UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Clear Lake

It’s all Upshaw

It’s all Upshaw
Andrew Upshaw

Going wire-to-wire to win an FLW Tour event, especially on a fishery like Cherokee Lake, isn’t something that happens by accident. It’s not all luck. It’s not all happenstance. What Andrew Upshaw did was a combination of skill, tenacity and mental toughness, plain and simple.

Complete results

Day four coverage blog 

The Tulsa, Okla., pro won his first-ever Tour event this week, and he did it on Cherokee Lake, amidst a true slugfest, with haymakers coming from every angle. During the tournament, which was presented by Lowrance, 90.7 percent of the field turned in a five-bass limit over four days. All 30 anglers weighed in five fish on Saturday and all 10 of the finalists brought five fish to the scale on Championship Sunday.

Simply put, everyone caught fish this week. No one caught them better than Andrew Upshaw.

Andrew Upshaw

The 32-year-old eight-year Tour veteran didn’t find a magic stretch filled with big fish and he didn’t have a secret bait no one else was throwing. What he did have was a solid game plan, a belief in himself and a strong support system that included his wife, Valerie, and son, Cain, who made the trip from Oklahoma to be there throughout the final two days of the tournament and by his side when he raised the $100,000 check and winner trophy above his head Sunday afternoon.

“I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, but when my family got here, I knew what I needed to do and that was just to calm down,” he admits. “This morning I got to skip rocks with my kid…”

At that point, Upshaw welled up with emotion and paused for a brief period to reflect on what he had accomplished and what it meant to have his family there every step of the way. Those emotions stayed with Upshaw long after the weigh-in had ended, as fans asked for autographs and photos, and friends, family and competitors congratulated the two-time FLW Cup qualifier on his first-ever Tour win.

Upshaw acknowledged all of those people during his victory celebration on the FLW weigh-in stage, recognizing his friends (namely Tour anglers Jason Reyes and Scott Martin), competitors and family (including his father, a close friend and his in-laws, who all made the journey to eastern Tennessee). It was a classy gesture from a humble man who was just grateful and overcome with emotion after finally completing a goal that’s been with him for a long, long time.

Asked when the emotions would start to wear off and the reality to set in, he responded as anyone in his position would.

“I have no idea. I don’t know. It’s kind of surreal.”

After the first couple days holding the lead on Cherokee, Upshaw admitted pressure and stress of the situation weighed on him. When his family arrived, he began to allow himself to calm down and just fish the way he had planned to fish. As it turns out, that plan was worth $100,000.

Andrew Upshaw

“It was pretty simple,” he explains. “I wanted to be around the deepest water and the steepest banks that had the big, what we call “dinosaur rock,” on it. The big pattern was it had to have boulders out in front and it. That was more important that it wasn’t a straight bank, it had to have somewhat of a turn. Those smallmouth were spawning in those turns.”

Targeting spawning smallmouths on mid-lake islands, Upshaw fished behind the boulders that peppered the shoreline – as opposed to in front of and behind them, as much of the field did this week.

“I was pitching it behind those boulders, because what they were doing, they were spawning behind the boulders,” he says. “Everybody was casting out in front and in the cracks, but they were actually behind the boulders the entire time.”

Upshaw relied on a wacky-rigged 4-inch green pumpkin Strike King Ocho to catch most of his fish, casting behind those boulders and letting the bait do what it does. Unlike many of his competitors (many of whom tried the same thing with weighted baits), Upshaw was able to get his bait where he wanted it with the action it needed to have to entice the bedding fish to bite.

While that pattern was what got Upshaw to the finish line, it was a 3.25-inch ghost shad Strike King Rage Swimmer on a 1/4-ounce head that allowed him to cross it ahead of the rest of the 163-angler field.

Andrew Upshaw

“Thankfully I had that backup secondary pattern that as soon as I pulled up with 40 minutes left I caught a 3 1/2 and a 2 1/2 that culled out two very, very little fish,” he explains. “Right out of takeoff, about a quarter mile up, there’s a couple points up there. The side of one point there’s a rock pile I think all my competitors missed. Not just a true pile of rocks – it had isolated boulders and only big ones were moving up on it. When you caught one there, it was a big one.”

When Upshaw ran to that rock pile, he needed big ones. The two he caught made the difference, edging out Harleysville, Pa., pro Grae Buck by just 1-2. Without those fish, Upshaw would still be hunting for his first Tour victory.

