tennessee River stick who fished the entire event with his pomapoo Blossom, spent a couple of practice days “disguised” from his competition by fishing in an aluminum boat. He quickly figured out what would become his winning pattern. Pickett targeted bass on main-lake gravel bars, secondary points and secondary pockets.

“If you found the shad, you got bit, but if you found the skipjack, you caught big ones,” says Pickett. “I fished some gravel bars out on the main lake, and when that wasn’t happening, I fished secondary points in the creeks.”

He located skipjack visually. They’d skitter across the surface when chased by predatory fish, or he’d spot big bass coming up to chase them on the surface.

The winning spots, all located around the Paris, Tenn., area, varied from about 1 to 7 feet deep.

“I had eight holes that had fish on them,” he says. “I only hit two the first day, three yesterday [Friday], and I hit two today. I only refished one spot each day, but I didn’t really catch much on it.”

The speed at which he fished allowed Pickett to get by with so few spots while many of his competitors fished dozens of places a day. Limiting his travel between spots was also part of a strategy to make the most of his competition time after making the long run south and dealing with high winds.

“When you run that far down there, you burn two hours [round trip], and when you Carolina rig as slow as I do, I can burn three hours just like that,” Pickett says.

He dragged his Carolina rig about as slow as possible and milked each spot for all it had, not changing locations until he was no longer seeing any bass or bait.

The Carolina rig was baited with a Zoom Brush Hog in green pumpkin, watermelon candy or blueberry (black with purple fleck) on a 4/0 Gamakatsu EWG hook. Occasionally he mixed in another creature bait. Pickett used a 3- to 5-foot-long leader of 12-pound-test Bass Pro Shops XPS Fluorocarbon connected to 15-pound-test XPS main line and added a couple of glass beads – for extra sound – between his swivel and either a 3/4- or 1-ounce weight. The Tennessean used a custom Muddy River Rods model 714.

Interestingly, this is the first season that Pickett has used fluorocarbon for his rig. Previously, he fished Trilene Big Game monofilament.

“Mono stretches too much, and I’m getting older,” he says. “My hookset isn’t what it used to be.”

Other than dragging painfully slow, the biggest key to Pickett’s presentation was to keep it natural.

“I like to get off the side of the point and throw over the end of the point,” he says. “If there’s current, I’ll pull with the current. If I’m fishing a secondary pocket with wind blowing in, I come around and pull with the wind the way the shad would be coming. On gravel bars, I just throw as far as I can.”

The entire system worked well enough to earn Pickett $20,000 and a new Ranger bass boat. He opened the tournament with 16 pounds, 14 ounces on a day where he landed 10 keepers and 14 shorts. Day two, he caught only three for 9-13. On the final day, the wind switched and started blowing out of the northwest, which muddied up Pickett’s remaining areas. He admits he should’ve probably changed to fish protected waters, but he stuck with it, weighed in two fish for 6-1 and held on to win by a margin of 2 pounds, 11 ounces with 32-12 total.

“The goal was to make the All-American. This makes No. 7 for me. I’ve been second and third a couple times in these Regionals, and it’s always a back breaker. So to win this, it feels real good.”

 

Devries just misses the win

Despite conditions that really challenged him, Indiana boater John Devries more or less came within one fish of a Regional victory. The Indiana deli shop owner and renovation contractor deals with lingering effects of a near-frostbite incident that happened many years ago. As a result, whenever his hands get wet and cold, several of his fingers throb with pain. The situation plagued him throughout a chilly practice and during the tournament to the point that Devries almost called it and went home on more than one occasion. Thankfully, he gutted it out, because Devries caught 13-5, 6-2 and 10-10 to make his second consecutive All-American.

Each day, Devries put a fish or two – including a few good ones – in the boat early and then experienced long lulls. The lull never ended on day two, when he caught just two keepers. He got only seven keeper bites in three days and put every one in the boat.

“I threw walking [topwater] baits all day long,” Devries says. “It goes against all conventional wisdom. When it’s tough, bass fishermen like to try something different. But sometimes you’ve just got to put your head down and grind it out.”

Devries fished new water every day. He says be burned about $150 per day running down south and blitzing through areas on both the main lake and in creeks.

“I fished between here [Moors Resort] and New Johnsonville and fished anything that looked good to fish with a topwater bait,” he says. “And I stopped on it all … twice.”

 

Ruster wraps up top three

Doug Ruster, in third place, is one of four Indiana pros who finished in the top five. The Union electrician from New Palestine picked up where he left off in the 2017 Regional on Kentucky Lake, where he finished eighth by throwing topwater down south. It was more of the same this week with an Evergreen Shower Blows pencil popper and a River2Sea Whopper Plopper.

“I started fishing a bunch of shallow bars down south,” he says. “I was fishing the main lake.

“Day one was really slow. I had two bites and got them in the boat. The second day I had five bites and got four of them in the boat. The third day I had five bites and only landed three. It was a high-risk, high-reward deal.”

Ruster worked 10 spots. The key was locating bars that were very flat on top where shad were present. The strategy produced nine keepers for 29 pounds, 1 ounce in three days. 

