UPCOMING EVENT: FLW Tour - 2019 - Grand Lake

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Good Conditions Greet College Open Field

Good Conditions Greet College Open Field

The YETI FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky and Barkley Lakes returns to FLW’s home waters this morning, as a full field of anglers prepare to take off for the fifth iteration of the two-day event, hosted by the Kentucky Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau and Moors Resort & Marina.

Last year, the Adrian College duo of Chase Serafin and Cody Batterson posted a two-day total of 50 pounds, 3 ounces to take home to title. That event, also held at the beginning of March, is a pretty good indicator of what to expect the next couple days in terms of tactics and weights.

Anglers who finish within the top 20, along with one additional team for every 10 teams over 200 competing, will automatically qualify for the 2020 YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship, and the champions will take home a new Ranger Z175 boat with a 115-horsepower outboard – a $30,000 package.

 

ABOUT THE FISHERY

Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley run essentially parallel to one another and are connected by Barkley Canal, a nearly two-mile stretch that allows anglers to explore both bodies of water this week. While Barkley could certainly produce a win, Kentucky is likely to get most of the pressure this week. 

Taken together, the lakes represent a pretty massive water system, totaling about 160,000 surface acres. The water level has been high lately thanks to ongoing and persistent rains throughout the region, though there isn’t much in the forecast for the tournament. 

Still, current can be a blessing on these lakes, as both smallmouths and largemouths take cues from it, and it can make a big difference in the prespawn. 

Both lakes offer much of the same cover and structure: docks, current breaks, ledges, creeks and coves. 

 

CURRENT CONDITIONS

The water level on Kentucky Lake is about a foot below summer pool now, which is high for March, but not so high that flooded shoreline cover will come into play. What will be a factor to watch is the current. The Kentucky Dam is projected to be spilling each day, with more than 350,000 cfs running for each day of the tournament. That’s a tremendous amount of water, and the current in the lake will be truly exceptional. How exactly that will affect the fishing remains to be seen. 

Luckily, the area is in the middle of somewhat of a warm front, with highs reaching the low 70s on Wednesday. That warmer weather should continue to push fish shallower in anticipation of the spawn and perhaps even turn on an exceptional shallow bite. This time last year, in the middle of a cold front, anglers were forced to target more main-lake structure and fish a little deeper, ignoring the flooded shoreline cover in favor of the original bank or going offshore to target humps and breaks.

It won’t be overwhelmingly warm the next couple days, but it will be pleasant in the afternoon especially. The biggest thing to watch in terms of conditions this week will be high winds expected to blow in on Wednesday, with forecasts calling for 15 to 25 miles per hour SSE.

 

TACTICS IN PLAY

Kentucky and Barkley offer nearly limitless strategies and tactics for anglers to exploit, especially when water levels aren’t inordinately high or low. Current breaks could be ultra-productive – where a crankbait is always a good bet – as could shallow structure and cover like shoreline laydowns and docks.

Because this area is still in a prespawn pattern, anglers will have a lot of options for what to throw. Umbrella rigs, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jigs and soft plastics (both worms and creature baits) rigged any number of ways will produce bites and should be in the mix for winning baits when all is said and done. Last year, Serafin and Batterson relied primarily on umbrella rigs, crankbaits and spinnerbaits to do their heavy damage. 

 

DOCK TALK

“From what I’ve heard, the lake is supposed to start dropping a foot a day, so barring any more rain, they should be fishing falling water,” says FLW Tour pro Terry Bolton. “The lake has been high for a while, and I think that will create some opportunities. There should be heavy current generation, so it will be about finding little eddies and bars and points where those fish can stack up. My guess is the winning team will probably find one spot and that’s all they’ll need, and they’ll catch most of their weight in one place first thing in the morning.”

Bolton is as familiar with Kentucky Lake as anyone, and he knows what plays this time of year.

“Overall, I think it’s probably going to be dominated by crankbaits, like a Rapala DT10or DT6, big spinnerbaits, and even an umbrella rig,” he adds. “With the color of water, I still think it’s going to be a moving-bait type tournament. You may see a jig play a little bit. The jerkbait bite may be a little tough with the color of the water, but we’ll see what happens as the water falls; it may clear up creeks and other areas.”