With the win, Upshaw puts himself in prime position to make his third FLW Cup. He started the year with a couple top-30 finishes (at Sam Rayburn and Toho), but a pair of triple-digit finishes at Seminole and Grand all but erased any momentum he had. As he tells it, his wife knew exactly what he needed to do to regain that forward motion.

“I started out the year super strong,” he says. “I made two back-to-back 30 cuts, and then I had two terrible tournaments at Seminole and Grand, and I dug myself a pretty big hole. My wife had mentioned to me that the only way you’re going to move up is you’ve got to win, and so I fished to win this week, and it just, it doesn’t always work that way. I fish to win every week, and it just happened this week.”

Upshaw always fishes to win, and that was never more apparent to Upshaw himself than when he made the decision to go for broke on Sunday, changing the plan he had in his mind following another strong showing on day three. Instead of going to where he knew he could catch a small limit early – as he had in mind – he stuck to his guns and went to where he knew the big ones were.

Andrew Upshaw

“I changed what I was going to do,” he admits. “What I did was I started out on spawners. I made the decision last night. I said, ‘You know what? My competitors aren’t going to lay up, and I’m not going to lay up either. I’m going to go for the gusto,’ and that’s exactly what I did. I started out on spawners. It was the right call.”

Making calls like that are what instill confidence in an angler, especially one who now has a Tour win under his belt. Upshaw knows what it takes to win, and, more importantly, he knows what it feels like to be an FLW champion. And right now, that feeling might be enough to carry him all the way to another FLW Cup.

 

Top 10 pros

1. Andrew Upshaw – Tulsa, Okla. – 67-10 (20) – $100,000

2. Grae Buck – Harleysville, Penn. – 66-8 (20) – $30,200

3. Dylan Hays – El Dorado, Ark. – 65-12 (20) – $25,100

4. Jason Reyes – Huffman, Texas – 65-11 (20) – $20,000

5. Andy Young – Isle, Minn. – 64-0 (20) – $19,000

6. Tom Monsoor – La Crosse, Wis. – 63-1 (20) – $18,000

7. Tim Cales – Sandstone, W. Va. – 62-8 (20) – $17,000

8. Derrick Snavely – Piney Flats, Tenn. – 61-9 (20) – $16,000

9. Matt Becker – Finleyville, Penn. – 61-4 (20) – $15,000

10. Tim Frederick – Leesburg, Fla. – 60-12 (20) – $14,000

Complete results

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

Lieblong Again at Dardanelle

Lieblong Again at Dardanelle

Jason Lieblong is no stranger to Toyota Series titles on Lake Dardanelle. He claimed his first back in August of 2015 and five years later thanks to a final-day bag worth 15 pounds, 15 ounces (the biggest of the event) Lieblong added his second Series trophy to the mantle. The Conway, Ark., pro finished the event with 40-9 overall, moving up the leaderboard every day of the tournament. For winning the Plains Division opener presented by Fish-Intel, Lieblong took home over $70,000 thanks largely to the FLW PHOENIX BONUS, which earned him and extra $35,000. 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 »

Bennett Takes Dardanelle Lead

Bennett Takes Dardanelle Lead

Backing up his day-one weight of 13 pounds, 6 ounces, Joe Bennett brought 13-14 to the scale to take the lead at Lake Dardanelle in the Toyota Series Plains Division opener presented by Fish-Intel. Bennett will carry 1-1 lead into Saturday’s final round over Kevin Riney as he looks to grab his first victory with FLW. 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 »

Montevallo Takes College Open Title

Montevallo Takes College Open Title

As tough as Kentucky Lake was fishing this week in the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open, Grayson Morris and Jacob Pfundt of the University of Montevallo leading after day one and finishing the job on Thursday resulted in one of the more impressive wins you’ll see. After weighing in a day-one best 12-13, the duo backed it up with another 12-7 on day two for the victory, displaying the kind of consistency it takes to grind it out in tough fishing conditions. For their efforts, Morris and Pfundt were awarded a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-hp Mercury outboard. READ MORE »

