UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Lake Okeechobee

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Corn Wins Wild Card

Toby Corn

Faced with brutal conditions for the final event of the 2018 T-H Marine Bass Fishing League season, everyone who managed to catch anything in the Wild Card on Old Hickory Lake in central Tennessee accomplished something.

Catching a limit for 13 pounds, 6 ounces on day one, Toby Corn of Calvert City, Ky., topped it off with two fish for 7-12 on day two for a winning total of 21-2. For enduring two rough days on the water, Corn and the rest of the top six boaters and co-anglers were rewarded with berths to the 2019 BFL All-American on the Potomac River. Corn didn’t enter the optional side pot, so he just took home the trophy and $200 in contingency money from Costa Sunglasses.

Despite living only a couple hours away, Corn had never fished Old Hickory before. After two bad days of practice on Sunday and Monday, big storms rolled through overnight and raised the lake level and muddied the water.

“I fished until noon on Tuesday and pretty much realized I was wasting my time,” says Corn, who works as a sales manager at Jet-A-Marina in Calvert City. “So, I went back home and worked on Wednesday. I went back on Thursday and saw the water was falling, but it was still fairly muddy. Long story short, I’d had one decent day of practice.”

On day one of the tournament, Corn started out near takeoff and boxed one keeper on a buzzbait. Then, he ran up the river to the areas that would win him the event.

“I had two different no-name sloughs,” says Corn. “I went into the first one and it was very muddy. I caught three in there, two of them were small and one was about a 3-pounder. Then I went to my second little slough, and I didn’t realize what I’d found until I got in there. Between me and my partner we caught 10 keepers in there in about 45 minutes.”

Friday was cold and cloudy, with temperatures in the 40s all day long. Saturday dawned clear and even colder – in fact, temperatures remained below freezing for much of the day.

Come Saturday morning, Corn ran straight to his juice and caught a 5-pounder in the first few minutes. Then, he struck out for the next several hours. Switching sloughs, Corn added a 3-pounder, and that was it.

Corn’s two sloughs were both very shallow and well up the river, approximately a 40-mile run from takeoff. One was quite muddy, but the more productive one was clear. On day one he used a black buzzbait given to him by fellow angler Mike Brueggen for most of his fish. On day two, his big one ate a custom-painted Dave’s Custom Baits Black Market Balsa square-bill in “Diet Dew splatterback,” which is a faded chartreuse with a black splatter. The crankbait also accounted for a good fish on day one. A Riot Baits Minima Jig also made the rotation.

“When I caught that big one in the first 10 minutes I felt like I’d made the All-American,” says Corn. “After I caught that second fish I still felt like I needed one more fish to win. I’ve never been to the Potomac or fished tidal water, obviously I’m a shallow water fisherman, I like that part, but I’m nervous about the tidal water.”

 

Towry cranks for suspended fish

Weighing seven bass for 18-14, Scott Towry of Lawrenceburg, Tenn., got on a very unusual pattern.

Instead of doing anything conventional, Towry spent his tournament cranking a square-bill for suspended bass.

“I was fishing the 10- to 12-foot range, and they were suspended over the top of cover, I guess trees, that were down in the water,” says Towry. “I’ve fished Old Hickory before, but it’s always been a flipping or shallow bite. This time I just kept moving out a little deeper and the quality got better as I did.

“The fish were in that 5- to 6-foot zone, suspended, and I could get that squarebill down and in their face, and they would hit it,” Towry continues. “I had a little milk run I was doing. I only had like 10 key areas I could catch fish like that in, and I ended up having only two of them that produced fish.”

Towry says his oddball cranking pattern got better later in the week as the water muddied, and speculates that the dirtier water made the fish react better to it, or at least more aggressively. His bait of choice was a sexy shad Strike King 2.5, and he threw it on a 7-foot, 11-inch, medium-power Hammer Rods cranking rod. Towry thinks the 7-11 rod was key to his success, as the extra length enabled him to cast farther and get the bait a bit deeper than a normal square-bill rod would have.

