UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Lake Wylie

Olson Scouts Cumberland

Olson Scouts Cumberland
Lane Olson

At just 19 years old, Lane Olson is fishing in the Costa FLW Series Championship. Were he from Alabama or Texas or any number of other southern states known for their bass fishing, that wouldn’t be too surprising. But Olson is schlepping all the way to Kentucky from Oregon, where he finished second in the Western Division Angler of the Year standings, missing out on the top spot by just one point.

This week, Olson is set to compete east of the Rockies for the first time in his life, and next year, he’s planning on fishing the FLW Pro Circuit. Happily, Olson was more than willing to let me tag along for his last morning of practice on Lake Cumberland.

 

Lane Olson

Lane Olson

Lane Olson

After a brief mix-up about which ramp to meet at, Olson and I get together at the takeoff ramp and drop the boat in. It’s foggy this morning, but not nearly as socked in as Cumberland was on Monday, when it stayed thick in many places until nearly 11 a.m. After dunking the Ranger, Olson pulls a few rods out and ties up a fresh jig alongside Eric Urstad, a Washington angler who’s also part of the small group of Northwest anglers who made the journey to Cumberland.

Though Olson says he’s had a fairly tough practice thus far, Western anglers have a good, if limited, track record on Cumberland. Back in the fall of 2004, Brent Ehrler won the FLW Series Championship on Cumberland, and seven other Western pros made the top 25.

 

Lane Olson

Rigging done, Olson heads off up the river to get the final day of practice underway. As we idle out before getting on plane, I ask for his read on the lake.

“I like it, but I think the weather is throwing them off a little bit,” he says. “I’ve found some, but it feels like you catch them when you run into them. I feel like a lot of them are chasing bait, so if you pull up where they are, you’re probably going to wreck them.

“I don’t feel like I’m dialed in,” adds Olson, who finished in the top 10 twice this year. “I’ve still got a lot of rods on my deck. But, Lake Mead was the worst practice of my life, and I almost won that.”

 

Lane Olson

Lane Olson

Lane Olson

After a decent run up the river, Olson sets down at the mouth of a creek and begins to work toward the back with a topwater. The water here is 67 degrees and fairly clear with a slight brown stain, and like most of Cumberland, it looks really good.

However, it doesn’t seem to be fishy this morning, as Olson manages to bounce his way from one side to the other all the way to the back without a bite.

 

Lane Olson

Lane Olson

Lane Olson

From there, Olson runs back down the river, eventually peeling off at a small pocket on a bluff. After probing it with a jig and a topwater, he continues down the bank, hitting little trees and other pieces of wood with a jig as he goes. This is Olson’s first day fishing up the river, rather than farther down the lake, so while he wants to find new things, he’s got a few clues to go on from previous days.

 

Lane Olson

Lane Olson

Pretty quickly, Olson misses a pair of bites, but he connects for the first fish of the day on the third try.

“That first one just swum off with it,” says Olson. “It might have been a largemouth; you usually feel those spots when they thump it.”

Still, the fish up here don’t seem to be giants for the most part, and after a bit more flipping, he rolls again.

 

Lane Olson

Lane Olson

Stopping at a bank with small rock leading into a pocket with a waterfall, Olson picks up his jig again and goes back to work. However, despite looking good and having more little trees than anywhere he’s fished so far, the pocket doesn’t produce.

 

Lane Olson

Lane Olson

Lane Olson

His next stop is the bridge just below takeoff. Olson idles around it once and then picks up a drop-shot to give it a try.

“We’ll fish it a bit,” he says. “It’d be neat to only have to burn a gallon of gas in the tournament.”

After working about two-thirds of the way around the piing, Olson decides to burn some gas – there’s nothing doing on the bridge.

 

Lane Olson

Running down the lake a bit more, Olson starts jumping around on a few different points, alternating between a topwater, a drop-shot and a swimbait. With the water so low, no grass to speak of and some finesse baits breaking out, the Western vibes are unmistakable. If he was catching fish, it’d be easy to see why Ehrler and the rest of the western crew had so much success back in ’04. However, he’s decidedly not catching fish, and the other boats doing the same stuff don’t seem to be either.

 

Lane Olson

Lane Olson

Lane Olson

Next, Olson pokes his head into a short pocket off the main drag, and his topwater gets bit right away when he fires into the very back.

“He smoked it,” says Olson. “I thought he was a lot bigger, but he was right where it looks good. I think topwater is going to be good the first day.”

After unhooking the fish, which didn’t get any of the bait in its mouth (but still basically got all of the hooks), Olson straps his rods down and cranks up.

 

Lane Olson

On plane again, Olson begins running down the lake, poking his head into various pockets and dropping a waypoint when he sees what he likes. Before long, he’s added a half dozen dots to the map and is ready to try his hand at fishing again.

 

Lane Olson

Lane Olson

Lane Olson

Olson sets down on the main lake and starts working back to an inflow, then picks up his jig again for some more little trees. Though it looks good, this water is more like the early morning stuff, and not quite the same makeup as the most recent pocket he hit.

It also doesn’t seem to have too many fish, and after a fruitless 20 minutes or so, Olson decides to pull the plug.

 

Lane Olson

Lane Olson

Running back to the ramp around noon, Olson actually wants to head back down toward the dam. He’s got a new plan in mind for the afternoon.

“I think I can catch them shallow on day one,” he says. “But, I’m gonna go down now. I want to go try to find more stuff deep in the lower end. I think that’s what you’re going to have to do on day two.”

And with that, I head for lunch and Olson heads off to try to find a few more fish on the other end of the lake.

Tags: jody-white  pre-tournament 

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