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

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

2019 Grand Lake Preview

2019 Grand Lake Preview

Grand Lake

Grove, Okla.

March 28-31

Hosted by the City of Grove

Presented by Mercury

 

Curt Warren

About the fishery

Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees (more commonly referred to as Grand Lake) is situated in Northeast Oklahoma among the foothills of the Ozarks. The impoundment was created in 1940 when the Pensacola Dam was finished along the Grand River. The 46,500-surface-acre reservoir now hosts plenty of recreational opportunities, but more importantly, is also home to some of the best bass fishing in the country.

Being that Grand Lake is found in the Ozarks, the predominant structure on the lake is rock. Aside from various types of rock, docks and wood found in the form of flooded bushes, laydowns and brush piles are found fairly commonly throughout the lake.

 

Christopher Jones

Last time

The FLW Tour hasn’t been to Grand since June of 2013. Back then, flipping shallow cover was the predominant pattern and local hammer Jason Christie got the W with 78 pounds, 1 ounce overall.

In recent years, the Costa FLW Series has made Grand a regular stop. Last year, Oklahoma’s Chris Jones scored the win with 47-3 over three days by rolling a spinnerbait behind docks for suspended fish moving up to spawn. In 2017, Nick Prvonozac won sight-fishing or pitching to where he marked beds earlier in the week. Go back to 2016 and Zack Birge won cranking shallow points in Wolf Creek. 

 

Bradley Hallman

What to expect this time

Unseasonably cold temperatures have impacted every stretch of the country this winter and early spring, with Oklahoma being no exception. Because of that, the bass in Grand should be 100 percent prespawn.

FLW Tour pro Bradley Hallman of Norman, Okla., has put his time in on Grand over the years – including winning the 2015 Costa FLW Series event there – and he knows as well as any how feast or famine this time of year can be on Grand.

“Standard Grand Lake in the springtime is to go through a lull in March,” Hallman says. “When the water starts to warm back up about now is when a lot of the shad die. People think it happens when the water gets cold, but it’s actually when it warms up. It makes it hard to generate bites because there are so many dead shad for those bass to eat, but it also makes for some huge fish heading into the spawn. That leads to the quality being there.

“The lull usually happens for about three weeks before we come out of it and we’ve been in it for about that time now. When the lake comes out of it, it starts firing.”

Recent rains have drenched the region leaving the lake about 3 feet above full pool at the moment, though it is on its way down. The lake more stained than normal, but despite cool, dirty water Hallman believes that the fishing will be good and they’ll be chewing across the lake.

“The thing with Grand is that [bass] live from one end of the lake to the other,” says Hallman. “Certain sections of the lake will be hot. Which section that will be, I don’t know, but we’ve seen that in the national and regional tournaments here somebody from the top 10 will catch them on the upper end and someone will catch them by the dam.”

 

Kevin Ledoux

Baits and techniques

Prespawn in the Ozarks means lots of casting and winding. Crankbaits of all shapes and sizes will certainly play a big role, along with a spinnerbait and perhaps a vibrating jig. Expect to see these baits tossed at whatever structure is in front of a pro running down the bank, from docks to rock to laydowns.

Despite stained water, a jerkbait could also have a hand in some big bags. There are areas pros will be able to find cleaner water and if the wind blows some, it will only help that bite.

Also, you can’t discount a shaky head or a jig. They’re a classic prespawn option when fish are in a funky mood and you can bet plenty of fish will be caught dragging. 

Hallman's Little Brown Jig 

 

3 critical factors

1. Water temperature – The water temperature now is somewhere in the upper 40s, but warming weather will likely help bring it up throughout practice and the event. The more the water warms, the better the bite should get.

2. Water level – There is rain in the 10-day forecast and how much it will translate to is yet to be determined. If some rain pushes through, it could keep the lake at a level where flipping bushes comes into play. On the flip side, falling water could help concentrate fish staging to spawn and possibly lead to better bags caught.

3. Pressure – As with any fishery, both pressure from the Tour event and locals can take its toll. Just because a pro catches them from one area one day doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be able to replicate it. Pros that can adapt and change with the conditions and avoid pressure will likely survive to see the weekend.