“I wasn’t catching many, but I was catching quality fish,” says Towry. “Everybody else that I was rooming with was saying they were just catching small fish or non-keepers. I knew if I could just catch three or four a day I could beat them.”

 

Dad’s spot pays off for Edwards

The only angler to catch a limit both days of the tournament, Stacey Edwards bagged 6-11 on day one and 10-13 on day two for 17-8 total.

On day one, Edwards ran well up the river toward the Cordell Hull Dam and flipped a jig as he had in practice.

“Thursday night, before the tournament, the river came way up during the night and got real swift,” says Edwards. “I pulled into my first area that was semi-blocked from the current and I caught three little keeper spots, which turned out to be like gold. I kept trying to make that work all day, and it was just killing me.”

At the end of the day, Edwards pulled into a little pocket he’d spotted on his way up the lake and caught his final two keepers, which also happened to be his two biggest fish.

After running down the day with his father, Gary, Stacey decided to start Saturday in a pocket that his dad had found on Wednesday. Though it was muddy, it had been filled with shad in practice, and he figured that his up-river stuff would be shot.

“I went to that pocket Saturday morning, first thing, and caught a keeper on my first cast and stayed there all day and caught nine keepers,” says Edwards. “It was very fortunate dad found it on Wednesday, but I’m really kicking myself in the rear end for not going there Friday too.”

Edwards did his flipping with a green pumpkin 3/8-ounce jig with a black and brown Uncle Josh Pork Frog trailer.

He threw a spinnerbait on day two, and that decision was also aided by information from his dad. On day one, co-angler Zach Barnes caught a limit behind his dad with a big spinnerbait. Before takeoff on day two, Edwards bought a 1/2-ounce, double-willow Hoppy’s Lures spinnerbait, popped a chartreuse and white skirt on it and trailered it with a Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper. That last-minute blade put 10 pounds in the boat for him.

 

Top 10 boaters

1. Toby Corn – Calvert City, Ky. – 21-2 (7) – $200

2. Scott Towry – Lawrenceburg, Tenn. – 18-14 (7) – $3,049

3. Stacey Edwards – Milton, Ky. – 17-8 (10) – $1,475

4. Jason Grape – Attalla, Ala. – 17-6 (8) – $997

5. Keith Hays – Broken Arrow, Okla. – 17-2 (6)

6. Sean McAllister – Checotah, Okla. – 16-1 (5)

7. Mario Riojas – Blanchard, Okla. – 15-4 (8) – $897

8. Jared Kutil – Beaufort, S.C. – 14-6 (4) – $962

9. David Wootton – Collierville, Tenn. – 14-1 (7) – $717

10. Donnie Rubel – Murfreesboro, Tenn. – 13-0 (4) – $803

Complete results

 

Gustafson tops co-anglers

Gary Gustafson of Gilbertsville, Ky., caught three good ones for 11-12 and the win on the co-angler side. His win was really keyed by his second day, when he caught a massive 6-11 bass to boost him up to first place.

Gustafson caught two keepers and lost one on a shad-colored Strike King Red Eye Shad. His giant came on a Strike King Tour Grade Buzzbait with a no skirt and a silver shiner-colored Keitech Swing Impact FAT as the body.

“I knew I had to get a big bite, somehow, someway,” says Gustafson of his call to go with a buzzbait. “I’ve caught a bunch of big ones over the years on a buzzbait. So, I thought I’d put that on and go for broke.”

