UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Potomac River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

2019 Lake Seminole Preview

2019 Lake Seminole Preview

Lake Seminole

Bainbridge, Ga.

March 7-10

Hosted by the Bainbridge Convention & Visitors Bureau

Presented by Costa Sunglasses

 

About the fishery

Lake Seminole was created after the completion of the Jim Woodruff Lock and Dam back in 1952. It backed up the Flint and Chattahoochee rivers and created more than 37,000 acres of prime bass habitat. The Flint River and Spring Creek sections of the lake are entirely in Georgia, but the Chattahoochee arm runs along the border between Florida and Georgia.

The lake offers some offshore structure, but it has historically fished pretty shallow. There’s good reason for that, as tons of standing timber is mixed with hydrilla and all sorts of other vegetation. Sandbars and shallow flats have also played big on Seminole in the past, especially for tournaments held around the spawn.

 

Last time

The FLW Tour has essentially no history on Seminole, with just one event held there back in 1996, but the Costa FLW Series regularly visits the reservoir. The Southeastern Division hit Seminole in early March in 2018 and 2017, and in late March in 2012. Matt Baty won on a channel swing in 2018, and Buddy Gross won in offshore hydrilla in 2017. Both pros were targeting predominantly prespawn bass. In 2012, Brandon McMillan won on a shad spawn pattern. In 2014, just a week later in March than when the Tour will be there, Brett Hite won a Bassmaster Elite Series tournament at Seminole with 97 pounds of prespawn bass he caught on a vibrating jig.

 

What to expect this time

Most March tournaments on Seminole seem to produce pretty diverse patterns, with prespawn and spawning fish all playing, and sometimes postspawn fish as well. The wild cards this time are the water clarity and the state of the grass after Hurricane Michael.

FLW Tour pro JTodd Tucker is from right nearby Seminole and grew up there, and he says that Michael wrought some very dramatic changes for the lake.

“The hurricane really changed the whole aspect of the lake,” says Tucker. “My dad and I were fishing it before cutoff, and we were literally fishing places like I did when I was 15 or 16 years old. There are places where the hurricane literally sandblasted the bottom of the lake, and they used to be covered by hydrilla.

“The grass in Spring Creek and the Flint River has changed dramatically. Where we had defined grass lines, we don’t have that anymore. We’ve got very little edge, and the grass is all chopped up. We’ll have to get used to it and figure it out day by day.

“I think it changed the lake so much that someone who doesn’t know a lot about the lake will be able to go in and do really well.”

Because of the hurricane, some backwater ponds are now completely inaccessible, and others are suddenly easy to get into. Exploring the newly changed lake could be very interesting for pros with lots of Seminole experience and new hands alike.

Tucker says that the fish may be a little behind as well due to lots of water coming in and a cooler winter than normal.

Prior to cutoff, the lake was pretty stained, with Spring Creek clearing up. Tucker figures the dirtier water won’t be much of an impediment to the bite. Even if the dirtier water in the rivers isn’t to a pro’s taste, there is nearly always clean somewhere in the backwaters.

 

Baits and techniques

Some bass will certainly be caught sight-fishing, but a lot of the weight will probably be caught just fishing. Dragging soft plastics such as stick worms and ribbon-tails will catch fish setting up around beds, and Carolina rigs should account for plenty of more offshore fish. Flipping plastics and jigs should play as well, and there will even be mats to punch in some places.

Some of the most popular techniques are likely to involve winding. Lipless crankbaits, vibrating jigs, swimbaits and the like are sure to catch a lot of bass, both deep and shallow. Diving crankbaits shouldn’t be discounted either, as Matt Baty and Rick Tindell both used deep-diving crankbaits in offshore grass in 2018.

 

3 critical factors

1. Consistency – The winner of this event likely can’t afford to stumble much. With any luck, the fishing is going to be pretty dang good, and with the projected winning weight of more than 80 pounds, pros will want to get off to a good start and keep the pedal down.

2. Dealing with pressure – Historically, the clear water in Spring Creek concentrates a lot of pros and leads to pressured fish. Dirtier water than normal might help alleviate the issue somewhat, but finding a way to keep catching around other pros as the week goes on or having something off the beaten path could be key.

3. Adjusting – Because Seminole has been a consistent Costa FLW Series stop there’s plenty of history there, but Hurricane Michael is likely to reduce the value of that. So, scrapping a practice plan early on might be a necessary adjustment.

 

Pros to watch

At the top of the list of favorites has got to be Buddy Gross, if only because he’s got a shot at history. Coming off his win at Toho, Gross is heading to Seminole at nearly the same time of year as when he won there in 2017. If Gross can win again, he’ll become only the second pro to win back-to-back FLW Tour events.

Outside of Gross and the usual suspects, there’s some good talent with plenty of experience on Seminole. Josh Weaver has spent a lot of time there and is off to a good start this season. Hensley Powell, Jon Canada and Wes Logan have really good track records there as well. Finally, Bryan Schmitt is worth an eye. He’s perhaps the best in the world at dissecting offshore grass with a vibrating jig, and Seminole should be in his wheelhouse.  

