UPCOMING EVENT: HIGH SCHOOL FISHING - 2019 - Pickwick Lake

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Summerlin Keeps It Simple, Wins Regional

Summerlin Keeps It Simple, Wins Regional
Gil Summerlin

Gil Summerlin needed only a Fluke, a topwater bait and a few key areas to land 47 pounds, 3 ounces of keeper fish and secure a T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Regional win on Lake Chickamauga. He finished just 1 pound, 4 ounces ahead of Tennessee’s Matt Stanley, and it was all thanks to Summerlin’s approach of keeping things simple.

“First day of the tournament, I rolled up in there and caught one on a frog – my biggest one. She weighed, I think, 5-14,” Summerlin says. “After that day the frog bite just disappeared, so I just stuck with the Fluke and the walking bait.”

Summerlin fished a blue Zoom Super Fluke, rigged on a 5/0 wide-gap hook, but it wasn’t until partway through day one of the tournament that he even considered the Fluke to be his go-to bait to win it. After keying on a school that wouldn’t come up to bite his Strike King KVD Mega Dawg walking bait, Summerlin tossed out the Fluke to test the waters and entice those fish that remained subsurface.

“It was like a light switch went off in my head,” he explains. “I caught one about 3 [pounds], and my co-angler caught two. I had four out of there that day.”

Working around grass lines and in small pockets and indentations in the grass, Summerlin targeted just a handful of waypoints in a large bay, rotating from indentation to indentation. Each time he returned to one of his waypoints after having already caught a fish there, the area had seemed to replenish with more fish.

“I had six waypoints in there, and when I idled it I found six little grass indentions,” he says. “There are six little spots in there, and I just rotated them. It seemed like they congregated on those little indentions in the grass feeding on those shad. I just kept rotating.

“I never left that bay. I ran down there, and when I cranked up I ran back to the launch.”

Summerlin did catch some fish on the Mega Dawg, but most of his key fish were caught on his Fluke setup. After trying a number of other moving baits in practice, including a jerkbait, he concluded that it was the erratic action of the Fluke that fish wanted more than anything else.

“It feels awesome,” Summerlin says of the win, and of the great month of fishing he’s had. “I’ve had a heck of an October. I can’t say anything bad about it. It’s just been one of those Octobers that I’ll never forget for sure. I’m beginning to love fall.”

 

Stanley comes up just short again

Tennessee native Matt Stanley has Chickamauga’s number. Unfortunately, it’s not the number “one.”

Stanley always seems to do well at the east Tennessee fishery. He has multiple second- and third-place finishes there across several tournament circuits. But the elusive victory still taunts and teases Stanley, and it all comes down to missed opportunities.

“I’ve fished two BFL Regionals there and finished second and third,” he says. “I fished two ABA deals there and finished second and third. I fished an ABA national championship, and I finished second in that one. In five big events there, the lowest I’ve ever finished is third, but I’ve never won one.”

For Stanley, it all comes down to bad first days, and, in his estimation, inexperience and bad luck.

“Every time this happens, the first day of the tournament, I always lose a giant bag of fish, and the second and third day I do real good,” Stanley explains. “I think when you lose a bunch of fish, that comes from inexperience and bad luck. But 80 percent of it’s from inexperience. I figure eventually, one day, you get the wrinkles ironed out and you catch them.”

On day one at Chickamauga, Stanley hooked into a 4-pounder and a 7-pounder, both of which spit the hook. He still finished the day with a respectable 14 pounds, 14 ounces, but he knows those two fish made the difference between a second-place finish and that hard-to-get victory.

“I know for a fact if I’d have boated either one of them I’d have won,” he admits. “I should have started leading the tournament on the first day, and I should have carried it the whole way out.”

Stanley spent most of his tournament flipping grass, but he also mixed in a PH Custom Lures Huntin P square-bill crankbait and a Yo-Zuri 3DR Series Pencil walking bait, both in shad-imitating colors. All told, he caught a fairly even number of keepers on each bait, but his biggest bites came on his flipping setup, which consisted of an Xcite Baits Raptor Tail Junior in midnight flash, a 1 1/4-ounce Picasso tungsten weight and a 5/0 Gamakatsu EWG hook on 65-pound-test PowerPro braided line.

