UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - St. Lawrence River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Guntersville Lake Tour

Guntersville Lake Tour

Winding through Tennessee, north Alabama and Kentucky, the Tennessee River is studded with some of the most legendary reservoirs in bass-fishing history. Many would argue that Lake Guntersville is the best of the bunch, and though that is up for debate on any given year, Guntersville’s place in fishing history is undeniable.

This week, the lake is under heavy pressure from a local championship event, anglers out to have fun and the 198 pros and co-anglers in the Costa FLW Series Championship. Here’s a look at what they’ll encounter on the water.

Costa Campionship Fact Sheet

 

Taking off out of Guntersville City Harbor on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the anglers will have easy access to the lower portions of the lake, but a decent run is ahead of them if they want to run into the upper end. There’s an invisible line somewhere that marks the difference between Guntersville and the Tennessee River, but regardless of that, the farthest folks can go is the Nickajack Dam, which is just a handful of miles upriver from the Tennessee state line.

 

With the history that Guntersville has, some big tournament or another has been won almost everywhere on the lake.

Mark Rose won the FLW Tour event held in the winter of 2017 in Browns Creek. Jay Kendrick fished the bridges on North Sauty and South Sauty when he won the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event in 2015. In the summer of 2012, Alex Davis won a huge-weight Costa FLW Series showdown running offshore places from Honeycomb Creek to Seibold Creek. In 2011, Paul Elias romped with the umbrella rig on Spring Creek Bridge.

Of course, you could still probably buy all of Tackle Warehouse two times over with all the money won north of the main ledges and creeks in the lower end. The part of the lake up from Goose Pond, around B. B. Comer Bridge, is epic and often at its best in the fall time when the ledges of the main lake that dominate the postspawn bite have been beat on all summer.

 

Grass is very often a factor on Guntersville. Historically, it’s had the best and most consistent grass of any Tennessee River lake. In the fall, the frog bite takes off as the grass tops out and cheese mats form. You can find mats throughout the lake, but the best mats are usually formed by topped-out milfoil covered with scum. That sort of mat provides ample cover for the bass, but gives fish and anglers room to play with underneath it.

Heavy rains and high flows throughout the Tennessee River Valley put a dent in the mats in early October, but there are still plenty of mats to be found. Finding bass in them just requires a little more looking than usual, and the fish under them have usually seen a few frogs.

 

There’s also plenty of grass to be found that isn’t matted. Up and down the lake, you can find varying amounts of milfoil, hydrilla and eelgrass in creeks and on the main river. It’s full of life and part of why Guntersville has remained so remarkably productive over the years. Running the edges of grass with a topwater or moving bait could end up being a great pattern, and there’s good stuff to flip as well. Making sense of it all is pretty tricky, as there is an awful lot of the stuff, but there’s no doubt that plenty of bass live in the grass.

 

Schooling bass often play a big role in the fall, and bass will often key more on shad in the fall in general. Running up and down Guntersville, you can see plenty of umbrella rigs soaring through the air – a sure sign that anglers are thinking about bass chasing shad. There’s a pretty good chance that the presence of bait will be a defining factor in a top-10 finish or two this week.

 

Bridges are always a player on Guntersville, and they’re sure to see a lot of traffic this week. Most of the bridges on G-ville are actually causeways with bridges over the gaps. As a result, they funnel everything through a small area. Any bass or bait that wants to move from the back of a creek to the main river is forced to pass through. The bridges also neck down the current, making them prime feeding areas basically all year. 

Though there isn’t a bad time to fish bridges on Guntersville, the pattern is a tough nut to crack. There’s usually a ton of pressure, and it takes a high level of commitment. Sometimes anglers will even use anchors to stake out a section of a bridge as their own. It’s never a surprise to see bridges win on Guntersville, but it’s also a good way to generate sighs and eyerolls from many longtime Guntersville locals.

