UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Santee Cooper

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 

2019 Lake Chickamauga Preview

2019 Lake Chickamauga Preview

Lake Chickamauga in east Tennessee is a big-bass playground where anglers regularly catch trophy fish that surpass 10 pounds. In early May, it'll host the FLW Tour for the third time in six years. Previous events were held in June, so this stop promises to offer a different look at the Chick. READ MORE »

Big Weights Expected at Santee Cooper

Big Weights Expected at Santee Cooper

The Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division finishes up its 2019 season at the Santee Cooper lakes, Marion and Moultrie, in South Carolina this week. Forty pros and co-anglers will qualify for the championship, and an Angler of the Year will be crowned as the field fishes for hefty postspawn largemouths. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Cherokee Lake

FLW Live Schedule for Cherokee Lake

FLW Live is back for 2019 FLW Tour stop No. 5 at beautiful Cherokee Lake. The event, which is presented by Lowrance and hosted by the Jefferson County Economic Development Alliance, runs Thursday, April 11 through Sunday, April 14. READ MORE »

Get to Know Cherokee Lake

Get to Know Cherokee Lake

The fifth stop of the FLW Tour is presented by Lowrance and sure to be fun if you like east Tennessee, smallmouths and good fishing (who doesn’t?). Cherokee Lake plays host and promises to both challenge and delight anglers. READ MORE »

Beavers Breaks Down Cherokee

Beavers Breaks Down Cherokee

Beavers started the year off about as badly as he could, finishing 121st at Rayburn, but he’s been on a tear ever since, finishing 54th at Toho before banking back-to-back top 10s at Seminole and Grand. READ MORE »

Scouting Cherokee with LeBrun

Scouting Cherokee with LeBrun

Now in the second half of the Tour season, LeBrun is up against another new lake, and sort of a new species. He says he’s never seen a smallmouth on a bed in his life, and has spent just two days on Cherokee in pre-practice. READ MORE »

2019 Cherokee Lake Preview

2019 Cherokee Lake Preview

Nestled in the hills of east Tennessee, Cherokee Lake is a TVA impoundment on the Holston River, and it sits roughly between Norris Lake (to the northwest) and Douglas Lake (to the southeast). READ MORE »

Nabe to Use Marshal Winnings for Leg Surgery

Nabe to Use Marshal Winnings for Leg Surgery

When you live a bass-fishing vagabond lifestyle, sleep in a van and have no bank account, every dollar counts out there on the tournament trail. That’s why Hiroyuki Watanabe – better known as Nabe – was very pleased to earn the $2,500 winner’s check for being the top-finishing marshal at the Grand Lake FLW Tour event last week. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Grand Lake has a history of being feast or famine, and it was a lot more famine this past week for the FLW Tour’s fourth stop of the 2019 season, presented by Mercury. Falling water and inconsistent weather made just catching a limit a herculean task, as nearly as many pros didn’t weigh in a fish as brought in a limit every day of the event. READ MORE »

Prespawn Throwdown on Tap at KY Lake

Prespawn Throwdown on Tap at KY Lake

The Costa FLW Series Central Division hosts its season opener at Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley April 4-6. Instead of a postspawn ledge showdown, like is typical of major multi-day bass-fishing tournaments in the region, this derby should be a prespawn or spawn slugfest, with crankbaits, spinnerbaits, ChatterBaits, umbrella rigs, swimbait and jigs all playing a major role in the outcome. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

If you’re going to fish Grand Lake this time of year, you’d better be good with a spinnerbait. The FLW Tour event at Grand Lake last week sure showcased that. READ MORE »

AOY Update: Grand Lake

AOY Update: Grand Lake

Terry Bolton is now more than halfway to his first FLW Tour Angler of the Year title after another top-30 cut at Grand Lake last weekend. For those of you keeping track at home, that’s four top-30 cuts in four events, including two top 10s and his first FLW Tour win. READ MORE »

