UPCOMING EVENT: YETI FLW COLLEGE FISHING - 2019 - Lake Erie

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

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 

Top 10 Baits from the Potomac River

Top 10 Baits from the Potomac River

Late summer on the Potomac is often tough fishing, so the contenders in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event had to pull out all the stops. Fishing everything from grass to docks and rocks, the anglers mixed up all sorts of power and finesse presentations to get the job done in the second stop of the season presented by Lowrance. READ MORE »

Short Tops co-anglers

Short Tops co-anglers

Weighing a limit on day one and two bags of just four fish each over the next two days was enough to earn Jim Short the co-angler title in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits on the Potomac River. Weighing 9 pounds, 15 ounces on the final day for a total of 29-9, Short took home a new Ranger Z175 and $5,350 in cash. 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 »

Potomac River Midday Update – Day 3

Potomac River Midday Update – Day 3

The final day of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event on the Potomac has offered chamber of commerce weather and some up and down fishing. The event, which is presented by Lowrance, has featured pretty tough fishing overall, and it seems like some of the top 10 may fall victim to it today. READ MORE »

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Through two days of competition on the Potomac in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event the weights haven’t been nearly what the river is capable of kicking out. That said, all the top pros have managed to put at least one good day together, and some have maintained really strong consistency, just at a lesser pace than would be the norm in June or some other time of the year. READ MORE »

Better Day Keeps Reese Out Front

Better Day Keeps Reese Out Front

A lovely morning gave way to a dismal afternoon on day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits on the Potomac River, but despite the difference in conditions, Marvin Reese kept on plugging. Weighing 14 pounds, 12 ounces on day one, Reese added 15-14 on day two for a 30-10 total. With his day two bag, Reese has now weighed the two biggest bags of the event, which is presented by Lowrance, and he’s widened his lead over Justin Atkins to nearly 4 pounds. READ MORE »

Potomac River Midday Update – Day 2

Potomac River Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event on the Potomac has been quite a swing from day one. However, despite dramatically different weather, some of the top pros are still catching, and it looks like a tight race is setting up for the final day. READ MORE »

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

As is so often the case, the first day of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits on the Potomac River wasn’t quite as bad as some predicted in practice. Though it was hot and humid as all get out, plenty of limits hit the scale and enough pros weighed 12 pounds or better to make things really interesting READ MORE »

Reese Leads on the Potomac

Reese Leads on the Potomac

Day one of the Potomac River event, which is the second stop of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits, featured plenty of limits, but getting quality bites was definitely an issue for some. In the lead after day one, Marvin Reese of Randallstown, Md., weighed 14 pounds, 12 ounces to get things underway. Behind Reese, Justin Atkins and Jason Kervin both weighed 14-5, and Robert Grike rounded out the 14-pound brigade with 14-4. Overall, just 11 pros cracked the 12-pound mark on day one of the tournament, which is presented by Lowrance, but 8- and 9-pound limits weren’t too hard to come by.  READ MORE »

Potomac River Midday Update – Day 1

Potomac River Midday Update – Day 1

As predicted, day one of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event on the Potomac River has been fairly tough. Though most folks have a fish or two, and many will undoubtedly fill limits by weigh-in, it certainly hasn’t been a catch-fest. READ MORE »

Underway on the Potomac

Underway on the Potomac

For the tournament, the wind isn’t forecast to be too strong any day, and the tides will be fairly standard, but not ideal from a timing standpoint. Today, low tide was at 6:15 a.m., and low tide on Saturday will be at 8:15. That means that pros will mostly be fishing a rising tide through the tournament, with the best windows likely coming early on Friday and Saturday. READ MORE »

Curveballs at the Cup

Curveballs at the Cup

When the field of 52 anglers arrived in Hot Springs, Ark., for the official practice period for the 2019 FLW Cup, they were greeted with sunshine, humidity and brutal daytime temperatures in the upper 90s. Early in the week, there was little mention of anything other than the same – a typical Arkansas summer forecast of sunny and hot. READ MORE »

Another Potomac Rumble Looms

Another Potomac Rumble Looms

Moving south from Lake Champlain, the second stop of the 2019 Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits is on the Potomac River. The tournament, which is presented by Lowrance and runs Aug. 22-24, should offer a fairly standard set of August conditions for the anglers, with plenty of quality largemouths to go around. READ MORE »

Slow Down in Brush for More Success

Slow Down in Brush for More Success

Many times, hitting as many brush piles as possible is the key to success, with Bryan Thrift’s 2015 FLW Tour win on Lake Eufaula serving as a prime example of that strategy. However, with the fishing pretty tough on Lake Hamilton, both Wade Strelic and Joel Willert turned to more methodical approaches to generate bites. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Osborne Fished Finesse

Cup Top 10: Osborne Fished Finesse

Osborne spent the early visit graphing for brush in Hamilton’s lower end. In practice, it was more of the same, as Osborne spent only a couple of hours beating the bank. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Douglas Fished Brush and a Buzzbait

Cup Top 10: Douglas Fished Brush and a Buzzbait

Minnesota pro Josh Douglas is regarded as an electronics expert. But while he put his Lowrance units to the test at the FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton to find offshore brush piles, even Douglas couldn’t resist spending some time in the mornings hunting shallow bass. READ MORE »

Thrift and Kripp to discuss FLW Cup

Thrift and Kripp to discuss FLW Cup

FLW Tour pro Bryan Thrift, of Shelby, North Carolina, the newest FLW Cup champion, will break down his career-defining week... READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Salzman Went Shallow to Deep

Cup Top 10: Salzman Went Shallow to Deep

Ryan Salzman earned an eighth-place finish at the FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton with a well-executed two-part strategy. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Webster Wormed Brush

Cup Top 10: Webster Wormed Brush

Among the FLW Cup pros that committed the entire tournament to one pattern was Joseph Webster, who weighed in a three-day total of 28 pounds, 2 ounces at Lake Hamilton. He finished seventh. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Felix Keyed on Clear Water

Cup Top 10: Felix Keyed on Clear Water

Eden Prairie, Minn., pro Austin Felix finished sixth in this year’s FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton, but he’s convinced that if the engineers operating Blakely Mountain Dam had released water on a more consistent schedule, the results might have been even better for him. Felix spent most of the tournament keying on the clear waters of Hamilton’s upper end. READ MORE »