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

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Poking Around Grand with Cortiana

Poking Around Grand with Cortiana
Kyle Cortiana

Since starting to fish Costa FLW Series events in 2016, Kyle Cortiana has banked over $100,000 with FLW and finished in the top 10 of the Southwestern Division three times. On the FLW Tour, he’s been a bit less successful, with no top 10s and no FLW Cup qualifications … yet. This year, he’s sitting 35th in the points, with a good chance to go to the Cup, and the FLW Tour presented by Mercury on Grand Lake finally gives him a shot at a Tour event with home field advantage.

Eager to see what the day had in store, I was happy to hop in the boat to watch the Oklahoma pro break down a lake he’s intimately familiar with.

 

Kyle Cortiana

Kyle Cortiana

Kyle Cortiana

Launching mid-lake on Grand, Cortiana puts the boat in the water in the half-dark, and then pauses to rig his GoPro (he has a very active YouTube channel) and make a few tackle tweaks. He says he spent most of day one down near the dam in cleaner water, and thus it’s time to tackle up for what is likely going to be a pretty dirty morning.

 

Kyle Cortiana

Kyle Cortiana

After idling out of the marina, Cortiana puts his Ranger on plane, rolling down the lake to the back of a creek. He talks most of the way, explaining a particularly tricky area to run, or just what he’s thinking at any particular time. Though we aren’t running flat out by any means, it doesn’t take too long to get where we’re going.

 

Kyle Cortiana

Kyle Cortiana

Kyle Cortiana

Setting the boat down, Cortiana pulls out a crankbait for a few casts and then picks up his jig. It takes maybe a cast or two and he’s set the hook on a quality fish. Theoretically, Grand Lake is really tough right now, but Cortiana just made it look as easy as pie.

“I can’t tell you how happy I am to get a jig bite,” says Cortiana. “Now the rest of the day I have the confidence to keep chasing that bite.”

 

Kyle Cortiana

Kyle Cortiana

As Cortiana continues along, he alternates between his jig, a worm and a small crankbait on a spinning rod. I ask him what it’s like to have the opportunity to fish a Tour event near home.

“I wish it was a different lake,” admits Cortiana. “Out of all the Oklahoma lakes I fish a lot, this is the meanest lake we’ve got. It can make you look like an absolute idiot.”

As proof, Cortiana offers up the fact that he zeroed on day two of last year’s Costa FLW Series tournament. Though that one was pretty tough overall, he says it’s no coincidence the only time he’s ever blanked a tournament day came on Grand.

 

Kyle Cortiana

Kyle Cortiana

Kyle Cortiana

Cortiana decides to swing on his next bite, and Grand continues to make him look good. 

“I need one more sniff, just one more,” Cortiana says of this area. “If they’re here, they could be really here. This will be a lights-out area eventually, maybe this week, or maybe in a week or two. Then, ones like that will be little ones.”

 

Kyle Cortiana

Kyle Cortiana

Kyle Cortiana

Cortiana keeps plugging, sometimes skimming over stretches of shoreline that he thinks could be productive in the tournament, but not getting any more bites. Eventually, still fishing very methodically, he gets another bite and shakes it off. After a few more casts, it’s time to go somewhere else.

 

Kyle Cortiana

Kyle Cortiana

Our next stop is a rocky bank out near the main lake. Adding a Biffle Bug into the mix, Cortiana goes to work as the sun finally breaks through the clouds and the breeze begins to freshen. A few minutes later, he hooks up on his small crankbait, bringing a non-keeper aboard stealthily as one of his competitors drives past.

 

Kyle Cortiana

All morning, we’ve been running slightly behind the schedule Cortiana has in mind for the day. It’s by no means a bad thing, as fishing slowly in the spring on Grand is basically a tradition, but the detour he now beings isn’t going to help get him back on schedule. Instead of picking up after fishing the sweet stretch of bank, Cortiana continues along the windblown shoreline with his little crankbait, reveling in his ability to cast it with the wind, but getting no more bites.

 

Kyle Cortiana

Kyle Cortiana

Cortiana pretty much arrived at the ramp with a stable of Kistler rods and Ardent reels that totally encompassed what he was going to use for the day on deck. Other than his morning modifications, he hasn’t changed much so far. He really hasn’t even picked up that many rods, sticking to the staples that Grand Lake dictates in the early spring.

 

Kyle Cortiana

Kyle Cortiana

Kyle Cortiana

After fishing out his bit of windy bank, Cortiana pulls the plug. Snacking on a little jerky before taking off into the chilly breeze, the next stop is a very dirty pocket off the main lake.

 

Kyle Cortiana

Kyle Cortiana

Pulling out a spinnerbait to start, Cortiana methodically gets to work again, fishing his way into every nook and cranny of this particular creek. We arrived at about 10:30 a.m., and it’s not until nearly 11:20 that Cortiana gets bit on a jig. It’s an exciting bite, too, causing him to exclaim “oh my God,” before swinging and missing the fish.

 

Kyle Cortiana

Shortly thereafter, Cortiana calls to check up on Chad Warren. The two have known each other for years, and are sort of sharing information this week. Warren shares that his day has been a lot slower than the first day, and the two both agree that it’s gonna be a tough one.

If you want more from Warren’s first day of practice, you can peep yesterday’s story.

