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

Exploring Harris with Tim Frederick

Exploring Harris with Tim Frederick

To say Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro Tim Frederick loves fishing in Florida would be an understatement. The Leesburg local and fifth-year Pro Circuit veteran calls the Harris Chain of Lakes home, and his only FLW win came just a bit farther south on Okeechobee in 2018. After a 22nd-place finish in the Toyota Series Southern Division opener on the St. Johns River last week, Frederick has fully turned his attention to his home bodies of water.

This week is all about redemption for Frederick, who took 14th in the Pro Circuit event on the Harris Chain in 2017, but then bombed with a 158th-place showing just a year later.

This time around, he’s focused on erasing that 2018 event from his memory and making up for it at the Pro Circuit’s second stop of the season.

Frederick was gracious enough to let me ride along with him on his final day of practice to see how he’s preparing.

 

Frederick puts in at Hickory Point, right at the midpoint between Lake Harris and Little Lake Harris. It’s an incredibly foggy morning, and Frederick spends a few minutes wiping down his gunwales and tidying up before dumping the boat in the water. He’s recently had a new wrap installed, so he’s doing his best to keep it looking nice, and there’s no rush with fog expected to cover the lake until around 9:30.

 

Once he’s in the water, Frederick decides to poke around the 19 Bridge while he waits for safe conditions to run into Little Lake Harris. As it turns out, he isn’t just killing time. Frederick lands a small fish on a square-bill about 20 minutes into fishing. It doesn’t tell him much, but it’s a decent start to the final day of practice.

Frederick has already covered a ton of water this week – and there’s a ton to cover. He’s spent most of his time in Griffin, though he’s poked around in Eustis, Dora as well as Harris and Little Harris. Today is all about eliminating water and finding some new areas he likes.

“I’m getting bit, but they’re not giants,” he says of his practice so far. “I only had a few bites yesterday, but I’m mostly shaking them off. I caught an 8-pounder yesterday. That was one of the fish I set the hook on.”

The conversation quickly turns to redemption and Frederick’s last major tournament on the Harris Chain. It’s been weighing him down, but also giving him added focus this week.

“I’ve got to get this monkey off my back,” he admits. “I want redemption here. If I don’t let myself get spun out, I should do pretty well.”

The Harris Chain is so familiar to Frederick that it’s a double-edged sword of sorts. On one hand, he can fish some history. On the other, he’s not about to take time off to clear his head and reset when he knows what all is out there on the chain’s many lakes.

 

Frederick makes a short run to a new spot, running slow due to the fog. When he sets down, he sees Jon Canada nearby and says hello.

“Why’s it been so tough,” Canada asks.

Frederick tells him he thinks most of the big females have pulled off, and he’s still searching for wherever they decided to go.

Soon Canada leaves, and Frederick immediately hooks into a decent one. With that, he has enough confidence in his spot to pick up and go elsewhere.

 

At 7:50, Frederick makes a short run to another cluster of lily pads mixed with Kissimmee grass. That’s what he likes fishing most, which is no surprise considering how much there is of both in Florida.

“I love fishing pads,” he says. “Pads and slop. Junk-fishing 101.”

On his first cast, Frederick hooks into a pretty decent buck bass.

“If this bite gets good, I can win,” he says. “It’s a big ‘if,’ but if it does …”

He lets his thought trail off, flipping more pads with a Texas-rigged Strike King KVD Perfect Plastic Ocho in black and blue. 

Frederick says he’s working even harder than normal this week.

“If I’m fishing in a tournament out of state, if I get spun out, I’ll go get something to eat and think about it,” he says. “Here, I’m putting in every waking hour on the water.”

Flipping pads is a slow way to fish, but Frederick says he doesn’t mind it. If all else fails this week, he thinks he’s found one particular dock where he can catch some kickers. He’s also dialed in a limit-filler bait he likes.

 

At 8 o’clock, he pulls out a Smithwick Devil’s Horse, which he used quite a bit at the St. Johns last week. Frederick makes some special modifications to his favorite prop bait, including removing the front prop and turning the back one around to give him the sound he wants when he twitches and pops it.

Within minutes, Frederick loses one on the Devil’s Horse and then misses one – probably the same fish. Shortly thereafter, he hooks into one that he gets in the boat.

“It’s a good bait to catch fry-guarders,” he says of the prop bait. ‘”When the fry goes to this stuff, I know I can catch them.”

The Harris Chain is known for housing giants, and Frederick is looking for some. He just doesn’t quite know where they are right now. 

“Honest to God, I’ve probably caught 100 8- to 10-pounders here,” he says of his home waters.

Around 9 o’clock, Frederick picks up and makes another short run into a canal he’s familiar with. He wants to get a look at some beds and see if any fish are still holding to them. Unfortunately, all the beds are empty, and Frederick turns around and rolls back into the main lake.

After a quick chat with Darrell Davis, who also knows about that canal and appears to be heading into it, the fog is starting to lift on Little Harris, so Frederick decides to run back under the 19 Bridge and into the big lake, where he stops on some more lily pads to probe around.

