UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Erie

Beavers Breaks Down Cherokee

Beavers Breaks Down Cherokee
Bradford Beavers

Like Nick LeBrun, Bradford Beavers arrived on the FLW Tour with very impressive credentials. The first-year Tour pro from Summerville, S.C., has already won the Costa FLW Series Championship and finished 10th and 11th in the FLW Cup, along with a bunch of other Costa FLW Series and T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) top 10s on his resume.

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.

Despite the recent rebound for Beavers, this week’s FLW Tour event presented by Lowrance on Cherokee Lake figures to be a unique challenge for him. Like Grand, it’s far outside of his grassy, Southeastern comfort zone. It also has a lot of smallmouths, and Beavers has only ever caught a handful of smallies before.

Being a fan of smallmouths, east Tennessee and Beavers, I was looking forward to watching him at work on day two of practice.

 

Bradford Beavers

After arriving at a secluded ramp on the lower end of Cherokee in the dark, Beavers drops the boat in the water and waits until the official practice start time of 7:11 a.m. ET. As the sun rises and he waits, it’s apparent we’re in for another gorgeous day in east Tennessee, even accounting for afternoon rain in the forecast.

Once it’s officially time to go, Beavers strikes out across the lake and pulls up to a sloping point near the mouth of a creek.

 

Bradford Beavers

Bradford Beavers

Bradford Beavers

Beavers casts a swimbait as he works his way back into the creek. He says that he intends to target smallmouths as much as he can in practice and the tournament, but it’s not a strength of his.

“I don’t know anything about smallmouths,” says Beavers. “That’s what I want to catch here this week, and I’ve caught about eight my whole life. I don’t know their habits really.”

Perhaps 15 casts into the day, Beavers hooks up and brings a chunky smallmouth to the boat.

“You can’t get largemouths to pull like that,” says Beavers.

 

Bradford Beavers

Bradford Beavers

Bradford Beavers

Bradford Beavers

Bradford Beavers

After moving a little farther into the creek, past a stretch of likely looking rock he marked in pre-practice, Beavers quickly strikes again. This time it’s a largemouth. Then, about 50 yards farther along, a big smallmouth jumps on his crankbait. After a decent fight with a couple of jumps that seem to take the fish 10 feet out of the water, Beavers lands his new PB smallmouth. The fish weighs a whopping 4 pounds, 12 ounces on his scale and is fat as a pumpkin.

“Let’s get out of this cove,” says Beavers, as he poses for one more photo and then releases the lunker.

 

Bradford Beavers

Bradford Beavers

Bradford Beavers

The next stop is out on the main lake, where Beavers picks up a swimbait to start. Beavers came prior to Grand for a day of pre-practice, and he mostly idled around. One of the rock piles he marked back then is totally out of the water now.

“You think there are any fish on it?” jokes Beavers. “I don’t think I even need Side Imaging to see it now.”

After a brief idle over an offshore hump, Beavers swings back to the bank to pick things up at a similar-looking stretch as where he left off, and he continues to catch nothing else.

 

Bradford Beavers

Bradford Beavers

Beavers has everything on his deck that he’ll use for the day, including a handful of spinning sticks and baitcasters that have all the bases covered. From Ned rigs to crankbaits and swimmies, he’s pretty well got it all. The only notable absence was a jerkbait, which he says he sort of regrets, but willingly admits it isn’t among his confidence baits.

 

Bradford Beavers

Bradford Beavers

Moving back into a creek after another stop on the main lake, Beavers starts with a swimbait and then transitions over to a Ned rig after a minute of fishing along. He’s had a good run on Tour so far and recounts some of the highs and lows.

“It started out not fun. I got my clock cleaned at Rayburn,” says Beavers. “But I’ve hit the point where I’ve broke even now, so I’m not gonna lose any money. That’s a big weight off my shoulders. Now it’s about making money.”

Beavers says one of the big adjustments has been practicing on new lakes with limited time.

“In my opinion it’s very hard to break down a lake in three days,” he says, “not just see the whole lake, but really get dialed in. I would at least give myself four days for the Costa FLW Series. And they were all Southeastern areas, so I’d been there before and could pre-practice if I wanted to.

“It’s easy to get overwhelmed on a new lake with three days to figure it out. It’s almost like you’re out of time before you ever even get in the boat. Did I do anything different at Grand than I did at Rayburn? Not really. But it just clicked. Sometimes it does, and sometimes you could give me three weeks and I couldn’t put it together.”

