UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

First Look at Seminole with Upshaw

First Look at Seminole with Upshaw
Andrew Upshaw

Stop No. 3 of the 2019 FLW Tour takes place at Lake Seminole and is presented by Costa. Though Seminole is a historic lake that is well-trafficked by the Costa FLW Series, the Tour hasn’t been here since 1996. It’s relatively unfamiliar for many pros, and Andrew Upshaw is one of them. In his eighth year on Tour, Upshaw has qualified for the FLW Cup in back-to-back years, and he’s off to a great start in 2019, sitting at 15th in the points through the first two events. With that in mind, I hopped in the boat with him for his first-ever day of fishing on Seminole. 

 

Arriving late the night before from Oklahoma, Upshaw is certainly not the first in the water, but he isn’t the last either. He arrives to the ramp once it’s mostly daylight and unloads a pile of rods from his truck to begin a little re-rigging before dumping in the boat.

 

Launching at Jack Wingate’s Lunker Lodge, Upshaw clicks on his electronics, idles through the no-wake zone, and then heads out and down the Flint River arm of the lake.

 

Upshaw makes his first casts in some hydrilla near the bank after setting down in the channel and idling up to the shallows. Though he peeped at his electronics along the way, the stretch of idling was more out of precaution than anything else. Seminole has a ton of gnarly standing timber.

Pretty quickly, he gets a bite that doesn’t hook up on a vibrating jig. But, before he can expand on it, the grass he’s fishing disappears, so he pulls the trolling motor to look for more.

 

Upshaw idles back near where he started and fishes his way around the heart of a big flat of hydrilla. Quickly, he deems it too expansive to break down right now, and makes a short move to a steeper bank.

I ask about his outlook for the tournament. It’s spring, and a lot of variety should be available.

“As much as I like sight-fishing, I want it to be a sight-fishing tournament,” says Upshaw. “But, the weather is acting weird, and I don’t know how these fish react to the cold. I think it could go either way. It could be a bang-up sight-fishing event, or you could need to find a backup pattern winding something.”

Today, considering it’s overcast and early in practice, the sight-fishing bite isn’t a major part of the plan.

 

After a few more casts on the bank, Upshaw moves again, running down the lake and across to the mouth of Spring Creek. He starts to idle in and is quickly stopped by glistening clear water on a sand flat. He cuts the motor and hops up to give it a look.

Upshaw is flabbergasted at how clear the water is. He can see down more than 4 feet as he trolls around and casts a worm.

“Someone is going to blast ’em out here,” says Upshaw. “I’m like a kid in a candy store now. I don’t know why, but I never expected it to be this clear.”

As he’s sliding along, Upshaw leans into the first fish of the day. It’s a little buck that ate his worm.

 

With Power-Poles down, Upshaw pauses to re-rig. The water clarity is truly unexpected, and he’s now adjusting accordingly by adding a wacky worm and a more shad-colored crankbait to his arsenal. Then he’s back to work, crisscrossing the flat with purpose, heading farther into the creek and mostly going from one high spot to another.

 

The bottom where Upshaw is fishing is a mix of sand patches, hydrilla and a few other grasses, with undulations throughout. It’s pretty delicious looking, and his inability to see one on a bed or catch anything besides a little pickerel is frustrating him a bit.

After covering quite a bit of ground, he digs for another rod and pauses to Facetime his wife and son, who got snowed on back in Oklahoma.

 

Continuing across the flat, Upshaw ties into one, boating another decent keeper bass on his worm. Three more bites come from the same spot. Needless to say, he drops a waypoint. After easing over to investigate, it turns out that the fish are sitting right on a little transition, which the Oklahoma pro naturally files away for future reference.

 

Upshaw really hasn’t pulled out a ton of rods. He’s developed a reputation for showing up at the ramp at the end of practice with about 30 rods on the deck, but so far he’s keeping himself in check. Mostly, he’s got a mix of worms and different moving baits tied up on a squadron of Lew’s baitcasters. Though Seminole can fish pretty good with a spinning rod, he doesn’t put one on the deck during my ride along.

 

With almost two hours of fishing under his belt on this flat, Upshaw has had a chance to try about everything, but a phone call with Scott Martin elicits another change on his vibrating jig selection. Despite the swap, he’s striking out pretty hard on some really good-looking water.

Upshaw says he’s planning on spending the majority of his practice in the Spring Creek area because of how good the history is there. So, he’s not really discouraged at his lack of bites. He thinks it’s a matter of time before the pieces come together.

 

A passing rain squall forces a quick change into and then out of rain suits, but it doesn’t seem to trigger the fish. Shortly thereafter, Upshaw slides off into water that’s a bit deeper to try his hand at some fishing that’s a little more focused on hydrilla and a little less focused on the shallow, sandy spots.

