UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Pickwick Lake

Day 3 of Practice with Scanlon

Day 3 of Practice with Scanlon
Casey Scanlon

Casey Scanlon won the FLW Tour season finale at Lake Champlain, which he almost had to do to make the FLW Cup. Now that he’s here at Lake Hamilton, he’s got a shot at $300,000 and a possible edge over the competition due to his momentum and extensive Ozark experience.

Eager to watch Scanlon work, I’m happy to hop in the boat for day three of practice.

 

Casey Scanlon

Casey Scanlon

Casey Scanlon

Casey Scanlon

Between a couple of days of pre-practice and the four days of official practice, Scanlon will have put in plenty of time on Hamilton before gameday. Meeting at the Andrew Hulsey Fish Hatchery ramp just after 6:30 a.m., Scanlon backs the Nitro in over the remnants of some fresh brush-planting efforts by locals, wipes the dew off his graphs and then rolls to a nearby pocket.

 

Casey Scanlon

Starting shallow, Scanlon grabs a buzzbait early and begins to comb some overhanging cover and bank grass.

Right away, I ask how practice has been.

“It’s been going good so far,” says Scanlon. “I think everyone is getting a few more bites than they anticipated, and I love the look of the lake. There are a lot of spots that you’re going to drive past because there’s someone on them, but there’s a lot to do here. And I think you’re going to see a lot of limits this week.”

I also want to know about the comparison to Lake of the Ozarks, which he guides on and regularly hammers fish on.

“It’s pretty much it,” says Scanlon. “Boat docks, brush piles and a lot of boat traffic. It has a lot of similarities. It feels a lot like the lakes I’m used to fishing. The only difference is it has a little bit more grass – Lake of the Ozarks doesn’t really have any grass.”

 

Casey Scanlon

Picking up a worm to flip a laydown, Scanlon gets his first bite of the day. He’s fishing with no hooks, but it’s a welcome sign. Shortly thereafter, he picks up a crankbait to try to imitate some of the small shad flitting around. The bank he’s on is actually fairly deep – the boat is in 5 feet of water – which is not what I’d have expected based on the topography of the opposite bank. Scanlon says he picked it just for that reason and that it’s a payoff of pre-practice.

“I didn’t pre-practice for the last Cup I made, and I kind of regretted it,” admits Scanlon. “This is only 5 hours from home, so I spent two days down here. I didn’t fish a whole lot, but I got some of the graphing out of the way and I rode the whole lake to get familiar.”

Scanlon says not fishing in pre-practice is important, because things are sure to change.

“I’ve never been in a four-day event where the fishing didn’t change,” he explains. “So, you don’t want to screw yourself up by fishing too much. I just idled around and tried to get a feel for the lake.”

 

Casey Scanlon

As we work back into the next pocket, another pro passes on the opposite bank, slinging a buzzbait up shallow in what has become a time-honored FLW Cup tradition. His close proximity is an example of how small Hamilton is, but it’s not something that Scanlon is super concerned about. After the competition passes, he gets two flipping bites fishing right behind him.

 

Casey Scanlon

Casey Scanlon

Casey Scanlon

With the sun getting up in earnest, Scanlon spends a little more time shallow and then sits down to reorganize a little, pulling out a couple fresh rods and putting some down. Then, it’s time to go out off the bank to the brush. Riding straight to a waypoint, Scanlon starts casting and dragging a drop-shot and a worm, always keeping his head glued to his graph.

“It’s scattered and smaller; I think it’s pretty old,” says Scanlon of this brush pile. “Sometimes that stuff is good, because it’s not as obvious, and not obvious is going to be good in this one.”

Of course, Scanlon isn’t just going to fish waypoints today – he wants to add some as well.

“We’re going to scan around some today, too,” he says. “You can never do enough looking. I’ve never been in a tournament where I didn’t want one more spot by the end of it.”

 

Casey Scanlon

Casey Scanlon

A short distance away, Scanlon finds some previously undiscovered brush.

“Yeah, that’s pretty fresh; see how thick it is? I’m pretty sure someone moved this brush,” says Scanlon. “There used to be a line of it you could throw down and hit three piles and it really isn’t there now.”

