UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Ohio River

Cup Top 10: Douglas Fished Brush and a Buzzbait

Cup Top 10: Douglas Fished Brush and a Buzzbait
Josh Douglas

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.

“Every morning except today [Sunday] I started up shallow,” Douglas says. “In practice I could catch them easier up shallow on a buzzbait just moving around docks – deeper docks and stuff like that. I never did catch big ones doing that. I could catch limits.”

The shallow pattern was pretty straightforward. With buzzbait in hand, Douglas visited some new water but also re-ran any banks where he got a couple bites. The goal was to capitalize on the low-light period of early morning to ease some of the pressure of a “grinder” of a tournament.

Josh Douglas

“Once I’d get a limit, or once I felt like the buzzbait bite was dead, I would go out to the brush,” he adds. “That’s where I’d get my big bites. I caught a 7 in practice and a couple 4-pounders. The bites were just so stingy. You just had to hit them at the right time and capitalize on them.

“Most of my good brush piles were 15 to 22 feet. I just idled around the boat ramp area. I spent a lot of time in that area, knowing that there’s a lot of release fish from past tournaments that they’ve had there.”

The brush is where Douglas really earned his top-10 finish.

A lot of his success stemmed from preparation. The Mille Lacs Lake fishing guide spent the entire first day of practice at Hamilton idling for brush piles in the lower end of the lake. He never made a cast that day.

Getting the idling in early freed him up to explore shallow and later dedicate time to figuring out how to get bit in the brush.

Douglas zeroed in on two brush baits. His primary tool was a Texas-rigged blue fleck Zoom Ol’ Monster with a WOO! Tungsten weight and a 5/0 Owner round-bend hook. The other was an Outkast Tackle Goldeneye Swimbait Jighead with a BioSpawn ExoSwimmer swimbait, which he also threw to some schoolers. He occasionally used a drop-shot, too.

“I’d start with the worm to see if I could pull a big one out of there, and then I might try to pick off a spotted bass,” Douglas says. “They’ll sit up on top of it. Those largies sit in it or around it. With the cloud cover, lack of current, whichever one it was, you’d see bigger marks off to the side. But when they get in it they’ll definitely eat.

“There’s fish there always on them,” he adds. “They’re not going anywhere, but they get pressured. They get fished for. So it’s a timing deal, and sometimes you have to make 10 casts at the same brush pile, and all of a sudden, boom.”

Josh Douglas

Douglas originally thought the brush pile bite was going to be best in sunny conditions, but that’s what the top 10 had on the last day, and most of the brush specialists struggled. Douglas weighed in just four keepers for 5 pounds, 3 ounces on Sunday, compared to limits of 9 and 12 pounds the first two days.

Looking back, he now wonders if the lack of current was the primary factor for the tougher fishing on Sunday.

Regardless, Douglas’ location and approach, which led to a three-day total of 26-3, were good enough for a ninth-place finish in his first FLW Cup.


Thrift's winning pattern 

Walters' second-place 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

Osborne's tenth-place pattern 

Complete results

Tags: flw-cup  -offshore  -brush-piles  -buzzbait  -josh-douglas  curtis-niedermier  post-tournament  2019-08-09-flw-cup-lake-hamilton 

Top 10 Patterns from Chickamauga

Top 10 Patterns from Chickamauga

When you put one of the largest and most talented fields of bass anglers on one of the best bass fishing lakes in the country, big things are bound to happen. The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga became a battle between shallow and deep, with pros on either side catching big stringers of giant bass. Here's how they did it. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Chickamauga

Top 10 Baits from Chickamauga

When so many anglers are throwing similar baits and running similar patterns, doing something a little different can be quite the advantage. Sure enough, the pros who made the top 10 at the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga all had techniques or tactics of their own to set themselves apart. READ MORE »

Several Patterns in Play at Ouachita BFL

Several Patterns in Play at Ouachita BFL

FLW has a long history of hosting multiple-day summertime tournaments on Lake Ouachita, where pros have to grind it out for three days in what are usually tough conditions. On June 27, when the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Arkie Division takes to Ouachita, the Natural State’s best bass anglers will need to game plan a little differently. With only one day to fish and a three-bass limit, they’ll have to swing for the fences with big-bass patterns to have a shot at winning. READ MORE »

HS Championship Will be a Frog-Fest

HS Championship Will be a Frog-Fest

If you wanted to design the perfect frog-fishing tournament, you might host it at Guntersville or the Cal Delta, but you could also copy the agenda for the Student Angler Federation High School Fishing National Championship on the Mississippi River out of La Crosse, Wis. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Eufaula

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Eufaula

Josh Stracner won the 2020 Toyota Series Southeastern Division event on Lake Eufaula by fishing offshore. He targeted deep ledges in the mid-lake area for two days before switching to brush piles in 12 to 15 feet on the final day when a front moved through and replaced still, sunny conditions with wind and overcast skies. The rest of the top 10, with one exception, also fished offshore in what turned out to be a pretty typical June ledge-fishing tournament.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Eufaula

