UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Santee Cooper

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Top 5 Patterns from Chickamauga – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Chickamauga – Day 1
Dakota Ebare

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.

While hammering rocky secondary points with umbrella rigs was popular on Thursday, so was cranking those areas. And cranking grass. And throwing swimbaits and other reaction baits behind sand bars in the main river, just out of the ripping current.

In the top five especially, there was an abundance of patterns and baits in play. Leader Rusty White found his big fish in one special spot fishing an undisclosed pattern, and the rest of the top five pros found unique ways to catch them.

White’s leading pattern

Complete results

 

CODY NICHOLS

2. Cody Nichols – Fayette, Ala. – 25-5 (5)

Cody Nichols utilized the current on Chickamauga to target and catch his fish. In practice, he made three casts to one specific bar that served as a current break in the main-lake area. On those three casts, he caught a 7-, a 5- and a 3-pounder.

“I pretty much had one good spot,” he explains. “I didn’t catch all of them off one spot. All of them but one – the biggest one.”

Once Nichols had a solid limit of about 18 pounds, he opted to run around and hit some other sand bars. His best spot was in about 2 feet of water, which he targeted with an XCalibur lipless crankbait in Rayburn red color.

While Nichols says he’s fished Chick about 20 times, he’s a Tennessee River angler who’s extremely familiar with Pickwick, and he thinks Chick is fishing eerily similarly this week.

 

STEVE STANFILL

3. Steve Stanfill – Dawsonville, Ga. – 25-1 (5)

Chick has a lot of grass, but with water levels down this week, that grass is in uncomfortably shallow water that’s hard to fish. Today, the water rose at least a foot, and Steve Stanfill used it to his advantage.

Targeting a grassy area about a mile long, the Dawsonville, Ga., pro threw a variety of lipless crankbaits and square-bills to flush out fish from that shallow grass.

“I’ve got one area that’s about a mile long that’s got a lot of fish in it,” he says. “Grass and a lot of fish.”

The hydrilla Stanfill was fishing could be even jucier on day two if the water continues to rise. But, as is the case with the rest of the field behind him, big fish are plentiful just about everywhere.

“This is my third time on this lake,” he adds. “I came here Friday with my wife, put in and ran up the river, dropped the trolling motor and in 10 minutes I had a 9-13.”

Stanfill had one close to that on day one, and he’s hoping his grassy stretch has more of those tucked away waiting for him.

 

DEREK HICKS

4. Derek Hicks – Rocky Face, Ga. – 24-9 (5)

Like Nichols, Derek Hicks caught his fish targeting current breaks behind sand bars. He was looking for hard spots that were sheltered from the current where fish are moving up to spawn.

“A couple of them are one-cast places,” he says, referring to the spots at which he can make one specific cast to the same location and catch multiple fish.

Hicks’ spots might be very weather- and water level-dependent, though. If the water comes up on Friday, the current might slow down, meaning those same areas that produced on day one could go bad fast.

“[If the water comes up] That’s going to change a lot,” he says. “It’s going to fish real funky. They don’t bite real good when the water’s rising here. If we still have current, it’s fine, but they’re not going to bite good if it’s coming up. I’d like to see it fall.”

Hicks is casting and winding for all his fish and says he’s using a variety of baits.

 

BRANDON STANLEY

5. Brandon Stanley – Johnson City, Tenn. – 23-14 (5)

Brandon Stanley fished a couple different patterns today, which could play to his advantage on day two with weather conditions changing by the minute.

One of his patterns was targeting steep rock transitions.

“Ten to 15 feet seems to be what I’m keying on,” says Stanley. “If I get any shallower than five feet, it seems like my bites fall off big time.”

Stanley also targeted eddies in the main river – pretty much anywhere just out of the full current.

“The current itself is too fast,” he adds. “You have to have something to break it up.”

What really did the trick for Stanley on day one was a combination of the right current and the right depth with wood and brush underneath it. That’s what he’ll be looking for again on day two.

“If you can find the right kind of brush piles that have deep enough water and the right amount of current on it, that’s it. Wham-O.”

Tags: justin-onslow  headline-story  2019-03-21-lake-chickamauga 

Top 10 Patterns from Cherokee Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Cherokee Lake

Targeting spawning smallmouth bass was by far the dominant pattern when the FLW Tour visited Cherokee Lake in east Tennessee in April. With a few exceptions, the top 10 pros targeted various combinations of rock and gravel banks where the fish were bedding. Finesse baits such as shaky heads, Ned rigs and small swimbaits saw the most work. READ MORE »

Cherokee Has Been Good to Jason Bridwell

Cherokee Has Been Good to Jason Bridwell

Jason Bridwell fishes in the Volunteer Division of the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League, and his track record on Cherokee, a lake at which he considers himself a local, is nearly spotless, especially after a win in the FLW Tour Marshal program contest. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Cherokee Lake

Top 10 Baits from Cherokee Lake

The smallmouth bass spawn was on at Cherokee Lake in east Tennessee when the FLW Tour came to town in April. Most of the top pros caught their fish on Ned rigs and shaky heads, as well as swimbaits and jigs. READ MORE »

It’s all Upshaw

It’s all Upshaw

As pretty much everyone figured, the final day of the FLW Tour event presented by Lowrance on Cherokee Lake was a nail-biter. Coming down to the wire, a final-hour cull from Andrew Upshaw was enough to hold off Grae Buck and earn the Tulsa, Okla., pro his first Tour win. Weighing 15 pounds, 6 ounces, Upshaw totaled up 67-10 to earn the $100,000 payday and his first trophy after eight years on Tour. READ MORE »

FLW Live Leaderboard - Cherokee Lake

FLW Live Leaderboard - Cherokee Lake

FLW Marshals and media staff provide unofficial weight estimates for stop No. 5 of the 2019 FLW Tour at Cherokee Lake. READ MORE »