Moved, fresh or old, this stop isn’t generating bites. He moves on.

 

Casey Scanlon

Casey Scanlon

“It’s getting to the point where you run around every 15 minutes just to cool off,” says Scanlon as he cranks the Mercury.

After bouncing another piece of offshore brush, Scanlon moves up closer to the bank – there are some docks here, and also plenty of brush around them. Moving slowly, Scanlon picks the docks and brush apart with his worm and drop-shot.

“The good part about four days on a small lake is that you can fish thorough,” he says. “You don’t need to get in a hurry.”

 

Casey Scanlon

Casey Scanlon

Moving back out, Scanlon keeps trying things and not getting bit. As the heat settles in, it seems like the brush bite is in a bit of a lull.

“I don’t think I’ve got one good bite out of brush today,” says Scanlon. “That’s kinda typical, it can be a day-to-day thing sometimes. But, a lot of times it is just a numbers game, and if you run enough you’ll catch them.”

 

Casey Scanlon

Casey Scanlon

Scanlon started the day with about 12 rods on deck, roughly organized into shallow and deep piles. That organization method has fallen apart a bit as the morning has gone on, but he still doesn’t have a ton of sticks out.  A lot of pros end practice with nearly every rod in the boat on deck, but Scanlon prefers to keep it a little sparser – he says he gets claustrophobic with too much going on up front.

 

Casey Scanlon

Casey Scanlon

Casey Scanlon

Scanlon decides to change things up. Running back into a pocket with some grass in the middle, he begins running a topwater along the bank. Biteless, he rigs up a vibrating jig for the grass and then flips some nearby docks. It’s a really sweet-looking area, but it doesn’t seem to have many biting fish at the moment.

I ask how he thinks the tournament might play out.

“I’ll probably fish a lot of boat docks this week,” says Scanlon. “In a championship, you’ve got to play to your strengths if you can. It’s definitely going to be a shootout, as far as who wins this tournament.

“There are some good fish in here, but the fishing pressure will get to it some. I think 36 or 37 pounds will do it. It’s hard to get to 12 pounds, there are good fish, but this time of year a lot of them are long and lean.”

 

Casey Scanlon

Casey Scanlon

Done with the grass adventure, Scanlon starts up the air conditioning again and runs out to some more brush. After a little idling, he settles on a pile and pulls out the drop-shot. This time, he garners a bite that feels a little more decent – things are looking up.

 

Casey Scanlon

As the sun gets higher and Scanlon moves from brush pile to brush pile, I leave him when he gets within shouting distance of the ramp. He’s got about a day and a half left to really dial things in, and knowing his prowess on these sorts of fisheries, I’ve got plenty of faith in his ability to do it.

Tags: jody-white  pre-tournament  2019-08-09-flw-cup-lake-hamilton 

Mixed Bags will Play at Neely Henry

Mixed Bags will Play at Neely Henry

Winding north to south on the Coosa River in Alabama, Neely Henry Lake is one of a number of Alabama impoundments famous for feisty spotted bass that love the current. Neely also has largemouths, and depending on where you’re at in the lake and river, there is plenty of grass and wood to fish. READ MORE »

Great Lakes Division Fires Up on Wolf River Chain

Great Lakes Division Fires Up on Wolf River Chain

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Great Lakes Division is preparing to get underway on June 13 on the Wolf River Chain of Lakes, and it promises to be a derby predicated on catching good numbers any number of ways. READ MORE »

Angler’s Delight at Eufaula

Angler’s Delight at Eufaula

Kicking off the Southeastern Division of the Toyota Series on Lake Eufaula should be quite the show. Early June at Eufaula offers anglers the chance to catch bass any way they like, from shallow to deep. With as many 4- and 5-pounders as this Chattahoochee River impoundment holds, there should be plenty of fireworks to watch. READ MORE »

Summertime Patterns Taking Over at Dardanelle

Summertime Patterns Taking Over at Dardanelle

Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine competition is returning to Arkansas when the Arkie Division picks up competition with a weekend doubleheader June 13 and 14. READ MORE »