 

Top 10 boaters

(The top six boaters qualify to fish the 2019 BFL All-American.)

1. Lloyd Pickett Jr. – Bartlett, Tenn. – 32-12 (10) – $65,000

2. John Devries – Fishers, Ind. – 30-1 (7) – $10,200

3. Doug Ruster – New Palestine, Ind. – 29-1 (9) – $5,000

4. Nick Uebelhor – Jasper, Ind. – 26-11 (10) – $3,100

5. Rich Fye – Galveston, Ind. – 25-10 (8) – $2,000

6. Ken Garbe – Wyoming, Ohio – 23-5 (7) – $1,800

7. Frank McClain – Scottsburg, Ind. – 22-1 (6) – $1,600

8. Daniel Houser – Washington Township, Mich. – 21-10 (8) – $1,400

9. Clayton Reitz – Morton, Ill. – 19-12 (7) – $1,200

10. Marcus Sykora – Osage Beach, Mo. – 19-1 (7) – $1,000

 

Mississippi’s Ladnier wins co-angler division

Brent Ladnier sold his boat this spring, setting in motion what turned out to be a highly productive season of “firsts.”

He fished his first BFL event and made his first Regional. This week, at the Regional, he got his first win to qualify for his first All-American.

“I didn’t have a boat, but I wasn’t going to sit around all summer,” says Ladnier about his decision to fish the BFL circuit this year. “A group of friends from home got in them, and I’m the only one who stuck it out all the way.”

Ladnier weighed in an impressive 20 pounds, 12 ounces on day one to jump in front among co-anglers. He caught only one keeper on day two, and lost the only three fish that bit on day three, but still easily took home top honors at the Regional.

“I never in my mind could’ve thought I’d come up here and catch 20 pounds in a day and catch one little dink to seal it,” he adds.

Ladnier, a beer salesman for Budweiser in southern Mississippi, caught his winning fish by throwing topwater on shallow flats. He says he’s considering competing as a boater next season if he can get the time off work.  

 

Top 10 co-anglers

(The top six co-anglers qualify to fish the 2019 BFL All-American.)

1. Brent Ladnier – Wiggins, Miss. – 22-8 (6) – $45,000

2. Carl Breeden – Valley Park, Mo. – 14-10 (5) – $5,200

3. Leroy Miller – Napoleon, Ohio – 8-2 (2) – $2,500

4. Jacob Sloan – Paola, Kan. – 8-7 (2) – $1,550

5. Daniel Dumais – Trenton, Mich. – 9-12 (3) – $1,000

6. Ryan Helbling – Martinsville, Ind. – 10-8 (4) – $900

7. Joshua Shinault – Baldwyn, Miss. – 10-6 (4) – $800

8. Steve Garman – Dayton, Ohio – 9-15 (3) – $700

9. Dan O’Neil – Canton, Mich. – 9-2 (2) – $600

10. Justin Kivett – Indianapolis, Ind. – 9-2 (3) – $500

Complete results

Tags: curtis-niedermier  headline-story  2018-10-18-kentucky-barkley-lakes 

Co-Angler Winslow Goes Light to Win

Co-Angler Winslow Goes Light to Win

Fishing with eventual winner Wayne Vaughan on the final day, Winslow utilized a light-weight technique to catch 15 pounds, 2 ounces (and 50-11 total) to win the Costa FLW Series Northern Division finale presented by Gajo Baits. READ MORE »

Vaughan Gets Dream Win on St. Lawrence

Vaughan Gets Dream Win on St. Lawrence

Making a key adjustment on the final day, Vaughan turned a small limit into a tournament-winning 20-pound, 11-ounce stringer to take home the victory in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division finale on the St. Lawrence River, presented by Gajo Baits. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Lawrence River – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Lawrence River – Day 2

Four of the top seven anglers in the Angler of the Year points race for the Costa FLW Series Northern Division finale presented by Gajo Baits made the top-10 cut, and three of them – Scott Dobson, Casey Smith and Wayne Vaughan – are in the top five with real chances at winning both the tournament and AOY. READ MORE »

Kelley Grabs Lead with 43 Pounds

Kelley Grabs Lead with 43 Pounds

Down near Ogdensburg, N.Y. – roughly 45 miles from takeoff – was the area on day one of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division finale presented by Gajo Baits, as the majority of the top bags came from there. A day later, it was the anglers who ran 75 miles or more down to Clayton, N.Y., and beyond who scored big, while the Ogdensburg bunch either capitalized in small windows or not at all. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Lawrence River – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Lawrence River – Day 1

Moving and transitioning fish, changing winds, long runs that didn’t always pan out and a 1-ounce lead at the top. Day one of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division finale on the St. Lawrence River, presented by Gajo Baits, certainly hasn’t lacked storylines. READ MORE »

Hatch Leads by 1 Ounce

Hatch Leads by 1 Ounce

There were no 25-pound mega-bags coming across the stage at weigh-in of the final leg of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division. The event on the St. Lawrence River, presented by Gajo Baits, hasn’t been the slugfest many expected after one day of fishing. There were still plenty of 20-pound bags, though, and the St. Lawrence on a bad day is still a tremendous fishery. READ MORE »

