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

Changes Afoot at Grand Lake

Changes Afoot at Grand Lake
Russell Cecil

Fall is a time of change and movement; two notions bound to impact the outcome of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine, on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake. Typical fall migrations are underway, but an approaching cold front will likely complicate the already challenging nature of autumn’s transition.

Nevertheless, Grand Lake has a strong population of largemouth and smallmouth bass, so anglers will lack not for opportunity. Moreover, fish feed heavily this time of year, so it will be interesting to see how the meteorological happenings impact this typically active season.

Complete details

As the tournament plays out, pros will compete for a top award of up to $50,000 in cash and a new Ranger Z518C boat with a 200-hp Evinrude outboard. Co-anglers will cast for a Ranger Z175 boat with a 90-hp Evinrude outboard and an additional $5,000 if Ranger Cup qualified.

 

About the fishery

Formally known as Grand Lake o' the Cherokees, this 46,500-acre reservoir in the Ozark foothills is administered by the Grand River Dam Authority, which operates the Pensacola Dam on the Grand River (lower Neosho River). Impounded in 1940, Grand Lake has an average depth of 36.3 feet with 460 miles of rocky shoreline.

Grand Lake habitat includes points, riprap, natural rock banks, docks and the occasional laydown. Major arms include the Elk River, Neosho River, Wolf Creek, Honey Creek, Horse Creek and Drowning Creek.

Torrential spring rains pushed Grand’s water level to nearly 755 feet, but the lake has come down considerably throughout the summer. The current elevation of 744.6 is 2 1/2 feet over conservation pool level of 742, and with the dam releasing water at about 11,500 cubic feet per second, the lake will continue creeping downward – provided the rain in this week’s forecast isn’t too abundant.

 

Current Conditions

Oklahoma pro Jeff Reynolds, who won the division’s 2017 Lake Texoma event, said the water level will put more shallow cover – willows, stumps, laydowns, etc. – into play. Most profound, Reynolds says, is the impact the high water seems to have had on forage growth.

“There are shad everywhere; there’s more shad than I’ve ever seen on any lake in my life,” he says. “The shad are all over the lake from the main lake to the backs of creeks. It could be that during the high water, the shad could get so far back into the bushes that not much could get to them.

“You can catch fish, but it’s a matter of competing with the shad. If you get in the right spot, you can catch fish, but it’s really hard to pattern anything right now.”

Reynolds says he won’t blame the inconsistency solely on the shad abundance. A lot of it is simply the time of year.

“They’re so scattered out with the fall transition and fish wanting to go back into the creeks,” he adds. “Some are back there, but not as many as there should be.”

Some of that may change with the cold front sliding into the area on day one of the event. Just how quickly the weather changes will determine much, but Reynolds says change of some level is inevitable.

“The highs on tournament days are going to be in the low 70s and it’s going to be getting down into the upper 50s,” Reynolds says. “You never know what that’s going to do to them this time of year. I think if we have clouds, they’ll bite pretty good and the weights will be better, but if the wind doesn’t blow and it gets sunny, it’s going to be tough.”

 

Tactics in Play

“I think this tournament is going to be anybody’s ballgame,” Reynolds says of the diversity of options available during the fall transition. “It could be won on the bank, out deep or anywhere in between.

“They’re going to be caught on topwaters, they’re going to be caught on square-bills, they’re going to be caught flipping and there will be some guys dragging a Carolina rig or worm out deeper.”

Dicky Newberry, FLW Tour pro and current points leader in the Southwest Division, says this week’s event should line up well for a fish-your-strength strategy. In any case, mobility will complement most game plans.

“I don’t think a guy’s going to be able to win on one spot,” Newberry says. “I think it’s going to be a lot of junk fishing – running and catching one or two fish here and there.”

 

Critical Factors

  • Water clarity –  As Reynolds notes, water color varies considerably from the deep, clear areas near the dam, to the stained water upriver. Somewhere between the two extremes is a magical zone were good things happen. Finding the right level and then replicating that scenario in multiple spots will put an angler in good shape “If we get some clouds and some rain, the lower end by the dam is probably going to be better because of the clear water,” Reynolds explains. “If the sun comes out, it may be won up the river; somebody may go up there and catch them flipping or throwing a spinnerbait.”

