UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Ft. Gibson

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Seminole

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Seminole

Prespawn bass were the main storyline for the third stop of the FLW Tour on Lake Seminole presented by Costa. Finding areas that held concentrations of staging bass was vital to fishing all four days and most of the pros rode individual spots to their respective finishes.

Brian Latimer called a several hundred yard flat along the Flint River home and flipped grass clumps for just a handful of bites throughout the day for his win. However, most of the top 10 kept a vibrating jig in their hands and camped on one spot to take advantage of a fast and furious morning bite.

Here’s a look at how the rest of the top 10 pros got it done on Seminole.

Latimer’s winning story

Top 10 baits

Complete results

 

2. Setzer drags a ditch

Braxton Setzer gave Latimer a run a for his money and led after day one thanks to his 25-pound, 15-ounce limit. If it wasn’t for weighing just two fish for 7-11 on day two, he probably would have taken home his first Tour title.

“I got four bites on day two and landed two of them,” Setzer says. “I think the boat pressure in the area got to them. That’s the only reason I could think as to why they didn’t bite that good.”

Still, those two bass were enough to send him fishing into the weekend where he’d run right back to the same waypoint Saturday morning and sack up 24-8 in a hurry. On the final day, it produced another 20-12 to give him his best finish on Tour thus far.

Setzer’s spot was located in a ditch leading to a spawning flat in Spring Creek near Big Jim’s. The ditch had a bare spot in it, which is where the majority of his fish came from. When the spot was on, it was on. Almost all of his tournament weight came within the first two hours of fishing.

“I actually found it just putting around and looking at my Lowrance. I saw that there was a ditch and it looked good, so I turned around to fish it and got a bite,” explains the Montgomery, Ala., pro. “I worked up the ditch and got some better fish over by where [Joseph] Webster was fishing. He pulled in there first on day one, so I fished the bare spot. It all worked out in the end.”

Setzer rotated through a few baits, but a Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Worm on a 1/4-ounce weight with 16-pound-test Yo-Zuri Top Knot fluorocarbon got the most work done. He threw the worm on a 7-7, heavy Phenix Feather rod.

 

3. Collings camped by the dam

In his second year on Tour, Sheldon Collings of Grove, Okla., fished a solid event en route to his first top 10 finish on Tour.

Like Setzer, Collings did most of his damage right away in the morning and got the ball rolling on day one with 23-14. While he was one of a handful of anglers who caught limits every day of the event, he wouldn’t crack the 20-pound mark again until the final day. Still, he locked in on one spot and played the event like a seasoned veteran.

Collings’ area was essentially a high spot on a flat near the dam with a mix of grass mixed around it.

“I found that spot last year in the Costa [FLW Series] event,” Collings says. “I idled over it and saw there were fish there in practice this week and knew I could catch some. The grass is thick on top in about 6 feet, but sparse out deeper in about 10 feet.

"It’s really not the best looking grass, but the fish were staging there to spawn and I don’t really know why.”

Collings caught the bulk of his fish on a ½-ounce homemade vibrating jig with a Z-Man Razor ShadZ trailer. To keep ‘em pinned, he tied it to 17-pound-test fluorocarbon and used a Tailwalk Fullrange series rod. He notes the key was not reeling the bait steadily, but rather pumping and dragging the bait along.

“[Sunday] I had to drag the bait slow enough to barely feel the blade moving,” he adds.

 

4. Bolton works sandbar for another top 10

Terry Bolton has been on fire all season long and currently leads the Angler of the Year race after not missing a top-30 cut yet.

Bolton was fairly consistent over the first three days of fishing with bags of 14-4, 14-13 and 16-3, respectively. But, he saved the best for last when he catapulted to fourth with 27-2 – the biggest limit of the event

“There’s a window before fish spawn when they are real aggressive and [Sunday] I hit it,” Bolton says. “They were new fish and they came to the hill.”

The Benton, Ky., pro worked a large area at the mouth of Spring Creek, targeting sand spots and the grass clumps and edges that surrounded them.

“I used my Costas to see the grass edges and sand spots and I would throw around there,” Bolton continues. “I had to find a new area each day.”

Fishing painfully slow, Bolton tossed a Neko-rigged Zoom Fluke Stick with the tail pinched off. His terminal tackle included a 1/0 or 2/0 VMC Weedless Neko hook with part of a 1/16-ounce VMC Neko Weight shoved in the end. To get the fish to the boat, Bolton used 10-pound-test Sufix Performance braid tied to an 8-pound-test Sufix fluorocarbon leader and a 6-11, medium Lew’s Custom Speed Stick Lite rod.

