UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Clear Lake

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 

Fish Northern Rivers for Smallmouth

Fish Northern Rivers for Smallmouth

From the Mississippi River to the Peshtigo River, Wisconsin and the surrounding region has miles of flowing water chock full of smallmouth bass. In the recent Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota, Matt Stefan targeted rivers flowing into Green Bay for the majority of his catch, and in doing so, he was able to tap into a skillset that he’s groomed for years on the Wisconsin River and other flowages near him. READ MORE »

Top Patterns and Baits from the Detroit River

Top Patterns and Baits from the Detroit River

With the whole field boxed into the Detroit River for the first two days of the final Toyota Series Northern Division event, it’s natural that the main player was the river itself. But, on the final day, when folks could branch out, Scott Dobson actually ran to St. Clair and many of the other pros ventured into Lake Erie. READ MORE »

Grubb Wins Co-Angler Side at the Detroit River

Grubb Wins Co-Angler Side at the Detroit River

Taking the co-angler win in the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River, Tony Grubb weighed four bass for 14 pounds, 1 ounce on the final day for a 46-5 total. For the win, his second as a co-angler with FLW, Grubb takes home a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat worth over $35,000. READ MORE »

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 3

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 3

With the wind laying down a bit, the top 10 anglers in the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River have been able to go wherever they pleased today. With crisp morning temperatures, plenty of sun and a north wind, the conditions have largely been quite good, with mixed results from the anglers. 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 »

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 »

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 2

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 2

With strong wind from the north again, the Toyota Series Northern Division field was again confined to the actual Detroit River. On day one, the fishing was quite good, and several pros crossed the 20-pound mark and plenty of limits hit the scales. Today, things seem a little tougher. 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 »

Smith Wins Southeastern AOY

Smith Wins Southeastern AOY

Originally from Wisconsin and sometimes wearing a Green Bay Packers hoodie on stage, Dustin Smith doesn’t fit the mold of Toyota Series Southeastern Division Strike King Angler of the Year. Still, Smith hammered out a pair of top 10s and a 27th-place showing en route to the title, and his style of fishing was simply perfect for this season in the Southeastern Division. READ MORE »

Northern Division Finishes at Detroit River

Northern Division Finishes at Detroit River

The 2020 Toyota Series Northern Division will wrap up in Trenton, Mich., Sept. 17-19, at the Detroit River. Hosted by the Detroit Sports Commission, the three-day tournament will feature the region’s best bass-fishing pros and co-anglers casting for a top prize of up to $65,000, plus a $35,000 bonus if the winner is a qualified Phoenix Boat owner. READ MORE »

Eastern Division Heads to the Potomac

Eastern Division Heads to the Potomac

The Toyota Series Eastern Division rolls on with the Toyota Series at the Potomac River. Hosted by the Charles County Board of Commissioners, the three-day tournament will feature the region’s best bass-fishing pros and co-anglers casting for a top prize of up to $65,000, plus a $35,000 bonus if the winner is a qualified Phoenix Boat owner. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Sturgeon Bay

Top 10 Baits from Sturgeon Bay

Summertime smallmouth fishing makes having a drop-shot or two on the deck pretty essential, and the top pros in the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota on Sturgeon Bay basically all relied on the versatile finesse rig to get the job done. However, between them, there was a decent amount of variation in baits, and a few pros actually branched out from the drop-shot into other techniques. READ MORE »

Mitchell’s First Look at Sturgeon Bay

Mitchell’s First Look at Sturgeon Bay

Having fished as a pro on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit for five years now, Kurt Mitchell started coming into his own during the 2019 season. That year he qualified for the FLW Cup – for the first time in his career – by finishing 24th in the points. This year, Mitchell kept rolling along cashing checks in five of the six Pro Circuit tournaments to settle at 31st in the points and now finds himself in his second straight championship. READ MORE »

Practice at Sturgeon Bay with Shuffield

Practice at Sturgeon Bay with Shuffield

Spencer Shuffield has had a tremendous season on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and he capped it off with a top 10 finish at Lake Erie. Now, he’s getting ready for the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota on Sturgeon Bay, which has only the top 50 Pro Circuit anglers in it and will be a Major League Fishing (MLF) format event. READ MORE »

Big Prizes at Stake for College Open

Big Prizes at Stake for College Open

After being postponed due to COVID-19, the annual Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open is set to take place on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley in mid-September for the sixth consecutive season. This time around, however, the stakes are even higher, as teams compete for a brand-new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat and 20 spots in the 2021 National Championship. READ MORE »

Mundy goes Back-to-Back on Erie

Mundy goes Back-to-Back on Erie

Totaling up 41 pounds, 6 ounces, Dan Mundy won the co-angler side of the Toyota Series event on Lake Erie and is about ready to start a boat dealership. After winning the first Northern Division event of the year, the Michigan co-angler went back-to-back in the second event of the season to claim another Phoenix boat worth $33,500. READ MORE »

Mitchell Holds on at Erie

Mitchell Holds on at Erie

After weighing nearly 25 pounds on day two, Kurt Mitchell put 15 pounds, 8 ounces on the scale on the final day to close out the win in the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. With 60-2 total, Mitchell earned his first FLW win and pocketed $26,206 in winnings. READ MORE »

Mitchell Swings into the Lead on Erie

Mitchell Swings into the Lead on Erie

Day two of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie was tough on some, but it was a party for Kurt Mitchell. Weighing 24 pounds, 11 ounces, he moved up from second into the lead with a 44-10 total. Only the top 10 fish on the final day and they’ll have a steep hill to climb to catch Mitchell. READ MORE »

Lake Erie Midday Update – Day 2

Lake Erie Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie has posed some serious challenges from a coverage perspective. Not only are the leaders fishing about as far apart as possible, but the waves to the east of Sandusky are pretty huge. Still, from the reports we have, it looks like plenty of fish will come to the scale one way or another. READ MORE »