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

Cup Top 10: Walters Committed to Brush

Cup Top 10: Walters Committed to Brush
Kyle Walters

Coming into the FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton, Florida pro Kyle Walters figured the only chance he had to win was to stay away from the bank, where competing with the best in the sport was a tall order, and commit to finding as many brush piles as he could. Save for a few trips up shallow just to check, Walters stuck to his game plan and wound up giving himself a chance at the W. However, never catching a kicker on the final day and the relentless pace of Bryan Thrift put the championship just out reach for Walters, who weighed only 7 pounds, 4 ounces the final day for a three-day total of 33-6.

On days one and two, Walters got the kind of bites needed to win a major championship. On day one, he caught back-to-back 4-pounders in the afternoon, which landed him in contention in third place. On day two, he managed the most dramatic catch of the tournament when he hooked and landed a 3- and 4-pounder on one cast on a crankbait. He wound up 1 pound, 8 ounces back of Thrift going into Sunday.

According to most pros, Sunday should’ve been a catch-fest. The weather was forecast to be sunny and hot, which was ideal for positioning fish tight to cover – shallow and deep – during practice. Instead, the final day turned out to be the toughest of them all.

“It started out real good,” says Walters of the final morning. “I caught a good one about 20 minutes into the day, and I thought it was gonna go good. And, man, it was a grind. I finally got five at probably about 10 o’clock. I upgraded a few times. Then I got on a flurry late and upgraded three times with about 15 minutes to go. I thought one was going to be a big one. It got hung in a brush pile. But, hey, that’s fishing. I had a great tournament.”

Most of Walters’ brush piles were in 15 to 25 feet of water on breaks with deep water close by. His go-to bait was a Texas-rigged 10-inch worm. When the fish wouldn’t eat the worm, Walters threw a SPRO Little John DD crankbait in citrus shad.

Kyle Walters

Aside from just finding and catching the fish in the brush, Walters also put together a pretty solid strategy for efficiently working through all of his best piles. The process started in practice.

“I would go to a brush pile. I would pitch in without a hook. If I got a bite, I’d mark it with a red dot. If I didn’t get a bite, I wouldn’t eliminate it. I’d wait and come back a second time during the day, and I would do it again,” Walters says. “If I didn’t get a bite two or three times I eliminated it from my group.”

Not eliminating a brush pile on the first stop was important because, as most pros recounted, the fish were very temperamental in the brush. They could be seen on sonar but wouldn’t always eat. Sometimes it took several stops or a dozen casts to finally get a bite.  

In the process of assembling a collection of about 60 red dots, Walters also started his days within sight of takeoff where he could keep tabs on which brush piles were getting hit the hardest. This allowed him to verify that he could get bit in brush in the morning but also to pick out a good brush pile to start on so he could start in a good rotation and wasn’t fishing behind other pros.

Then it was all about running red dot to red dot, occasionally mixing in a new piece of brush he found during the tournament. Walters spent all but 30 minutes over three days fishing below the first bridge from takeoff in the lower end of Hamilton.

“I felt like the bigger fish were down there, and I knew to win I needed to catch big ones,” he says. “So I did what I had to do to try to win the tournament. It didn’t work out, but I don’t regret it. I feel like I put myself in position to win. I just couldn’t get a big bite today.”

By the end of the tournament, Walters had refined his approach even more.

“Today, I didn’t give them as much time as I would in earlier days. I put together the fact that most of the time I got bit pretty quick in them,” he says.

“I felt like at the end of today I had abused that area pretty good. Then I remembered that on day one I went to a brush pile in the morning and didn’t catch anything. Then I went back at 2 o’clock and caught back-to-back 4-pounders. So today I was dreaming of back-to-back 4-pounders. With back-to-back 4-pounders I’d have been holding the trophy.”


Thrift's winning pattern 

Ebare's third-place pattern 

Lawyer's fourth-place pattern 

Martin's fifth-place pattern 

Felix's sixth-place pattern 

Webster's seventh-place pattern 

Salzman's eighth-place pattern 

Douglas's ninth-place pattern 

Osborne's tenth-place pattern 

Complete results

Tags: curtis-niedermier  post-tournament  2019-08-09-flw-cup-lake-hamilton 

Be Aggressive to Catch Big Spots Now

Be Aggressive to Catch Big Spots Now

When FLW pro Alex Davis isn’t hunting trophy bucks in the fall, he spends a lot of days fishing for big bass that are binging on shad in the reservoirs of north Alabama. In particular, fall is a killer time to fish jerkbaits with high-speed, aggressive tactics in clear-water reservoirs for spotted bass – for both size and numbers. READ MORE »

Why You Should Crank Current Breaks Now

Why You Should Crank Current Breaks Now

“It’s almost like a wintertime pattern already,” Salzman says. “It’s kind of interesting. Because it’s been so hot and then so cold, the fish kind of got into the mouths of the creeks this year and never fully pushed into them. The majority of the bait is on the main lake on every lake in Alabama. The water temp was falling so quickly that the back bays were too cold, so the most stable water is on the main lake.” READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Cumberland

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Cumberland

Smallmouths dominated at the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland. Oklahoma’s Andrew Upshaw led the way with brown bass caught on a jig and a Ned rig on bluff bank transitions in the reservoir’s lower end. Behind him, only a couple of pros hedged their bets on targeting largemouths. The rest fished for smallies and considered green bass to be bonus fish and spotted bass to be limit fillers on the tough days. READ MORE »