 

5. Kilby targets prespawners up the Chattahoochee

Rob Kilby of Hot Springs, Ark., probably benefitted from the cold front that pushed through prior to the tournament, helping stall his fish from flooding the bank. He kicked off the tournament 23-3, but by the final day warming temperatures had his fish on the move and he scrapped up 7-5.

Focusing his efforts in a backwater of the Chattahoochee River, Kilby found a stretch of bank with a smattering of good bass cover.

“There’s a lot of hydrilla in Seminole, but not a lot of shallow, good hydrilla,” Kilby says. “The area I found was 3- to 5-feet deep and where the hydrilla survived the hurricane. There was also two or three other grasses mixed together, like reeds and lily pads, and it is always good to have a mix of grass.

“There were also docks behind the grass and a bank with docks will always have more bass on it than a bank without docks. I don’t care where you are.”

A ½-ounce vibrating jig was all Kilby needed to coax prespawn bass into biting.

Kilby shared the area with several competitors over the course of the first few days, but most of them were honed in on the docks and shallow water near the shore. Not Kilby. The hydrilla line that sat just out from the docks was where fish were staging to spawn.

“I actually sat inside the grass, up shallow to make it look like I was fishing the docks and stuff on the bank, but I would cast out towards the hydrilla and that’s where the fish were. Everyone skipped the hydrilla and I had it all to myself.”

 

6. Martin chunks and winds, sight-fishes some

Prespawn bass were the primary target of Scott Martin to score his second top 10 in a row.

Martin never had a big day, instead he posted the most consistent weights among the top pros. He weighed 16-7, 16, 14-6 and 15-13 fishing around the Flint River in the stained water working the hydrilla lines along sandbars near channel swings.

“I caught some fish in some of the same places each day, but I also had to fish new water each day as well,” Martin says.

Throughout the tournament fish were pushing shallow and Martin plucked a few off beds each day, mostly in backwaters along the Flint or below the Chattahoochee.  

For baits, Martin used a Googan Baits Bandito Bug, a white craw for sight-fishing and a vibrating jig (3/8 or 1/2 ounce, depending on depth) paired with a Googan Baits Krackin’ Craw. Everything was thrown on 15-pound-test P-Line Tactical fluorocarbon, and his rod of choice was either a 7-3, heavy Favorite Rush or a 7-6 Favorite flipping stick.

“All week I could catch one or two here and there, but I never had a place where I could catch them back-to-back like the other guys,” Martin adds.

 

7. Howe slow rolls a ChatterBait

Fishing the same flat as Collings, Miles Howe of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., kept to a 1/2-mile stretch within sight of the dam.

“It was the only place I found with a ton of clean, fresh hydrilla,” Howe says. “I kept my boat in 5 to 7 feet and threw in to 3.”

The only thing Howe needed was a 1/2-ounce Z-Man/Evergreen ChatterBait Jack Hammer with a Pro Point Lures swimbait for a trailer. Howe also opted for a slower retrieve to get bit.

“Everyone around me was fishing fast, but I was barely turning the reel handle – enough to see the rod tip move,” Howe notes. “I actually caught my two better fish by climbing the ChatterBait over the grass instead of snapping it free. I’d just kind of pull up and let it crawl over the grass.”

 

8. Beavers cashes in on morning bite

Tour rookie Bradford Beavers of Summerville, S.C., is no stranger to fishing Lake Seminole, but has never really dialed in the offshore bite – until now.

On day one Beavers loaded with boat with 25-2 in short order. He’d add another 18-12 on day two to take the lead. Unfortunately, he knew his fish wanted to move to the bank and by the weekend his bite would dwindle.

“I was fishing the mouth of Spring Creek on a grass flat where I got two bites in practice and shook them off,” says Beavers. “The first day I threw a Carolina rig on it and had fish grab the bait and spit it. So, I picked up the vibrating jig and it was lights out.”

The bait was a ½-ounce Katch-Her Lures vibrating jig with a swimbait. His bite window lasted about 45 minutes each morning and after that he’d run shallow looking for spawners or fish cruising.

 

9. Weaver worked current and flipped

The mouth of a backwater in the Chattahoochee River is where Joshua Weaver did the bulk of his work. He also fell in the category of anglers who caught most of their weights right away in the morning.

The Macon, Ga., pro has been fishing Lake Seminole since before he can remember, though most of the experience he has this time of year didn’t factor in during the event.