King Tops Day 1 at Dardanelle 

King Tops Day 1 at Dardanelle 

Zach King of Clarksville, Ark., used a Heddon Zara Spook to catch 14 pounds, 11 ounces claim the day one lead in the Toyota Series Plains Division event on Lake Dardanelle presented by Fish-Intel. King will take a 6-ounce lead over Matt Wood of Jessieville, Ark., into day two.  READ MORE »

Dardanelle Midday Update – Day 1

Dardanelle Midday Update – Day 1

Thursday’s opening round of the Toyota Series Plains Division opener at Lake Dardanelle followed the script many anglers predicted. Despite many favorable conditions at the beginning of a peak fishing season, muddy water and bright sunshine made fishing difficult across the 34,000-acre Arkansas River impoundment. 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 »

High Water on Tap for College Open

High Water on Tap for College Open

By mid-September, Kentucky Lake can be absolutely lights-out when you find a big school up on its many shallow bars. This week, during the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open, that’s probably not going to be the case – instead of locking a topwater in their hands, college teams are likely to take a much more varied approach. READ MORE »

Montevallo Leads College Open 

Montevallo Leads College Open 

As expected, weights were down across the board on day one of the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open on Kentucky Lake. With high water during what’s typically a tough transitional time of year, it took just 12 pounds, 13 ounces for Grayson Morris and Jacob Pfundt of the University of Montevallo to grab the lead. READ MORE »

Dickneite Again on Lake of the Ozarks

Dickneite Again on Lake of the Ozarks

Boater Andre Dickneite of Freeburg, Mo., brought a five-bass limit to the scale Sunday weighing 18 pounds, 7 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event on Lake of the Ozarks in Warsaw, Missouri. For his victory, Dickneite earned a total of $3,794. READ MORE »

Wallis Sacks 19-14 on Truman

Wallis Sacks 19-14 on Truman

Boater Mike Wallis of Hallsville, Mo., brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 19 pounds, 14 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event on Lake Truman in Warsaw, Missouri. For his victory, Wallis earned a total of $5,009. READ MORE »

Houchin Gets Hamilton W

Houchin Gets Hamilton W

Boater Quincy Houchin of Mabelvale, Ark., brought a two-day total of nine bass to the scale weighing 23 pounds, 5 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Arkie Division Super-Tournament at Lake Hamilton. For his victory, Houchin earned $13,460, which includes the lucrative FLW PHOENIX BONUS contingency payout. READ MORE »

Foutz Claims Chick Title

Foutz Claims Chick Title

Boater Jacob Foutz of Charleston, Tenn., brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 29 pounds, 12 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Volunteer Division Super-Tournament at Lake Chickamauga. For his victory, Foutz earned $5,126. READ MORE »

Honnerlaw Nets Big O Title

Honnerlaw Nets Big O Title

Boater Bryan Honnerlaw of Moore Haven, Fla.,brought a five-bass limit to the scale Sunday weighing 22 pounds, 9 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Gator Division Super-Tournament at Lake Okeechobee. For his victory, Honnerlaw earned $6,817. READ MORE »

Amerson Wins First BFL

Amerson Wins First BFL

Boater Keith Amerson of Bethel Springs, Tenn.,, brought a two-day total of six bass to the scale weighing 22 pounds, 7 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine LBL Division Super-Tournament at Kentucky and Barkley Lakes. For his victory, Amerson earned $5,376. READ MORE »

Morgan Wins No. 3

Morgan Wins No. 3

Boater Brian Morgan of Mooresville, N.C., brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale this weekend weighing 24 pounds, 10 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine North Carolina Division Super-Tournament at Lake Norman. Morgan earned a total of $5,831 for his victory – his third win of the year in the North Carolina Division. READ MORE »

Smith Scores Close to Home

Smith Scores Close to Home

Boater Michael M. Smith of Andalusia, Ala., brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 40 pounds, 4 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Bama Division Super-Tournament at Lake Eufaula. For his victory, Smith earned $6,329. READ MORE »

Maupin Takes Potomac Title

Maupin Takes Potomac Title

The dock talk all week at the Potomac River for the Toyota Series Eastern Division event was that fishing was tough. That rang true again today as the wind help stall the tide making things tough for most of the top 10. James Maupin, however, kept his streak of consistency alive as he weighed his third 13-pound-plus limit of the week to move from second to first with 40 pounds, 11 ounces overall. For the win, Maupin earns his first FLW trophy and over $24,000.  READ MORE »