 

Kyle Cortiana

Continuing his way through the cove, but now finally on the opposite bank from where he started, Cortiana remembers to try his crankbait. Shockingly quickly, he gets a bite on it, which has him a bit excited and kicking himself for not trying it earlier.

 

Kyle Cortiana

Kyle Cortiana

Before taking me back to the ramp, Cortiana fishes another 50 yards or so, just to make sure of his creek. En route, he changes crankbaits to find one that runs a bit more true, and manages to hook and lose two more fish on it. All in all, it hasn’t been a bad morning.

 

Kyle Cortiana

Jody White

Kyle Cortiana

As we idle out of the no-wake zone to clear the creek and run back, Cortiana busts out some bass balls, a peanut butter and oatmeal combination that I can report is delicious. Then, Cortiana rolls me back across a chilly Grand to the ramp so that he can spend the afternoon unencumbered on the hunt for the winning fish.

Tags: jody-white  pre-tournament  2019-03-28-grand-lake 

Make a Tiny Swimbait Your Winter Go-To

Make a Tiny Swimbait Your Winter Go-To

Wintertime and late fall fishing can be super fun, especially up north, when smallmouths are often fat and fairly grouped up. However, it’s not the time of year when you want a ton of rods on deck, and having a confidence bait or two is a must. For Casey Smith, the go-to winter weapon is super simple: a little bitty swimbait on a jighead. READ MORE »

Miller Wins Wild Card on Kentucky Lake

Miller Wins Wild Card on Kentucky Lake

Weighing limits of 15 pounds, 13 ounces on day one and 15-3 on day two, Michael Miller of Greenville, S.C., overcame a tough-fishing Kentucky Lake to win the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Wild Card and qualify for the All-American. READ MORE »

How to Rock Fall Largemouths

How to Rock Fall Largemouths

Smith says that the best time for fall largemouth fishing happens after the first big cold snap, when the water finally drops below 60 degrees.   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 »

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 »

B. Lat, MDJ Win Pan Am

B. Lat, MDJ Win Pan Am

Brian Latimer and Mark Daniels Jr. are best friends off the water, and it looks like they’ve got the makings of a deadly team on the water. Weighing five smallmouths for 21.16 pounds in the first session and 23.92 pounds in the second session, the pair totaled 45.08 pounds to win the individual competition in the Pan American Bass Championship on Lake St. Francis. READ MORE »

Canada Wins Gold at Pan Am

Canada Wins Gold at Pan Am

Though Team USA locked up the top three places, Team Canada placed six teams in the top 10 and averaged 38.98 pounds to win the Pan American Bass Championship on Lake St. Francis. Results were tallied based on the average weight brought in by each team in the two sessions of fishing, which almost guaranteed an extremely close finish. Earning a silver medal, Team USA finished just a hundredth of a pound back with a 38.97 average. READ MORE »

Canada Leads at Pan Am

Canada Leads at Pan Am

The first session of competition in the Pan American Bass Championship on Lake St. Francis was a roaring success. After the morning weigh-in, Team Canada is leading with an average of 21.16 pounds, Team USA is in second with a 19.6 average, Team Akwesasne First Nation is in third with 18.62 and Mexico had an up and down morning to accrue a 17.24-pound average. READ MORE »

Do you need a generator for bass fishing?

Do you need a generator for bass fishing?

Austin Felix has been running a generator for a few years now, and his primary use is during the spring in the North, when he’s spending mega-days on the water practicing for tournaments that feature bedding smallmouths. READ MORE »

Day 1 Delayed at Pan Am

Day 1 Delayed at Pan Am

Because of steady rain and hard winds at around 20 mph or more, day one of the Pan American Bass Championship has been canceled. With gusts up to 40 mph in the forecast, the organizers have decided to fish two sessions on Friday instead. READ MORE »

Pan Am Gets Underway in Canada

Pan Am Gets Underway in Canada

With the official training day in the rearview, the Pan American Bass Championship starts Thursday, Oct. 16, on Lake St. Francis in Cornwall, Ontario. Teams from Mexico, the Akwesasne First Nation, Canada and the United States will be competing the next two days for glory and country, but also to help along the movement to make bass fishing an Olympic sport. READ MORE »

Umbrella Rigs for Great Lakes Smallies   

Umbrella Rigs for Great Lakes Smallies   

The days of catching seemingly infinite bass on an umbrella rig are mostly gone, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't fish with one. The rig is a great tool for catching fall smallmouth bass on the big waters of the Great Lakes and elsewhere up north. READ MORE »

Hunting Big Bronze in Wisconsin

Hunting Big Bronze in Wisconsin

“On a normal day, if the best five aren’t over 25 pounds, it isn’t a good day,” Stefan says. “My best days with a buddy have been where the best five have gone 29 to 32 pounds. We get lots of 6-pounders a year, and we’ve caught some right at the 7-pound mark. I’ve had a few on that we haven’t landed that were bigger.” 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 »

How to Fish a Blade Bait for Smallmouth

How to Fish a Blade Bait for Smallmouth

You can catch smallmouths on a lot of baits in the early fall, but one of the most consistent producers later in the year is a blade bait, and Scott Dobson is an expert with it. His go-to is the old-fashioned Silver Buddy, but he has some distinct preferences and tweaks for better success. 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 »