UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Cumberland

Setting Up a Slugfest at Chickamauga  

Setting Up a Slugfest at Chickamauga  
Ray Puckett

The second stop of the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division promises much better fishing than the first. Moving north from a cold front-plagued Florida swing, the field will visit Lake Chickamauga for the middle event of the season. The tournament, which is presented by T-H Marine, should feature excellent fishing, as the east Tennessee reservoir pretty much always kicks out giants.

 

The layout

One of the standout reservoirs on the Tennessee River, Chickamauga isn’t as big as Pickwick or Kentucky Lake, but these days it firmly holds the belt for the biggest bass. Located near the border between Georgia and Tennessee, the lake churns out 10-pounders on the reg’ and has been a major focus of anglers and tournaments for the last 10 years. Because Chick has plenty of grass and the water level fluctuates a fair amount, the lake offers a variety of patterns throughout the year, and nearly always has quality fishing. 

 

Current conditions

Mid-March is in the prime of prespawn on Chickamauga, but the lake isn’t exactly normal at the moment. Copious amounts of rain in Tennessee have kept the current rushing in the Tennessee River for much of the winter, but despite the rainfall, the water level is actually very low.

Currently, the lake is nearly 8 feet below full pool, and the Tennessee Valley Authority has been pulling more than 100,000 cfs for quite a while. According to FLW Tour pro Buddy Gross, who also happens to be one of the pre-eminent locals on Chickamauga, about 30,000 cfs could ordinarily be considered quite a bit of flow.

Typically, current is the friend of anglers on the Tennessee River, so it’s not really a major concern, but the conditions are worth noting. Though the water level has started to tick back up over the last day or so, it’s still likely that the tournament takes place under unusual circumstances.

 

Buddy Gross

The Gross perspective

Though Gross surprisingly doesn’t have any FLW wins on Chickamauga, he’s notched a couple of top 10s there and is still considered one of the best on the lake. Hailing from Chickamauga, Ga., he’s spent countless hours on the lake and has seen it under almost every circumstance.

“It’s the lowest I’ve ever seen,” says Gross. “It’s like 8 feet below full pool right now. I’m seeing stuff I’ve never seen. It might fish a little bit smaller than what we want it to, because the water is down so far, but it won’t let anyone down. They’re biting. Several guys are catching big ones.”

Gross is almost certainly one of those several. He figures that the winner will have at least one giant bag and a winning total of more than 20 pounds per day.

“It’s going to be anyone’s ballgame in this one,” says Gross. “What’s probably going to win it is something that nobody ever saw coming.

“There’s gonna be lots of crankbait action, including a lot of shallow cranking. You’re gonna see a ChatterBait bite too. I haven’t got a bite on the Alabama Rig yet, but there’s not a whole lot of good water to throw it in. The creeks are cleaning up, but the main river is real dirty.”

Gross says that because the current has been rolling for so long, many of the fish have pushed off the main lake and into the creeks, coves and eddies. Of course, many of the backwaters are very shallow at the moment, so access to them for the bass and anglers is limited.

“It’s really crowded, but someone is going to crack them in Chester Frost,” says Gross. “But, I think the stuff upriver around takeoff is going to play. Because the water is low, it’s pulled those fish out of the shallow water to wherever there’s a little more depth, and you should be able to find them easier.”

 

Coly Floyd, Carter McNeil

Look forward to good fishing

Though Chickamauga isn’t quite kicking out the five-fish limits like it was when Rogne Brown won a 2013 T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) event there with 40 pounds, 14 ounces, it’s still very good. It seems every week there are two or three 10-plus-pound bass showing up on social media at Chickamauga, showing the lake’s big-fish potential. Yet, really large tournaments haven’t hit Chickamauga very much when the lake is almost 100 percent prespawn, so there’s not too much history to gauge potential in a three-day derby. Still, you can expect excellence. The last two YETI FLW College Fishing events took place on Guntersville and Kentucky Lake, and they both took a ton to win, so it’s only fair to expect the pros and co-anglers at Chickamauga to keep the ball rolling.

 

Tournament details

Format: 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: 7:30 a.m. ET

Takeoff Location: Dayton Boat Dock, 175 Lakeshore Street, Dayton, TN 37321

Weigh-In Time: Days one and two: 3:30 p.m. ET; day three: 4:30 p.m. ET

Weigh-In Location: Dayton Boat Dock on days one and two; Bass Pro Shops at 1000 Bass Pro Drive, Chattanooga, TN 37412 on day three

Complete details

Tags: lake-chickamauga  -chick  -prespawn  -buddy-gross  jody-white  pre-tournament  2019-03-21-lake-chickamauga 

 Cox Commits to MLF

 Cox Commits to MLF

The announcement of the 2021 MLF Bass Pro Tour roster finally makes it official: John Cox will fish the Bass Pro Tour and the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit. READ MORE »

MLF Announces Lake Chickamauga as Location of 2021 Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open

MLF Announces Lake Chickamauga as Location of 2021 Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open

BENTON, Ky. – Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today that Dayton, Tennessee will host the 2021 Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open on March 30-31 at Lake Chickamauga. The famed big-bass fishery has produced some of the best trophy bass fishing opportunities in the country and has served as a highly... READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Hartwell

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Hartwell

Though some largemouth entered the mix by happenstance, you really had to drop down to Jayme Rampey in fourth place to find someone who made a dramatic adjustment to pursue largemouth. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Hartwell

