UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - California Delta

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Upshaw Leads Packed Top 10

Upshaw Leads Packed Top 10
Andrew Upshaw

Day one of the FLW Tour presented by Lowrance on Cherokee Lake was an absolute 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.

Day one was dominated by smallmouths, despite the slick water and sunny skies. With new weather in line for day two, we could be headed for an epic leaderboard shakeup considering how tight the weights are.

Day one coverage blog

Complete results

Upshaw, though, isn’t too worried about what day two has in store for him and the rest of the field. After all, this is his first time fishing Cherokee, and he managed to find what his marshal estimated to be 28 keepers throughout the day, including five that were good enough to secure the day-one lead for the eight-year Tour vet.

“This is my first time here,” he says. “I fell in love with it the first hour of practice. It really reminds me of a lake I grew up fishing which is Lake Texoma. It really reminds me a lot of that. How the fish set up is so similar, and they spawn on a lot of the exact same stuff.”

Upshaw fished slow and methodical throughout the day, and while he was tight-lipped about the baits he was throwing, it’s safe to assume it involved finesse tactics and a spinning rod, as was the case with a large portion of the field on day one.

Finding key fish in practice was crucial for Upshaw, who marked a couple he shook off while working on figuring out the fishery. He went back to that spot after already securing a limit of 14 or 15 pounds in the first hour of the day and caught two upgrades. After that, it was pretty much smooth sailing for the Oklahoma pro.

“That was pretty much my day,” he admits. “I really stopped fishing and got lucky late in the day and caught a 3 3/4 [pounder] that culled up a 3-pounder. Overall, I can’t really complain.”

Part of Upshaw’s strategy for laying off his fish early in the day was due to the quantity of 3-pounders he was catching, mostly in areas where he figured fish were bedding. Though he wasn’t sight-fishing, Upshaw believes a good portion of the fish he caught on day one was comprised of bedding fish, and with a premium placed on 3-pounders, he didn’t want to wear them out.

“I caught a lot of 3-pounders,” he adds. “That’s why at about 10 o’clock I laid off them completely, because I caught too many 3s, and I knew how crucial 3-pounders would be in this tournament. I just laid off and later in the day I rolled up to one other little place I was saving just to see if I could get a bite and I caught a 3 3/4 and got out of there.”

Asked if he had any concerns about changing weather (with rain in the forecast for day two) or having enough fish to sustain a deep tournament run, Upshaw reiterated that the way things have played out so far, there’s not much reason to worry.

“All practice we had every kind of weather condition you could imagine, from cold mornings to rain and wind and everything in between, so I think it’ll be pretty much the same,” he explains. “I had a pretty consistent practice no matter what the weather was.

“I’m not necessarily worried about tomorrow, but a lot of guys caught a good bag today, and that’s a lot of fish taken off the bed. It might get exponentially tougher.”

“Tougher” is a relative term considering the sheer quantity of fish caught on Thursday. As long as the quality is still there – especially at Upshaw’s best spots – he has an excellent chance of remaining near the top of the pack heading into the weekend.

 

Dylan Hays

2. Dylan Hays – El Dorado, Ark. – 17-13 (5)

Dylan Hays went way off the beaten path on day one, en route to a 17-13 bag and second place on the leaderboard. He didn’t want to say exactly where he was fishing, but the way he was fishing – “a big rod and big line” – was well outside the norm for the field on Thursday.

Hays did a good deal of sight-fishing, and the result was another abnormality in the form of a mixed-bag comprised primarily of largemouths.

“I was on a spot I found the last day of practice I got two key bites on,” he says. “One I caught was a big one and the next cast I shook a big one off.”

Hays went back to that spot on day one and spent most of his time there. When he ran some different areas, Hays tried to copy his pattern of targeting staging areas where he might find some bedding fish.

As is almost always the case when fishing with your eyes, wind, rain and cloud cover could certainly force Hays to change gears on day two. For now, though, he’s in mighty fine shape.

 

Tim Frederick

3. Tim Frederick – Leesburg, Fla. – 17-4 (5)

Tim Frederick hunkered down in one mid-lake area of Cherokee to catch what he estimates to be at least 25 fish on day one. It was an area Frederick believes is prime for new fish to move up to spawn throughout the day, which is the main reason he stayed put and milked that one-mile area all day long.

