UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Potomac River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Big Bass Expected at Opener on Amistad

Big Bass Expected at Opener on Amistad
Lake Amistad

Lake Amistad might not kick out quite as many massive stringers of largemouth bass as it used to, but the legendary south Texas border reservoir is still a factory for big fish. According to local guide and always tournament favorite Ray “Hanselmania” Hanselman, there are some real giants to be caught at Amistad, but they’ll be at a premium when the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division rolls into Del Rio to kick off the 2019 season on Jan. 3

“It’s got a lot of fish in it. They’re either over 6 pounds or under a pound and a half,” Hanselman says. “It’s been hard to go catch five 3 1/2-pounders the last few years. If you catch that one good one and four swimmers you’ve had a decent day. If you catch two of those big fish you’re going to have 18 to 19 pounds. If you get lucky enough to catch three big ones you’re on fire.”

Tournament details

 

What to expect

The last time the Southwestern Division visited Amistad was in mid-February 2015, when Hanselman won the first of what turned out to be a four-tournament sweep – the three Southwestern Division regular-season events plus the series championship – in one of the most impressive season-long performances in the history of tournament bass fishing. A local guide, Hanselman worked a combo pattern of targeting bass in grassy ditches with a tail-spinner and crankbait and then twice pulling off a harrowing run through a scrawny creek ditch to a warm-water spring far upriver where he locked up the win with a line-thru swimbait.

 

Hanselman’s winning weight in 2015 was 50 pounds, 14 ounces. He says we can probably expect a similar winning weight this time, but better fishing overall and a lot more fish caught, with a plethora of 8- to 12-pound bags.

“This time of year you never know,” he says. “You could find that one school of giants and have 28 to 30. Anything’s possible. It’s got them in it. I don’t think that can sustain three days in a row. If somebody can average 16 to 18 pounds a day they’ll probably be the victor.”

As of late December, Amistad was about 25 feet below full pool and about 5 feet higher than when the FLW Series visited in February 2015. The current water level is trending lower than the previous two seasons, but it’s back up 13 feet from where it bottomed out on September 2018 and far above the extreme low water that Amistad experienced in 2013 and parts of 2014.

 

Patterns in play

The local suspects a couple of bad year-classes left a gap in the size-class structure of the lake; hence the mix of small “swimmers” and true hawgs, without much in between. But Hanselman says the lake is “healing” thanks to healthy hydrilla and better spawns as of late. The population is well, and there’s plenty of productive water for the field to spread out.

“The lake itself is fishing pretty good,” Hanselman says. “There are a couple people who’ve figured out how to run my deal up the river [where he won last time]. They figured it out and did well in some summer and fall tournaments, so I’m sure those guys think they’re going to give it a whirl fishing it again. I could see some guys making the long run up that river. I probably won’t since the cat’s out of the bag and it’s only good for one or two boats.”

There’ll be deep patterns on the river ledges with drop-shots and other slow-moving baits. Bass will also be caught over deeper grass with jerkbaits and crankbaits – what Hanselman calls the “typical Amistad winter pattern.”

But any number of prespawn patterns could come into play on the massive border water.

“They’ll get in some shallow grass because that grass is a good insulator,” Hanselman adds. “They’re not thinking about spawning yet. It’ll be mid- to late February before we actually start to see bedding fish.

“The fishing really depends on how cold it’s going to get,” he continues. “The long-range forecast doesn’t look too awful bad. It ought to be decent. It ought to keep these fish in somewhat of a hungry mood. They’ll be in their groups. If you find them, you should be able to find little packs of them. They may all be 12- to 15-inchers, but that’s not too bad either. Then you’re just fishing for one – a 5- to 7-pounder – and you’re keeping yourself in it.”

 

Smallmouths in Texas?

Yup, they’ve got smallmouths in Amistad, too. In 2015, quite a few of the better bags included brown bass.

We’ll see some this time, too. Whether or not they factor in is yet to be determined, but Hanselman weighed at least one 3-pounder last time.

