UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - St. Lawrence River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Cox Leads with 24-11 on Chick

Cox Leads with 24-11 on Chick
John Cox

John Cox just has a way of not taking himself too seriously. Maybe that’s why he was able to quietly haul the tournament-leading sack to weigh-in and take the lead with only one angler left to cross the stage behind him.

Day one coverage blog

Get to know Lake Chickamauga

Complete results

Cox doesn’t get hung up on figuring out how much weight he has. He’s not always crunching the numbers and stressing out about the weight he needs. And on day one of the FLW Tour event on Lake Chickamauga, which is presented by Evinrude, his 24-pound, 11-ounce stringer was more than enough to position the nine-year Tour pro atop the leaderboard heading into day two.

For Cox, it’s a pretty simple formula.

“I’m going to go out there [tomorrow] and try to catch five more decent males, and I’m hoping I can get lucky and catch a 9- or 10-pounder,” he says. “The thing is, this place is awesome. Someone’s going to pull up on a drop or hit a stretch of shoreline and smoke them. Hopefully I can be consistent and get that 22 or 23 pounds every day and I’ll be all right.”

Consistency isn’t always Cox’s calling card, but that isn’t a knock on his immense talent. He just loves to fish shallow – especially sight-fishing, which he did plenty of Thursday – and that recipe often leads to trouble when things don’t line up just right. Today, they did.

The DeBary, Fla., pro marked about 10 fish in practice that he thought might help him during the tournament. Many of those fish had already been caught or moved off their beds by the time Thursday rolled around, but he was able to make the most of what he had. He also might have something left in his bag of tricks tomorrow.

John Cox

“I started on a real big fish and got frustrated with it,” he explains. “I couldn’t catch her, and I just bailed on her.”

Cox returned to that fish several times throughout the day, each time finding a new male on the bed with her. After trying a few times to catch the “probably at least 10-pound” female, he determined he might have better luck on Friday.

“I was like, ‘Hey, go ahead and finish up and I’ll come back tomorrow,’” he jokes.

The problem is, according to Cox, a lot of the shoreline he’s been targeting is getting pretty muddied up, and with rain potentially moving in overnight and into the morning, his primary plan could go up in smoke tomorrow. His secondary plan?

“I never have a secondary plan,” he quips. “The water’s coming up. Sometimes it comes up and it actually gets cleaner as it comes up. For some reason a lot of the banks are really stirred up, which is cool. I’ll just go do something else.”

Again, taking himself too seriously just isn’t what Cox is about. And it works for him.

What Cox is about, though, is throwing a frog. There’s a good chance we might see a lot of that the rest of the tournament if his sight-fishing pattern dries up.

“I had it [a frog] on the deck the entire time today,” he adds. “That could come into to play – hopefully at some point.”

The thing is, you never really know what Cox is going to do on any given day, but more often than not it works out for him. Call it talent. Call it confidence. Call it whatever you want, really, but just don’t expect Cox to take it too seriously, whatever you decide to call it.

 

Ron Nelson

2. Ron Nelson – Berrien Springs, Mich. – 24-6 (5)

Ron Nelson won’t tell you much about the areas he’s fishing or what baits he’s using, but he will tell you he’s making all the right adjustments to put himself in serious contention this week on Chick.

Nelson started his day targeting the shad spawn up shallow, but he eventually moved out to deeper water, made a quick adjustment and rode that wave all the way to a 24-6 bag and second place on the leaderboard after day one.

“I started on a shad spawn, and I probably will again tomorrow,” Nelson explains. “It just didn’t happen for me today. I started on some wide ledges after that and caught a few fish that weren’t the right size. I made some adjustments and started catching them from there.”

Once Nelson hauled in a 6-10 giant to anchor his bag, he says it put the wind back in his sails. He was cycling through six or seven different undisclosed baits before finally getting some big bites and sticking with the bait that worked from there on out.

For Nelson to repeat his day one performance on Friday, he’ll need either a little luck (namely, the rain holding off) or to once again make the right adjustments to find quality fish. If all goes according to plan, he’ll be fishing on Saturday for the second-straight tournament.

 

Matt Greenblatt

3. Matt Greenblatt – Port St. Lucie, Fla. – 23-5 (5)

Matt Greenblatt was able to ride a fairly middle-of-the-road approach to a third-place start at Chickamauga. He split his time between shallow and deep water, and he didn’t really find any areas that produced better or worse than the rest.