After shaking another one off, it sure looks like Beavers is putting it together on Cherokee. Or, the fish are really biting this morning.

 

Bradford Beavers

Bradford Beavers

Bradford Beavers

Idling across the creek, Beavers manages to get hung up on a Ned rig with no hook – surely an impressive feat. He also notices that things seem to be slowing down as the sun climbs higher.

“This is just like yesterday,” says Beavers. “They bite in the morning, and then it gets tough. I don’t know if the fish are sitting in the same areas all day and not biting, or if they’re moving as the sun gets up.”

 

Bradford Beavers

Bradford Beavers

Out by the mouth of the creek, Beavers makes a short move and then catches a little one.

“That’s what I was hoping you’d see all day,” says Beavers, acknowledging his penchant for secrecy. “I caught a lot like that yesterday.”

He gets a pretty good bite and breaks it off. "That’s what you get with 8-pound-test when you don’t re-tie," says Beavers as he digs for a new Eye Strike head. 

 

Bradford Beavers

Bradford Beavers

Bradford Beavers

With rain coming in from the lower end, Beavers runs across to an island and suits up. Then, he begins fishing a stretch of rocky bank where he hooks one pretty quickly and loses it, then follows it up with a little one.

 

Bradford Beavers

Bradford Beavers

Soon it’s raining harder – a good soaker. Beavers works to the point of the island with no more bites, so he runs around through the wet to the backside of another island.

 

Bradford Beavers

Bradford Beavers

Bradford Beavers

Beavers starts out on the main part of the island before working his way into a pocket with no results. He even gets a chance to make a few casts at a willow tree that is shockingly far into the water. While idling another 100 yards or so, Beavers marks some likely rock and continues past to a rough-looking stretch of bank.

Once there, it doesn’t take long for him to hook up with a frisky and big smallmouth. This one is dark brown and pulls hard. It’s a pretty good way to cap off the morning.

 

Bradford Beavers

Bradford Beavers

With the rain intensifying and Beavers eager to keep exploring unencumbered by a photographer, he heads back to the ramp to drop me off. As I trudge up to the truck, Beavers heads back out to find more smallmouths.

Tags: jody-white  pre-tournament  2019-04-11-cherokee-lake 

Northern Division Heads to Sandusky

Northern Division Heads to Sandusky

Swiftly rescheduled due to New York’s recently announced travel restrictions, the Toyota Series Northern Division is now kicking off on Lake Erie, launching out of Sandusky, Ohio, July 9-11. The event is the first of three in the division, with the others scheduled for August on Lake Champlain and on the Detroit River in September. READ MORE »

AOY Update: Lake Chickamauga

AOY Update: Lake Chickamauga

Though Jacob Wheeler won the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga in grand style, his win didn’t impact the Angler of the Year standings. Only the original Pro Circuit anglers were competing for AOY points. That means the AOY focus is still on Ron Nelson, who slipped off his blazing pace a bit, but still holds the lead heading into the final two regular-season events in July and August on the Mississippi River and the Detroit River, respectively. READ MORE »

FLW Shifts Toyota Series Northern Event to Lake Erie

FLW Shifts Toyota Series Northern Event to Lake Erie

Due to New York’s recently announced travel restrictions, FLW will shift its July 9-11 Toyota Series Northern Division opener from the St. Lawrence River at Massena, N.Y., to Lake Erie at Sandusky, Ohio. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Chickamauga

Top 10 Baits from Chickamauga

When so many anglers are throwing similar baits and running similar patterns, doing something a little different can be quite the advantage. Sure enough, the pros who made the top 10 at the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga all had techniques or tactics of their own to set themselves apart. READ MORE »

Okie Division Heads to Arkansas River

Okie Division Heads to Arkansas River

The Okie Division looks to end the month of June just how it started it – with back-to-back Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine events. READ MORE »

Checking Shallow and Deep with Hays

Checking Shallow and Deep with Hays

Dylan Hays has been fairly consistent throughout his four years as a pro on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, and he’s currently on pace to have his best season to date. He made the last two top-30 cuts and finished 31st at Rayburn to start the year, and because of his consistency, the Arkansas pro currently finds himself fifth in the Angler of the Year race. READ MORE »