Cherokee Lake Day 4 Coverage

Cherokee Lake Day 4 Coverage

Andrew Upshaw has a chance to go wire-to-wire for the win at the FLW Tour event presented by Lowrance on Cherokee Lake. The Oklahoma pro has led for three days thanks to his smallmouth pattern. The rest of the pros are catching mixed bags of largemouths and smallmouths. Many of the fish are spawning. READ MORE »

Upshaw Almost There

Upshaw Almost There

Andrew Upshaw is one day away from going wire-to-wire to secure his first-ever FLW Tour victory, and as long as the pressure and the nine pros behind him don’t knock him off course, the Tulsa, Okla., pro has a game plan to make it happen. READ MORE »

Cherokee Day 3 Coverage

Cherokee Day 3 Coverage

It's a catch-fest at Cherokee Lake in east Tennessee, as the top 30 pros enter the weekend with hopes of catching Andrew Upshaw, who has led for two days. Largemouths and smallmouths are both spawning, and they are eager to bite. READ MORE »

Upshaw Still Up at Cherokee

Upshaw Still Up at Cherokee

Day two of the FLW Tour presented by Lowrance on Cherokee Lake featured great fishing again and remarkable consistency from many of the leaders. Still on top, Andrew Upshaw weighed 17 pounds, 14 ounces of smallmouths to up his total to 36-4. In second, Dylan Hays dropped off the pace slightly and weighed 16-11 for a 34-8 total to lurk a bit less than 2 pounds behind Upshaw. Overall, 18 pros weighed more than 16 pounds on day two, and 28 pros have amassed totals over 30 pounds. READ MORE »

Cherokee Lake Day 2 Coverage

Cherokee Lake Day 2 Coverage

Day one of the FLW Tour event at Cherokee Lake was a doozy. Pros hammered impressive numbers of largemouth and smallmouth bass on what was a perfect spring day in east Tennessee. Now, it's cut day, and everyone is hoping to make it into the top 30 and fish again on the weekend. READ MORE »

Upshaw Leads Packed Top 10

Upshaw Leads Packed Top 10

Day one of the FLW Tour presented by Lowrance on Cherokee Lake was a sure enough catchfest. Leading the way, Andrew Upshaw of Tulsa, Okla., weighed 18 pounds, 6 ounces to take the lead, but 13 other pros also weighed more than 16 pounds. READ MORE »

Cherokee Lake Day 1 Coverage

Cherokee Lake Day 1 Coverage

The FLW Tour visits Cherokee Lake in east Tennessee at the perfect time for a spring showdown. Largemouth and smallmouth bass are ready to spawn, and practice reports suggest a lot of fish will be caught. READ MORE »

Gregory, Hudson and Pugh Tie on Smith

Gregory, Hudson and Pugh Tie on Smith

David Hudson of Jasper, and Greg Pugh and Dexton Gregory, both of Cullman, Alabama, ended up in a three-way tie for the win at the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Choo Choo Division tournament on Lewis Smith Lake after each bringing five bass weighing 15 pounds, 1 ounce, to the scale. After contingency awards, Hudson earned $3,001, with Gregory taking home $2,801 and Pugh $2,501. READ MORE »

DeGrandcourt Cranks to Kerr Title

DeGrandcourt Cranks to Kerr Title

R.J. DeGrandcourt of Clarksville, Virginia, caught five bass Saturday weighing 18 pounds, 7 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Shenandoah Division opener on Kerr Lake. For his catch, DeGrandcourt took home $2,585. READ MORE »

Benfield Looks at 'Em on Hartwell

Benfield Looks at 'Em on Hartwell

Brad Benfield of Cornelia, Georgia, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Savannah River Division tournament on Lake Hartwell with a five-bass limit weighing 14 pounds, 15 ounces. For his day on the water, Benfield took home $2,977. READ MORE »

Sumter Flips Shallow on Arkansas River

Sumter Flips Shallow on Arkansas River

Brit Sumter of Prairie Grove, Arkansas, brought five bass to the weigh-in stage Saturday totaling 18 pounds, 1 ounce, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Okie Division opener on the Arkansas River. For his victory, Sumter pocketed $4,315. READ MORE »

Flat Leads Suratt to Pickwick Title

Flat Leads Suratt to Pickwick Title

Boater Trent Suratt of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, brought five bass to the weigh-in stage Saturday totaling 20 pounds, 3 ounces, to earn the win and $4,394 at the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Mississippi Division tournament on Pickwick Lake. READ MORE »

Vinita Sacks 22-11 on Texoma

Vinita Sacks 22-11 on Texoma

The Vinita High School duo of Tyler Lake and Jessie Woodward, both of Vinita, Oklahoma, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 22 pounds, 11 ounces to win the 2019 Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Lake Texoma Open. READ MORE »

By the Numbers: Cherokee Lake

By the Numbers: Cherokee Lake

You can drive from the TVA Dam Boat Launch on Cherokee Lake to the Dayton Boat Dock on Lake Chickamauga – takeoff sites for the next two FLW Tour events – in less than two hours, yet the two eastern Tennessee fisheries are wildly different in a number of important ways.  READ MORE »

Morris Closes it Out on Barkley

Morris Closes it Out on Barkley

With just two fish in the bag, Jake Morris was noticeably nervous at the final weigh-in of the Costa FLW Series Central Division event presented by Lowrance on Kentucky Lake. Fortunately for him, he didn’t need either one of them, as Morris caught enough the first two days to top the next closest finisher. Catching 5-12 today punctuated the wire-to-wire victory for Morris, who brought in 44-2 in three days. He caught almost every fish on a spinnerbait from one key stretch on Lake Barkley. READ MORE »