Part of his success on day one could also be attributed to a little good fortune to start the day.

“I was boat 122, so I didn’t have the greatest of draws, and like everybody else, you’re wondering who’s on your spot when you get there,” he explains. “Making long runs gives a lot of chance for guys to be there. I got there, and I had it all to myself, and that really settled me down when I got there.”

Greenblatt had plenty of spots, though, and he caught fish at many of them. Culling consistently throughout the day and catching a lot of fish kept his mind in the right place.

“We caught them all day long,” he adds. “It wasn’t a flurry. It’s kept my head in the game. This is Chickamauga, and the next one could be a 10-pounder. It was real easy to keep my head in the game.”

Along with splitting his time both shallow and deep, Greenblatt also spent most of the day in the mid-lake area, eschewing long runs way up the river or down to the south end of the lake.

 

Ramie Colson Jr.

4. Ramie Colson Jr. – Cadiz, Ky. – 23-2 (5)

Like Greenblatt, Ramie Colson Jr. took advantage of multiple patterns and the fact that, at this time of year, Lake Chickamauga fish are spread out and catchable at just about every depth.

“It’s what I call that transition stage,” he explains. “At home I call it a ‘funk stage’. You can catch a few in and you can catch a few out. It’s kind of whatever you like."

Colson, a Cadiz, Ky., resident who is exceptionally familiar with Tennessee River fishing, knows this is a period in which fish can be caught somewhere other than offshore ledges, and he likes that.

“I like this better, instead of a slugfest as far as everybody being gunwale to gunwale out there,” he adds.

Like much of the field, Colson started his day shallow looking to take advantage of shad spawns. As the sun came out, he moved out deeper and began culling, ounces at a time and then a pound here or there. Unfortunately, Colson is finding it exceedingly hard to cull out a 2 1/2-pound-class fish with anything other than a giant.

“It’s interesting. This lake’s got them [giants],” Colson says. “You can catch numerous 2- or 2 1/2-pounders. It just seems like they skipped a generation.”

If Colson keeps catching big ones, though, those 3-pounders he’s been looking for to cull up won’t be missed.

 

Tim Frederick

5. Tim Frederick – Leesburg, Fla. – 23-0 (5)

Tim Frederick has a little bit of luck and a whole lot of experience to thank for his 23-pound bag on day one. If it weren’t for some early-morning fog, he may not have put together a solid limit as early as he did, thus allowing him to run around a little bit to upgrade.

“I got fogged in,” Frederick says of his run to the spot he wanted to hit to start the day. “Halfway up I got fogged in and pulled over halfway up and had a limit by 8 o’clock.”

That limit allowed Frederick to run some other stuff and upgrade little by little at each spot. But it was one special place Frederick upgraded three times, and it was a place he knows well.

“Two years ago in the Costa I should have won,” he explains. “I should have blew it away, but I missed a lot of fish on this one little magic spot I had. All during practice I had one bite on it. I knew what gets there, though.”

Frederick wanted to do some flipping after he caught his limit, but he wasn’t going to skip out on hitting that magic spot. Clearly, it paid off.

After finishing 10th at Cherokee in the Tour’s last stop, Frederick is riding high. He’s confident and he’s fishing well, and that’s about all he can ask for on a lake as good as Chick.

 

News and Notes

 

Billy McCaghren

The hunt for double-digits

Despite this being the fourth time the FLW Tour has come to Chickamauga – the Lake of the Giants – no FLW Tour pro has managed to weigh in a double-digit bass on the southern big-bass factory in Tour competition. Billy McCaghren came awfully close on Thursday with a 9-13 behemoth to take Big Bass honors, but we’re still waiting to see a true 10-pounder come across the weigh-in stage.

So far in just 2019, 70 bass over 10 pounds have been confirmed from Chick’s waters, to say nothing of the 10-plusses that anglers didn’t bother reporting. While we’re getting to the tail end of the spawn, this is a lake at which 10-pounders can be had all year long. Don’t be surprised if a couple end up being weighed in by the end of the weekend.

 

Randy Allen

The century club might be safe

Breaking 100 pounds in a four-day tournament is a monumental feat that isn’t likely to be achieved this season on Tour. Chickamauga is really the last best chance to get it done.