Top 10 Baits from Lake Hartwell

Most of the fish weighed on Hartwell in the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP were spotted bass. As such, a lot of finesse baits made the team. Still, a few anglers attempted to mix in largemouths to varying degrees, and even for spots, it wasn’t all spinning rods. READ MORE »

Kimmel Ices Co-Angler Victory

Kimmel Ices Co-Angler Victory

Justin Kimmel has had built up a sterling record from the back of the boat on Lake Hartwell, and today he padded his stats with a win in the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP. Kimmel, now with three multi-day wins on Hartwell, totaled 26 pounds, 9 ounces and banked $50,000 for the win. READ MORE »

Macy Wins the All-American

Macy Wins the All-American

Weighing 13 pounds, 1 ounce on the final day, Chris Macy totaled 34-10 to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP. Hailing from Diamond, Mo., Macy rose from fifth to first on the final day to claim the $100,000 top prize in his first time in the All-American. READ MORE »

All-American Midday Update – Day 3

All-American Midday Update – Day 3

The final day of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP is shaping up to be a nail-biter. READ MORE »

Lake Hartwell Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Lake Hartwell Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Though there are some possibilities for interesting shallow things to happen on the final day, so far offshore spotted bass have been the name of the game in the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP. With most of the action going down in the lower end of Lake Hartwell, the top 10 are packed tight, and one kicker bite could go an awful long way at the final weigh-in. READ MORE »

Goade Ahead on Hartwell

Goade Ahead on Hartwell

Though Todd Goade calls the Volunteer State home, he’s got plenty of experience on Hartwell and it's showing in the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP. Catching 11 pounds, 7 ounces yesterday, Goade improved his catch today with 13-2 to slid him to the top of the leaderboard with 24-9 overall. READ MORE »

All-American Midday Update – Day 2

All-American Midday Update – Day 2

Like day one, day two of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP has thrown a variety at the anglers. The day started with rain, which was heavy overnight, and tapered off after takeoff. Then, cloudy and slick conditions set in. Now, it’s turned into a perfect day, with puffy clouds, lots of sun and a nice breeze. READ MORE »

Lake Hartwell Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Lake Hartwell Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

As projected, Hartwell isn’t giving up big limits for the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP. Still, there are plenty of fish being caught, and if you want to chase offshore spotted bass around, it’s a pretty good place to be right now. READ MORE »

Lippe Leads on Hartwell

Lippe Leads on Hartwell

Day one of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP saw a bit of everything in terms of weather with rain, fog and some brief sun, and the fishing on Lake Hartwell was maybe just as confusing. Catching fish wasn’t an issue, but the quality that calls Hartwell home eluded the majority of the field. Hauling in 12 pounds even today, Dustin Lippe took the early lead after day one, but the weights are stacked tight, with under 1 1/2 pounds separating first and 10th. READ MORE »

All-American Midday Update – Day 1

All-American Midday Update – Day 1

Day one of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP hasn’t been quite as wet as anticipated, but it’s still offered far from ideal conditions for offshore fishing on Hartwell. So far this morning, nobody has distanced themselves, but there’s still plenty of time before weigh-in. READ MORE »

All-American Starts on Hartwell

All-American Starts on Hartwell

Day one of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP is going to be a wet one. Overnight, a wad of rain and storms moved into the region around Lake Hartwell, and it’s projected to stay wet all the way into Thursday morning, with almost 2-inches of rain in the forecast for today. That rain isn’t what some would like for the fishing, but it’s not going to dampen the competition for the title of All-American and the top prize of $100,000. READ MORE »

Breaking Down the All-American Roster

Breaking Down the All-American Roster

One of the longest-running championships in bass fishing, the All-American is often considered to be the pinnacle of the grassroots level and has launched the careers of anglers like Shaw Grigsby, Jacob Wheeler, Jeremy Lawyer and many more throughout the years. READ MORE »

Previewing the All-American

Previewing the All-American

Originally set for the beginning of May, the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP is now slated for November 11-13 on Lake Hartwell. The All-American brings together the best of the best from the Phoenix Bass Fishing League ranks as well as top anglers from the TBF, college and high school ranks.  READ MORE »

Curtis Locks Up Southwestern AOY

Curtis Locks Up Southwestern AOY

This year, things lined up for Curtis to fish a full season of Toyota Series competition for just the fourth time since 2011 (when he finished fifth in the points). With a pair of top fives and a 16th place showing at the finale on Sam Rayburn, Curtis cruised to the Strike King Angler of the Year title. READ MORE »

Previewing Dale Hollow

Previewing Dale Hollow

When the Toyota Series Central Division wraps up its season on Dale Hollow Lake next week – a lake known for its smallmouth fishing, thanks in big part for producing the world record smallmouth back in 1955 – its anglers probably won’t be weighing in masses of brown fish. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

The top finishers in the recent Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn caught the lake when the shallow bite was just picking up. Sticking shallow around hydrilla with a wake bait, Aaron Johnson stayed consistent and won the event. Behind Johnson, there was a lot of room for pros to fish to their strengths, though there’s no doubt that shallow eventually won out. READ MORE »

Templeton Tops Co-Anglers

Templeton Tops Co-Anglers

Weighing five fish for 12 pounds, 4 ounces, co-angler Anthony Templeton of Beckville, Texas, rocketed up from fifth place to win the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn. With a total of 28-3, Templeton takes home a new Phoenix bass boat worth $33,500 and his first winner’s trophy with FLW. READ MORE »