UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Norman

Weisenburger Wrangles 24+

Weisenburger Wrangles 24+
Kyle Weisenburger

Most everyone said their practice on Grand Lake was brutal; Kyle Weisenburger included. Yet, while many allowed that practice to carry over into the tournament, Weisenburger kicked it aside in a big way.

Grand Lake day one coverage

Get to know Grand Lake

Complete results

The Ohio pro was able turn one “good” bite in practice into 24 pounds, 12 ounces on day one of the FLW Tour event presented by Mercury. That put him almost 5 pounds ahead of second-place Todd Castledine and more than 8 pounds ahead of tenth-place Bradley Hallman.

“Sometimes, you have to go off the cuff and make decisions,” Weisenburger says. “I had to make a decision, and it turned out to be the right one.”

To be fair, after a miserable practice, Weisenburger admits it wasn’t too hard a decision to make a run to the only area that showed even a glimmer of promise for him in practice. Between falling water, falling water temperatures, muddy water and unstable weather, Grand Lake is hardly fishing like the historic fishery it’s known to be.

Thus, Weisenburger opted to hunker in his area and see if he could figure something out on the fly. Sure enough, he found a tiny pocket that allowed him to do that.

Kyle Weisenburger

“I made a little move up shallower and caught one that kind of clued me in on something,” Weisenburger says. “After that one fish I started to play around and put together a pattern.”

Obviously, he’s tight-lipped about what that pattern is right now, but he says it’s a specific combination of location, lure and presentation.

He’s only using two lures, letting the conditions dictate which he throws at any given time. Though, one certainly outperformed the other today. Meanwhile, he has a main area he knows has more good fish in it – he left it after catching a pair of fish that wouldn’t help him, not wanting to burn them for tomorrow – but he was also able to run around his creek arm and replicate his pattern on a couple other spots.

All told, he figures he had a dozen bites, which was “quadruple” what he had in practice, and giving him even more optimism is he was hampered the entire afternoon when he broke his trolling motor cable.

“I’m excited,” says Weisenburger. “I know that one stretch has more good fish in it. Just have to try and duplicate it and adjust if I have to with the weather coming.”

 

Todd Castledine

2. Todd Castledine – Nacogdoches, Texas – 20-2 (5)

If this tournament started a couple days ago, Castledine would probably be a lot more excited about being the only other angler to crack 20 pounds. Unfortunately, it started today, and that means the conditions could cause his pattern to dwindle by tomorrow.

“They keep dropping the water, and that’ll kill my pattern,” Castledine says. “Honestly, I don’t know if I can get it to go tomorrow.”

Castledine figures the lake is dropping 6 inches a day, which would leave his shallow-water pattern high and dry. If that’s the case, he has another pattern that could produce some big bites, but not many.

“My other deal I can catch one or two good ones, but I can’t get a limit,” Castledine says. “So I’ll have to see if I can get one or two on my first deal and maybe one or two on my other deal to try and put together a decent bag. Even four fish, it’d be a good bag.”

 

Miles Burghoff

3. Miles Burghoff – Hixson, Tenn. – 19-12 (5)

It’s amazing what a kicker can do.

Burghoff only had six keeper bites today. The first five went about 14 pounds, which he would’ve been thrilled with, as he still might’ve been sitting in the top 20. Then around 2 p.m. he got his sixth bite – an 8-pounder that took big-fish honors.

“I’d keyed in on a certain retrieve and was running new spots to try it out,” Burghoff says. “I went into this pocket I’d never fished, saw this textbook spot – a pole underneath a dock with shade. When I hooked her, I thought I’d rolled a carp.”

Similar to Weisenburger, Burghoff has a retrieve-location pattern going around areas he feels the fish are staging to spawn.

“I’m pretty confident,” says Burghoff. “Now that I’m keyed in, it’s just a matter of capitalizing.”

 

Billy McCaghren

4. Billy McCaghren – Mayflower, Ark. – 19-9 (5)

Sometimes all it takes is one bite to clue an angler into something. Certainly did for McCaghren.

After going 4 hours without a bite, the Arkansas pro got his first keeper bite around 11 a.m.

“That clued me in on something,” McCaghren says. “Then when my next bite was that big one (he had a 6-6 kicker) I knew I was onto something.”

Once again, it’s a specific location-lure-presentation deal, but making things more interesting for McCaghren is come the afternoon he also figured out another pattern.

“I wanted to fish a certain way that I really enjoy, and I finally was able to make it work this afternoon,” McCaghren says. “So I’ll have to decide which one I want to try first tomorrow.”

 

Bradford Beavers

5. Bradford Beavers – Summerville, S.C. – 19-0 (5)

While Castledine is lamenting the falling water, Beavers feels it’s the only thing that saved him.

“Honestly, I didn’t expect to catch anything today,” Beavers says. “I just think the falling water has them moving around. It just must’ve shifted them to me.”

That said, it was hardly a banner day despite the outcome. Beavers only got seven bites all day, and he didn’t fill his limit until minutes left before check-in.

“I just got fortunate today,” Beavers says. “We’ll see what happens tomorrow.”

