UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Santee Cooper

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Rise and Grind Time at Lake Mead

Rise and Grind Time at Lake Mead

Strong winds on the heels of a prolonged cold-weather period may prove to turn the Costa FLW Series Western Division opener into a true grind fest this week as pros and co-anglers take off from Callville Bay – Forever Resorts on Lake Mead in southern Nevada. The tournament, presented by Ranger Boats and hosted by City of Henderson Department of Cultural Arts and Tourism, has the potential to impress should strong southern winds churn up a little dingy water on the ultra-clear-water fishery, but if the practice period was any indication, notching a top finish may come down to filling a limit each day.

Ranger Cup-qualified pros have a chance to take home more than $32,000 and a new Ranger bass boat with a win on Mead, and, as is always the case early in the tournament schedule, getting out to a hot start could mean taking a giant step toward qualifying for the Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland Oct. 31-Nov. 2.

 

About the fishery

Lake Mead is a huge body of water. It’s also incredibly deep with ultra-clear water that creates visibility up to 40 feet in some areas. After some seriously cold weather for this part of the country in the weeks leading up to the tournament, fish are still working toward getting into a prespawn pattern. Mix in a little wind, and those who are unfamiliar with the fishery could be facing some unique challenges this week.

Mead is full of quality largemouths, but recent years have precipitated a vast increase in the quantity and quality of smallmouths as well. There’s a good chance the top-placing anglers turn in multiple limits comprised of both species.

“Fishing’s been tough — probably the toughest I’ve ever experienced here getting ready for a tournament on Lake Mead,” says Joe Uribe Jr., last season's Angler of the Year runner-up, who considers Mead to be his home lake. “With the drastic change in weather — we’ve had snow, which is very unusual. I heard from locals it’s been 20 years since they’ve seen snow here. The drastic temperature drop in the water did something to it.”

Colder-than-usual water has left fish clinging to deeper water and more lethargic than they would otherwise be this time of year. They’re not moving up to spawn yet, and they aren’t schooling up either.

“It’s hard to even graph fish right now,” Uribe adds. “The fish are very dormant, very lethargic and on the bottom. A lot of fish are deep.

“There’s no bait right now. The shad are out in the middle, suspended. Most of the fish we’ve seen are eating crawdads right now. They’re not schooled up by any means. There’s one here, one there, and timing is everything.”

Considering how clear Lake Mead water is, there isn’t much dingy shallow water for pros to target with reaction baits, adding yet another variable to the already complicated equation. Anglers might be forced to fish fairly deep, extra slow, for fish that are easily spooked.

 

Current conditions

The fact that the wind is coming out of the southwest (as opposed to the north) is a somewhat fortuitous sign today. Northerly winds could cool the water even more and cause some serious chop issues. Instead, anglers are faced with mid-teens windspeeds with gusts up into the 20-mph range.

Not great, but it could be worse.

Uribe is hoping the windy conditions might churn up water enough to add a little stain, giving fish more of a reason to move up shallower to feed.

“I think fish are going to be stirred up, and you could get more fish to move up right now with that wind,” he says. “The water is gin-clear right now in the main lake. It’s very intimidating for guys who are coming from other parts who aren’t used to being able to see 30 or 40 feet down. I think the wind actually could help us, but too much could make it tough to fish.”

But apart from wind, the weather at Mead is downright gorgeous right now, with highs in the high-60s to mid-70s expected for all three days of the event. It might be enough to warm the water just enough to entice fish to keep moving up shallow to prepare for the spawn.

 

Tactics in play

Uribe spent a ton of time in practice throwing around moving baits such as shallow-diving crankbaits, spinnerbaits and swim jigs, though he didn’t have much luck getting a lot of bites with those reaction tactics. Again, warming and dingier water could make a big difference, but as of right now, it might be the finesse game that does the trick on day one.

Drop-shots and tubes are going to be key for targeting smallmouths, while a jig could end up being the ticket for filling out a limit of quality largemouths that are feeding on crawfish. As Uribe puts it, “If you can catch five a day on a jig, I think you’re going to win the tournament.”

Still, it wouldn’t be spring on Mead without a healthy dose of spinnerbaits and crankbaits, which we’ll likely see a lot of from the field this week.