 

Top 10 co-anglers

1. Gary Gustafson – Gilbertsville, Ky. – 11-12 (3)

2. Keenan Hess – Herrin, Ill. – 10-7 (4) – $100

3. Zach Barnes – Chickamauga, Ga. – 9-6 (5)

4. Scott Bussey – Hayden, Ala. – 9-6 (5) – $1,208

5. Wayne Miller – Morgantown, Ky. – 9-3 (5) – $604

6. Dickey Reece – Lafayette, Ky. – 8-7 (3) – $408

7. Rick Lovall – Sikeston, Mo. – 7-3 (3) – $417

8. Derek Henderson – St. Louis, Mo. – 6-3 (3)

9. Dewayne Marshal – Folkston, Ga. – 6-1 (3) – $327

10. Vincent Jones – Robertsville, Mo. – 6-0 (2) – $351

Complete results

 

Tags: jody-white  post-tournament  2018-11-09-wild-card 

/news/2019-01-15-beight-rings-in-marshal-program-in-big-way

Beight Rings in Marshal Program in Big Way

Timmy Beight won the FLW Tour Sam Rayburn Marshal prize after marshaling for Jordan Osborne and Terry Bolton. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-15-top-10-patterns-from-sam-rayburn

Top 10 Patterns from Sam Rayburn

Fishing crankbaits, Carolina rigs and drop-shots around flooded hydrilla for Sam Rayburn Reservoir largemouths dominated the top 10 at the FLW Tour opener. Check out the top 10 patterns feature to learn more about effective patterns for working grass. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-15-top-10-baits-from-sam-rayburn

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Fishing deep-diving crankbait, dragging Carolina rigs and working finesse baits such as drop-shots were the keys to success at the FLW Tour opener at Sam Rayburn. Here are the bass-fishing baits that the top pros used. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-09-cecil-s-final-morning-of-practice

Cecil’s Final Morning of Practice

Russell Cecil is one of a number of standout Texas anglers fishing the FLW Tour opener this week on Sam Rayburn. After a lackluster rookie campaign in 2018, fishing near home is a great opportunity for the Willis, Texas, pro to get the year started off strong. Though the conditions are far from normal, a few hours on the final day of practice reveal that Cecil certainly has a read on the bass. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-07-top-10-patterns-from-lake-amistad

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Amistad

Wintertime patterns with just a touch of prespawn action dominated the Costa FLW Series opener presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Amistad. Crankbaits, jerkbaits, umbrella rigs, swimbaits and drop-shots were the go-to baits used by the top finishers. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-07-figuring-out-rayburn-with-powell

Figuring Out Rayburn with Powell

Hensley Powell has quickly and quietly amassed quite a record with FLW. In just three years fishing the Costa FLW Series, he’s earned over $90,000, and he got a win at Table Rock in the Central Division in 2018. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-07-sam-rayburn-lake-tour

Sam Rayburn Lake Tour

This year, the FLW Tour kicks off in Texas with a showdown presented by Polaris on Sam Rayburn. Big Sam hasn’t hosted too many FLW Tour events in the past, but it’s loaded with bass and bass fishing history. The lake is much higher than normal right now, which will no doubt produce different fishing than is typical for winter on Rayburn. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-06-top-10-baits-from-lake-amistad

Top 10 Baits from Lake Amistad

Wintertime bass fishing tactics dominated at Lake Amistad in January, as the top finishers relied on jerkbaits, crankbaits, drop-shots, swimbaits and umbrella rigs to get the job done. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-06-practice-starts-at-rayburn

Practice Starts at Rayburn

Day one of practice for the FLW Tour presented by Polaris on Sam Rayburn started this morning. We hung around takeoff to see friends we haven't seen in months and to get the season underway.  READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-04-high-water-will-factor-at-rayburn

High Water will Factor at Rayburn

Typical winter fishing on Sam Rayburn would call for a lot of lipless crankbaits, Carolina rigs and a focus on offshore structure and submerged grass. However, for the FLW Tour opener January 10-13 a lot of that may be out the window – or at least a lot different than many of the Rayburn sticks in the field are used to. Sam Rayburn has risen steadily since December 10th, and as of January 3, the lake is at 171.43 feet, which is 7 feet over full pool of 164.4 feet. READ MORE »