 

  • Weather –  Of course, wind will play a significant role in water color, but Newberry says the frontal movement is likely to do more than muddy windward areas. “The wind has been blowing hard out of the south-southeast, and it has everything muddied up on (the windward) side,” he says. “That’s the side we’re going to have to fish on when the wind switches around with the cold front. I think that’s going to have as much effect on us as anything. I think if you’ve found fish in protected waters – but if you’ve been fishing the lake’s south banks, that have been protected from the south wind – you’re going to be in for a surprise on tournament morning when we have 15-20 mph north winds hammering on the south side.” 

 

  • Hungry bass –  Sounds obvious, but anglers actually will need to find the fish with the biggest appetites. Doing so will mean avoiding the most heavily bait-laden areas. This one’s a fine line proposition, as it typically stands to reason that bass want to be near food sources. Success may very well come with a touch of randomness, but avoiding coves with bait schools you could walk across will be a wise decision. 

 

Dock talk 

Newberry says a local tournament recently saw a winning limit of 20 pounds, and Reynolds believes such a bag is entirely possible this week – especially if the front side of the weather system sparks aggressive feeding.

Reynolds is looking for a two-day total of about 28 pounds to make the final round, with a winning total of about 42.

“It’s just so random right now; it’s going to be about hitting the right spot at the right time, no matter what you’re doing,” he says. “There are patterns to run, but you’re not necessarily going to catch them everywhere you go.”

 

Tournament details

Format: All boaters and co-anglers will compete for two days. The top 10 boaters and co-anglers based on cumulative weight after two days of competition will advance to the third and final round, with the winner in each category determined by the heaviest cumulative three-day weight.

Takeoff Time: 7:30 a.m. CT

Takeoff Location: Wolf Creek Park, 963 N. 16th Street, Grove, Okla.

Weigh-In Time: 3:30 p.m. CT days one and two, 3 p.m. CT on day three. 

Weigh-In Location: Wolf Creek Park

Complete details

Tags: flw  bass-fishing  fishing-tournament  -costa-flw-series  grand-lake  david-a-brown  morning-story  2019-10-03-grand-lake 

FLW, TBF Extend Strategic Partnership

FLW, TBF Extend Strategic Partnership

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BENTON, Ky. – Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) and The Bass Federation (TBF) announced today a new strategic partnership. This agreement extends bass fishing’s longest-running alliance between two pioneering organizations in service to grassroots anglers from coast to... READ MORE »

FLW Announces Schedule, Rules and Entry Dates for 2020 High School Fishing Season

FLW Announces Schedule, Rules and Entry Dates for 2020 High School Fishing Season

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BENTON, Ky. – Today FLW (Fishing League Worldwide) announced the schedule, rules and entry dates for the 2020 FLW High School Fishing season. New for 2020, the winning team (two anglers) at the National Championship will both advance to the 2020 FLW Series... READ MORE »

Phoenix Boats Signs as Exclusive Boat Sponsor of FLW

Phoenix Boats Signs as Exclusive Boat Sponsor of FLW

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BENTON, Ky. - FLW (Fishing League Worldwide) announced Tuesday that it has reached a sponsorship agreement with Phoenix Boats, a leading boat manufacturer known for innovation, performance and an angler-centric business approach. Effective... READ MORE »

FLW Announces Schedule, Rules and Entry Date For 2020 FLW College Fishing presented by YETI

FLW Announces Schedule, Rules and Entry Date For 2020 FLW College Fishing presented by YETI

BENTON, Ky. – Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) announced Thursday the schedule, rules and entry dates for the 2020 FLW College Fishing presented by YETI season, highlighted by the FLW College Fishing National Championship on the Harris Chain of Lakes in Leesburg, Florida, and advancement opportunities for anglers to compete in the Bass Fishing League (BFL) All... READ MORE »

FLW Announces Details for 2020 FLW Pro Circuit

FLW Announces Details for 2020 FLW Pro Circuit

TULSA, Okla. – Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), announced today the full details, including rules, entry dates, schedules and the location for the 2020 Championship. The circuit will feature a field of 150 pro anglers competing across seven regular-season tournaments, which culminate to the FLW TITLE. A new event, the TITLE will showcase the top 50 pros from the FLW... READ MORE »

South Carolina’s Miller Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Wild Card Tournament on Kentucky/Barkley Lakes

South Carolina’s Miller Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Wild Card Tournament on Kentucky/Barkley Lakes

GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. – Boater Michael Miller of Greenville, South Carolina, caught a two-day cumulative total of 10 bass weighing 31 pounds even to win the no-entry fee T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Wild Card tournament on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. For his efforts, Miller earned one of the final berths into the 2020 BFL All-American Championship... READ MORE »

Major League Fishing Closes Acquisition of Fishing League Worldwide

Major League Fishing Closes Acquisition of Fishing League Worldwide

TULSA, Okla. - Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today that the acquisition of Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) has closed. This agreement brings together the league behind the no-entry-fee Bass Pro Tour and the largest grassroots organization... READ MORE »

Adrian College Wins YETI FLW College Fishing National School of the Year Title

Adrian College Wins YETI FLW College Fishing National School of the Year Title

TULSA, Okla. – The bass-fishing club at Adrian College is the best in the country, capping off the 2019 YETI FLW College Fishing season in 1st place overall with 2,350 points, and earning the team the title of 2019 YETI FLW College Fishing National School of the Year... READ MORE »

Marietta High School Wins Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Lake Hartwell Open

Marietta High School Wins Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Lake Hartwell Open

HARTWELL, Ga. – The Marietta High School duo of Carter Koza of Maretta, Georgia, and Paul Marks, of Cumming, Georgia, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 13 pounds, 10 ounces to win the 2019 Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Lake Hartwell Open... READ MORE »

Coastal Carolina University Wins YETI FLW College Fishing Tournament on Lake Hartwell presented by Costa

Coastal Carolina University Wins YETI FLW College Fishing Tournament on Lake Hartwell presented by Costa

HARTWELL, Ga. – The Coastal Carolina University duo of Max McQuaide of Tyngsborough, Massachusetts, and Grant Tattersall, of Sterling, Virginia, won the YETI FLW College Fishing tournament at Lake Hartwell presented by Costa with a five-bass limit weighing 13 pounds, 11 ounces. The victory earned the Chanticleers’ bass club $2,000 and a slot in the 2020 FLW College... 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 »

Oklahoma's Upshaw Wins Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland

Oklahoma's Upshaw Wins Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland

BURNSIDE, Ky. – Strike King pro Andrew Upshaw of Tulsa, Oklahoma, brought a five-bass limit to the stage weighing 12 pounds, 15 ounces, Saturday to claim the title of 2019 FLW Series Champion at the Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland. Upshaw, with a three-day total of 15 bass for 42 pounds, 15 ounces, won by a 1-pound, 10-ounce margin over second... 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 »

Cumberland Day 3 Coverage

Cumberland Day 3 Coverage

Andrew Upshaw continues to roll on Cumberland. READ MORE »

Upshaw Leads at Day Two of Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland

Upshaw Leads at Day Two of Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland

BURNSIDE, Ky. – Strike King pro Andrew Upshaw of Tulsa, Oklahoma, crossed the stage Friday with a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 1 ounce, for a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 30 pounds even, to lead after Day Two of the Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland. Upshaw now holds a 1-pound, 13-ounce lead over pro Rob Burns of Plano, Texas, who weighed... READ MORE »

Upshaw Leads at Day Two of Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland

Upshaw Leads at Day Two of Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland

BURNSIDE, Ky. – Strike King pro Andrew Upshaw of Tulsa, Oklahoma, crossed the stage Friday with a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 1 ounce, for a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 30 pounds even, to lead after Day Two of the Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland. Upshaw now holds a 1-pound, 13-ounce lead over pro Rob Burns of Plano, Texas, who weighed... READ MORE »

Cumberland Day 2 Coverage

Cumberland Day 2 Coverage

Day one of the Costa FLW Series Championship proved to be about as challenging as many anglers anticipated after a tough practice period, but it wasn’t all bad. Zimbabwe’s Roger Cousens certainly wasn’t complaining. His tournament-leading 17-pound, 2-ounce bag was exactly what he had hoped for as the tournament kicked off, and he’s gunning for another big stringer today. READ MORE »

Zimbabwe Angler Cousens Leads Day One of Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland

Zimbabwe Angler Cousens Leads Day One of Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland

BURNSIDE, Ky. – A tournament field of 193 boats – each featuring a pro and a co-angler – began their three-day competition for a top cash award of $100,000 at the Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland, in Burnside, Kentucky, Thursday. The no-entry fee bass-fishing championship, hosted by the Somerset Tourist & Convention Commission and the Burnside... READ MORE »