St. Lawrence Midday Update – Day 1

St. Lawrence Midday Update – Day 1

The final leg of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits on the St. Lawrence River opened to perfect conditions for anyone looking to burn some gas. Yes, it was a crisp 40 degrees at takeoff, but it was clear and calm. In fact, the current is ripping so hard it’s keeping the river as flat as most anglers have ever seen. Most pros should’ve been able to run all 95 miles to Lake Ontario (and into the lake if they wanted to) with little trouble. READ MORE »

Check-in Time: Matt Reed

Check-in Time: Matt Reed

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with Texas pro Matt Reed.  READ MORE »

Seal Sticks to River

Seal Sticks to River

Zackery Seal of Findley Lake, New York, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 44 pounds, 4 ounces, to win the two-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Northeast Division super-tournament at the 1000 Islands Sunday. Seal earned $6,066 for his efforts. The Northeast Division is presented by Gajo Baits. READ MORE »

Elrod Nets a Hat Trick

Elrod Nets a Hat Trick

Bryan Elrod of Mechanicsville, Virginia, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 29 pounds, 7 ounces, to win the two-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Shenandoah Division super-tournament on the James River Sunday. Elrod earned $3,542 for his efforts. READ MORE »

Fitzpatrick Notches No. 7

Fitzpatrick Notches No. 7

Roger Fitzpatrick of Eldon, Missouri, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 36 pounds, 3 ounces, to win the two-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Ozark Division presented by Bassing Bob super-tournament on Lake of the Ozarks Sunday. For his victory, Fitzpatrick earned $6,891 for his efforts. READ MORE »

No. 6 for Schroeder

No. 6 for Schroeder

Billy Schroeder of Paducah, Kentucky, brought a two-day total of seven bass to the scale Sunday weighing 22 pounds, 12 ounces, to win the two-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) LBL Division super-tournament on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. Schroeder earned $6,122 for his efforts. READ MORE »

Murray Wins on Watts Bar

Murray Wins on Watts Bar

John Murray of Spring City, Tennessee, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 28 pounds, 11 ounces, to win the two-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Volunteer Division super-tournament on Watts Bar Lake Sunday. Murray earned $7,334 for his efforts. READ MORE »

Rampey Takes Another on Hartwell

Rampey Takes Another on Hartwell

Jayme Rampey of Liberty, South Carolina, added another BFL victory to his impressive resume Sunday, bringing a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 31 pounds, 6 ounces, to win the two-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Savannah River Division super-tournament on Lake Hartwell. Rampey earned $5,665 for his efforts. READ MORE »

Leary Frogs and Flips on G-Ville

Leary Frogs and Flips on G-Ville

Jim Leary of Guntersville, Alabama, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 37 pounds, 12 ounces, to win the two-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Choo Choo Division super-tournament on Lake Guntersville presented by Cortland Line Sunday. Leary earned $5,869 for his efforts. READ MORE »

7 Ways to Fish the Megabass Dark Sleeper

7 Ways to Fish the Megabass Dark Sleeper

The Megabass Dark Sleeper is definitely a niche bait that most bass anglers ought to have in their arsenal. It’s a swimbait, but its size, shape, dorsal fin hook guards and action allow it to be applied in a similar manner as a jig. READ MORE »

When to Fish the Flashy Swimmer

When to Fish the Flashy Swimmer

In April, FLW Associate Editor Justin Onslow documented how Gross likes to cut the belly of his two favorite hollow swimbaits – the Scottsboro and the Zoom Swimmer – when rigging on a weedless hook to achieve a high hook-up ratio. However, that article didn’t break down where and why Gross prefers to use the Beast Flashy Swimmer hook versus a standard weighted, weedless swimbait hook. So we reached out to Gross for more info. READ MORE »

How to Make a Swimbait a Line-Thru

How to Make a Swimbait a Line-Thru

Jake Lawrence thinks the line-thru swimbait is more versatile than many tournament anglers realize. The Kentucky Lake and Pickwick guide and 2018 Costa FLW Series Lake Barkley champion frequently chucks one any time bass are shallow to not only put big fish in the boat, but to catch five good ones in a day. READ MORE »

Humbard Claims Another Cherokee W

Humbard Claims Another Cherokee W

Bill Humbard of New Market, Tennessee, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Mountain Division tournament on Cherokee Lake Sunday after catching a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 26 pounds, 9 ounces. For his efforts on the water, Humbard took home $6,337. READ MORE »

Youngstown Wins on Erie

Youngstown Wins on Erie

The Youngstown State University duo of Jeffrey Jardine of Niles, Ohio, and Mike Soots of McDonald, Ohio, won the YETI FLW College Fishing event on Lake Erie with a five-bass limit weighing 22 pounds even. The victory earned the Penguins’ bass club $2,000 and a slot in the 2020 FLW College Fishing National Championshi READ MORE »