 

Chad Warren

Pros to watch

There are quite a few Okies in the field and you’ll certainly want to take note of them. Scott Ashmore, Sheldon Collings, Kyle Cortiana, Jeff Dobson, Derek Fulps, Hallman, Jimmy Houston, Brandon Mosley, Darrel Robertson, Andrew Upshaw and Chad Warren all call the Sooner State home and are quite familiar with Grand.

Aside from locals, guys like Greg Bohannan, Jeremy Lawyer, David Dudley, Casey Scanlon, Brad Knight and current Angler of the Year leader Terry Bolton are all guys to keep watch on because of their prowess in the Ozarks or with a crankbait and spinnerbait. 

Tags: kyle-wood  pre-tournament  2019-03-28-grand-lake 

Check-in Time: Jeremy Lawyer

Check-in Time: Jeremy Lawyer

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with Missouri pro Jeremy Lawyer.  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 »

Fitzpatrick All the Way on Grand

Fitzpatrick All the Way on Grand

Roger Fitzpatrick has had quite a fall fishing season. He won the BFL Super Tournament on Lake of the Ozarks in September, then qualified for the All-American by winning the BFL Regional on Grand Lake in October. 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 »

Morris Locks up Central Division AOY

Morris Locks up Central Division AOY

It’s not often an angler wins a Strike King Angler of the Year title in a Costa FLW Series division by chance, and while skill is what carried Jake Morris to his first Costa AOY title, chance definitely brought him to the opportunity. READ MORE »

Rampey Stays Red Hot on Hartwell

Rampey Stays Red Hot on Hartwell

After winning a T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Super Tournament on Lake Hartwell a few weeks ago, Jayme Rampey of Liberty, S.C., was certainly one of the favorites heading into the BFL Regional on the same pond this past weekend. Lo and behold, he wouldn’t disappoint, and notched his 11th career BFL win – five of which have come on Hartwell – and won a Ranger Z518L with a 200-horsepower motor, plus $20,000 cash for his efforts. 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 »

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 4

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 4

The final five T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Super Tournaments took place over the weekend, bringing BFL regular-season competition to a close. Regional tournaments will kick off Oct. 10, and by the end of the month the majority of the field for the 2020 All-American will be set.  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 »

The Cal Delta is Looking Good

The Cal Delta is Looking Good

This week the Costa FLW Series Western Division will conclude with the final event of the season on the California Delta. The tournament, which is presented by Power-Pole, should showcase a different side of the Delta, given that most of the Western Division tournaments on the famed fishery take place in the spring. That said, last year’s event on the Delta fell on nearly identical dates as this year and could be a good tease for how things may shake out this time around. READ MORE »

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 3

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 3

The third round of T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Super Tournament action saw smallmouths, spotted bass and largemouths all make an appearance as six divisions put a bow on the season with their respective two-day events. Here’s a quick recap of what all played out in the action spanning from the Detroit River down to Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 2

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 2

The second weekend in September saw seven more T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) divisions conclude their seasons with two-day Super Tournament events. From the Tennessee River to the St. Lawrence River and a few places in between, here’s a quick look at how the seven events were won. READ MORE »

Big Smallmouths, Big Water for Season Finale

Big Smallmouths, Big Water for Season Finale

Any tournament with smallmouths in it is a good one, but when the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits heads to the St. Lawrence River it's usually a show-stopper. This year’s event, which is presented by Realtree Fishing, shouldn’t be any different as the Northern Division looks to close its season out on one of the best smallmouth fisheries in the world September 19-21. READ MORE »

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 1

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 1

College football, hooded sweatshirts and the conclusion of the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) regular season are what come to mind as the calendar turns to September. This past weekend, six divisions put a feather in their cap for the year with their two-day Super Tournament events – where the payouts are bigger – but, more importantly, it’s the last chance to accumulate points to qualify for the Regionals this October. READ MORE »

How to Finesse Weed line Largemouths

How to Finesse Weed line Largemouths

When it comes to finesse baits that put fish in the boat, the Ned rig has certainly earned a spot as a go-to for bass anglers across the country. While it catches pretty much everything that swims, most of the attention gets put on catching northern smallmouths or Ozarks-region largemouths and spotted bass with it.   READ MORE »

The Smallmouth-Alewife Connection

The Smallmouth-Alewife Connection

Smallmouths across the Great Lakes region and North Country have no shortage of food to eat, but while they’re very opportunistic, they can also get locked in on certain forage from time to time. One of their favorites, when present, is the alewife. READ MORE »