UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Santee Cooper

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Upshaw Still Up at Cherokee

Upshaw Still Up at Cherokee
Andrew Upshaw

Day two of the FLW Tour event presented by Lowrance on Cherokee Lake again featured great fishing and remarkable consistency from most of the field. Still on top, Andrew Upshaw weighed 17 pounds, 14 ounces of smallmouths to up his two-day total to 36-4.

In second, Dylan Hays dropped off the pace slightly and weighed in 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 to this point.

Upshaw's lead story from day one

Day two coverage blog

Complete results

Upshaw, perhaps more than anyone else in the field this week, showcased remarkable consistency and the ability to find and land key bites. He didn’t change up much on day two – except for running some water he didn’t hit on Thursday – and that should be extremely troubling for the pros trying to keep pace with the Tulsa, Okla., pro.

“My bite is all day,” Upshaw says of the sometimes-small windows pros have to exploit key bites. “I just haven’t got to fish all day. I’ve stopped fishing my stuff at 10 o’clock every day.”

Day two was no exception, as Upshaw landed a 4 1/2-pounder almost first thing Friday morning. It’s a class of fish that is few and far between on Cherokee, despite the massive numbers of quality bass in the fishery.

Andrew Upshaw

“I started right where I left off when I caught my last big one yesterday,” he explains. “I started on the exact same spot, went down through there and caught a 4 1/2-pounder and a 2 3/4.

“A 4 1/2-pounder is a big deal here. Three-pounders, these guys are catching 3-pounders and a lot of them and so am I. But catching a 4-pounder is really hard, and today I was just fortunate enough to do it.”

Because Upshaw was able to secure a sizable limit early on day two fishing the same way he did on Thursday, he had plenty of time to run some different water and figure out where he can still get bit away from his primary areas. In addition, he says he found something later in the day on Friday that could be the deal if he makes it to Championship Sunday.

“I did figure out something late in the day today,” he admits. “I just started practicing and trying to figure out a way I can catch them completely different than what I’m doing, and I was able to catch about 14 pounds doing that very consistently – not spawners, which was nice. I’m not really worried about that for tomorrow. That’s more of a day four kind of thing.”

Having back-to-back stellar days are one thing, but putting yourself in position to potentially go wire-to-wire is another. Unless something changes drastically, Upshaw will be fishing on Sunday. It’s all going to come down to how he handles the pressure on moving day.

“Tomorrow I’m going to go swing and try to catch another big bag, and if I struggle late I can just go and try to catch a decent bag,” Upshaw says. “If I can get any calm condition, I don’t care if it’s sunny or cloudy, whatever, if the wind doesn’t blow an extreme amount I’ll catch them.”

With the way he’s been crushing them so far this week, there’s a more than decent chance he will catch them, and that’s very bad for the rest of the pros who just made the top-30 cut.

 

Dylan Hays

2. Dylan Hays – El Dorado, Ark. – 34-8 (10)

Dylan Hays backed up a strong day-one performance with another quality bag on Friday, and despite not matching his previous weight total, he did more than enough to remain within striking distance of the lead heading into moving day.

Hays is fishing a stretch of water that he’s had almost completely to himself, and he’s catching his fish a lot differently than the spinning rod-wielding majority. As a result, he’s predominantly catching largemouths, and many of them are the right quality to get the job done.

“Today I had a pretty solid bag pretty early, and I knew I could largemouth fish all day long,” he explains. “I caught more keepers, and I ended catching a 3 1/2-pounder late in the day I wouldn’t have had had I been sight-fishing.”

With a quality stringer early in the day, Hays was able to run some new water and identify some stretches he’ll be able to hunt for kickers on day three.

“I ran some new stuff,” he adds. “I found a couple stretches. One stretch I culled three times off it and weighed two of them. I saved the rest of them for tomorrow. I was culling ounces, and then I culled a pound and I figured I didn’t need to burn anymore 2 1/2-, 3-pounders.”

While Hays says he didn’t find any “magic stretches,” he’s shown so far he doesn’t need any to make a run at winning this tournament.

 

Austin Felix

3. Austin Felix – Eden Prairie, Minn. – 34-5 (10)

Catching brown bass is something Austin Felix does with aplomb, so his third-place standing on Cherokee through two days shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Provided the weather cooperates on day three and he’s able to keep running a similar pattern to that of days one and two, Felix will be fishing on Sunday.

“I managed to catch a 4 1/4 largemouth, 2 3/4 largemouth, 3 1/2 smallmouth and a 3 1/4 smallmouth just fishing new water, plus all those 2-pounders that I found,” he says. “If I come across the right stretch, I can catch a decent bag again.”

Felix marked a handful of 2-pounders he found today, and he plans to catch those fish early in the day on Saturday before running some new water. His pattern is repeatable, just so long as the weather doesn’t do anything too crazy.

“Cloudy and calm, that’ll be fine,” Felix says. “I’ll be able to see everything. I just have to put it in front of a bigger one.”

After day one, Felix wasn’t sure how many fish he’d have left on Friday. As it turns out, he had plenty, and the now 30-boat field should further ease concerns about fishing pressure on Cherokee. Now, it all comes down to tacking on one more great day of fishing to try and make it to the final round on Sunday.

“It’s up in the air,” he admits. “I’m glad I did well. I don’t know what I’ll need to stay in the top 10.”

