UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Top High Schoolers Headed for Pickwick

Top High Schoolers Headed for Pickwick

With 53 miles of Tennessee River between its namesake dam and the Wilson Dam tailrace, Pickwick Lake is plenty big enough to simultaneously host two major tournaments. This week, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) reservoir touching Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama pulls double duty for a joint production of the High School Fishing National Championship (Wednesday-Friday) and the 10th annual Student Angler Federation High School Fishing World Finals (Wednesday-Saturday).

Presented by The Bass Federation and FLW, these overlapping events will comprise teams made up of two high school anglers and a boat captain responsible for vessel operation. All participants are automatically entered in the World Finals’ invitational format, while National Championship competitors have qualified through various sanctioned events.

FLW National Youth Director Scott Ellison says unifying high school anglers through a time-efficient opportunity was the driving force behind this dual event.

“This event brings together anglers from all over the country, and it gives our National Championship anglers the opportunity to fish in two prestigious events in the same week,” Ellison says. “Those who’ve qualified for the National Championship will compete for this title, but if they make it to that final day, they have the opportunity to fish the High School Fishing World Finals and compete against the best anglers in the United States and abroad.”

Ellison anticipates a turnout similar to last year’s field of 380 teams. The field will include high school teams from throughout the U.S., as well as several international teams from as far away as Zimbabwe

“This is the first time we’ve had a team from ‘across the pond’ to compete in this event,” Ellison adds.

 

Griffin Phillips & Fletcher Phillips

Event format

The dual event format begins with two days of full-field competition for both tournaments. While all participants are included in the World Finals event, weights are tracked separately for those also competing in the National Championship.

Two-day totals determine a top-10 field for the National Championship’s final round, from which a winning team is determined by the heaviest three-day combined weight. Both members of the National Championship-winning team receive either a $5,000 scholarship to the school of their choice, or a four-year $40,000 scholarship to Kentucky Christian University.

All 10 National Championship finalists automatically advance to the World Finals championship round of 31 teams. Twenty more teams will come from the World Finals’ day-three semi-final and second-chance rounds, with the field completed by one team – not previously qualified – selected in a “Lucky Dog Last Chance” drawing to be held at Friday night’s dinner party.

Weights are zeroed for day four, as the final 31 teams compete for the title of World Finals champion. At stake are more than $2 million in scholarships and prizes, including laptops, gift cards, big screen TV’s, electronics, rods and reels, fishing tackle, and trolling motors. Boat captains will also receive prizes.

 

What to expect

June on most Tennessee River lakes usually means ledge fishing, but FLW Tour pro Braxton Setzer from Montgomery, Ala., says Pickwick is no one-trick pony.

“There are some areas back behind Seven Mile Island where people can go back and fish some cypress stumps and some shallower bank grass,” he says. “If someone can figure out exactly how those fish are setting up shallow, they can probably catch them by flipping to the bases of those trees.

“The shallow fish tend to be more residential, so it’s kind of a feast-or-famine thing. You may catch them one day and not catch them the next because they’re not going to replenish. The biggest thing is the number of fish there, but riding shallow fish this time of year for four days is asking a lot.”

A key factor, Setzer says, will be how much grass survived the heavy current from voluminous winter and spring rains that impacted the entire Tennessee River system. High water and subsequent current velocity can knock down existing grass and new growth, but Setzer says the team that finds the right patch could find less-pressured fish.

“I think the team that’s going to come out with the win will figure out something offshore; whether they have one school that they can sit on or multiple schools that they can rotate through, it’s going to be pretty much a ledge deal,” Setzer adds. “The ones who are able to get to those places and catch some of those fish are probably going to be the ones that walk away with the win.”

Noting that the entire lake could be in play, Setzer says success will depend largely on the TVA’s current generation schedule. If there’s only a small window of peak current, teams could have to fish around to grind out bites wherever they can until their main deal gets right. Conversely, if the TVA pulls a lot of water, it could spark fireworks.