“Last day in practice I caught two 4-pounders on it, so I started there, and I pretty much stayed there,” he explains. “I probably caught 25 fish. I did miss one about 5 pounds that I’m hoping should be there tomorrow. I didn’t burn any gas once I got there. I kind of stayed in three little areas and that was pretty much it within a mile area.”

Frederick is a little concerned about the pressure a 163-boat field can produce on a lake like Cherokee, though, and with different weather moving in for day two, he expects to run some new water.

“I’m still going to fish the same way doing the same things, however, I’m going to run more spots tomorrow,” he adds. “A bunch of people caught a bunch of fish today. If I can catch 14 pounds tomorrow I’ll be tickled to death.”

Wherever Frederick fishes, though, he’s convinced he’s around the quality of fish that can lead him to a win.

“I know I’m around the right fish,” he says. “I just think the area I’m at has the better quality fish. I’m going to fish slow and hope for five good bites.”

 

Austin Felix

Andy Young

3. Austin Felix – Eden Prairie, Minn. – 17-4 (5)

5. Andy Young – Isle, Minn. – 17-2 (5)

Austin Felix and Andy Young are no strangers to hammering on smallmouths. Both hail from Minnesota, and, amusingly enough, both were fishing so similarly that they opted to give a joint interview after weighing in on day one, eschewing the typical stigma of giving away too much information to fellow competitors.

Both anglers were targeting bedding smallmouths, and while they did so in different areas of the lake, the approach was the same.

“Just finesse fishing for spawning smallmouths,” Young says. “I was in the mid-lake area. I don’t know how many I caught but I’m guessing 25.”

“I caught at least 50 bass today,” Felix says. “I’m like in an area where they’re really mixed. I’ll catch a couple smallmouths on a stretch and then I’ll catch a couple largemouths and then I’ll catch a bunch of spots. I had one big largemouth that saved my day.”

Felix and Young weren’t sight-fishing, per se. Instead, both anglers were keying in on transition areas where there was a good chance a smallmouth was bedding down.

“We weren’t looking at them, but you’re fishing for them and kind of got to figure out what they’re on,” adds Felix. “Rock and transition banks stuff – wherever there’s a shelf or something hard for them to get next to or sit on top of.”

While both pros put together quality bags on day one, their mindset heading into Friday is where Felix and Young finally vary.

“I don’t know if I have anything left to be honest with you,” Felix admits. “I marked some fish I either missed or lost. I’ll run all that stuff early [Friday].”

Young, on the other hand, expects to build on a solid practice period to keep his run going.

“The first day of practice I had like 18 pounds just hunting for them,” Young adds. “I think tomorrow that’s what I’m going to do. I kind of know what to look for.”

 

News and Notes

 

Chad Warren

Good karma

Chad Warren is having himself quite a season to this point (39th in AOY standings). With a good deed today, he might have enough good karma on his side to make a little leap at Cherokee.

Around 11 o’clock, Brandon Mosley’s boat broke down. Mosley and Warren talked, and the latter offered to let Mosley fish from his boat to fill out his limit. At that point, Warren had a 13-plus-pound limit and Mosley only had three fish.

Mosley went on to catch a couple more keepers to finish the day with 12-4 (103rd place) and Warren brought his 13-4 to the weigh-in stage to finish the day in 77th place.

Here’s to hoping Warren’s generosity is rewarded on day two.

 

Christopher Brasher

Limits aplenty, big fish… a few.

Of the 163 anglers who fished on Thursday, 143 weighed in a five-bass limit. That’s nearly unheard of at any level of competition, even the Tour level.

The average bag weight on day one was 12 pounds, 10 ounces, but that number doesn’t really do justice to the sheer volume of fish caught so far on Cherokee.

On the other hand, big bass (weighed in by Chris Brasher) only weighed 5-8, though you won’t hear too many anglers complaining about size when Cherokee is churning out so many keeper fish.