“They’re not catching them like they were when the water was low, but they’re catching them,” he says. “The guys that are going to be out fishing ledges will bring some in.”

 

Details

The Lake Amistad Costa FLW Series tournament runs Jan. 3-5. The Del Rio Chamber of Commerce is hosting this derby, and takeoffs and weigh-ins will be held at East Diablo Launch Ramp, Highway 90 West HCR 3 in Del Rio. Weigh-ins will be streamed live at FLWFishing.com at 3:30 p.m. CT each day.

Complete details

Tags: curtis-niedermier  pre-tournament  2019-01-03-lake-amistad 

FLW Cup Schedule of Events

FLW Cup Schedule of Events

The FLW Cup goes down August 9-11 on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark. As the crowning event of the FLW Tour season, there’s naturally a lot that goes with it, from takeoffs, the FLW Expo, a Trace Adkins concert and of course the weigh-ins at the Bank OZK Arena. Below you’ll find everything you’ll need to follow or attend the Cup, from the times to each event and seminar to each giveaway going on. Keep in mind, everything is free to attend and all times are Central. READ MORE »

300 Campers Headed for Murray State

300 Campers Headed for Murray State

On Wednesday, 230 high school students and 70 adults (coaches, parents and club advisors) from as far west as California and as far north as Vermont will gather at Murray State University in western Kentucky for the second annual Costa FLW High School Fishing Camp. That’s nearly double the number of participants from last year’s inaugural camp. READ MORE »

Pre-Practice Report from Hamilton

Pre-Practice Report from Hamilton

For some, preparation has been in the form of map study and online research, while others have made the trek to Lake Hamilton to get eyes on the playing field, which went off limits July 22. READ MORE »

The FLW Cup Playing Field

The FLW Cup Playing Field

It’s been 14 seasons since the FLW Cup has been held at Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark. In the years since, FLW fans have likely developed some familiarity with nearby Lake Ouachita, which has been a frequent destination for the Cup and, in fact, hosted last year’s championship event. Hamilton is less-known because it hasn’t gotten the nod to host the finale since July 2005, when George Cochran won his third bass-fishing world championship . READ MORE »

McCaghren Ready for Hamilton

McCaghren Ready for Hamilton

Billy McCaghren spends a lot of his free time coaching 8- to 10-year-old boys on how to swing and catch; but when the FLW Cup visits Hot Springs August 9-11, the Arkansas pro is hopeful that some of his young baseball players will be able to swing by and see the Lake Hamilton bass he plans on catching. READ MORE »

Summertime on Champlain

Summertime on Champlain

For three years running now, the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits has kicked off on Lake Champlain. The tournament, which is presented by Polaris, should offer great fishing like usual, but it’s going to be far different than the last two FLW Series tilts on the big Northern lake. READ MORE »

Peter T and Crew Win ICAST Cup

Peter T and Crew Win ICAST Cup

Representing Lew’s, the team of John Carman, Peter Thliveros and Matthew Mattingly won the 2019 ICAST Cup at Lake Toho this morning with a five-bass limit that weighed 20 pounds, 4 ounces. It’s the first time in the ICAST kickoff event’s five-year history that a team has won two titles, and they come back-to-back – though this time it was an outright win.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Champlain

Top 10 Baits from Lake Champlain

June is a fantastic month to be on Lake Champlain, as the FLW Tour pros showcased at last week’s season finale, which was presented by T-H Marine. Smallmouths were spawning all over the place, but the winning pattern was catching postspawn largemouths down at Ticonderoga. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Champlain

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain is the kind of fishery that forces pros to make difficult decisions about where to go and what color of bass to target. This time around, in the FLW Tour 2019 finale, which was presented by T-H Marine, on the big Northern fishery, the decision was more interesting because there were spawning smallmouths everywhere up north, but the forecast was favorable for making the long run south to Ticonderoga to catch largemouths. READ MORE »