Lawyer Wins at Grand

Lawyer Wins at Grand

Jeremy Lawyer has already had a successful career by many measures – a T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American title and a Costa FLW Series win took care of that in 2016 and 2018. Today, the Sarcoxie, Mo., pro earned his biggest win yet at the FLW Tour presented by Mercury on Grand Lake. Weighing 13 pounds, 14 ounces on the final day, Lawyer totaled 62-12 to earn the win over Michael Matthee by tiebreaker. Ties on day four are broken by day three standings, and Lawyer went into the final day in third, while Matthee started the final day in fourth. READ MORE »

Lawyer Wins FLW Tour at Grand Lake presented by Mercury Marine

Lawyer Wins FLW Tour at Grand Lake presented by Mercury Marine

GROVE, Okla. (March 31, 2019) – The FLW Tour at Grand Lake presented by Mercury Marine promised a dramatic finish Sunday as all of the final top-10 anglers competing were within striking distance of first place and the title of Grand Lake Champion. When the scales settled, it was Bass Pro Shops pro Jeremy Lawyer of Sarcoxie, Missouri, who had caught enough weight to earn the first FLW... READ MORE »

Grand Lake Day 4 Coverage

Grand Lake Day 4 Coverage

FLW superstar Bryan Thrift is in the lead and chasing seventh FLW Tour victory at Grand Lake in Oklahoma on a cold and blustery March day. READ MORE »

Thrift Eyes 7th Tour Title

Thrift Eyes 7th Tour Title

Seminole may have thrown Bryan Thrift for a loop, but he’s back on track through three days of the FLW Tour presented by Mercury on Grand Lake. Weighing 16 pounds each of the first two days, the Shelby, N.C., pro laid the wood to them on day three, boxing up 19 pounds, 3 ounces to move from fifth to first. With a total of 52-1, Thrift leads Jeremy Lawyer by just 3-3, which is a lot considering how good Thrift is, but not much considering how Grand has treated leaders thus far. READ MORE »

Thrift Takes Over at FLW Tour at Grand Lake presented by Mercury Marine

Thrift Takes Over at FLW Tour at Grand Lake presented by Mercury Marine

GROVE, Okla. – The FLW Tour at Grand Lake presented by Mercury Marine is setting up for a dramatic final day on Sunday – the top 10 is stacked with a two-time FLW Tour Angler of the Year, an FLW Cup champion, a Costa FLW Series Champion, a Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American Champion and a local angling prodigy that are all in striking distance to win the tournament... READ MORE »

Boutries Moves to the Front at Grand

Boutries Moves to the Front at Grand

Day two of the FLW Tour presented by Mercury on Grand Lake was defined by a big storm that swept over the lake midday and lots of movement on the leaderboard. In first after the dust settled, Bailey Boutries of Daphne, Ala., weighed 20 pounds, 6 ounces to get up to a 35-4 total and the lead in the fourth FLW Tour event of his career. Just 4 ounces behind him is John Cox, and just 1 ounce behind him is Bradford Beavers, so his lead is perhaps not the safest, but it’s still a lead going into the weekend of a Tour event. READ MORE »

Alabama Rookie Boutries Grabs Lead at FLW Tour at Grand Lake presented by Mercury Marine

Alabama Rookie Boutries Grabs Lead at FLW Tour at Grand Lake presented by Mercury Marine

GROVE, Okla. – Rookie pro Bailey Boutries of Daphne, Alabama, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Friday weighing 20 pounds, 6 ounces, to take the lead after Day Two of the FLW Tour at Grand Lake presented by Mercury Marine. Boutries’ two-day total of 10 bass weighing 35 pounds, 4 ounces gives him a slim 4-ounce advantage heading into Day Three of the four-day... READ MORE »

Grand Lake Day 2 Coverage

Grand Lake Day 2 Coverage

Kyle Weisenburger has a big lead heading into the second day of competition at the FLW Tour event presented by Mercury at Grand Lake in Oklahoma. Follow along to see if he can maintain his pace. READ MORE »