“The more current, the better because it sets those fish up right,” Setzer says. “If you have the right amount of current, it will suck the fish down to the bottom and put them where anglers want them to be. When they’re down there on the bottom, they’re feeding.”

 

Tournament details

Takeoff Time: 5:30 a.m. CT

Takeoff Location: McFarland Park, 200 Jim Spain Drive, Florence Ala.

Weigh-In Time: 2 p.m. CT

Weigh-In Location: McFarland Park

Complete details

Tags: david-a-brown  pre-tournament  2019-06-19-national-championship 

Northern Division Finishes at Detroit River

Northern Division Finishes at Detroit River

The 2020 Toyota Series Northern Division will wrap up in Trenton, Mich., Sept. 17-19, at the Detroit River. Hosted by the Detroit Sports Commission, the three-day tournament will feature the region’s best bass-fishing pros and co-anglers casting for a top prize of up to $65,000, plus a $35,000 bonus if the winner is a qualified Phoenix Boat owner. READ MORE »

Eastern Division Heads to the Potomac

Eastern Division Heads to the Potomac

The Toyota Series Eastern Division rolls on with the Toyota Series at the Potomac River. Hosted by the Charles County Board of Commissioners, the three-day tournament will feature the region’s best bass-fishing pros and co-anglers casting for a top prize of up to $65,000, plus a $35,000 bonus if the winner is a qualified Phoenix Boat owner. READ MORE »

Mitchell’s First Look at Sturgeon Bay

Mitchell’s First Look at Sturgeon Bay

Having fished as a pro on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit for five years now, Kurt Mitchell started coming into his own during the 2019 season. That year he qualified for the FLW Cup – for the first time in his career – by finishing 24th in the points. This year, Mitchell kept rolling along cashing checks in five of the six Pro Circuit tournaments to settle at 31st in the points and now finds himself in his second straight championship. READ MORE »

Practice at Sturgeon Bay with Shuffield

Practice at Sturgeon Bay with Shuffield

Spencer Shuffield has had a tremendous season on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and he capped it off with a top 10 finish at Lake Erie. Now, he’s getting ready for the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota on Sturgeon Bay, which has only the top 50 Pro Circuit anglers in it and will be a Major League Fishing (MLF) format event. READ MORE »

Big Prizes at Stake for College Open

Big Prizes at Stake for College Open

After being postponed due to COVID-19, the annual Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open is set to take place on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley in mid-September for the sixth consecutive season. This time around, however, the stakes are even higher, as teams compete for a brand-new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat and 20 spots in the 2021 National Championship. READ MORE »

Delta Hosts Western Restart

Delta Hosts Western Restart

The 2020 Toyota Series Western Division is set to return to competition next week in Oakley, California, with the Toyota Series event at the California Delta, Aug. 19-21. Hosted by the City of Oakley, the three-day tournament will feature a return to action for the region’s best bass-fishing pros and co-anglers as they cast for a top prize of up to $65,000, plus a $35,000 bonus if the winner is a qualified Phoenix Boat owner. READ MORE »

Previewing the TITLE on Sturgeon Bay

Previewing the TITLE on Sturgeon Bay

The culmination of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit season, the top 50 pros in the standings are headed to the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota on Sturgeon Bay. Fishing with the Major League Fishing (MLF) catch, weigh and immediate release format, the winner will take home $200,000 and be the first to win the new championship event. READ MORE »

Day Three on Erie with Gelles

Day Three on Erie with Gelles

Hailing from Pingree, Idaho, Kyle Gelles is about to wrap up his first season on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit. Currently, he sits 56th in the Angler of the Year standings, and with a solid finish this week could punch his ticket to the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit TITLE presented by Toyota on Sturgeon Bay in a few weeks. READ MORE »