 

Grae Buck

4. Grae Buck – Harleysville, Penn. – 34-0 (10)

Grae Buck made a big jump on day two running and gunning in mostly new water. His pattern – “fishing anything that looks like they could possibly spawn on” – worked to the tune of 17-10 to back up his 16-6 stringer from day one.

In practice, Buck spent a lot of time targeting prespawners further out from bedding areas, but after a warm off day (the day before the tournament), fish moved up enough to allow Buck to target beds with a shaky head and a finesse worm.

“In practice, I was fishing out and looking for more of those prespawners,” he says. “I was catching a couple shallow around these rocks that they were getting ready to spawn on. I had a general idea of what was going to be going down, but that warm off day really pushed them up even more than I realized.

“I went and fished some largemouth stuff the first morning, and I had a couple small ones, and then I started running some of that just looking around. I pulled up on one point and I caught four off of it in probably 15 minutes.”

From then on, Buck started targeting any spot he thought looked like a prime bedding area. He ran a lot of new water on day two, and, with the exception of an area he tossed back some 2-pounders on day two, he plans on running a bunch of new stuff on Saturday as well.

 

Tim Frederick

5. Tim Frederick – Leesburg, Fla. – 33-9 (10)

Tim Frederick had a limit within the first hour of fishing on day one. Friday, it took him nearly four times as long, but good things sometimes come to anglers who wait.

Milking the same area as he did on Thursday, Frederick slowly and methodically picked apart spots he knew fish were spawning. But it wasn’t until a slow start prompted him to move to some new areas that Frederick’s day really kicked into high gear.

“I never fished it at all yesterday because there was so much boat traffic,” he explains. “It didn’t look as good to me, honestly. “I was looking for some new stuff that’s close by, because that area for some reason holds big fish.”

Frederick has been bouncing around within the same one-mile area near mid-lake. He knows there are big fish in that section of the fishery, and his plan tomorrow is to avoid wading through a lot of smaller fish to find the difference-makers.

“I don’t need to catch 15 or 20 [fish],” he says. “Today I probably caught 18 total. I don’t need to catch that as long as they’re the right ones. The size is there. The one I missed, there was about a 4- or 4 1/2-pounder that I missed twice; it jumped off both times. I know it’s on a bed. In the morning, that’s the first place I’m going to go.”

If he’s able to land that fish first thing in the morning, it will be an immediately better start than he had one day two, though it’s hard to complain when the result is a bag that keeps you firmly in the top five ahead of moving day.

 

News and Notes

 

John Canada

Pushing the limits

After 144 five-bass limits were weighed in on Thursday, it seemed like Cherokee couldn’t possibly fish any better on day two. Instead, three additional pros weighed in a full stringer for 147 total limits.

Cherokee might not produce many trophy bass, but it sure shows out in the numbers department. And given how diverse the fishery is – having healthy populations of smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass – it’s truly astounding how many quality fish are in the eastern Tennessee impoundment.

It’s a guarantee there won’t be as many limits tomorrow, but the percentage of pros weighing in limits could be even higher. Don’t expect to see more than a couple anglers with less than five fish in their bag on Saturday.

 

Andrew Upshaw

Fickle Mother Nature

Initial forecasts called for all-day rain and wind on Friday, but that didn’t prove to be the case. Aside from a somewhat brief drizzle late in the morning on day two, the conditions weren’t all that unpleasant.

What’s actually surprising, however, is that drastically different conditions overall (cloud cover and some wind) didn’t do much to curb quality or quantity. The fishing was pretty much the same – or perhaps even better – than on day one.

The forecast again calls for an isolated storm or two tomorrow, but even if that does come to fruition, Cherokee is fishing well enough to not let a little thing like weather cool it off.

 

Hensley Powell

Big(ish) bass

Hensley Powell won Big Bass honors on day two with a fish that weighed in at 5 pounds even, which is about in line with what everyone expected to be the case heading into this event. A 5-pounder leading the way at weigh-in highlights how crucial it is to catch bass in the 3- to 5-pound range this week. We haven’t seen a 20-plus-pound bag yet, and it’s going to take more than one of that class of fish to get it done.

 

Top 10 pros

1. Andrew Upshaw – Tulsa, Okla. – 36-4 (10)

2. Dylan Hays – El Dorado, Ark. – 34-8 (10)

3. Austin Felix – Eden Prairie, Minn. – 34-5 (10)

4. Grae Buck – Harleysville, Penn. – 34-0 (10)

5. Tim Frederick – Leesburg, Fla. – 33-9 (10)

6. Ron Nelson – Berrien Springs, Mich. - 33-9 (10)

7. Kurt Mitchell – Milford, Del. – 33-7 (10)

8. Tom Monsoor – La Crosse, Wis. – 33-4 (10)

9. Derrick Snavely – Piney Flats, Tenn. – 32-14 (10)

10. Joey Cifuentes – Clinton, Ark. – 32-7 (10)

Complete results

Tags: justin-onslow  post-tournament  2019-04-11-cherokee-lake 

Big Weights Expected at Santee Cooper

Big Weights Expected at Santee Cooper

The Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division finishes up its 2019 season at the Santee Cooper lakes, Marion and Moultrie, in South Carolina this week. Forty pros and co-anglers will qualify for the championship, and an Angler of the Year will be crowned as the field fishes for hefty postspawn largemouths. 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 »