 

Critical factors

  • The wind: Making the right casts is important, but being able to even get to key spots is even more important. A little wind goes a long way on Mead, and with enough chop on the surface, making long runs to the farthest sections of the lake could be tricky on day one. It might be worth it, though, if that wind churns up enough water to add a little stain. Luckily, the forecast calls for calmer conditions on day two, with winds not expected to exceed 15 mph.
  • Warm weather: Any other year, fish would already be moved up into the shallows preparing to spawn. The fact that it hasn’t happened yet is mostly due to cold weather the last couple weeks. It’s been much warmer this week, and with a couple more pleasant, sunny days on Mead, more and more fish are going to be moving up to bed down. That’s a big deal on a fishery this deep.
  • Efficiency: With more than 158,000 acres of water to dissect, anglers are going to have to make the most of the time they were able to spend during practice this week. Covering water is key on Mead, so having already found some productive locations is critical for success during this tournament. If anglers aren’t able to make the runs they want to make due to wind, breaking down new water efficiently and effectively could be the ticket.

 

Dock talk

Mead has the potential to churn out some quality bags of fish, but the chatter at the registration meeting suggests 12 to 15 pounds a day will be plenty to crack the top five and perhaps net a win. Consistency will be the name of the game this week. As hard as it's been to get bites, it’s entirely possible to weigh in 15-plus pounds and only one or two fish the following day.

Like any tournament field, some anglers had a solid practice period that produced some patterns they believe will get the job done. It’ll just come down to executing on those plans when it really matters.

Mead could turn on today and prove everyone wrong. For now, it’s best to curb expectations until we see what kind of weights come across the weigh-in stage this afternoon.

 

Tournament details

All boaters and co-anglers will compete for two days. The top 10 boaters and co-anglers based on cumulative weight after two days of competition will advance to the third and final round, with the winner determined by the heaviest cumulative three-day weight.

Takeoff time: 6:30 a.m. PT

Takeoff location: Callville Bay - Forever Resorts, HCR 30 Box 100, Las Vegas, NV 89124

Weigh-in time: 2:30 p.m. PT

Weigh-in location: Callville Bay - Forever Resorts, HCR 30 Box 100, Las Vegas, NV 89124

Complete details

Tags: lake-mead  bass-fishing  flw  fishing-tournament  justin-onslow  morning-story  2019-02-28-lake-mead 

Backlash with Jordan Osborne

Backlash with Jordan Osborne

FLW Tour pro Jordan Osborne discusses life in Texas, the business of running a pawnshop and how, as a self-taught bass angler, he's leaned on his competitive drive to overcome the doubters in his quest to make it at the highest levels of tournament bass fishing. READ MORE »

The History of the Drop-Shot

The History of the Drop-Shot

FLW Tour pro James Niggemeyer recalls his first introduction to the drop-shot, as well as what came before it and how he developed his tackle to have better success with this capable finesse bass bait. READ MORE »

Big Weights Expected at Santee Cooper

Big Weights Expected at Santee Cooper

The Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division finishes up its 2019 season at the Santee Cooper lakes, Marion and Moultrie, in South Carolina this week. Forty pros and co-anglers will qualify for the championship, and an Angler of the Year will be crowned as the field fishes for hefty postspawn largemouths. READ MORE »

FLW Tour Set to Visit Lake Chickamauga for Sixth Event of Season

FLW Tour Set to Visit Lake Chickamauga for Sixth Event of Season

DAYTON, Tenn. – Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), the world’s largest tournament fishing organization, is set to continue the 2019 FLW Tour season – the 24th season of the competitive Tour – next week, May 2-5, with the FLW Tour at Lake Chickamauga presented by Evinrude. Hosted by Fish Dayton and the Rhea Economic Tourism Council, the tournament will feature 168... READ MORE »

Latimer, Cobb Honored by Visit Anderson

Latimer, Cobb Honored by Visit Anderson

Latimer represents Green Pond Landing and Event Center (on Lake Hartwell) with logos on his boat and jersey, and, with Hartwell serving as Latimer’s home lake, he’s being honored with a press conference on April 22 at Green Pond Landing to celebrate his recent success. READ MORE »

Cup Bubble Boys with Two to Go

Cup Bubble Boys with Two to Go

The top 40 pros in the 2019 FLW Tour standings qualify to fish the FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton Aug. 9-11. For about a dozen pros, the final two events of the season will decide whether they make it in or out. READ MORE »

How to Choose a Swim Jig for Bushes

How to Choose a Swim Jig for Bushes

Allen Boyd’s spinnerbait tactics are featured in the Spring 2019 issue of FLW Bass Fishing magazine. Here’s his advice on choosing and using swim jigs in flooded woody cover. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Cherokee Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Cherokee Lake