 

There aren’t really any famous dock lakes on the Tennessee River, but Guntersville has a lot of docks that can be good. If the fishing is tough, a savvy angler might pluck a few off docks throughout the week. Back in 2017, Bryan Thrift caught quite a few fish on docks in the wintertime FLW Tour event, and docks are certainly something to at least throw an eye on this week.

 

Being on the Tennessee River, Guntersville naturally has some ledge-fishing opportunities. Fishing offshore isn’t expected to be a major player this week, but it’s not out of the question.  It seems like there are always at least some bass offshore on the Tennessee River, and anyone who can find a wad (or even just a few big ones) could have a leg up on the competition.

With so many patterns and areas in play, it’s likely that several approaches will produce this week, and the six eventual Forrest Wood Cup qualifiers (the top finishers from each division) could all catch their fish in different ways.

 

Tags: jody-white  pre-tournament  2018-11-01-lake-guntersville 

Bryan Schmitt’s ChatterBait Box

Bryan Schmitt’s ChatterBait Box

“I’m pretty wild on color selection,” says Schmitt. “I always have my shad colors. I always have my black and blues. But I fall in love with trying to find a niche color. Especially when you get into the fall of the year on the Potomac. I love to find a crayfish pattern, and I feel like then a crayfish-imitating ChatterBait out-fishes anything else. And I also like to find a bluegill pattern at times, so I play with the colors.” READ MORE »

Review: STIX Fishing Rods

Review: STIX Fishing Rods

STIX Fishing is a relatively new company started by FLW Live host Travis Moran and Nick Smith that sells fishing rods with a bit of a unique plan. Instead of picking and choosing a rod or two at a time, STIX wants to sell you six rods at a time (the STIX PAX) for $500, which comes out to about $83 per rod. According to the company, the STIX PAX is a complete set of bass rods and will do everything you need rods to do. READ MORE »

Bryan Schmitt’s Potomac Review

Bryan Schmitt’s Potomac Review

On the Potomac, hands down, I want to fish grass. The grass holds the numbers. But if you look at the event this week on the Potomac, the tournament was won on structure. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River

Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River

The Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event on the Potomac River was not the slugfest the season opener on Champlain was or the season finale on the St. Lawrence River is almost sure to be. As has been the case in many of the FLW events on the Potomac this year, the fishing was pretty stingy, and hard cover played an outsized role. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Potomac River

Top 10 Baits from the Potomac River

Late summer on the Potomac is often tough fishing, so the contenders in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event had to pull out all the stops. Fishing everything from grass to docks and rocks, the anglers mixed up all sorts of power and finesse presentations to get the job done in the second stop of the season presented by Lowrance. READ MORE »

Short Tops co-anglers

Short Tops co-anglers

Weighing a limit on day one and two bags of just four fish each over the next two days was enough to earn Jim Short the co-angler title in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits on the Potomac River. Weighing 9 pounds, 15 ounces on the final day for a total of 29-9, Short took home a new Ranger Z175 and $5,350 in cash. READ MORE »

Reese Goes Wire-To-Wire

Reese Goes Wire-To-Wire

The final weigh-in of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event on the Potomac was one of the most intense of the season. In the end, with just enough to hold on, Marvin Reese weighed four for 8 pounds, 5 ounces to earn the win with a 38-15 total. For his win, which was his first on the boater side, Reese earned $38,026. Finishing second, Troy Morrow rocked up from tenth with 14-7, which was the biggest bag of the day. READ MORE »

Potomac River Midday Update – Day 3

Potomac River Midday Update – Day 3

The final day of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event on the Potomac has offered chamber of commerce weather and some up and down fishing. The event, which is presented by Lowrance, has featured pretty tough fishing overall, and it seems like some of the top 10 may fall victim to it today. READ MORE »

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Through two days of competition on the Potomac in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event the weights haven’t been nearly what the river is capable of kicking out. That said, all the top pros have managed to put at least one good day together, and some have maintained really strong consistency, just at a lesser pace than would be the norm in June or some other time of the year. READ MORE »