Two of his biggest bites, in fact, came from the same hole in the same grass mat.

“I was going down through there fishing, and I see the hole in the grass from where I caught the 4 1/2-pounder the day before,” he says. “I flip in there and nothing happens. So I almost go past it, but I looked back and pitched in there again in the hole, and I go to pull it out and it’s heavy. I set the hook, and it’s an 8-6.”

Stanley finished the tournament with a three-day total of 14 keepers for 45-15.

 

McCord leans on a ChatterBait for third-place finish

Illinois angler Brennon McCord only used two baits to pull 42 pounds, 14 ounces from Chickamauga, and while he did weigh in two or three fish per day on a Strike King KVD Mega Dawg, it was a 1/2-ounce Z-Man/Evergreen ChatterBait Jack Hammer that did most of the damage.

McCord used a Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper in sungill as a trailer for his ChatterBait. He worked it overtop and along grass lines on the lower end of the lake on the main river, particularly along bars with submerged vegetation. By day three, when the water levels had dropped a foot or more, that topped-out grass produced even better for the 22-year-old, who has four top-five BFL finishes to his name in 2018.

“It was pretty tough in practice, but when I was fishing that grass out there, it was about a foot under the water,” he says. “I think they were dropping the water down, but the fish were coming to me. There weren’t that many fish there in practice. I saw a ton of fish when I fished there in the tournament. The grass was sticking out about two inches the last day, and I caught more fish that day when the grass was sticking out.”

McCord’s biggest fish of the tournament was a 4 1/2-pounder, which he caught on the ChatterBait, but he lost a couple key fish that could have made the difference between a third-place finish and victory.

“I lost two on the second day,” he admits. “I lost one I thought was about 5 pounds, and I lost one I think was over 10 pounds the second day. You can’t win tournaments when you do that stuff.

Still, it’s hard to be too upset about hammering on big fish in the same spot with the same baits for three straight days.

“I knew I was around them,” he says. “I stayed in that one spot and never left. I can’t believe it produced, but it did.”

 

Top 10 boaters

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

1. Gil Summerlin – Guntersville, Ala. – 47-3 (15) – $65,000

2. Matt Stanley – Alexandria, Tenn. – 45-15 (14) – $10,200

3. Brennon McCord – Westfrankfort, Ill. – 42-14 (15) – $5,000

4. Cody Santel – Benton, Ky. – 40-0 (15) – $3,000

5. Tommy Williams – Shepherdsville, Ky. – 38-6 (15) – $2,000

6. Seth Davis – Harrison, Tenn. – 37-5 (15) – $1,900

7. Greg Lamb – Harrison, Tenn. – 37-1 (14) – $1,600

8. Casey O’Donnell – Guntersville, Ala. – 35-11 (15) – $1,400

9. Sam Morgan – Coalmont, Tenn. – 34-13 (15) – $1,200

10. Michael Black – Toledo, Ill. – 32-0 (11) – $1,000

Complete results

 

ChatterBait gets it done for co-angler Blasingame

If McCord’s productivity with a ChatterBait was impressive, what co-angler champion Lake Blasingame did with one was at least as remarkable.

Using a Z-Man/Evergreen ChatterBait Jack Hammer and a Zoom Super Fluke trailer, the Alabama angler boated 10 fish for a total of 26 pounds, 12 ounces, edging out Mitch Murphy by just 2 pounds, 5 ounces. It was the 22-year-old’s first BFL victory after finishing his YETI FLW College Fishing career earlier this year.

“I had my biggest bag of the tournament the first day with 12-7,” he says. “I knew if my boaters were fishing around grass, I felt like I could probably catch some fish behind them on that ChatterBait. I felt comfortable with what I was doing and how I was catching them. That made me feel good, fishing behind those guys, because all three of them were great fishermen.”

Blasingame expected to do a good deal of frogging and flipping during the tournament, but after practicing both tactics during the week leading up to the derby with his college partner, Triston Crowder (34th-place boater), he realized that perhaps neither technique would be the winning approach from the back of someone else’s boat.