 

News and Notes

Andrew Upshaw

Faltering Locals

In a tough tournament, locals and their extensive knowledge often have a distinct advantage. Don’t tell that to the locals in this event.

Of the pre-tournament local favorites, few had even decent days. Bradley Hallman managed to put together the best “local” performance (he’s in 10th with 16-5), but he admits he didn’t get a bite until noon. Meanwhile, Sheldon Collings sits just outside the top 20 with 14-5 and Jimmy Houston in the top 30 with 13-11.

That said, you also have pros like Andrew Upshaw (one fish for 1-4), Scott Ashmore (one, 3-8), Kyle Cortiana (one, 3-9) Jeff Dobson (three, 6-8), Chad Warren (three, 6-15), Alton Wilhoit (one, 1-10) and Darrel Robertson (three, 10-9).

 

Ryan Salzman

No Quantity

How tough is Grand Lake fishing? There were only 37 limits brought in on day one. There were almost as many who didn’t bring in a single fish (22 anglers) or who brought in only one keeper (28).

 

Falling Water

While there were no shortage of gripes about the conditions, the biggest worry for many anglers is the falling water. Castledine says he can see two different waterlines in his area and figures the lake is dropping 6 inches a day.

Many pros figured that, above anything else, is causing the fish to be in a funk, as they want to move up but are left in limbo as the water fluctuates.

 

Top 10 pros

1. Kyle Weisenburger – Ottawa, Ohio – 24-12 (5)

2. Todd Castledine – Nacogdoches, Texas – 20-2 (5)

3. Miles Burghoff – Hixson, Tenn. – 19-12 (5)

4. Billy McCaghren – Mayflower, Ark. – 19-9 (5)

5. Bradford Beavers – Summerville, S.C. – 19-0 (5)

6. Dicky Newberry – Houston, Texas – 18-9 (5)

7. Braxton Setzer – Birmingham, Ala. – 17-7 (5)

8. Christopher Brasher – Longview, Texas – 17-0 (5)

9. Bryan Thrift – Shelby, N.C. – 16-12 (5)

10. Bradley Hallman – Norman, Okla. – 16-5 (5)

Complete results

Tags: sean-ostruszka  headline-story  2019-03-28-grand-lake 

Au Rallies for Clear Lake Win

Au Rallies for Clear Lake Win

Steadily climbing the leaderboard all week, Tai Au dropped 26 pounds, 4 ounces today – the biggest bag of the week – to jump from fourth and claim his second title of the 2020 Toyota Series Western Division season. With 63-3 overall, Au wraps a phenomenal season where he won on Havasu back in March, placed 10th on the California Delta in August and closed the season with yet another win this week on Clear Lake. In winning, Au also wrapped the Strike King Angler of the Year title for the Western Division for the first time in his career. READ MORE »

White Rolling at Clear Lake

White Rolling at Clear Lake

Fishing was still good on day two of the Toyota Series Western Division finale at Clear Lake, though there were notably less 20-pound bags brought to the scale. Still, day-one leader Tom White managed 19 pounds, 5 ounces today to back up his 24-12 weight from Thursday and will carry a 5-10 lead heading into Saturday’s final round. This would be White’s first FLW win if he can fend off the nine other hungry pros behind him. READ MORE »

White Drops 24-12 at Clear Lake

White Drops 24-12 at Clear Lake

Tom White of Costa Mesa, Calif., fished the first two events of the Toyota Series Western Division season as a co-angler where he found decent success. Now, in the final event of the season White stepped up to the boater side and took the lead on Clear Lake after day one with a 24-pound, 12-ounce limit. The former Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI angler will hold close to a 5-pound lead over Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour pro Jared Lintner heading into day two. While 4 pounds would be a decent lead on a lot of fisheries, this is Clear Lake, and anything can happen tomorrow. READ MORE »

Big Bags on Deck at Clear Lake

Big Bags on Deck at Clear Lake

The Toyota Series Western Division wraps its season this week on famed Clear Lake in California. The lake is frequently noted as one of the best bass fisheries in the country and Clear Lake is shaping up to kick out plenty of bass this week. READ MORE »

Whitehead Tops on Pickwick

Whitehead Tops on Pickwick

Boater Christopher Whitehead of Tupelo, Miss., brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 33 pounds, 1 ounce to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Mississippi Division Super-Tournament at Pickwick Lake. For his victory, Whitehead earned $5,942. READ MORE »

Tramel Rolls at Old Hickory

Tramel Rolls at Old Hickory

Boater Josh Tramel of Smithville, Tenn., brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale this weekend weighing 34 pounds, 5 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Music City Division Super-Tournament at Old Hickory Lake. Tramel earned a total of $5,540 for his victory.  READ MORE »

Topwater Gives Trim the W

Topwater Gives Trim the W

Boater Nick Trim of Galesville, Wis., brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 34 pounds, 9 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Great Lakes Division Super-Tournament at the Mississippi River. For his victory, Trim earned $6,690. READ MORE »

