UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Potomac River

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 

Champlain Midday Update – Day 3

Champlain Midday Update – Day 3

While day two was windy and rough, day three has pretty much been calm from the get-go. It has also been hot as blazes. It’s made fishing a little tougher than expected, with a lot of anglers reporting missed or lost fish and a generally slower bite. That said, a slow bite on Champlain is a great bite most everywhere else, so we’re still going to see plenty of bass. READ MORE »

Thrift All the Way on Champlain

Thrift All the Way on Champlain

Taking the win in wire-to-wire fashion, Bryan Thrift tallied 18 pounds, 4 ounces on the final day for an even 57-pound total in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Champlain. For the win, Thrift earned $44,200 and a new Ranger boat, and it’s his 11th win with FLW. The Northern Division is presented by Gajo Baits and the tournament was presented by Polaris.  READ MORE »

Lake Champlain Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Lake Champlain Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

One of the windier tournament days in recent memory did a lot to reshape the leaderboard of the Costa FLW Series event on Lake Champlain. The run south to Ticonderoga was not impossible, but the wind up north kept a lot of pros from effectively fishing their best stuff. That made weights drop pretty much across the board on day two. READ MORE »

Thrift Still Ahead on Champlain

Thrift Still Ahead on Champlain

Day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on Champlain featured a bunch of wind and a lot of turnover on the leaderboard. Though he struggled to replicate his massive day-one success, Bryan Thrift still managed 16 pounds, 6 ounces for a 38-12 total to retain the lead. Behind him, Scott Dobson rose from ninth to second with a robust bag of smallmouths worth 18-10 for a 37-14 total. READ MORE »

Champlain Midday Update – Day 2

Champlain Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the Costa FLW Series event presented by Polaris on Lake Champlain is going to be quite a swing from day one. Typically turnover in the standings is common on Champlain because the weights stay so tight, but today’s turnover is going to have a lot to do with the weather. READ MORE »

Champlain Midday Update – Day 1

Champlain Midday Update – Day 1

Takeoff was a little blustery, but overall, it’s been a perfect start to the Costa FLW Series event on Lake Champlain. The event is the kickoff of the Northern Division, which is presented by Gajo Baits, and the tournament itself is presented by Polaris. READ MORE »

Lake Champlain Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Lake Champlain Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Last year, every event in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division, which is presented by Gajo Baits, was won entirely with smallmouth bass. This season, the kickoff event on Champlain, which is presented by Polaris, looks destined to involve some largemouths. Everyone in the top five weighed green ones on day one, though somewhat surprisingly, the south end down by Ticonderoga didn’t play an overwhelming role, as only three of the top 10 anglers made the long run southward. READ MORE »

Thrift Takes Command on Champlain

Thrift Takes Command on Champlain

Less than three weeks removed from a third-place finish on Lake Champlain in the FLW Tour’s 2019 season finale, Bryan Thrift hauled 22 pounds, 6 ounces of green fish to the weigh-in stage to take the day one lead in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division opener, which is presented by Polaris. In second, Brandt Tumberg weighed 21-10, and Joe Wood is just an ounce behind him with 21-9 for third.  READ MORE »

Elrod Runs Tide, Wood on James River

Elrod Runs Tide, Wood on James River

Bryan Elrod of Mechanicsville, Virginia, won Saturday’s T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Piedmont Division tournament on the James River after catching five bass weighing 16 pounds, 10 ounces. For his efforts, Elrod took home $3,637. READ MORE »

Mittlestat Tops at St. Clair

Mittlestat Tops at St. Clair

Dan Mittlestat of Woodhaven, Michigan, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Michigan Division tournament on Lake St. Clair presented by Navionics Saturday after catching a five-bass limit weighing 22 pounds, 7 ounces. Mittlestat netted $6,552 for his win. READ MORE »

Schmitt Takes Champlain Title

Schmitt Takes Champlain Title

FLW Tour pro Bryan Schmitt of Deale, Maryland, won Saturday’s T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournament on Lake Champlain presented by Navionics after catching five bass weighing 19 pounds, 10 ounces. For his win, Schmitt earned $7,209 and 250 points in the Northeast Division presented by Gajo Baits standings. The winner of the division’s Angler of the Year title after five tournaments will win $3,000. READ MORE »

Big Little Boats

Big Little Boats

There is a massive surge in innovation in the fishing kayak industry, as evidenced by a showroom floor packed with canoes, kayaks, boats – and, in many cases, a combination of all of them – at ICAST 2019. READ MORE »

4 Hot New Reels from ICAST

4 Hot New Reels from ICAST

2019 is the year of the trolling motor at ICAST, but it wouldn’t be ICAST without at least a few next generation reels from some of the best manufacturers in the business. READ MORE »

Peter T and Crew Win ICAST Cup

Peter T and Crew Win ICAST Cup

Representing Lew’s, the team of John Carman, Peter Thliveros and Matthew Mattingly won the 2019 ICAST Cup at Lake Toho this morning with a five-bass limit that weighed 20 pounds, 4 ounces. It’s the first time in the ICAST kickoff event’s five-year history that a team has won two titles, and they come back-to-back – though this time it was an outright win.  READ MORE »

Kilgore on Top at Neely Henry

Kilgore on Top at Neely Henry

Andy Kilgore of Kingston, Georgia, caught five bass Saturday weighing 19 pounds, 7 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournament on Lake Neely Henry. Kilgore pocketed $4,426 for his win in the event and earned 250 points in the Bama Division Angler of the Year (AOY) standings. The winner of the division’s AOY title after five tournaments will win $3,000. READ MORE »

Experience Carries Siggers

Experience Carries Siggers

Dennis Siggers of Danville, Virginia, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Shenandoah Division tournament on Smith Mountain Lake Saturday after catching a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 1 ounce. For his victory, Siggers earned $2,585 for his victory. READ MORE »

Melton Wins on Rough River

Melton Wins on Rough River

John Melton of Corydon, Indiana, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Hoosier Division tournament on Rough River Lake Saturday after catching five bass weighing 13 pounds, 12 ounces. Melton netted $4,838 for his win. READ MORE »

Jenkel Flips Bushes on Rend

Jenkel Flips Bushes on Rend

Derek Jenkel of Pinckneyville, Illinois, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Illini Division tournament on Rend Lake Saturday after catching a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 8 ounces. Jenkel earned $4,384 for his victory. READ MORE »

Campbell Gets a Hat Trick

Campbell Gets a Hat Trick

Brody Campbell of Oxford, Ohio, won the rescheduled T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Hoosier Division tournament on Rough River Lake presented by Navionics Sunday after catching four bass weighing 7 pounds, 13 ounces. Campbell earned $5,703 for his win. READ MORE »

Harlin Sacks 24 for Ozark W

Harlin Sacks 24 for Ozark W

Michael Harlin of Sunrise Beach, Missouri, caught five bass Saturday weighing 24 pounds, 9 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournament on Lake of the Ozarks. Harlin pocketed $4,463 for his win in the event and 250 points in the Ozark Division presented by Bassing Bob standings. The winner of the division’s Angler of the Year title after five tournaments will win $3,000. READ MORE »