/tips/2019-01-02-2019-rookie-rundown

2019 Rookie Rundown

No matter how you get to the FLW Tour, you’re only a rookie once. This year, 34 pros are taking their talents on Tour for the first time. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-12-19-how-to-catch-winter-spotted-bass

How to Catch Winter Spotted Bass

Some of the best fishing of the year in the South occurs on the reservoirs with spotted bass in Georgia and the Carolinas. As a guide on Lake Lanier, FLW Tour pro Rob Jordan is adept at staying on the spots all winter. He knows when to fish deep or go shallow, and how to apply a jigging spoon, jig, underspin and crankbait to take full advantage of the opportunities. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-12-19-rookie-profile-ron-nelson

Rookie Profile: Ron Nelson  

While plenty of the Tour’s new pros have impressive resumes, few boast records as well-rounded and superlative as Ron Nelson’s. After years of success at the Costa FLW Series level, it’s finally time to see what the Michigan angler can do against the best in the nation.   READ MORE »

/tips/2018-12-14-how-to-fish-umbrella-rigs-for-bass

How to Fish Umbrella Rigs for Bass

Castable umbrella rigs, also called Alabama rigs or A-rigs, were first deployed in tournament bass fishing by Paul Elias in the 2011 FLW Tour Open on Lake Guntersville. Since then, they’ve garnered a lot of controversy and caught a lot of bass. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-12-10-sinking-a-staysee-for-winter-bass

Sinking a Staysee for Winter Bass

Fishing late and early in the season is often challenging. Because the water is cold, it can take a lot more patience to find fish or to coax them into biting. If you truly want to put your patience to the test, you might consider fishing a jerkbait ultra-slow. If you want to try for superhuman patience, you might want to fish a jerkbait like Cody Murray. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-12-05-hallman-s-5-go-to-baits-for-new-lakes

Hallman’s 5 Go-To Baits for New Lakes

Deciding how best to figure things out on a new lake is one of the toughest challenges Tour pros and regular anglers alike encounter. Sometimes familiarity with the style of lake makes it easy, but other times you eventually need to stretch well outside of your comfort zone. Bradley Hallman has had success all over the country, and he’s got a stable of baits that he likes to rely on early in the process of breaking down a new lake. Your starting baits might be a little different, but Hallman’s approach to new water is worth considering. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-12-04-review-graph-glass

Review: Graph Glass

Graph Glass is a tempered screen protector that you can self-install on the most popular models of fishing electronics. For about $45 to $60 per unit, it protects the screen from flying tungsten or other projectiles, and there are other benefits as well. As far as I can tell, it’s a real winner of a product. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-11-30-cecil-s-shallow-cranking-menu

Cecil’s Shallow Cranking Menu

You can get by with a favorite crankbait or two for a lot of situations, but expanding your arsenal might not be a bad thing either. For cranking less than 6 feet deep, Cecil has six main baits he relies on, with a slightly different application for each. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-11-27-review-berkley-maxscent-creature-hawg

Review: Berkley MaxScent Creature Hawg

Back in 2017 at ICAST I opined that the new Berkley PowerBait MaxScent lineup would be good for smallmouths and more convenient than Gulp!, but wouldn’t make much of a dent in the flipping game. Then a couple weeks ago I burned through four Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Creature Hawg packs in two days and ordered a pile more. I don’t know if the rest of the world is doing it, but I’m certainly on the way toward proving myself wrong. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-11-26-carolina-rigging-with-castledine

Carolina Rigging with Castledine

Todd Castledine has long been one of the most fearsome anglers to fish against in Texas. The Nacogdoches pro is good at nearly everything, particularly sight-fishing, but one of his secret weapons is undoubtedly a Carolina rig. From using it for finding offshore structure to catching finicky bass, he’s almost always got one or two tied up on the deck of his Ranger – and you should too. READ MORE »