6 Super Tournament Story Lines

6 Super Tournament Story Lines

The expanded field list for the new Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournaments brings with it some very fun matchups and the potential for some record chases to reignite. Because many of the newly added Major League Fishing anglers have had longer careers than those at the top of the Pro Circuit, they’re in a unique position to chase down some records that otherwise may not have been touched this year. In other cases, it’s simply going to be a pleasure to watch the best of the best duel on some epic bodies of water. READ MORE »

Pickwick Will Produce in a Big Way

Pickwick Will Produce in a Big Way

The second stop of the Toyota Series Central Division ought to be a really good one. Set for Pickwick Lake in late May, the offshore bite ought to be in full swing, with plenty of shallow fish as well. READ MORE »

Anglers React to Super Tournaments

Anglers React to Super Tournaments

When the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit season picks back up, it will be with a new schedule, some new anglers and a lot more money in the pot than originally planned. READ MORE »

Pros’ Favorite Baits for May

Pros’ Favorite Baits for May

Across the country, May is a great time for fishing, with tons of bass in and around the spawn and a lot of baitfish species spawning as well. With warming water, it’s a great chance to throw a topwater for the first time, or really to do just about whatever you want in some parts of the country. READ MORE »

How to Make a Buzzbait Squeak

How to Make a Buzzbait Squeak

One of the key aspects of buzzbait fishing is the sound, and Bradley Dortch modifies his with a file and some pliers to get the most squeak he can. READ MORE »

Throw Bigger Swimbaits in Tournaments

Throw Bigger Swimbaits in Tournaments

Fitting larger swimbaits into a tournament arsenal is a goal that a lot of anglers never hit. Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro Kurt Mitchell has gotten it done, and actually earned a lot of money with some of the more specialized and larger swimbaits over the past few years. READ MORE »

Bryan Thrift’s Greatest Hits

Bryan Thrift’s Greatest Hits

Thrift had a superlative career while climbing the ranks in FLW and competing on the FLW Tour. With more than $3 million in earnings in basically 15 years, Thrift has been on the leading edge of the technical side of fishing and an overpowering competitor since the start. READ MORE »

The Ultimate Clear Water Jerkbait Mod

The Ultimate Clear Water Jerkbait Mod

Schooled on tough Western fisheries with clear water and smart bass, Wade Strelic knows a thing or two about getting the most out of baits. One of his favorite modifications for super-clear water is to add a strip of holographic tape to each side of his jerkbaits. READ MORE »

Review: Berkley Frittside

Review: Berkley Frittside

Berkley’s take on a flat-side crankbait is the Frittside, a plastic bait that is designed to have the same action and attraction as balsa baits. Designed in part by David Fritts, who is one of the best crankbait anglers of all time, it seems to be a good bait at a good price. READ MORE »

Swimbait Experiments in Florida

Swimbait Experiments in Florida

In his time guiding in Florida, Brent Anderson has learned a lot. From adding standard Florida techniques to his arsenal to adapting his topwater program to the Sunshine State’s bass, he’s intentionally broadened his horizons a fair bit. Picking up big swimbaits was a bit of an accident. READ MORE »

Review: Outkast Tackle Perfect Ned Head

Review: Outkast Tackle Perfect Ned Head

There are a ton of different Ned heads on the market now, many of which are quite good. The Outkast Tackle Perfect Ned Head was designed by Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit angler Josh Douglas, and having used it pretty extensively this spring, I can wholeheartedly recommend it. READ MORE »

Review: Blade Runner Turbo Tail

Review: Blade Runner Turbo Tail

The Blade Runner Turbo Tail is a very cool variation on the standard tail spinner. READ MORE »

Florida Topwater Tips

Florida Topwater Tips

Since spending as much time on the water in Florida as he has, Anderson has applied a topwater a lot more than he expected to. READ MORE »

How to Catch Tailrace Smallmouths

How to Catch Tailrace Smallmouths

The reservoirs strung along the Tennessee River are tremendous fisheries, but they perhaps don’t get as much shine for being smallmouth producers as they should. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Martin

Top 10 Baits from Lake Martin

Bites were easy to come by at Lake Martin. It was getting the quality bites that separated the field. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Martin

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Martin

The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit's third stop goes down this week at Lake Martin in Alexander City, Ala. Here's how you can watch the action live. READ MORE »