Langford Wins on Smith Mountain

Langford Wins on Smith Mountain

Boater Todd Langford of Great Falls, Va., brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 33 pounds, 4 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Piedmont Division Super-Tournament at Smith Mountain Lake. For his victory, Langford earned $5,065. READ MORE »

Rockefeller Frogs on Clarks Hill

Rockefeller Frogs on Clarks Hill

Boater Joshua Rockefeller of Harlem, Ga., brought a two-day total of nine bass to the scale weighing 21 pounds even to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine South Carolina Division Super-Tournament at Clarks Hill Lake. For his victory, Rockefeller earned $4,668. READ MORE »

Strong Day One Carries Sifers

Strong Day One Carries Sifers

Boater Jeramiah Sifers of Sellersburg, Ind., brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale this weekend weighing 22 pounds, 14 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Hoosier Division Super-Tournament at the Rough River. Sifers earned a total of $6,917 for his victory. READ MORE »

Lieblong Again at Dardanelle

Lieblong Again at Dardanelle

Jason Lieblong is no stranger to Toyota Series titles on Lake Dardanelle. He claimed his first back in August of 2015 and five years later thanks to a final-day bag worth 15 pounds, 15 ounces (the biggest of the event) Lieblong added his second Series trophy to the mantle. The Conway, Ark., pro finished the event with 40-9 overall, moving up the leaderboard every day of the tournament. For winning the Plains Division opener presented by Fish-Intel, Lieblong took home over $70,000 thanks largely to the FLW PHOENIX BONUS, which earned him and extra $35,000. READ MORE »

Dobson Grabs Second Toyota Series W

Dobson Grabs Second Toyota Series W

Weighing 18 pounds and 9 ounces on day three for a 59-3 total, Scott Dobson moved from second to first to win the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River. The win is Dobson’s second in Toyota Series competition and his eighth overall with FLW. For the win, Dobson takes home $27,534 and further burnishes his record as one of the best smallmouth anglers on the planet.   READ MORE »

Bennett Takes Dardanelle Lead

Bennett Takes Dardanelle Lead

Backing up his day-one weight of 13 pounds, 6 ounces, Joe Bennett brought 13-14 to the scale to take the lead at Lake Dardanelle in the Toyota Series Plains Division opener presented by Fish-Intel. Bennett will carry 1-1 lead into Saturday’s final round over Kevin Riney as he looks to grab his first victory with FLW. READ MORE »

Burton Edges Ahead at the Detroit River

Burton Edges Ahead at the Detroit River

Day two of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River saw the pros stuck in the river itself again due to the wind. Moving up from fourth place into the lead, Wilson Burton weighed 20 pounds, 4 ounces to get up to a 40-11 total. With the only 20-pound bag of the day, Burton slipped past Scott Dobson by just one ounce, who weighed 19-12 and sits behind him with a 40-10 total. READ MORE »

Montevallo Takes College Open Title

Montevallo Takes College Open Title

As tough as Kentucky Lake was fishing this week in the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open, Grayson Morris and Jacob Pfundt of the University of Montevallo leading after day one and finishing the job on Thursday resulted in one of the more impressive wins you’ll see. After weighing in a day-one best 12-13, the duo backed it up with another 12-7 on day two for the victory, displaying the kind of consistency it takes to grind it out in tough fishing conditions. For their efforts, Morris and Pfundt were awarded a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-hp Mercury outboard. READ MORE »

King Tops Day 1 at Dardanelle 

King Tops Day 1 at Dardanelle 

Zach King of Clarksville, Ark., used a Heddon Zara Spook to catch 14 pounds, 11 ounces claim the day one lead in the Toyota Series Plains Division event on Lake Dardanelle presented by Fish-Intel. King will take a 6-ounce lead over Matt Wood of Jessieville, Ark., into day two.  READ MORE »

Dardanelle Midday Update – Day 1

Dardanelle Midday Update – Day 1

Thursday’s opening round of the Toyota Series Plains Division opener at Lake Dardanelle followed the script many anglers predicted. Despite many favorable conditions at the beginning of a peak fishing season, muddy water and bright sunshine made fishing difficult across the 34,000-acre Arkansas River impoundment. READ MORE »

Stokes Leads on the Detroit River

Stokes Leads on the Detroit River

Strong winds kept the pros in the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River pinned to the actual river, but the fishing was still very good. Plenty of anglers brought in 17 pounds or more, and the leaders are all concentrated around the 20-pound mark. In first, Troy Stokes of Brownstown, Mich., weighed 21 pounds, 4 ounces to kick things off. READ MORE »

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 1

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 1

Right off the bat, the anglers in the field at the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River were thrown a curveball by the weather. This morning, with increasing wind forecasts, tournament officials made Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair off-limits, thereby penning up the 87 pros and co-anglers on the American side of the Detroit River. READ MORE »

Montevallo Leads College Open 

Montevallo Leads College Open 

As expected, weights were down across the board on day one of the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open on Kentucky Lake. With high water during what’s typically a tough transitional time of year, it took just 12 pounds, 13 ounces for Grayson Morris and Jacob Pfundt of the University of Montevallo to grab the lead. READ MORE »