Top 10 Baits from Lake Eufaula

June on Eufaula is ledge season. Well, mostly. Nine of the top 10 in the Toyota Series Southeastern Division event at Eufaula fished offshore, but targets included ledges, brush piles, standing timber and some “in-between” offshore structure where bass stopped in transition from the bank to out deep. One pro even fished exclusively shallow. Here are the baits they used to make the cut. READ MORE »

Co-angler Lewis Wins at Eufaula

Co-angler Lewis Wins at Eufaula

Co-angler Blake Lewis followed the lead of pro Josh Stracner at Lake Eufaula today, coming from behind to earn the Toyota Series Southeastern Division tournament win. Lewis, of Pace, Fla., caught a three-day total weight of 44 pounds, 4 ounces to win by just 11 ounces. He came into the final day in fourth place. READ MORE »

Stracner Shifts to Brush for Eufaula Win

Stracner Shifts to Brush for Eufaula Win

What started as Michael Smith’s week turned into Josh Stracner’s day today, as Stracner came back from third place to win the Toyota Series Southeastern Division season opener at Lake Eufaula. READ MORE »

Lake Eufaula Midday Update – Day 3

Lake Eufaula Midday Update – Day 3

For the first two days of the Toyota Series Southeastern Division event at Lake Eufaula, the early morning bite was key for many of the top pros. It was almost common to hear comments from the top 10 anglers about catching 15 to 20 pounds within the first hour. Today, that’s changed. The first two hours of the day were actually pretty tough. There were some limits caught, but nobody lit up the leaderboard. READ MORE »

Lake Eufaula Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Lake Eufaula Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

It’s not like we didn’t already know it, but today the top 10 anglers drove home the point: To win at Lake Eufaula right now, you have to be fishing offshore. Among the ledge anglers this week is Michael Smith, who maintains his lead at the Toyota Series Southeastern Division event with a two-day total of 50 pounds. Here’s how the rest of the top performers made it to Saturday. READ MORE »

Smith Leads at Eufaula with 50 Pounds

Smith Leads at Eufaula with 50 Pounds

Competing in the Toyota Series Southeastern Division event at Lake Eufaula this week, Michael Smith weighed in 25 pounds, 7 ounces yesterday to take the lead and backed it up with 24-9 today. His 50-pound two-day total has Smith ahead of second-place pro Scott Montgomery by 5 pounds, 9 ounces.  READ MORE »

Lake Eufaula Midday Update – Day 2

Lake Eufaula Midday Update – Day 2

Fishing is good, but it’s not easy today at Lake Eufaula on the second day of the Toyota Series Southeastern Division event. Well, that’s only part of the story. READ MORE »

Lake Eufaula Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Lake Eufaula Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Michael Smith established the pace at the Toyota Series Southeastern Division event on Lake Eufaula with a five-bass first-day limit that weighed 25 pounds, 7 ounces. He leads a crew of mostly offshore sticks that are mining Eufaula’s brush piles and ledges for some seriously big bass. Though, it’s worth pointing out that several in the top 10 did catch some or all of their keepers up shallow today. Here’s a rundown of the top five after one day of fishing. READ MORE »

Smith Smacks 25-7 at Eufaula

Smith Smacks 25-7 at Eufaula

It’s a 90-minute drive from Michael Smith’s Andalusia, Ala., home to Lakepoint Resort State Park where the Toyota Series Southeastern Division kicked off its season today on Lake Eufaula. That’s just close enough, says Smith, that he fishes here more than anywhere else. His understanding of how Eufaula’s bass transition from the bank to postspawn ares to the main lake really showed today while Smith put together an impressive 25-pound, 7-ounce limit to gain the day-one tournament lead. READ MORE »

Lake Eufaula Midday Update – Day 1

Lake Eufaula Midday Update – Day 1

It’s pretty clear from what went down on Lake Eufaula this morning that this lake is plumb full of fish. Almost everybody we pulled up on was catching bass. Yet, the consensus was that the bite isn’t quite as good today as it was during practice. No one reported the kind of mega-weights everyone expects to see. But there’s still some time. READ MORE »

Eufaula Slugfest Kicks Off

Eufaula Slugfest Kicks Off

For the second week in a row, FLW’s Toyota Series is visiting one of Alabama’s premier bass fisheries at the perfect time of year for pros to hammer on big bags of postspawn largemouths. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Pickwick

Top 10 Patterns from Pickwick

Pickwick Lake greeted Toyota Series anglers with high, stained water and stronger than normal current last week. While the last week of May usually means fishing to depths of 25 feet on Pickwick, some anglers felt Pickwick’s bass were a little behind in their summer migration to the deep ledges. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Pickwick

Top 10 Baits from Pickwick

From shallow bars to deep ledges, the offshore bite on Pickwick was the deal for the majority of the field in second stop of the Toyota Series Central Division. Because the offshore bite reigned supreme, it’s no surprise that the lures thrown by the top 10 pros were standard issue for the Tennessee River this time of year. READ MORE »

FLW Revamps Pro Circuit

FLW Revamps Pro Circuit

FLW has extended an invitation to Major League Fishing’s pro anglers to join the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit for three newly created “Super Tournaments” that include an expanded roster and higher payouts. The Super Tournaments are made possible by the abbreviated schedules announced recently by MLF and FLW. 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 »