 

Upshaw is soon digging up tackle again, this time pulling out two boxes of lipless crankbaits. He thinks he’s got at least one of every brand in the boat, but from the looks of it, he might have more than that. Regardless, he’s packing plenty of heat on the lipless side of things, and it makes sense considering he grew up on Toledo Bend and Rayburn.

After selecting a couple of translucent patterns, he’s slinging again.

 

Out deeper, Upshaw quickly marks some bass that are sitting on the edge of the grass out in front of the boat. He’s sure they’re bass on his electronics, but he can’t coax a bite. After a couple bait changes without success, he drops a waypoint and moves on.

 

Eventually Upshaw gets pretty well stuck on one of the many stumps in Seminole. The situation is like a sign to make a move. Cranking the Merc, he shoves off from the stump and begins idling toward the boat lane. Then, he stops and grabs his push pole. The stump managed to kick his transducer up, and it’s messing up his reading. After a quick adjustment, he’s idling and scanning like he wants to be.

 

Out in the boat lane in Spring Creek, Upshaw marvels at how narrow it is and how close some serious stumps are to the lane. According to him, the boat lanes on Toledo Bend are a lot more user friendly. After a short run, he starts idling and puts a waypoint down on some fish sitting on a break. Then, he makes a move back toward the ramp.

 

At the ramp, Upshaw drops me off and heads to the truck to grab a couple of boxes of jerkbaits and swimbaits. He wants a little more ammo for the clear water. After pulling a couple more rods out and rigging them at the dock, he picks up his Power-Poles, cranks his motor and heads back out to learn more about Seminole.

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

Make a Tiny Swimbait Your Winter Go-To

Make a Tiny Swimbait Your Winter Go-To

Wintertime and late fall fishing can be super fun, especially up north, when smallmouths are often fat and fairly grouped up. However, it’s not the time of year when you want a ton of rods on deck, and having a confidence bait or two is a must. For Casey Smith, the go-to winter weapon is super simple: a little bitty swimbait on a jighead. READ MORE »

Miller Wins Wild Card on Kentucky Lake

Miller Wins Wild Card on Kentucky Lake

Weighing limits of 15 pounds, 13 ounces on day one and 15-3 on day two, Michael Miller of Greenville, S.C., overcame a tough-fishing Kentucky Lake to win the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Wild Card and qualify for the All-American. READ MORE »

How to Rock Fall Largemouths

How to Rock Fall Largemouths

Smith says that the best time for fall largemouth fishing happens after the first big cold snap, when the water finally drops below 60 degrees.   READ MORE »

Cumberland Practice with Bryan New

Cumberland Practice with Bryan New

Bryan New has steadily been making a case to be considered one of the brightest rising stars of the sport. Five top 10s in T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) and Costa FLW Series events this year proves it, as does his inclusion in the Costa FLW Series Championship field. New gives an inside look at how he’s been tackling the puzzle that is the FLW Series Championship on what might prove to be an unusually stingy fishery. READ MORE »

Olson Scouts Cumberland

Olson Scouts Cumberland

At just 19 years old, Lane Olson is fishing in the Costa FLW Series Championship. Were he from Alabama or Texas or any number of other southern states known for their bass fishing, that wouldn’t be too surprising. But Olson is schlepping all the way to Kentucky from Oregon, where he finished second in the Western Division Angler of the Year standings, missing out on the top spot by just one point. READ MORE »

Roaming Cumberland with Davidson

Roaming Cumberland with Davidson

Davidson, a West Virginia native, qualified for the Costa FLW Series Championship out of the Northern Division and has fished the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Mountain Division quite a bit. He’s spent a lot of time on Cumberland and nearby Dale Hollow in the cooler months. As such, he’s one of a handful that pundits are definitely keeping an eye on heading into the championship, and he was kind enough to let me tag along for part of the second practice day on the Kentucky reservoir. READ MORE »

2019 Costa FLW Series Championship Roster

2019 Costa FLW Series Championship Roster

The 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship brings together anglers from all over the world to compete for a top prize worth $100,000 on the pro side and $35,000 on the co-angler side. Qualifying from the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American, the International Division and five standard FLW Series divisions, a total of 193 pros and 193 co-anglers will descend on Lake Cumberland for a fall showdown to wrap up the fishing season. READ MORE »

The Layout of Lake Cumberland

The Layout of Lake Cumberland

The ninth largest reservoir in the U.S., Lake Cumberland is a perfect stage for the Costa FLW Series Championship. Home to all three bass species and over 1000 miles of shoreline, the lake can swallow up a big field with relative ease, and with the fall bite starting to pick up in earnest and the water level lower than usual, the fishing should be pretty good. READ MORE »

