UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Santee Cooper

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

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 

Review: iRod Genesis II Legit’s Finesse Swimmer

Review: iRod Genesis II Legit’s Finesse Swimmer

Built to FLW Tour pro Aaron Britt’s specifications, the iRod Genesis II Legit’s Finesse Swimmer rod is a mid-priced spinning rod that’s specifically designed for tossing small swimbaits on light heads. READ MORE »

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 »

AOY Update – Cherokee Lake

AOY Update – Cherokee Lake

This year’s FLW Tour Angler of the Year race is hurtling toward one of the most dramatic finishes ever. After finishing 46th at Cherokee Lake, rookie pro Miles “Sonar” Burghoff took advantage of a stumble by Terry Bolton to move into the top spot in the standings. If Burghoff can hold on through the final two events, he’ll be the first rookie since Shinichi Fukae in 2004 to win the AOY award. 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 »

Oklahoma’s Upshaw Leads Wire-To-Wire, Wins FLW Tour on Cherokee Lake Presented by Lowrance

Oklahoma’s Upshaw Leads Wire-To-Wire, Wins FLW Tour on Cherokee Lake Presented by Lowrance

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Pro Andrew Upshaw of Tulsa, Oklahoma, won the FLW Tour at the Cherokee Lake presented by Lowrance after catching five bass Sunday weighing 15 pounds, 6 ounces. Upshaw’s four-day cumulative total of 20 bass weighing 67 pounds, 10 ounces, was enough... 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 »

Upshaw Leads Field into Final Day of FLW Tour on Cherokee Lake Presented by Lowrance

Upshaw Leads Field into Final Day of FLW Tour on Cherokee Lake Presented by Lowrance

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Pro Andrew Upshaw of Tulsa, Oklahoma, maintained his lead Saturday at the FLW Tour at the Cherokee Lake presented by Lowrance after catching five... 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 »

Upshaw Holds Lead at FLW Tour on Cherokee Lake Presented by Lowrance

Upshaw Holds Lead at FLW Tour on Cherokee Lake Presented by Lowrance

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Pro Andrew Upshaw of Tulsa, Oklahoma, is still on top at the FLW Tour at the Cherokee Lake presented by Lowrance after catching five bass weighing 17 pounds, 14 ounces. Upshaw’s two-day total of 36-4 will lead the final 30 pros into the third day of... 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 »

Upshaw out Front at FLW Tour Event on Cherokee Lake Presented by Lowrance

Upshaw out Front at FLW Tour Event on Cherokee Lake Presented by Lowrance

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Pro Andrew Upshaw of Tulsa, Oklahoma, caught a five-bass limit weighing 18 pounds, 6 ounces to lead the field after day one of the FLW Tour at the Cherokee Lake presented by Lowrance. Right behind Upshaw in... READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Cherokee Lake

FLW Live Schedule for Cherokee Lake

FLW Live is back for 2019 FLW Tour stop No. 5 at beautiful Cherokee Lake. The event, which is presented by Lowrance and hosted by the Jefferson County Economic Development Alliance, runs Thursday, April 11 through Sunday, April 14. READ MORE »

Get to Know Cherokee Lake

Get to Know Cherokee Lake

The fifth stop of the FLW Tour is presented by Lowrance and sure to be fun if you like east Tennessee, smallmouths and good fishing (who doesn’t?). Cherokee Lake plays host and promises to both challenge and delight anglers. READ MORE »

Beavers Breaks Down Cherokee

Beavers Breaks Down Cherokee

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. READ MORE »