 

Bradford Beavers

The big question mark

Thunderstorms are expected to roll in Friday morning, accompanied by potentially all-day rain and a lot more wind that was present most of Thursday. Compared to the warm, sunny conditions on day one, day two is going to make for some big adjustments.

Depending on who you talk to, rain and wind could improve the bite on day two. It could also completely eliminate any sight-fishing bite and force anglers to switch up patterns on the fly.

The weather is truly the big wild card heading into day two, though it’s hard to say what the final result will be in terms of weights and number of fish caught.

 

Top 10 pros

1. Andrew Upshaw – Tulsa, Okla. – 18-6 (5)

2. Dylan Hays – El Dorado, Ark. – 17-13 (5)

3. Tim Fredrick – Leesburg, Fla. – 17-4 (5)

3. Austin Felix – Eden Prairie, Minn. – 17-4 (5)

5. Andy Young – Isle, Minn. – 17-2 (5)

5. Jason Reyes – Huffman, Texas – 17-2 (5)

7. Johnny McCombs – Morris, Ala. – 17-1 (5)

8. Tom Monsoor – La Crosse, Wis. – 17-0 (5)

9. Ron Nelson – Berrien Springs, Mich. - `16-12 (5)

10. Buddy Gross – Chickamauga, Ga. – 16-9 (5)

Complete results

Tags: justin-onslow  headline-story  2019-04-11-cherokee-lake 

Co-Angler Winslow Goes Light to Win

Co-Angler Winslow Goes Light to Win

Fishing with eventual winner Wayne Vaughan on the final day, Winslow utilized a light-weight technique to catch 15 pounds, 2 ounces (and 50-11 total) to win the Costa FLW Series Northern Division finale presented by Gajo Baits. READ MORE »

Vaughan Gets Dream Win on St. Lawrence

Vaughan Gets Dream Win on St. Lawrence

Making a key adjustment on the final day, Vaughan turned a small limit into a tournament-winning 20-pound, 11-ounce stringer to take home the victory in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division finale on the St. Lawrence River, presented by Gajo Baits. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Lawrence River – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Lawrence River – Day 2

Four of the top seven anglers in the Angler of the Year points race for the Costa FLW Series Northern Division finale presented by Gajo Baits made the top-10 cut, and three of them – Scott Dobson, Casey Smith and Wayne Vaughan – are in the top five with real chances at winning both the tournament and AOY. READ MORE »

Kelley Grabs Lead with 43 Pounds

Kelley Grabs Lead with 43 Pounds

Down near Ogdensburg, N.Y. – roughly 45 miles from takeoff – was the area on day one of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division finale presented by Gajo Baits, as the majority of the top bags came from there. A day later, it was the anglers who ran 75 miles or more down to Clayton, N.Y., and beyond who scored big, while the Ogdensburg bunch either capitalized in small windows or not at all. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Lawrence River – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Lawrence River – Day 1

Moving and transitioning fish, changing winds, long runs that didn’t always pan out and a 1-ounce lead at the top. Day one of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division finale on the St. Lawrence River, presented by Gajo Baits, certainly hasn’t lacked storylines. READ MORE »

Hatch Leads by 1 Ounce

Hatch Leads by 1 Ounce

There were no 25-pound mega-bags coming across the stage at weigh-in of the final leg of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division. The event on the St. Lawrence River, presented by Gajo Baits, hasn’t been the slugfest many expected after one day of fishing. There were still plenty of 20-pound bags, though, and the St. Lawrence on a bad day is still a tremendous fishery. READ MORE »

St. Lawrence Midday Update – Day 1

St. Lawrence Midday Update – Day 1

The final leg of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits on the St. Lawrence River opened to perfect conditions for anyone looking to burn some gas. Yes, it was a crisp 40 degrees at takeoff, but it was clear and calm. In fact, the current is ripping so hard it’s keeping the river as flat as most anglers have ever seen. Most pros should’ve been able to run all 95 miles to Lake Ontario (and into the lake if they wanted to) with little trouble. READ MORE »

Hough is Fighting to Fish

Hough is Fighting to Fish

Fishing just her second full season as a co-angler in the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) South Carolina Division, mother of two and first-grade teacher Kate Hough was planning and preparing for a chance to do something no woman has ever done in her division: win Co-Angler of the Year. Instead of preparing for the Super Tournament on Lake Hartwell on Sept. 28, however, Hough is simply fighting to leave her hospital bed. READ MORE »