Previewing the Costa Championship

Previewing the Costa Championship

When 200 pros (and 200 co-anglers) descend on the southern Kentucky reservoir for the Costa FLW Series Championship, they’ll be facing conditions that might look nothing like what they’ll see as the official practice period opens this weekend. Forecasts call for ample rain over the weekend, and lake levels are likely to fluctuate as a result. READ MORE »

B. Lat, MDJ Win Pan Am

B. Lat, MDJ Win Pan Am

Brian Latimer and Mark Daniels Jr. are best friends off the water, and it looks like they’ve got the makings of a deadly team on the water. Weighing five smallmouths for 21.16 pounds in the first session and 23.92 pounds in the second session, the pair totaled 45.08 pounds to win the individual competition in the Pan American Bass Championship on Lake St. Francis. READ MORE »

Canada Wins Gold at Pan Am

Canada Wins Gold at Pan Am

Though Team USA locked up the top three places, Team Canada placed six teams in the top 10 and averaged 38.98 pounds to win the Pan American Bass Championship on Lake St. Francis. Results were tallied based on the average weight brought in by each team in the two sessions of fishing, which almost guaranteed an extremely close finish. Earning a silver medal, Team USA finished just a hundredth of a pound back with a 38.97 average. READ MORE »

Canada Leads at Pan Am

Canada Leads at Pan Am

The first session of competition in the Pan American Bass Championship on Lake St. Francis was a roaring success. After the morning weigh-in, Team Canada is leading with an average of 21.16 pounds, Team USA is in second with a 19.6 average, Team Akwesasne First Nation is in third with 18.62 and Mexico had an up and down morning to accrue a 17.24-pound average. READ MORE »

Do you need a generator for bass fishing?

Do you need a generator for bass fishing?

Austin Felix has been running a generator for a few years now, and his primary use is during the spring in the North, when he’s spending mega-days on the water practicing for tournaments that feature bedding smallmouths. READ MORE »

Day 1 Delayed at Pan Am

Day 1 Delayed at Pan Am

Because of steady rain and hard winds at around 20 mph or more, day one of the Pan American Bass Championship has been canceled. With gusts up to 40 mph in the forecast, the organizers have decided to fish two sessions on Friday instead. READ MORE »

Pan Am Gets Underway in Canada

Pan Am Gets Underway in Canada

With the official training day in the rearview, the Pan American Bass Championship starts Thursday, Oct. 16, on Lake St. Francis in Cornwall, Ontario. Teams from Mexico, the Akwesasne First Nation, Canada and the United States will be competing the next two days for glory and country, but also to help along the movement to make bass fishing an Olympic sport. READ MORE »

Umbrella Rigs for Great Lakes Smallies   

Umbrella Rigs for Great Lakes Smallies   

The days of catching seemingly infinite bass on an umbrella rig are mostly gone, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't fish with one. The rig is a great tool for catching fall smallmouth bass on the big waters of the Great Lakes and elsewhere up north. READ MORE »

Hunting Big Bronze in Wisconsin

Hunting Big Bronze in Wisconsin

“On a normal day, if the best five aren’t over 25 pounds, it isn’t a good day,” Stefan says. “My best days with a buddy have been where the best five have gone 29 to 32 pounds. We get lots of 6-pounders a year, and we’ve caught some right at the 7-pound mark. I’ve had a few on that we haven’t landed that were bigger.” READ MORE »

Eyes on the Weather at Lake of the Ozarks

Eyes on the Weather at Lake of the Ozarks

Wrapping up the Costa FLW Series Central Division with an early fall stop at Lake of the Ozarks has become a tradition over the last few years. This year, the final stop of the season is presented by Evinrude and takes place Oct. 10-12, which should be good timing for a number of patterns to play. READ MORE »

How to Fish a Blade Bait for Smallmouth

How to Fish a Blade Bait for Smallmouth

You can catch smallmouths on a lot of baits in the early fall, but one of the most consistent producers later in the year is a blade bait, and Scott Dobson is an expert with it. His go-to is the old-fashioned Silver Buddy, but he has some distinct preferences and tweaks for better success. READ MORE »

Transition Time at Grand Lake

Transition Time at Grand Lake

Grand Lake has been flooded for most of the summer, and, as a result, it hasn’t received as much fishing pressure as is typical for one of the premier fisheries in the region. Weights for the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine, have the potential to be outstanding for this time of year, but it may all come down to what the weather decides to do leading up to the event. READ MORE »