Several Patterns in Play at Ouachita BFL

Several Patterns in Play at Ouachita BFL

FLW has a long history of hosting multiple-day summertime tournaments on Lake Ouachita, where pros have to grind it out for three days in what are usually tough conditions. On June 27, when the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Arkie Division takes to Ouachita, the Natural State’s best bass anglers will need to game plan a little differently. With only one day to fish and a three-bass limit, they’ll have to swing for the fences with big-bass patterns to have a shot at winning. READ MORE »

Hoosier Division Kicks off with Doubleheader

Hoosier Division Kicks off with Doubleheader

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Hoosier Division starts its season with back-to-back tournaments on Indiana’s Lake Monroe June 27 and 28, and it’s looking like big bags will be on tap. READ MORE »

Shenandoah Div. Restarts on the Potomac

Shenandoah Div. Restarts on the Potomac

Competition in the Shenandoah Division presented by A.R.E. Truck Caps of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine will restart at the Potomac River on June 27. With the river’s bass fully into the postspawn now, the event should be a classic summertime Potomac derby. READ MORE »

HS Championship Will be a Frog-Fest

HS Championship Will be a Frog-Fest

If you wanted to design the perfect frog-fishing tournament, you might host it at Guntersville or the Cal Delta, but you could also copy the agenda for the Student Angler Federation High School Fishing National Championship on the Mississippi River out of La Crosse, Wis. READ MORE »

Previewing Chick: Can Other Lakes Play?

Previewing Chick: Can Other Lakes Play?

When the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit picks back up next week with the Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga, the famous lake isn’t the only reservoir available to pros in the event. If they want, pros will be able to run and lock up into Watts Bar Lake or down into Nickajack Lake. READ MORE »

Review: Berkley PowerBait The Deal

Review: Berkley PowerBait The Deal

Designed by Major League Fishing pro Skeet Reese, the Berkley PowerBait The Deal is a unique twin-tailed trailer that’s right at home on the back of a vibrating jig or a swim jig. The Deal comes in 3 1/2- and 4 1/2-inch versions (I tested the 4 1/2), all the standard colors and has already seen tournament success. READ MORE »

Review: Abu Garcia Revo EXD

Review: Abu Garcia Revo EXD

Sleek-looking with purple accents, the Abu Garcia Revo EXD looks like it should be something special. After slinging a lot of jerkbaits and topwaters with it and using it to put a bunch of fish in the boat, I think it lives up to its looks. READ MORE »

Lake Eufaula Midday Update – Day 2

Lake Eufaula Midday Update – Day 2

Fishing is good, but it’s not easy today at Lake Eufaula on the second day of the Toyota Series Southeastern Division event. Well, that’s only part of the story. READ MORE »

Illini Division Ready to Roll

Illini Division Ready to Roll

Competition in the Illini Division of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine will kick off at Lake Shelbyville on June 20. With some prespawn, spawn and postspawn fish to be found across the lake, local BFL standout Michael Black believes this should be a solid derby. READ MORE »

Big Bags Expected at Eufaula

Big Bags Expected at Eufaula

Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine competition in the Bulldog Division picks up again with a weekend doubleheader June 20 and 21. READ MORE »

The Top 5 Limits of All Time

The Top 5 Limits of All Time

Catching 25 pounds in a single tournament day is a pretty rare feat, and catching five bass for 30 pounds in a tournament has been done fewer than 200 times in FLW history. Knowing just how special those giant limits are, we decided to dig into some of the top bags from years past. READ MORE »

College Fishing Returns June 14

College Fishing Returns June 14

As the tournament season begins to ramp back up across the FLW tournament platforms, Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI is also getting ready to get back in the swing of things come June 14 on Smith Mountain Lake. READ MORE »

Mixed Bags will Play at Neely Henry

Mixed Bags will Play at Neely Henry

Winding north to south on the Coosa River in Alabama, Neely Henry Lake is one of a number of Alabama impoundments famous for feisty spotted bass that love the current. Neely also has largemouths, and depending on where you’re at in the lake and river, there is plenty of grass and wood to fish. READ MORE »

Great Lakes Division Fires Up on Wolf River Chain

Great Lakes Division Fires Up on Wolf River Chain

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Great Lakes Division is preparing to get underway on June 13 on the Wolf River Chain of Lakes, and it promises to be a derby predicated on catching good numbers any number of ways. READ MORE »