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

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Guntersville Showing Out for Costa Finale

Guntersville Showing Out for Costa Finale
Alex Davis

Death, taxes and Lake Guntersville churning out massive bass.

Few things are certainties in life, but you can certainly count on anglers catching a ton of huge fish when the Costa FLW Series Championship rolls into Guntersville this week. With bass settled into fall patterns and gobs of vegetation still giving plenty of cover to fish feeding in the shallows, there’s a good chance the lake produces 20-plus-pound limits early and often in the championship event.

Guntersville is known for its abundance of aquatic grasses. While falling temperatures and shorter days will eventually kill off much of the grass that makes up the fishery’s dynamite bass habitat this time of year, there’s still a healthy amount of green stuff for anglers to frog and flip.

The biggest wild card this weekend will be the same factor that’s been a question mark on Guntersville for years: fishing pressure. With a 200-boat field in the championship and a couple other major tournaments taking place at the same time, the lake is going to be pounded by heavy pressure from the Guntersville Dam to the Nickajack Dam.

Costa Campionship Fact Sheet

 

Frog or A-rig?

When it comes to fall fishing on Guntersville, no two techniques catch as many tournament-winning bass as frogging and slinging an umbrella/Alabama rig. The question is, which one takes the Costa championship?

“When it’s on, you’re catching a lot of fish,” Alabama native and Costa FLW Series angler Ryan Salzman says of the Alabama Rig. “It could turn on this week on Guntersville. We’ve caught some fish on the Alabama Rig, but most of them have been little schoolers. With this cold snap [last week], those big ones could really start chewing it, and it could be an Alabama Rig slugfest with the top 10 all throwing a rig.”

On the other hand, on a lake as loaded with grass as Guntersville, it’s almost too good of an opportunity to pass up throwing a frog, and FLW Tour pro Alex Davis expects a frog to produce the winning fish on his home lake this weekend.

“It’ll be won on a frog,” Davis posits. “That’s just how it is.

“All the things you think are going to happen are going to happen.”

Davis guides on Guntersville, and he’s spent plenty of time on its waters lately, targeting fish in the lush vegetation. In Davis’ estimation, the frog bite is easily the most popular technique for catching them.

“They’re blowing up right in front of me right now,” he says, talking on the phone from his boat while on a guiding trip. “Since we’ve been talking, we’ve had three on.”

In areas where grass isn’t topped out, it’s possible to get on a hot flipping bite or find options for non-frog topwaters such as buzzbaits and River2Sea Whopper Ploppers.

Salzman expects to spend time looking for deep fish with a swimbait and believes the offshore bite could come down to fishing single swimbaits if the A-rig bite doesn’t produce.

In addition, fall staples such as lipless crankbaits and even spinnerbaits might come into play around grass, considering vegetation is waning and not totally topped out in many places.

 

Location, location, location

Guntersville is a huge lake – the largest in the state of Alabama – but fishing pressure of the magnitude that will grace the fishery during the championship is enough to stifle weights on any lake, anywhere in the country.

“The pressure’s going to be the biggest factor for this tournament,” Davis says. “You literally could find probably the best school on the lake and find three boats sitting there when you get there. That’s the biggest wild card of the weekend.”

Launching at Guntersville City Harbor, anglers would ordinarily have the opportunity to run up the river to “get away from people,” according to Davis, but in this case, running up the river will probably mean running directly into boats launching from the upper stretches of the lake for the local Heartland Anglers tournament. Finding grass someone hasn’t already staked a claim to could be the key to a top-10 finish.

“I think the Miracle Mile will be a big player,” says Salzman of the stretch of lake around the Goose Pond Colony Resort by Scottsboro.

It’s a stretch renowned for churning out trophy bass, but then again, it’s not exactly a secret. And with so many boats on the water at the same time, anglers will probably be forced into secondary locations to find some solitary waypoints.

“I’d say from Goose Pond to Honeycomb [is where the action will take place],” Davis says. “The upper stretches of the lake are going to have 300 boats before they [the Costa pros] ever get there.”

 

Big lake, big weights

Pressure aside, there’s no reason to believe Guntersville won’t continue to produce heavy limits for the championship. It’s a big body of water with a big population of big fish.

Davis has a wealth of knowledge about Guntersville, and a pretty good idea of what it’ll take to win.

“Eighteen [pounds] a day,” he estimates. “It’s going to be the same old Guntersville it always is. You’re just going to throw in an extra 300 boats.”

Salzman’s estimate is right in line with what Davis predicts, though he’s a little more specific about how it’s going to happen.

“If the A-rig bite starts, you’re probably looking at 68 to 70 pounds [total] – a 20-plus-pound bag a day. If it doesn’t, you may be looking at around 63 pounds.”

It’s fair to expect large limits on day one of the event, but don’t be surprised if fishing pressure precipitates a small drop in weights each day.