Better Day Keeps Reese Out Front

Better Day Keeps Reese Out Front

A lovely morning gave way to a dismal afternoon on day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits on the Potomac River, but despite the difference in conditions, Marvin Reese kept on plugging. Weighing 14 pounds, 12 ounces on day one, Reese added 15-14 on day two for a 30-10 total. With his day two bag, Reese has now weighed the two biggest bags of the event, which is presented by Lowrance, and he’s widened his lead over Justin Atkins to nearly 4 pounds. READ MORE »

Potomac River Midday Update – Day 2

Potomac River Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event on the Potomac has been quite a swing from day one. However, despite dramatically different weather, some of the top pros are still catching, and it looks like a tight race is setting up for the final day. READ MORE »

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

As is so often the case, the first day of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits on the Potomac River wasn’t quite as bad as some predicted in practice. Though it was hot and humid as all get out, plenty of limits hit the scale and enough pros weighed 12 pounds or better to make things really interesting READ MORE »

Reese Leads on the Potomac

Reese Leads on the Potomac

Day one of the Potomac River event, which is the second stop of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits, featured plenty of limits, but getting quality bites was definitely an issue for some. In the lead after day one, Marvin Reese of Randallstown, Md., weighed 14 pounds, 12 ounces to get things underway. Behind Reese, Justin Atkins and Jason Kervin both weighed 14-5, and Robert Grike rounded out the 14-pound brigade with 14-4. Overall, just 11 pros cracked the 12-pound mark on day one of the tournament, which is presented by Lowrance, but 8- and 9-pound limits weren’t too hard to come by.  READ MORE »

Potomac River Midday Update – Day 1

Potomac River Midday Update – Day 1

As predicted, day one of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event on the Potomac River has been fairly tough. Though most folks have a fish or two, and many will undoubtedly fill limits by weigh-in, it certainly hasn’t been a catch-fest. READ MORE »

Underway on the Potomac

Underway on the Potomac

For the tournament, the wind isn’t forecast to be too strong any day, and the tides will be fairly standard, but not ideal from a timing standpoint. Today, low tide was at 6:15 a.m., and low tide on Saturday will be at 8:15. That means that pros will mostly be fishing a rising tide through the tournament, with the best windows likely coming early on Friday and Saturday. 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 »

Slow Down in Brush for More Success

Slow Down in Brush for More Success

Many times, hitting as many brush piles as possible is the key to success, with Bryan Thrift’s 2015 FLW Tour win on Lake Eufaula serving as a prime example of that strategy. However, with the fishing pretty tough on Lake Hamilton, both Wade Strelic and Joel Willert turned to more methodical approaches to generate bites. READ MORE »

Smith Honored with Sportsmanship, Community Leadership Award

Smith Honored with Sportsmanship, Community Leadership Award

Capt. Blake Smith was presented with the 2019 Forrest L. Wood Sportsmanship & Community Leadership Award by the award’s namesake, Forrest Wood, at the 2019 FLW Cup pre-tournament banquet in Hot Springs, Ark. Smith, of Lakeland, Fla., has fished the FLW Tour since 2015. READ MORE »

Day 3 of Practice with Scanlon

Day 3 of Practice with Scanlon

Casey Scanlon won the FLW Tour season finale at Lake Champlain, which he almost had to do to make the FLW Cup. Now that he’s here at Lake Hamilton, he’s got a shot at $300,000 and a possible edge over the competition due to his momentum and extensive Ozark experience. READ MORE »

Hard Lessons and the FLW Cup

Hard Lessons and the FLW Cup

Two terrible tournaments to end the season cost Miles Burghoff his shot at the Polaris Rookie of the Year title. This week at the FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton, he's hoping to apply the lessons learned at the end of the season to his preparation for the championship event. READ MORE »