Scanlon Wins it at Ti

Scanlon Wins it at Ti

Running south to Ticonderoga each day, Casey Scanlon weighed 19 pounds, 10 ounces on the final day of the FLW Tour event presented by T-H Marine on Lake Champlain. With a total of 76-2, Scanlon earned the win in the final event of the season and pocketed $102,700 for his efforts. READ MORE »

Cortiana Recovering from Wreck

Cortiana Recovering from Wreck

Oklahoma pro Kyle Cortiana was involved in an accident near Indianapolis on his way home from the FLW Tour event at Lake Champlain on Saturday. He has since been released from of a local hospital and is now in a hotel room recovering and waiting for a ride home to the Sooner State.  READ MORE »

Ticonderoga Showdown Looms

Ticonderoga Showdown Looms

After three days of the FLW Tour event presented by T-H Marine on Lake Champlain, all but one of the top five pros are turning south from Plattsburgh to chase largemouths at Ticonderoga. In the lead, Tyler Stewart of West Monroe, La., bagged up another 18 pounds, 5 ounces to boost his total to 58-6. In second and just 1-14 behind, Casey Scanlon of Lake Ozark., Mo., weighed 18-13 on day three for a 56-8 total. READ MORE »

Melissa Browne’s First Look at Champlain

Melissa Browne’s First Look at Champlain

When Browne passed away last month after a difficult fight with cancer, there was one item on his list with regard to Champlain that remained unchecked. And it had nothing to do with actually competing there.  Glenn never got to take his wife, Melissa, to visit Champlain and spend time together in the Adirondack region. She’s remedying the situation this week by participating in the FLW Marshal program. READ MORE »

Stewart Strokes 22 on Champlain

Stewart Strokes 22 on Champlain

Day one of the FLW Tour presented by T-H Marine on Lake Champlain was a bonafide catchfest as expected, and XX pros weighed 19 pounds or better to start things off. Leading the way, Tyler Stewart of West Monroe, La., put 22 pounds, 3 ounces on the scale to take a 1-12 lead over Tom Redington and John Voyles, who both weighed 20-7 on day one. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Champlain

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Champlain

FLW Live is back for the season finale of the FLW Tour on Lake Champlain. The event, which is presented by T-H Marine and hosted by the City of Plattsburgh and Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau runs Thursday, June 27 through Sunday, June 30. READ MORE »

Exploring Champlain with Strelic

Exploring Champlain with Strelic

Living about as far as possible from Champlain, Wade Strelic is looking to finish his rookie season strong at the FLW Tour finale. Hailing from Alpine, Calif., near San Diego, Strelic is sitting 28th in points and has made the check cut in three out of six events so far – another good derby will lock him in to the FLW Cup. READ MORE »

Nelson Wraps Champlain Practice

Nelson Wraps Champlain Practice

Ron Nelson is easily in the group of favorites in the event and a bonafide Northern expert, so I was eager to hop in the boat for a morning with the smallie snatcher. Champlain isn’t fishing quite like it was the years he won, but Nelson is still guaranteed to have a lot of eyes on him come day one. READ MORE »

Scouting for Smallies with Felix

Scouting for Smallies with Felix

Over the years, a lot of anglers have established impressive records on Lake Champlain, but few have done it as quickly and authoritatively as Austin Felix. READ MORE »

Get to Know Lake Champlain

Get to Know Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain is a giant of a lake. It stretches 100-plus miles from its beginning down south at Whitehall, N.Y., and runs all the way up to the Canadian border between the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Adirondacks in New York. Though the competitors aren’t allowed to venture into Canada, there is still plenty for anglers to break down for the final event of the 2019 FLW Tour season. READ MORE »

Reserve Your FLW Cup VIP Pass Now

Reserve Your FLW Cup VIP Pass Now

If you’re an FLW member, now is the time to start planning your trip to Hot Springs, Ark., for the 2019 FLW Cup Aug. 9-11. Act now to take advantage of special members-only VIP benefits by signing up for a special VIP pass. READ MORE »