Lake Cumberland Top 10 Baits

Lake Cumberland Top 10 Baits

In classic Southern smallmouth fashion, crankbaits and jigs dominated the top 10 at Lake Cumberland during the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship. The only exceptions were a few finesse baits and the tackle used by two pros who targeted largemouths. Here’s what worked. READ MORE »

Allison Comes from Behind on Cumberland

Allison Comes from Behind on Cumberland

By catching four quality smallmouth bass on the final day of the Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland, Missourian Chad Allison was able to come back from 10th place and win the co-angler division, earning more than $30,000. READ MORE »

Upshaw Closes on Cumberland

Upshaw Closes on Cumberland

For the second time this season, Andrew Upshaw is an FLW champion thanks to consistent days spent targeting big Southern smallmouths. The Tulsa, Okla., pro won the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland in Burnside, Ky., with a three-day total weight of 42 pounds, 15 ounces. The win comes less than seven months after Upshaw won the FLW Tour event on Cherokee Lake in east Tennessee. READ MORE »

Upshaw Moves Ahead at Cumberland

Upshaw Moves Ahead at Cumberland

Day two of the Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland was a bit tougher for some, given the post-frontal conditions featuring lighter winds, sun and cold temperatures. As projected, consistency has been the key and Andrew Upshaw continued to dial in his program adding 15 pounds, 1 ounce to his day-one bag of 14-15 for a total of 30 pounds even. READ MORE »

Zimbabwe’s Cousens Grabs Lead

Zimbabwe’s Cousens Grabs Lead

The FLW International Division is well represented in the Costa FLW Series Championship, and perhaps none represented the division better than Roger Cousens of Zimbabwe, who didn’t seem bothered by the stingy conditions of Lake Cumberland on day one. With the only bag that topped 17 pounds for the day (17-2), Cousens enters day two with a 3-ounce lead over Robert Nakatomi, who qualified from the Western Division. READ MORE »

How to Find Big-Water Smallmouth in Fall

How to Find Big-Water Smallmouth in Fall

The key to finding smallmouth bass on big water in the fall is to know where they’re coming from and where they’re heading, then connecting the dots in between. Swimbaits, blade baits, ChatterBaits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, drop-shots and Ned rigs all put bass in the boat. READ MORE »

New Dominates Seminole Regional

New Dominates Seminole Regional

Belmont, N.C., angler Bryan New, who’s regularly one of FLW’s top performers in the grassroots ranks, had established a dominant pace. New weighed in 22 pounds, 9 ounces on day one and added 20-2 on day two to carry a lead of 6 pounds, 15 ounces into the finals. A roughly 7-pound margin isn’t necessarily a sure thing on Seminole, but the fall bite was a bit slower than what the lake can produce, and it was obvious New was cruising. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks

Top 10 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks

Considering this was the fourth year in a row Lake of the Ozarks had hosted a Costa FLW Series Central Division event in October, everyone pretty much knew what to expect. And then the weather happened. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake of the Ozarks

Top 10 Baits from Lake of the Ozarks

Fall in the Ozarks is prime time to throw a buzzbait. Sure enough, plenty of the top guys did just that during the Costa FLW Series Central Division finale presented by Evinrude on Lake of the Ozarks. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Curt Warren knew what he wanted to do, and it had nothing to do with weeding through a bunch of small fish up shallow. Rather, he focused his attention on deeper Grand Lake spots with chunk rock and brush and amassed a three-day total of 46 pounds, 7 ounces to win the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine. Here’s how the rest of the top 10 caught their fish and earned their checks on Grand. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

A cold front moving in at the start of Grand Lake’s fall transition put a damper on seeing a bunch of big weights during the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, which was presented by T-H Marine, but plenty of pros managed to find the right fish to make things exciting on the final day. READ MORE »

Valdivia is Best in the West

Valdivia is Best in the West

California pro David Valdivia has consistently finished near the top of the standings in the Costa FLW Series Western Division. This year he finally won his first Strike King Angler of the Year award, and he did it by just one point in the standings. READ MORE »

How to Find the Best Docks in Early Fall

How to Find the Best Docks in Early Fall

While there’s almost no bad time of year to find a dock pattern, early fall is a prime season for it. The catch is that as shad transition throughout a reservoir in the fall, some bass go on the move with them. So dialing in a key stretch of docks or a dock pattern can at times be challenging, particularly on lakes with a lot of docks. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the Cal Delta

Top 10 Patterns from the Cal Delta

The Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta featured all the typical Delta tactics. Punching, vibrating jigs, finesse and even a frog made an appearance in the top 10. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Cal Delta

Top 10 Baits from the Cal Delta

The Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta had a lot of punching as usual, but it was far from the only thing going. Due to the lush grass and windy and touch conditions, vibrating jigs and finesse played a big role as well. READ MORE »

How to Choose the Right ChatterBait

How to Choose the Right ChatterBait

If you were going to carry just one bladed jig, the ChatterBait Jack Hammer would be a great choice. But to say it’s the perfect ChatterBait for every scenario would be like saying ketchup is the perfect condiment for every food, or fluorocarbon is the only line you should use. Sometimes you need to opt for something just a little different to tackle a niche situation. As far as ChatterBaits go, there are a number of good options. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the St. Lawrence River

Top 10 Baits from the St. Lawrence River

Regardless of how far anglers ran, whether 95 miles or 5 miles, the Costa FLW Series Northern Division finale on the St. Lawrence River presented by Gajo Baits really came down to a battle of deep versus shallow. Here’s a look at the baits that helped the top 10 get the job done on the St. Lawrence. READ MORE »