Cruising Erie with Wall

Cruising Erie with Wall

In his second year as a professional on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, Jacob Wall finds himself in a position he never thought possible with one event left in the regular season. This week, Wall will not only have a chance to win the final Pro Circuit Super Tournament of the year on Lake Erie, but he’ll also be competing for one of the most coveted titles in the sport as he sits second in the Pro Circuit points race – Angler of the Year. READ MORE »

Pro Circuit Heads to Sandusky

Pro Circuit Heads to Sandusky

The season finale of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit will take place on Lake Erie, out of Sandusky, Ohio, on August 11-14. The third of three special Super Tournaments, over 200 pros from FLW and Major League Fishing (MLF) will fish in the event. The winner will take home $125,000 and the event will decide who wins the Angler of the Year title, the Polaris Rookie of the Year title and which Pro Circuit anglers qualify for the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota on Sturgeon Bay. READ MORE »

Wheeler Lake Midday Update - Day 2

Wheeler Lake Midday Update - Day 2

Fishing creek ends continued to be the theme on day two of the Toyota Series Southeastern Division event on Wheeler Lake. Although the current was not running as much in the creeks as yesterday, the cooler shadier waters in the back of creeks were still producing for top anglers once again.  READ MORE »

Mississippi River Practice with Buck

Mississippi River Practice with Buck

In his fourth year on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, Grae Buck has really come into his own. A standout collegiate angler at Penn State, he’s now in the thick of the Angler of the Year race and cruising toward qualification for the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota. READ MORE »

Scouting Pool 8 with Ormond

Scouting Pool 8 with Ormond

For Jake Ormond, this is his first time fishing north of Tennessee, and thus his first time fishing the upper Mississippi. He’s not the only one lacking Mississippi River experience in the field, but considering many of the Major League Fishing (MLF) anglers that are part of the Super Tournament field have competed on the river a number of times, he’s got his work cut out for him. READ MORE »

Summertime Shootout on Tap at Wheeler

Summertime Shootout on Tap at Wheeler

Summertime on the Tennessee River may not be the prime time to hit the water, but the second stop of the Toyota Series Southeastern Division on Wheeler Lake will certainly showcase how diverse of a fishery it can be when the tournament takes place July 30 - Aug. 1. READ MORE »

Looking Ahead to the Mississippi River 

Looking Ahead to the Mississippi River 

With just two events left in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit season, it’s time to turn attention to the northern part of the country. Presented by OPTIMA Batteries, the Pro Circuit Super Tournament on the Mississippi River out of Stoddard, Wis., will not only crown a winner with a $125,000 payday but also shape the Angler of the Year race. READ MORE »

Big Bags on Tap at Pickwick

Big Bags on Tap at Pickwick

After a four-month hiatus, it’s almost time for the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Mississippi Division to get back after it. The season resumes on July 18 and July 19 with back-to-back tournaments on Pickwick Lake. While each tournament may fish a bit like a two-day event, each day of competition is a standalone tournament with a winner crowned after each day. READ MORE »

Michigan Division Kicks Off on St. Clair

Michigan Division Kicks Off on St. Clair

There’s nothing better than clear water and big smallmouths, and that’s exactly what the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Michigan Division plans to deliver this year. The division, which is presented by ARE, is set to open the season July 18 on Lake St. Clair in what should be a heavyweight showdown of smallmouths. READ MORE »

Piedmont Division Heads to Kerr

Piedmont Division Heads to Kerr

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Piedmont Division continues its season with back-to-back tournaments on Kerr Lake on July 18 and 19. READ MORE »

Hoosier Division Heads for Ohio River

Hoosier Division Heads for Ohio River

After kicking off the season on Lake Monroe with a double-header at the end of June, the Hoosier Division of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine turns east for stop No. 3 on the Ohio River at Tanners Creek. READ MORE »

Everything in Play on Mighty Miss

Everything in Play on Mighty Miss

The Mississippi River is the staple venue of the Great Lakes Division in Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine competition. Come July 18, the division will take its first crack at the Mighty Miss in what could shape up to be a diverse event. READ MORE »