Bolton expects around 42 pounds to win the two-day tournament. Given what we saw in last year’s Open (five teams over the 40-pound mark), that certainly seems to be a reasonable estimate this time around.

 

TOURNAMENT DETAILS

Dates: March 12-13

Host: Kentucky Lake CVB & Moors Resort & Marina

Format: All teams will compete for two days. The winners will be determined by the heaviest cumulative two-day weight.

Takeoff Time: 7:30 a.m. CT

Takeoff Location: Moors Resort & Marina, 570 Moors Road, Gilbertsville, Ky.

Weigh-in Time: 3:30 p.m. CT

Weigh-in Location: Moors Resort & Marina, 570 Moors Road, Gilbertsville, Ky.

Tags: flw  college-open  kentucky-lake  bass-fishing  fishing-tournament  justin-onslow  morning-story  2019-03-12-kentucky-barkley 

Top 10 Patterns from Chickamauga

Top 10 Patterns from Chickamauga

Tournament champion Brent Butler ran different patterns nearly every day in the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event on Lake Chickamauga last week. The tournament, presented by T-H Marine, wasn’t quite the slugfest many expected it to be, but Butler’s 68-pound, 8-ounce three-day total was still an impressive showing. The rest of the top 10 got on a handful of patterns – some the same all three days and some changing from day to day – but all worked well enough to earn a top 10 and a paycheck. READ MORE »

Day 1 Practice on Grand with Warren

Day 1 Practice on Grand with Warren

There’s a good crew of Oklahoma anglers on the FLW Tour, but of them, Chad Warren is definitely one of the favorites at Grand Lake. Stop No. 4 of the 2019 FLW Tour, which is presented by Mercury, heads to Grand in the early spring for a prespawn tournament that might feature really good fishing. READ MORE »

Covington’s Stokes Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Lake Oconee Presented by Navionics

Covington’s Stokes Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Lake Oconee Presented by Navionics

BUCKHEAD, Ga. – Boater Barry Stokes of Covington, Georgia, caught five bass Saturday weighing 21 pounds, 11 ounces, to win the... READ MORE »

Rampey Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Lake Wylie

Rampey Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Lake Wylie

LAKE WYLIE, S.C. – Boater Jayme Rampey of Liberty, South Carolina, brought five bass to the scale Saturday weighing 19 pounds, 13 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) North Carolina Division tournament on Lake Wylie. For his... READ MORE »

Benton’s Vannerson Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Kentucky and Barkley Lakes

Benton’s Vannerson Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Kentucky and Barkley Lakes

GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. – Boater Rob Vannerson of Benton, Kentucky, brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 21 pounds, 5 ounces, Saturday... READ MORE »

Shreveport’s Keith Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Lake Dardanelle Presented by Navionics

Shreveport’s Keith Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Lake Dardanelle Presented by Navionics

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – Boater Kelly Keith of Shreveport, Louisiana, brought five bass to the scale Saturday weighing 21 pounds, 3 ounces, to... READ MORE »

Vandiver’s Stracner Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Lake Eufaula

Vandiver’s Stracner Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Lake Eufaula

EUFAULA, Ala. – Boater Josh Stracner of Vandiver, Alabama, brought five bass to the scale Saturday weighing... READ MORE »

Ostmann bags 54-12 for Co-angler Win

Ostmann bags 54-12 for Co-angler Win

Scott Ostmann’s last tournament on Chickamauga wasn’t what he knew he was capable of. He found out just what he could really do on Chick this week with a 54-12 three-day total in the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event, presented by T-H Marine, and a huge dose of redemption on a lake that beat him up in 2017. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits From Chickamauga

Top 10 Baits From Chickamauga

Prespawn on Lake Chickamauga usually means a healthy dose of lipless crankbaits and umbrella rigs, so it wasn’t surprising that those were exactly the baits that dominated for the top 10 at the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event presented by T-H Marine on the east Tennessee fishery. Square-bill crankbaits had their place, as did vibrating jigs and a variety of other baits. In the end, though, the common thread connecting many of the anglers in the top 10 was either a trap or a rig. READ MORE »