“We frogged and punched a lot during practice,” he explains. “We got a lot of bites frogging, but not many flipping. I knew coming in as a co-angler I couldn’t depend on frogging because guys [boaters] do different things. I was prepared to fish however they were going to fish.”

The frog bite all but dried up across the board by the time boats launched on day one, but Blasingame’s ChatterBait was enough to fill the void fishing around grass. He fished a clean tournament as well, only losing one fish (on day three). And while he also broke off what he thinks was a monster that same day – and expected those two fish to sink him at weigh-in – a 5-pounder early in the day ultimately sealed his victory.

“I drew three excellent boaters; all class act guys,” Blasingame says. “They were around fish, and I was able to catch some behind them. I was really fortunate.”

 

Top 10 co-anglers

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

1. Lake Blasingame – Killen, Ala. – 26-12 (10) – $45,200

2. Mitch Murphy – Metropolis, Ill. – 24-7 (8) – $5,050

3. Todd Blakeman – Chatham, Ill. – 24-3 (11) – $2,500

4. Wayne Kilgore – Attalla, Ala. – 21-14 (7) – $1,500

5. Terry Smith – Tullahoma, Tenn. – 20-15 (9) – $1,000

6. Gary Megson – Dayton, Ohio.  – 20-9 (8) – $900

7. Harry Peyton – Decatur, Ala. – 20-9 (9) – $800

8. Chase Maddox – Crane Hill, Ala. – 18-6 (8) – $700

9. Billy Gardner – Livingston, Tenn. – 16-0 (8) – $600

10. Amanda Black – Greenup, Ill. – 15-14 (7) – $500

Complete results

 

Tags: justin-onslow  headline-story  2018-10-25-lake-chickamauga 

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 3

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 3

Kris Wilson did everything he could this morning to put away this tournament before anyone had a chance to make a run at him. The Montgomery, Texas, pro returned to the spot where he started the first two days and boxed up a pair of 5-pounders. The leader has camped on his spot basically all morning, and now we estimate he's culled up to about 18 pounds. Wilson came into today with a lead of more than 4 1/2 pounds over second-place pro Josh Bensema, and a much greater margin over everyone else, so that limit is huge and likely has him on course for a wire-to-wire victory in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. READ MORE »

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Kris Wilson pounded out another big limit – 24 pounds, 1 ounce – to win the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury at Sam Rayburn Reservoir by a margin of 13 pounds, 15 ounces. His three-day total was 72-8.  READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 2

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In terms of fish caught, tournament leader Kris Wilson had a tougher morning today than on day one. But a behemoth bass that will probably push the 8-pound mark has him in prime position to maintain his lead in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. READ MORE »

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The 2019 FLW Tour season comes to a close later this month on Lake Champlain, a lake that just about guarantees a fun finish and lots of smallmouths. READ MORE »

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A 9-plus-pound bass anchored Kris Wilson’s day-two limit to help him stay in the lead at the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Wilson weighed in 21 pounds, 12 ounces today to go with 26-11 yesterday. His 48-7 two-day total has Wilson 4 pounds, 10 ounces ahead of Josh Bensema and miles ahead of the rest of the top 10.   READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

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Montgomery, Texas, pro Kris Wilson caught a big-time stringer of more than 26 pounds to take the day-one lead at the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury at Sam Rayburn. Wilson says he fished some of the flooded cover that’s lining Rayburn’s shorelines, but the bulk of his catch came from a series of offshore areas where bass are starting to pile up. The rest of the top five fished a mix of patterns, but their results indicate that the offshore pattern could wind up being the most consistent as the tournament goes on.  READ MORE »

Wilson Waylays 26 at Rayburn

Wilson Waylays 26 at Rayburn

The second stop of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn, which is presented by Mercury, has certainly lived up to expectations. Plenty of fish are out there to be caught, yet finding quality is the key to separating yourself from the pack. Kris Wilson of Montgomery, Texas certainly distanced himself after hauling in 26 pounds, 11 ounces to the Umphrey Family Pavilion stage. It may not be the Texas-sized bag Rayburn is known for, however, given the conditions it is absolutely impressive. Wilson will hold a 6-7 lead over Josh Bensema heading into Friday. READ MORE »