 

FLW Cup qualification

This week, anglers will be competing not only for the Costa FLW Series Championship title, cash and Ranger bass boats, but also for spots in the 2018 FLW Cup.

Six Cup spots are at stake: one each to the highest-finishing boater from each of the five U.S. divisions (Western, Southeastern, Southwestern, Northern and Central) and the International Division at the Costa FLW Series Championship.

 

By the numbers

67,900: Acres of water in Lake Guntersville.

15: In feet, the average depth of Guntersville. The lake bottoms out at 60 feet, but most of the fishable waters are fairly shallow compared to other Tennessee River impoundments.

30: Number of International Division anglers who qualified for the championship (14 as co-anglers).

13-1: Weight, in pounds and ounces, of the largest bass caught by an FLW co-angler at Guntersville, landed by Creighton Johnson in 2013.

12-10: Weight, in pounds and ounces, of the largest bass caught by a boater in a Costa FLW Series event at Guntersville, landed by Florida angler Trevor Fitzgerald in 2015.

16: Number of 10-plus-pounders caught for Big Bass awards in FLW events (BFL, Series and Tour) by both boaters and co-anglers on Guntersville.

102-8: Heaviest sack of fish for a four-day FLW tournament on Guntersville. Paul Elias broke the century mark at the FLW Tour event there in 2011.

3: Tournament days it took James McMullen to haul in 86 pounds, 7 ounces of bass at the Costa FLW Series event on Guntersville in February 2013.

 

Tournament details

Format: All 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 in each division determined by the heaviest cumulative three-day weight.

Dates: Nov.1-3, 2018

Takeoff Time: 7:30 a.m. CT

Takeoff Location: Guntersville City Harbor, 201 Blount Ave., Guntersville, Ala.

Weigh-In Time days 1 & 2: 3 p.m. CT

Weigh-In Time day 3: 3:30 p.m. CT

Weigh-In Location days 1 & 2: Guntersville City Harbor, 201 Blount Ave., Guntersville, Ala.

Weigh-In Location day 3: Cabela’s, 7090 Cabela Drive, Huntsville, Ala.

Complete details

Tags: justin-onslow  pre-tournament  2018-11-01-lake-guntersville 

Cumberland Practice with Bryan New

Cumberland Practice with Bryan New

Bryan New has steadily been making a case to be considered one of the brightest rising stars of the sport. Five top 10s in T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) and Costa FLW Series events this year proves it, as does his inclusion in the Costa FLW Series Championship field. New gives an inside look at how he’s been tackling the puzzle that is the FLW Series Championship on what might prove to be an unusually stingy fishery. READ MORE »

Olson Scouts Cumberland

Olson Scouts Cumberland

At just 19 years old, Lane Olson is fishing in the Costa FLW Series Championship. Were he from Alabama or Texas or any number of other southern states known for their bass fishing, that wouldn’t be too surprising. But Olson is schlepping all the way to Kentucky from Oregon, where he finished second in the Western Division Angler of the Year standings, missing out on the top spot by just one point. READ MORE »

Roaming Cumberland with Davidson

Roaming Cumberland with Davidson

Davidson, a West Virginia native, qualified for the Costa FLW Series Championship out of the Northern Division and has fished the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Mountain Division quite a bit. He’s spent a lot of time on Cumberland and nearby Dale Hollow in the cooler months. As such, he’s one of a handful that pundits are definitely keeping an eye on heading into the championship, and he was kind enough to let me tag along for part of the second practice day on the Kentucky reservoir. READ MORE »

2019 Costa FLW Series Championship Roster

2019 Costa FLW Series Championship Roster

The 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship brings together anglers from all over the world to compete for a top prize worth $100,000 on the pro side and $35,000 on the co-angler side. Qualifying from the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American, the International Division and five standard FLW Series divisions, a total of 193 pros and 193 co-anglers will descend on Lake Cumberland for a fall showdown to wrap up the fishing season. READ MORE »

The Layout of Lake Cumberland

The Layout of Lake Cumberland

The ninth largest reservoir in the U.S., Lake Cumberland is a perfect stage for the Costa FLW Series Championship. Home to all three bass species and over 1000 miles of shoreline, the lake can swallow up a big field with relative ease, and with the fall bite starting to pick up in earnest and the water level lower than usual, the fishing should be pretty good. READ MORE »

Previewing the Costa Championship

Previewing the Costa Championship

When 200 pros (and 200 co-anglers) descend on the southern Kentucky reservoir for the Costa FLW Series Championship, they’ll be facing conditions that might look nothing like what they’ll see as the official practice period opens this weekend. Forecasts call for ample rain over the weekend, and lake levels are likely to fluctuate as a result. READ MORE »

Ebare Eyes Strong Finish

Ebare Eyes Strong Finish

Ebare loves to fish. A lot. And he’s fished in 20 FLW events so far in 2019. His 21st will be the Costa FLW Series Championship at Lake Cumberland at the end of October, at which he hopes to earn his first win in FLW competition. READ MORE »

