UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

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 

Be Aggressive to Catch Big Spots Now

Be Aggressive to Catch Big Spots Now

When FLW pro Alex Davis isn’t hunting trophy bucks in the fall, he spends a lot of days fishing for big bass that are binging on shad in the reservoirs of north Alabama. In particular, fall is a killer time to fish jerkbaits with high-speed, aggressive tactics in clear-water reservoirs for spotted bass – for both size and numbers. READ MORE »

Why You Should Crank Current Breaks Now

Why You Should Crank Current Breaks Now

“It’s almost like a wintertime pattern already,” Salzman says. “It’s kind of interesting. Because it’s been so hot and then so cold, the fish kind of got into the mouths of the creeks this year and never fully pushed into them. The majority of the bait is on the main lake on every lake in Alabama. The water temp was falling so quickly that the back bays were too cold, so the most stable water is on the main lake.” READ MORE »

Miller Wins Wild Card on Kentucky Lake

Miller Wins Wild Card on Kentucky Lake

Weighing limits of 15 pounds, 13 ounces on day one and 15-3 on day two, Michael Miller of Greenville, S.C., overcame a tough-fishing Kentucky Lake to win the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Wild Card and qualify for the All-American. READ MORE »

Coastal Carolina Wins on Hartwell  

Coastal Carolina Wins on Hartwell  

The Coastal Carolina University duo of Max McQuaide of Tyngsborough, Mass., and Grant Tattersall, of Conway, S.C., won the YETI FLW College Fishing tournament at Lake Hartwell presented by Costa with a five-bass limit weighing 13 pounds, 11 ounces. The victory earned the Chanticleers’ bass club $2,000 and a slot in the 2020 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Cumberland

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Cumberland

Smallmouths dominated at the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland. Oklahoma’s Andrew Upshaw led the way with brown bass caught on a jig and a Ned rig on bluff bank transitions in the reservoir’s lower end. Behind him, only a couple of pros hedged their bets on targeting largemouths. The rest fished for smallies and considered green bass to be bonus fish and spotted bass to be limit fillers on the tough days. READ MORE »

Lake Cumberland Top 10 Baits

Lake Cumberland Top 10 Baits

In classic Southern smallmouth fashion, crankbaits and jigs dominated the top 10 at Lake Cumberland during the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship. The only exceptions were a few finesse baits and the tackle used by two pros who targeted largemouths. Here’s what worked. READ MORE »

Allison Comes from Behind on Cumberland

Allison Comes from Behind on Cumberland

By catching four quality smallmouth bass on the final day of the Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland, Missourian Chad Allison was able to come back from 10th place and win the co-angler division, earning more than $30,000. READ MORE »

Upshaw Closes on Cumberland

Upshaw Closes on Cumberland

For the second time this season, Andrew Upshaw is an FLW champion thanks to consistent days spent targeting big Southern smallmouths. The Tulsa, Okla., pro won the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland in Burnside, Ky., with a three-day total weight of 42 pounds, 15 ounces. The win comes less than seven months after Upshaw won the FLW Tour event on Cherokee Lake in east Tennessee. READ MORE »

FLW Live Leaderboard - Lake Cumberland

FLW Live Leaderboard - Lake Cumberland

FLW media staff provides unofficial weight estimates for the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland READ MORE »

Cumberland Day 3 Coverage

Cumberland Day 3 Coverage

Andrew Upshaw continues to roll on Cumberland. READ MORE »

Upshaw Moves Ahead at Cumberland

Upshaw Moves Ahead at Cumberland

Day two of the Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland was a bit tougher for some, given the post-frontal conditions featuring lighter winds, sun and cold temperatures. As projected, consistency has been the key and Andrew Upshaw continued to dial in his program adding 15 pounds, 1 ounce to his day-one bag of 14-15 for a total of 30 pounds even. READ MORE »

Cumberland Day 2 Coverage

Cumberland Day 2 Coverage

Day one of the Costa FLW Series Championship proved to be about as challenging as many anglers anticipated after a tough practice period, but it wasn’t all bad. Zimbabwe’s Roger Cousens certainly wasn’t complaining. His tournament-leading 17-pound, 2-ounce bag was exactly what he had hoped for as the tournament kicked off, and he’s gunning for another big stringer today. READ MORE »

Zimbabwe’s Cousens Grabs Lead

Zimbabwe’s Cousens Grabs Lead

The FLW International Division is well represented in the Costa FLW Series Championship, and perhaps none represented the division better than Roger Cousens of Zimbabwe, who didn’t seem bothered by the stingy conditions of Lake Cumberland on day one. With the only bag that topped 17 pounds for the day (17-2), Cousens enters day two with a 3-ounce lead over Robert Nakatomi, who qualified from the Western Division. READ MORE »

Cumberland Day 1 Coverage

Cumberland Day 1 Coverage

With rain early and a cold snap forecasted to move in this afternoon, the first day of the Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland could present some unique challenges for the 193-boat field, especially after a fairly mild and pleasant practice period.  READ MORE »

Fitzpatrick All the Way on Grand

Fitzpatrick All the Way on Grand

Roger Fitzpatrick has had quite a fall fishing season. He won the BFL Super Tournament on Lake of the Ozarks in September, then qualified for the All-American by winning the BFL Regional on Grand Lake in October. READ MORE »

Drury Wins on Lake of the Ozarks

Drury Wins on Lake of the Ozarks

The Drury University duo of Cole Breeden of Eldridge, Missouri and Cameron Smith, of Nixa, Missouri, won the YETI FLW College Fishing event on Lake of the Ozarks presented by Bass Pro Shops with a five-bass limit weighing 18 pounds, 9 ounces. The victory earned the Panthers’ bass club $2,650 and a slot in the 2020 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

Myers Makes Long Run for Kentucky Win

Myers Makes Long Run for Kentucky Win

Mark Myers of Cedar Falls, Iowa, is no stranger to the victory circle with FLW, having previously won a BFL as a boater to go with two FLW Tour victories as a co-angler and two more as a co-angler in Costa FLW Series competition. But, his latest win at the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Regional on Kentucky and Barkley Lakes is the realization of his long-time goal to qualify for the All-American. READ MORE »

Beavers Wins Potomac Regional

Beavers Wins Potomac Regional

A severe storm backed up the tides and drained many of the best areas on the Potomac. Adjusting to the unusual conditions and grinding out daily limits were the keys to success in the BFL Regional. READ MORE »

How to Find Big-Water Smallmouth in Fall

How to Find Big-Water Smallmouth in Fall

The key to finding smallmouth bass on big water in the fall is to know where they’re coming from and where they’re heading, then connecting the dots in between. Swimbaits, blade baits, ChatterBaits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, drop-shots and Ned rigs all put bass in the boat. READ MORE »

New Dominates Seminole Regional

New Dominates Seminole Regional

Belmont, N.C., angler Bryan New, who’s regularly one of FLW’s top performers in the grassroots ranks, had established a dominant pace. New weighed in 22 pounds, 9 ounces on day one and added 20-2 on day two to carry a lead of 6 pounds, 15 ounces into the finals. A roughly 7-pound margin isn’t necessarily a sure thing on Seminole, but the fall bite was a bit slower than what the lake can produce, and it was obvious New was cruising. READ MORE »