Chickamauga Midday Update – Day 3

Chickamauga Midday Update – Day 3

With bluebird skies and a little breeze, day three conditions on Chickamauga almost mirror those of day two, which saw a 37-pound, 5-ounce bag caught by current leader Brent Butler. Weights might have been down a bit across the board, but there are enough anglers in the top 10 that are on enough fish to make today’s weigh-in interesting. They’re all out there chasing down some Chick giants today. READ MORE »

Vonore’s Butler Wins Costa FLW Series Tournament on Lake Chickamauga Presented by T-H Marine

Vonore’s Butler Wins Costa FLW Series Tournament on Lake Chickamauga Presented by T-H Marine

DAYTON, Tenn. – Fishing in his sixth event with Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), pro Brent Butler of Vonore, Tennessee, caught a five-bass limit Saturday weighing 16 pounds, 11 ounces, to win the Costa FLW Series at Lake Chickamauga presented by T-H Marine. Butler’s... READ MORE »

Butler Hangs On

Butler Hangs On

Brent Butler weighed in a bag he’ll never forget on day two of the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event on Lake Chickamauga. Not only was the 37-pound, 5-ounce stringer his best ever, it also sent him to day three of the tournament, presented by T-H Marine, with a large enough lead to finish the job. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Chickamauga – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Chickamauga – Day 2

Day-one leader Rusty White caught his fish on Thursday throwing a variety of lipless crankbaits at transition points where fish are moving up to spawn. He did the exact same thing in the same locations on day two, but he struggled to get the same quantity of bites this time around. READ MORE »

Butler Blasts 37-5 on Chickamauga

Butler Blasts 37-5 on Chickamauga

Day two of the Costa FLW Series presented by T-H Marine on Lake Chickamauga was fairly humdrum until Brent Butler walked to the weigh-in stage. Weighing in 37 pounds, 5 ounces, Butler rocketed up from 40th to first with a 51-13 total, and made his mark on the record books in the process. READ MORE »

Chickamauga Midday Update – Day 2

Chickamauga Midday Update – Day 2

Despite improving weather conditions – including abundant sunshine and rising air temperature – the fishing seems to be as slow on Chickamauga today as it was on day one of the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event presented by T-H Marine. READ MORE »

The Trixie Shark: Get Explosive Strikes

The Trixie Shark: Get Explosive Strikes

Reaction Innovations got the name right when it created the Trixie Shark. The soft-plastic topwater bait has a literal shark-shaped body with side “wings” and two flapping rear legs similar to what you find on a traditional topwater toad, yet with enough differences to make the bait unique. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Chickamauga – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Chickamauga – Day 1

On a lake like Chickamauga, there are usually a lot of ways to catch fish. The top five after day one of the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event presented by T-H Marine proved that. READ MORE »

White Leads with 28-11 on Chickamauga

White Leads with 28-11 on Chickamauga

Overall, the fishing wasn’t quite what some expected out of Chickamauga on day one of the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event. However, even a slightly off Chickamauga is really impressive, and Rusty White of Harrison, Tenn., put it to them to the tune of 28 pounds, 11 ounces to take the day-one lead. READ MORE »

Chickamauga Midday Update – Day 1

Chickamauga Midday Update – Day 1

Despite indications that Chickamauga might be ready to churn out a bunch of mega-bags on day one of the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event presented by T-H Marine, early returns suggest the fishing has been a lot tougher than expected so far. READ MORE »

Big Bags on Horizon at Chickamauga

Big Bags on Horizon at Chickamauga

Day one of the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event presented by T-H Marine is underway, and by all indications, the fishery is set up to churn out some mega-bags throughout the event. Even during practice, with the water falling well below normal levels, 7-, 8- and 9-pounders weren’t uncommon. Now, with the best anglers in the southeast hard at it, you can expect fireworks. READ MORE »