Floyd Cashes in on Guntersville

Floyd Cashes in on Guntersville

Last weekend, Floyd added to his already lengthy list of accomplishments with a T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Regional victory on Lake Guntersville – the tournament was presented by Mercury – with a 44-pound, 15-ounce three-day total, and it all came down to consistency and some really good decision-making. READ MORE »

Newberry Wins Southwestern Division AOY

Newberry Wins Southwestern Division AOY

It was sweet redemption in many ways for the Texas legend who still owns and operates his Houston-based HVAC company despite spending so much time on the tournament-fishing circuit. Redemption for missing out on the FLW Cup in his first season. Redemption for what Grand did to him earlier this year on Tour (dropping from sixth to 41st with only one fish on day two). And, in a way, validation for a career filled with big accomplishments. READ MORE »

Eyes on the Weather at Lake of the Ozarks

Eyes on the Weather at Lake of the Ozarks

Wrapping up the Costa FLW Series Central Division with an early fall stop at Lake of the Ozarks has become a tradition over the last few years. This year, the final stop of the season is presented by Evinrude and takes place Oct. 10-12, which should be good timing for a number of patterns to play. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Curt Warren knew what he wanted to do, and it had nothing to do with weeding through a bunch of small fish up shallow. Rather, he focused his attention on deeper Grand Lake spots with chunk rock and brush and amassed a three-day total of 46 pounds, 7 ounces to win the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine. Here’s how the rest of the top 10 caught their fish and earned their checks on Grand. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

A cold front moving in at the start of Grand Lake’s fall transition put a damper on seeing a bunch of big weights during the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, which was presented by T-H Marine, but plenty of pros managed to find the right fish to make things exciting on the final day. READ MORE »

Transition Time at Grand Lake

Transition Time at Grand Lake

Grand Lake has been flooded for most of the summer, and, as a result, it hasn’t received as much fishing pressure as is typical for one of the premier fisheries in the region. Weights for the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine, have the potential to be outstanding for this time of year, but it may all come down to what the weather decides to do leading up to the event. READ MORE »

The Cal Delta is Looking Good

The Cal Delta is Looking Good

This week the Costa FLW Series Western Division will conclude with the final event of the season on the California Delta. The tournament, which is presented by Power-Pole, should showcase a different side of the Delta, given that most of the Western Division tournaments on the famed fishery take place in the spring. That said, last year’s event on the Delta fell on nearly identical dates as this year and could be a good tease for how things may shake out this time around. READ MORE »

Hough is Fighting to Fish

Hough is Fighting to Fish

Fishing just her second full season as a co-angler in the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) South Carolina Division, mother of two and first-grade teacher Kate Hough was planning and preparing for a chance to do something no woman has ever done in her division: win Co-Angler of the Year. Instead of preparing for the Super Tournament on Lake Hartwell on Sept. 28, however, Hough is simply fighting to leave her hospital bed. READ MORE »

Big Smallmouths, Big Water for Season Finale

Big Smallmouths, Big Water for Season Finale

Any tournament with smallmouths in it is a good one, but when the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits heads to the St. Lawrence River it's usually a show-stopper. This year’s event, which is presented by Realtree Fishing, shouldn’t be any different as the Northern Division looks to close its season out on one of the best smallmouth fisheries in the world September 19-21. READ MORE »

Khourie, Lingnau Win 2019 FLW South Africa Championship

Khourie, Lingnau Win 2019 FLW South Africa Championship

Team Khourie/Lignau, consisting of Pieter Khourie and August Lingnau of the North West region, came roaring back on day three of the 2019 FLW South Africa Championship with a five-bass limit of 10.55 kg (23.25 pounds) to take the top spot and beat out Greg Schluep and Giulio Nolli of Team Secret VC for the title. READ MORE »

Checking in with Walters After the Cup

Checking in with Walters After the Cup

Walters, 41, of Grant Valkaria, Fla., is getting back to business as usual following his remarkable Cup showing, and we checked in with him to find out what his experience in Hot Springs was like and what’s on tap for the future – including a possible FLW Tour career. READ MORE »

Make the Most of Whopper Ploppers

Make the Most of Whopper Ploppers

“For me, I’m slowly but surely starting to get faith [in the Whopper Plopper] in other parts of the country, but from Hot Springs up to the Ozarks, that’s kind of my go-to,” says LeBrun. “When I’m up there in those Ozark-style lakes, it’s one of the first things that pops into my head.” READ MORE »

Another Potomac Rumble Looms

Another Potomac Rumble Looms

Moving south from Lake Champlain, the second stop of the 2019 Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits is on the Potomac River. The tournament, which is presented by Lowrance and runs Aug. 22-24, should offer a fairly standard set of August conditions for the anglers, with plenty of quality largemouths to go around. READ MORE »