Like the majority of the top pros, Weaver also used a 1/2-ounce Z-Man/Evergreen ChatterBait Jack Hammer, but paired it with a Zoom Salty Super Fluke for a trailer. He threw it on an Abu Garcia Fantasista Premier rod (7-6, medium heavy) and 20-pound-test Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon.

“The spot I fished is normally good in the fall,” Weaver says. “I normally catch them in there flipping, but they were grouped up staging there. The problem is that once they leave it and get back in the marsh they can swim anywhere and they get hard to find.

“When you spend three days in a small area you just wear them out and I wasn’t holding anything back each day. By [Sunday] I just ran out of fish and knew my only chance at a big bag was to go sight-fishing. I passed up 10- to 12-pound limits because I wasn’t stopping unless I saw a 5-pounder or bigger. I found four big ones, but they’d swim off the bed and wouldn’t come back.”

 

10. Freeman lived in Spring Creek

Hunter Freeman of Monroe, La., posted back-to-back 17-pound limits over the first two days to help push him into his first top 10 in his rookie campaign.

Freeman was targeting prespawn fish farther up Spring Creek than the rest of the top 10.

“There was a 300-yard stretch that had two ditches, a flat and an inside and outside grass line,” Freeman says. “It’s everything you want in a spawning area.”

Dirty water crept its way into his area by the end of the event forcing him to scramble and catch what he could.

The 2018 YETI FLW College Fishing National Champion used two baits. He’d cover water and get a school fired up with a Salmo Squarebill Crankbait in the No. 5 size, but catch his bigger fish on a 1/2-ounce vibrating jig paired with an Xcite Baits Shadnasty.

Tags: kyle-wood  post-tournament  2019-03-07-lake-seminole 

Vlog: Becker's 3 Patterns from Martin

Vlog: Becker's 3 Patterns from Martin

Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro Matt Becker recently shared a great video that details the three patterns he used to earn a fourth-place finish at the season’s third stop on Lake Martin. Becker, who’s currently second in the Angler of the Year race, caught both largemouth and spotted bass and capitalized on a variety of tactics for a top finish. His patterns included targeting staging and spawning spotted bass on shoals, skipping docks and sight-fishing for spawning largemouths.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Martin

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Martin

Spotted bass dominated the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit on Lake Martin, but they didn’t win it. Sure, the sheer abundance of spotted bass in Martin left most pros’ thumbs bloody and raw from catching so many fish. Yet, it was the key largemouth that really separated the field, and what helped Jason Abram earn his first victory. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Martin

Top 10 Baits from Lake Martin

Bites were easy to come by at Lake Martin. It was getting the quality bites that separated the field. READ MORE »

Practice Report: Lake Martin

Practice Report: Lake Martin

March in Alabama can be boom or bust in terms of weather, but luckily this week’s forecast calls for mostly gorgeous springtime weather for the third stop of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Lake Martin. READ MORE »

Top Patterns and Baits from Okeechobee

Top Patterns and Baits from Okeechobee

Though the total weights didn’t live up to some expectations, the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Lake Okeechobee was still a lot of fun. The weather was great, there were plenty of fish caught the first two days, and there was a truly dramatic race for the win on the final day. READ MORE »

Bank Battle Set for Lake of the Ozarks

Bank Battle Set for Lake of the Ozarks

When it comes to prespawn in the Ozarks, there may not be a better place to catch a giant bag of bass in the spring than on Lake of the Ozarks. And though the weather has been a little up and down over the last several weeks, things are setting up for a solid start to the Toyota Series Plains Division season March 26-28. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Hartwell

Top 10 Baits from Hartwell

Because of high water and cooler conditions, bass on Lake Hartwell haven’t quite gotten fully into the mood to spawn. During the Toyota Series Eastern Division opener on Lake Hartwell, there were plenty of shallow fish to be had, but catching them wasn’t as simple as finding one pattern or one primary bait. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Hartwell

Top 10 Patterns from Hartwell

Early March on Lake Hartwell can be feast or famine. The bite often depends on weather patterns, as both largemouth and spotted bass are staging before the spawn. MLF Bass Pro Tour pro Marty Robinson pulled off a wire-to-wire win, but the victory wasn’t easy. The final field of 10 contained a lot of local knowledge and experienced anglers who were ready to knock Robinson off should he falter. Here’s a look at how the rest of the top 10 caught their fish and earned their paychecks. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Chickamauga

