UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - California Delta

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

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 

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 »