UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Cumberland

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 

 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 »

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 »

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 3

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 3

Our crew on the water hasn’t had very good luck tracking the top pros down in the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn, but the fishing has still been pretty good. With the entire top 10 within striking distance, it’s still anyone’s game, and the good fishing today could help someone run into a mega-bag. READ MORE »