Targeting spawning smallmouth bass was by far the dominant pattern when the FLW Tour visited Cherokee Lake in east Tennessee in April. With a few exceptions, the top 10 pros targeted various combinations of rock and gravel banks where the fish were bedding. Finesse baits such as shaky heads, Ned rigs and small swimbaits saw the most work. READ MORE »

Smith Mountain Lake Set for Weekend of FLW Youth Bass-Fishing Tournaments

Smith Mountain Lake Set for Weekend of FLW Youth Bass-Fishing Tournaments

BEDFORD, Va. – Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) is set to visit Bedford next week, April 26-27, with the YETI FLW College Fishing event at Smith Mountain Lake presented by Costa and the Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Open at Smith Mountain Lake. The tournaments, hosted... READ MORE »

Costa FLW Series Heads to Santee Cooper Lakes for Tournament Presented by Power-Pole

Costa FLW Series Heads to Santee Cooper Lakes for Tournament Presented by Power-Pole

SUMMERTON, S.C. – The top bass anglers from around the region are set to fish Santee Cooper Lakes April 25-27 for the Costa Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) Series Southeastern Division finale on Santee Cooper Lakes presented... READ MORE »

Cherokee Has Been Good to Jason Bridwell

Cherokee Has Been Good to Jason Bridwell

Jason Bridwell fishes in the Volunteer Division of the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League, and his track record on Cherokee, a lake at which he considers himself a local, is nearly spotless, especially after a win in the FLW Tour Marshal program contest. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Cherokee Lake

Top 10 Baits from Cherokee Lake

The smallmouth bass spawn was on at Cherokee Lake in east Tennessee when the FLW Tour came to town in April. Most of the top pros caught their fish on Ned rigs and shaky heads, as well as swimbaits and jigs. READ MORE »

Apex’s Joyce Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Opener on Kerr Lake

Apex’s Joyce Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Opener on Kerr Lake

HENDERSON, N.C. – Boater Keith Joyce of Apex, North Carolina, caught five bass Saturday weighing 19 pounds, 5 ounces, to win the... READ MORE »

Dallas’ Smith Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Event on Toledo Bend

Dallas’ Smith Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Event on Toledo Bend

MANY, La. – Boater Ken Smith of Dallas, Texas, caught five bass Saturday weighing 21 pounds, 12 ounces, to win the 2019 T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Cowboy division tournament on Toledo Bend. Smith... READ MORE »

Little Rock’s Clark Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Event on Lake Hamilton Presented by GEARED

Little Rock’s Clark Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Event on Lake Hamilton Presented by GEARED

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Boater Randall Clark of Little Rock, Arkansas, caught a five-bass limit Saturday weighing 15 pounds, 11 ounces, to win... READ MORE »

Macon’s Lanier Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Event on Lake Sinclair

Macon’s Lanier Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Event on Lake Sinclair

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – Boater Justin Lanier of Macon, Georgia, caught five bass Saturday weighing 18 pounds, 1 ounce, to win... READ MORE »

It’s all Upshaw

It’s all Upshaw

As pretty much everyone figured, the final day of the FLW Tour event presented by Lowrance on Cherokee Lake was a nail-biter. Coming down to the wire, a final-hour cull from Andrew Upshaw was enough to hold off Grae Buck and earn the Tulsa, Okla., pro his first Tour win. Weighing 15 pounds, 6 ounces, Upshaw totaled up 67-10 to earn the $100,000 payday and his first trophy after eight years on Tour. READ MORE »

Floyd Central High School Wins 2019 Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Lake Cumberland Open

Floyd Central High School Wins 2019 Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Lake Cumberland Open

BURNSIDE, Ky. – The Floyd Central High School duo of Zach Rose of Prestonsburg, Kentucky, and Cameron Crider of Dwale, Kentucky, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 16 pounds, 10 ounces to win the 2019 Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Lake Cumberland Open... READ MORE »

Oklahoma’s Upshaw Leads Wire-To-Wire, Wins FLW Tour on Cherokee Lake Presented by Lowrance

Oklahoma’s Upshaw Leads Wire-To-Wire, Wins FLW Tour on Cherokee Lake Presented by Lowrance

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Pro Andrew Upshaw of Tulsa, Oklahoma, won the FLW Tour at the Cherokee Lake presented by Lowrance after catching five bass Sunday weighing 15 pounds, 6 ounces. Upshaw’s four-day cumulative total of 20 bass weighing 67 pounds, 10 ounces, was enough... READ MORE »

FLW Live Leaderboard - Cherokee Lake

FLW Live Leaderboard - Cherokee Lake

FLW Marshals and media staff provide unofficial weight estimates for stop No. 5 of the 2019 FLW Tour at Cherokee Lake. READ MORE »