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Chickamauga

In February, with water temperatures in the high 40s, no one expected a fast and furious bite during the 2020 Toyota Series Central Division tournament on Lake Chickamauga. What everyone hoped for was quality fish. There were two 10-pound-plus bass brought to the weigh-in stand, but it appeared consistency was the name of the game, at least for the winner, Jim Neece Jr. of Bristol, Tenn.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the Harris Chain

Top 10 Patterns from the Harris Chain

In past FLW events on the chain, the grass was best in Griffin and Harris, but this time Dora, Beauclair, Eustis and Harris provided most of the top bags. Targeting hydrilla, eelgrass and hard spots, prespawn and postspawn fish were the focus for the vast majority of the top schools. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Chickamauga

Top 10 Baits from Lake Chickamauga

It was February, so low temperatures were the norm for the 2020 Toyota Series Central Division tournament on Lake Chickamauga. Water temperatures were in the high 40s, which meant the bass were generally not overly aggressive or active. Not all, but most fish were taken in shallow water where the bass were moving up to feed and/or take advantage of warmer, shallower water. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Harris Chain

Top 10 Baits from the Harris Chain

Between cold fronts and pressure, the Harris Chain has been a tough nut to crack, yet the top teams in the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship presented by Lowrance got it done with a combination of plastic and hard baits. Certainly, the teams learned a thing or two from the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event held the week prior on the chain, but you still can never go wrong with a Texas-rigged worm, vibrating jig or lipless crankbait in Florida. READ MORE »

SFA Wins National Championship

SFA Wins National Championship

After an exciting final weigh-in, the Stephen F. Austin team of Hank Harrison and Ethan LeGare were crowned champions of the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship presented by Lowrance on the Harris Chain. Due to an inadvertent violation of Rule 12, the leading McKendree University team of Nathan Doty and Jacob Louis had their final-day weight disqualified. Weighing the biggest bag of the day at 20 pounds, 8 ounces, Harrison and LeGare totaled 56-5 to win. READ MORE »

McKendree Cruises Ahead on Harris

McKendree Cruises Ahead on Harris

After two days on the Harris Chain for the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship presented by Lowrance, McKendree University’s Nathan Doty and Jacob Louis backed up their 22-pound, 10-ounce performance from day one with another 20-2 today to take the lead. READ MORE »

Sam Houston Leads with 24-11

Sam Houston Leads with 24-11

Day one of the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship presented by Lowrance on the Harris Chain certainly didn’t disappoint. The consensus from many of the teams during practice was that the chain was fishing tough, yet would kick up some solid bags on Tuesday. With 10 bags over 18 pounds and six over 20, it’s safe to say the Harris Chain is living up to it’s potential. READ MORE »

Kritsberg Hits Jackpot With Strickland Mega-Bag

Kritsberg Hits Jackpot With Strickland Mega-Bag

Warren “Butch” Kritsberg has only lived in Florida for a few years, and he’s still learning a lot about fishing the Harris Chain of Lakes. Fortunately, he now has a lot of new intel about where and how to catch giants after riding along with Laramy Strickland on the second tournament day of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event, which was presented by Bad Boy Mowers. READ MORE »

College Championship Kicks Off on Harris

College Championship Kicks Off on Harris

Championship week for any sport is as exciting as it gets and it’s no different for the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship presented by Lowrance this week on the Harris Chain. Competing for a $30,000 prize package, including a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower outboard, 162 college bass fishing clubs will have free range of the chain to vie for the title. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the Harris Chain

Top 10 Patterns from the Harris Chain

Each day of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Harris Chain of Lakes was markedly different from the day prior. Most of the field struggled a bit, and the final 30 anglers were left scrambling to figure out how to find and catch fish in the post-frontal conditions that are often so detrimental for Florida largemouths.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Harris Chain

Top 10 Baits from the Harris Chain

At Florida’s Harris Chain, in late winter, it’s a good bet the same handful of baits are going to produce more than any others, from Lake Harris down to Apopka. During the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event on the Harris Chain, presented by Bad Boy Mowers, it was Texas rigs with black and blue plastics, jerkbaits, Carolina rigs and a few other moving baits that most often got the call.  READ MORE »

Prespawn Showdown Set for Hartwell

Prespawn Showdown Set for Hartwell

Spring can be one of the best times to launch a boat in the clear waters of Lake Hartwell. That’s why the Georgia-South Carolina border reservoir might be the perfect venue to start the Eastern Division of the Toyota Series on March 3.  READ MORE »