Campbell Goes Back to Back

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Brody Campbell of Oxford, Ohio, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Buckeye Division tournament on the Ohio River at Tanner’s Creek Saturday with five bass weighing 9 pounds, 15 ounces. Campbell netted $6,718 for his victory. READ MORE »

Shaw Drags Worm on Shelbyville

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Wayne Shaw of Urbana, Illinois, weighed five bass Saturday totaling 13 pounds, 7 ounces, to win T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Illini Division tournament on Lake Shelbyville. Shaw pocketed $4,071 for his day on the water. READ MORE »

Fox Claims No. 8

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Dwight Fox of Gainesboro, Tennessee, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Music City Division tournament on Old Hickory Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 18 pounds, 1 ounce. For his efforts, Fox netted $2,941. READ MORE »

Ganey Cracks 20-11 on Big Sam

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Rylon Ganey of Pineville, Louisiana, won Saturday’s T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Cowboy Division tournament on Sam Rayburn Reservoir with five bass weighing 20 pounds, 11 ounces. For his win, Ganey took home $6,362. READ MORE »

Walser Nets 13th Title

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Robert Walser of Lexington, North Carolina, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) North Carolina Division tournament on High Rock Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 21 pounds, 13 ounces. With his win – his 13th on the BFL circuit – Walser tied the BFL all-time wins record held by Dick Shaffer of Rockford, Ohio. READ MORE »

College Championship Midday Update – Day 3

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As expected, the fishing has been great for the final day of the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance on the Potomac River. Sunny skies and moderate winds have set everyone up for success, and so far the top 10 teams are making the most of it. READ MORE »

Racers Lock Up National Championship

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The final day of the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance on the Potomac River was quite the show, especially if you watched FLW Live. After catching the biggest limit of the event worth 18 pounds, 14 ounces on day two to take the lead, the Murray State duo of Adam Puckett and Blake Albertson gave it all they had on the final day to squeak out their smallest, yet most important limit of the week. Today, Murray State caught 15-8, which was enough to edge out the Bethel University team of Tristan McCormick and Dakota Pierce by just 3 ounces to bring home the title. Along with winning a Ranger Z175 with a 115-horsepower motor for the club, Puckett and Albertson also get entry into the 2019 FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark., this August 9-11. READ MORE »

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

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Day one of the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance on the Potomac River had a wide variety of patterns in play among the leaders. Today, with overcast skies and gusty winds, the folks fishing grass started to pull ahead. In the lead, Adam Puckett and Blake Albertson of Murray State have managed more than 16 pounds each day, but the rest of the top-10 crew is hot on their heels. Additionally, the fishing seems to be getting better by the day, so a big bag from a team down the standings a little bit wouldn’t exactly be a shock on the final day.  READ MORE »

Murray State Races Ahead

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Thanks to a day-two limit worth 18 pounds, 14 ounces, Adam Puckett and Blake Albertson of Murray State University have the lead going into the final round of the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance at the Potomac River. The Racers weighed 16-13 on day one to place seventh, but moved up the leaderboard today with the tournament’s biggest limit so far. READ MORE »

College Championship Midday Update – Day 2

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Day two of the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance on the Potomac River has been quite different from day one. With strong souths winds kicking up the main channel and keeping the tide back, teams have had to adjust. READ MORE »

FLW Live Leaderboard - College Championship

FLW Live Leaderboard - College Championship

Anglers and FLW staff provide unofficial weight estimates for the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship on the Potomac River. READ MORE »

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

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Though the fishing seems markedly better than it was just a few days ago, the techniques getting it done are just as mixed as before. Unlike some years on the Potomac, slightly underdeveloped grass beds have the river fishing in a pretty diverse way. If all you want to do is fish grass, that isn’t ideal, but it has made for a lot of opportunity elsewhere. READ MORE »