Tags: jody-white  pre-tournament  2019-03-07-lake-seminole 

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 »

Thrift Roams Hamilton on Day 2

Thrift Roams Hamilton on Day 2

In seemingly any tournament that Bryan Thrift shows up to he is without a doubt one of the favorites to win. With two FLW Tour Angler of the Year titles, six Tour wins and five Costa FLW Series wins – including his most recent on Lake Champlain just a few weeks ago – it’s easy to understand why. READ MORE »

Riding Around Practice on Day 2

Riding Around Practice on Day 2

In a Ranger Z520L with a 250-hp Evinrude G2, it takes about 15 minutes to run from Carpenter Dam, which impounds Lake Hamilton, to the Blakely Mountain Dam that separates Hamilton from Lake Ouachita. If you stop and chat with 11 pros along the way, however, you’ll need most of the morning, but you’ll also wind up with a pretty sound idea of what’s going on at Hamilton for this week’s FLW Cup. READ MORE »

The First Morning with B. Lat

The First Morning with B. Lat

You won’t hear Brian Latimer complain about hot weather and tough fishing in Arkansas during this week’s FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton. For B. Lat, sweating it out on the water is vastly better than working in the heat installing landscaping and mowing lawns for a living, which is what he was doing just a few years ago. A lot’s changed since those days. Now, Latimer is an FLW Tour champion, with a growing fishing media company and his first shot at a Cup title. READ MORE »

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 »

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 »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Champlain

Top 10 Baits from Lake Champlain

As usual, the fishing on Lake Champlain was great. Pros and co-anglers alike loaded the boat with smallmouths and largemouths each day of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event, and they did it with a wide array of techniques. If you’re wondering what to throw up north when there are green and brown fish on the table in the early summer, you could hardly go wrong with anything the pros in the top 10 used.  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 »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Champlain

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Champlain

Grueling wind on day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division opener on Lake Champlain didn’t do the field any favors, but otherwise, it was a heck of a tournament on the big northern fishery. The aftereffects of an odd spring with high water had things somewhat scrambled, putting some of the local participants on their off foot, but a variety of patterns proved to be successful. READ MORE »

Champlain Midday Update – Day 3

Champlain Midday Update – Day 3

While day two was windy and rough, day three has pretty much been calm from the get-go. It has also been hot as blazes. It’s made fishing a little tougher than expected, with a lot of anglers reporting missed or lost fish and a generally slower bite. That said, a slow bite on Champlain is a great bite most everywhere else, so we’re still going to see plenty of bass. READ MORE »

McKee Takes Co-Angler Title

McKee Takes Co-Angler Title

Weighing in 16 pounds, 2 ounces on day three, Henry McKee beat out co-angler superstar Gary Haraguchi for the win in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division on Champlain. With a 47-8 total, McKee won a $1,050 and a brand-new Ranger Z175 with a 90-horsepower outboard. READ MORE »

Thrift All the Way on Champlain

Thrift All the Way on Champlain

Taking the win in wire-to-wire fashion, Bryan Thrift tallied 18 pounds, 4 ounces on the final day for an even 57-pound total in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Champlain. For the win, Thrift earned $44,200 and a new Ranger boat, and it’s his 11th win with FLW. The Northern Division is presented by Gajo Baits and the tournament was presented by Polaris.  READ MORE »

Lake Champlain Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Lake Champlain Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

One of the windier tournament days in recent memory did a lot to reshape the leaderboard of the Costa FLW Series event on Lake Champlain. The run south to Ticonderoga was not impossible, but the wind up north kept a lot of pros from effectively fishing their best stuff. That made weights drop pretty much across the board on day two. READ MORE »

Thrift Still Ahead on Champlain

Thrift Still Ahead on Champlain

Day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on Champlain featured a bunch of wind and a lot of turnover on the leaderboard. Though he struggled to replicate his massive day-one success, Bryan Thrift still managed 16 pounds, 6 ounces for a 38-12 total to retain the lead. Behind him, Scott Dobson rose from ninth to second with a robust bag of smallmouths worth 18-10 for a 37-14 total. READ MORE »

Champlain Midday Update – Day 2

Champlain Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the Costa FLW Series event presented by Polaris on Lake Champlain is going to be quite a swing from day one. Typically turnover in the standings is common on Champlain because the weights stay so tight, but today’s turnover is going to have a lot to do with the weather. READ MORE »

Champlain Midday Update – Day 1

Champlain Midday Update – Day 1

Takeoff was a little blustery, but overall, it’s been a perfect start to the Costa FLW Series event on Lake Champlain. The event is the kickoff of the Northern Division, which is presented by Gajo Baits, and the tournament itself is presented by Polaris. READ MORE »

Lake Champlain Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Lake Champlain Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Last year, every event in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division, which is presented by Gajo Baits, was won entirely with smallmouth bass. This season, the kickoff event on Champlain, which is presented by Polaris, looks destined to involve some largemouths. Everyone in the top five weighed green ones on day one, though somewhat surprisingly, the south end down by Ticonderoga didn’t play an overwhelming role, as only three of the top 10 anglers made the long run southward. READ MORE »

Go-Time Again on Champlain

Go-Time Again on Champlain

Each of the last three years have seen the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits kick off on Champlain. This tournament, which is presented by Polaris, should offer great fishing like usual, but the dominant pattern certainly won’t be spawning smallmouths. Instead, it could be a largemouth slugfest, as the fishing has continued to prove strong on the south end of the lake. READ MORE »