Seal Sticks to River

Seal Sticks to River

Zackery Seal of Findley Lake, New York, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 44 pounds, 4 ounces, to win the two-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Northeast Division super-tournament at the 1000 Islands Sunday. Seal earned $6,066 for his efforts. The Northeast Division is presented by Gajo Baits. READ MORE »

Elrod Nets a Hat Trick

Elrod Nets a Hat Trick

Bryan Elrod of Mechanicsville, Virginia, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 29 pounds, 7 ounces, to win the two-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Shenandoah Division super-tournament on the James River Sunday. Elrod earned $3,542 for his efforts. READ MORE »

Fitzpatrick Notches No. 7

Fitzpatrick Notches No. 7

Roger Fitzpatrick of Eldon, Missouri, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 36 pounds, 3 ounces, to win the two-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Ozark Division presented by Bassing Bob super-tournament on Lake of the Ozarks Sunday. For his victory, Fitzpatrick earned $6,891 for his efforts. READ MORE »

No. 6 for Schroeder

No. 6 for Schroeder

Billy Schroeder of Paducah, Kentucky, brought a two-day total of seven bass to the scale Sunday weighing 22 pounds, 12 ounces, to win the two-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) LBL Division super-tournament on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. Schroeder earned $6,122 for his efforts. READ MORE »

Murray Wins on Watts Bar

Murray Wins on Watts Bar

John Murray of Spring City, Tennessee, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 28 pounds, 11 ounces, to win the two-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Volunteer Division super-tournament on Watts Bar Lake Sunday. Murray earned $7,334 for his efforts. READ MORE »

Rampey Takes Another on Hartwell

Rampey Takes Another on Hartwell

Jayme Rampey of Liberty, South Carolina, added another BFL victory to his impressive resume Sunday, bringing a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 31 pounds, 6 ounces, to win the two-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Savannah River Division super-tournament on Lake Hartwell. Rampey earned $5,665 for his efforts. READ MORE »

Leary Frogs and Flips on G-Ville

Leary Frogs and Flips on G-Ville

Jim Leary of Guntersville, Alabama, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 37 pounds, 12 ounces, to win the two-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Choo Choo Division super-tournament on Lake Guntersville presented by Cortland Line Sunday. Leary earned $5,869 for his efforts. READ MORE »

Humbard Claims Another Cherokee W

Humbard Claims Another Cherokee W

Bill Humbard of New Market, Tennessee, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Mountain Division tournament on Cherokee Lake Sunday after catching a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 26 pounds, 9 ounces. For his efforts on the water, Humbard took home $6,337. READ MORE »

Youngstown Wins on Erie

Youngstown Wins on Erie

The Youngstown State University duo of Jeffrey Jardine of Niles, Ohio, and Mike Soots of McDonald, Ohio, won the YETI FLW College Fishing event on Lake Erie with a five-bass limit weighing 22 pounds even. The victory earned the Penguins’ bass club $2,000 and a slot in the 2020 FLW College Fishing National Championshi READ MORE »

Williams Winds and Flips on Dardanelle

Williams Winds and Flips on Dardanelle

Charles Williams of Clarksville, Arkansas, won this weekend’s T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Arkie Division tournament on Lake Dardanelle presented by Navionics after catching a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 35 pounds, 9 ounces. For his efforts, Williams took home $4,868. READ MORE »

Shadowens Drags Docks on Grand

Shadowens Drags Docks on Grand

Mark Shadowens of Kiefer, Oklahoma, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Okie Division tournament on Grand Lake Sunday after catching a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 29 pounds, 3 ounces. For his finish, Shadowens pocketed $5,704. READ MORE »

Smith Needed One Rod on Shelbyville

Smith Needed One Rod on Shelbyville

Bradley Smith of Saint Jacob, Illinois, took home the win at the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Illini Division tournament on Lake Shelbyville Sunday after catching a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 23 pounds, 7 ounces. For his win, Smith pocketed $7,310. READ MORE »