Unfortunately, it’s going to take some mega-bags to get there. At our current rate, no one is even on pace to do so after day one, and repeating multiple big bags is harder than it looks. It’s always possible – especially on Chick – that someone weighs in 30-plus tomorrow and gets on track to top 100 pounds, but, at this point, odds are heavily against anyone averaging 25 pounds per day.

 

Miles Burghoff

AOY update (and ROY, too)

Tour rookie Miles Burghoff only weighed in 12-6 and currently sits in 96th place heading into day two. And yet Burghoff still remains atop the AOY standings, which means he’s also still on top as the ROY favorite.

It’s unlikely anyone catches Burghoff in the ROY race, but the AOY race is tight. Cox, Scott Martin, David Dudley, Braxton Setzer, Joseph Webster and Terry Bolton are all on his tail, and a good portion of that group really caught them on day one.

From here on out, it’s Burghoff Watch 2019. Buckle up.

 

Consistently inconsistent

Weather in eastern Tennessee isn’t what you would call “predictable.” Forecasts for Thursday called for the possibility of some afternoon rain showers that never came. Instead, rain moved in overnight.

Tomorrow’s forecast calls for rain all morning and early afternoon, but it’s hard to say if that will actually come to fruition. If rain does move in, though, expect to see a lot of day one patterns go by the wayside.

 

Top 10 pros

1. John Cox – DeBary, Fla. – 24-11 (5)

2. Ron Nelson – Berrien Springs, Mich. – 24-6 (5)

3. Matt Greenblatt – Port St. Lucie, Fla. – 23-5 (5)

4. Ramie Colson Jr. – Cadiz, Ky. – 23-2 (5)

5. Tim Frederick – Leesburg, Fla. – 23-0 (5)

5. Billy McCaghren – Mayflower, Ark. – 23-0 (5)

7. Randy Allen – Gilliam, La. – 22-14 (5)

8. Andrew Upshaw – Tulsa, Okla. – 22-7 (5)

9. David Dudley – Lynchburg, Va. – 22-2 (5)

10. Austin Felix – Eden Prairie, Minn. – 21-0 (5)

Complete results

Tags: justin-onslow  headline-story  2019-05-02-lake-chickamauga 

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

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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

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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

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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

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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 »

Lobato Sticks to Pool 8

Lobato Sticks to Pool 8

Fernando Lobato of Sparta, Wisconsin, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division tournament on the Mississippi River at La Crosse Sunday after catching a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 31 pounds, 2 ounces. Lobato earned $5,316 for his win. READ MORE »

Hawkins Deep Cranks on Smith Mountain

Hawkins Deep Cranks on Smith Mountain

Rick Hawkins of Roanoke, Virginia, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 31 pounds, 10 ounces, to win the two-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Piedmont Division super-tournament on Smith Mountain Lake. Hawkins earned $4,682 for his efforts. READ MORE »

Khourie, Lingnau Win 2019 FLW South Africa Championship

Khourie, Lingnau Win 2019 FLW South Africa Championship

Team Khourie/Lignau, consisting of Pieter Khourie and August Lingnau of the North West region, came roaring back on day three of the 2019 FLW South Africa Championship with a five-bass limit of 10.55 kg (23.25 pounds) to take the top spot and beat out Greg Schluep and Giulio Nolli of Team Secret VC for the title. READ MORE »

Checking in with Walters After the Cup

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Make the Most of Whopper Ploppers

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“For me, I’m slowly but surely starting to get faith [in the Whopper Plopper] in other parts of the country, but from Hot Springs up to the Ozarks, that’s kind of my go-to,” says LeBrun. “When I’m up there in those Ozark-style lakes, it’s one of the first things that pops into my head.” READ MORE »

Trombly Drops 24-13 on Detroit River

Trombly Drops 24-13 on Detroit River

Mike Trombly of Belleville, Michigan, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Michigan Division tournament on the Detroit River Saturday after catching five bass weighing 24 pounds, 13 ounces. For his day on the water, Trombly took home $4,545. READ MORE »

Reese Goes Wire-To-Wire

Reese Goes Wire-To-Wire

The final weigh-in of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event on the Potomac was one of the most intense of the season. In the end, with just enough to hold on, Marvin Reese weighed four for 8 pounds, 5 ounces to earn the win with a 38-15 total. For his win, which was his first on the boater side, Reese earned $38,026. Finishing second, Troy Morrow rocked up from tenth with 14-7, which was the biggest bag of the day. READ MORE »