 

In just a few minutes, Frederick has one on – a small buck. 

With a cold front headed toward Leesburg during the tournament, Frederick knows conditions are going to make catching big females a lot harder, and those bucks might end up coming in handy.

“If there are any big ones pulled up, I think it’ll pull them off,” he says of the forecast cold front. “I think I have to find some bigger bucks.”

Frederick is alternating between the stick worm, prop bait and a lipless crankbait, for the most part. A couple casts with one, then a couple with another, probing around the lily pad fields for some indication of an area with a concentrated population of big fish.

He’s mostly just looking for some wind-protected areas, knowing the front will be complete with wind that could blow up into the 25-mph range.

At about 9:45, Frederick finally digs into the rod locker. He started the day with 10 rods on the deck – five a side – and hasn’t really touched most of them. His selection is a Stanley Ribbit frog.

 

After just a couple casts, Frederick misses a small fish on the frog, though he didn’t really set the hook on it. A couple more casts and it’s back to his other offerings.

Frederick takes a minute to apply some sunscreen and have a quick snack while he idles into another canal he knows pretty well. It typically has some beds in it, and there used to be lily pads as well, though they appear to be gone this year.

“I’m trying to throw where the pads used to be to see if there’s anything left,” he says of the lipless crankbait he’s slinging around the canal.

Working his way back out toward the lake, Frederick parallels the seawalls with his lipless crankbait, hooking a small fish that comes off. A couple casts later, he finally lands one.

 

At 10:30, Frederick cranks up and runs toward another canal he knows of. He’s in the business of bed-hunting right now, though most of them appear to have been abandoned.

“We’re just in between phases right now,” he says of the spawn. “We just hit it a little bit off.”

Frederick alternates between the Devil’s Horse and Ribbit as he works along the canal, offering up his opinion on what it will take to win the tournament.

“I’m going to say mid-70s,” he postulates. “It’s hard to have sight fish for four days.”

Not long ago, Frederick thought it would take about 80 pounds, but a couple tough days of practice tends to temper expectations. 

He’s not done looking, though, and plans to make a long run south in the afternoon.

“I’m going to keep them honest and run to the south end to see if there’s any sight fish,” he explains. “I always wait until the last day to do that – as late as I possibly can.”

 

At 10:45, Frederick is back out of the canal and headed toward another stretch of lily pads on Lake Harris. The fog is completely gone, and the sun is starting to really warm things up. 

“This bite is going away,” Frederick says after a few casts in the pad field.

It’s true that he hasn’t had a bite flipping pads in a while, but he also hasn’t been around the kind of pads he really likes. These have some grass beneath them, and Frederick is looking for pad fields with a hard bottom where it’s easier for fish to fan a bed below.

After 15 minutes, it’s time to hit another pad field farther up the lake.

 

Within minutes of arriving at his new location, Frederick shakes off what he thinks is a good fish – twice. Just a minute or two later, another fish starts swimming off with his Ocho, though he isn’t able to shake this one off.

 

“I didn’t do a very good job burying the hook,” he says.

It’s an encouraging sign for Frederick, who is still just eliminating water and trying to find some areas he’s ultra-confident in.

“You get two bites that quick, you know there’s fish in here,” he says.

Frederick again picks up his prop bait and starts casting around, mostly as something to do while he peers around for more beds. Eventually, he sets the rod down and turns all his attention to looking for beds.

At 11:30, Frederick spots a lighter patch of bottom that actually has a dark spot on it. He says it’s a “12-incher,” and although it’s not going to help during the tournament, he decides to have a little fun and try to catch it.

Frederick first tries his Ocho, but it’s too large for the fish in question. He switches to a wacky rig on a spinning setup, but he can’t get the bait down to where he wants it. Finally, he adds a small creature bait to his Texas-rig rod and hooks up.

 

“All I saw was a dark shadow,” Frederick says when he lands the fish – a decent crappie. “That’s a first for me.”

He goes back to trolling through the pad field for beds, eventually spotting a pair of quality bass he intends to come back to during the tournament. It’s only been about 20 minutes of looking, but Frederick is encouraged.

“I may not run down south today after all,” he says.

It’s already noon, and Frederick knows he only has so much daylight at his disposal. Whether he decides to head down south or look for more beds in Harris, it’s time to drop off his reporter back at Hickory Point.

 

Frederick may not have found everything he’s been looking for this week, but he’s getting bit and finding some productive areas. He’s more concerned with finding something sustainable, from hour to hour, over four days. As it stands right now, he’s got a bit of a milk run on the agenda.

Still, he knows the Harris Chain as well as anyone in the tournament field, and he’s armed with both local knowledge and a desire to make up for his last showing on his home lakes. That’s a pretty potent combination. If he manages to find something special in his final half-day of practice, he might just be the man to beat come Championship Sunday. 

Tags: flw  harris-chain  tackle-warehouse-pro-circuit  justin-onslow  pre-tournament  2020-02-20-harris-chain 

10 Pro Circuit Highlights So Far

10 Pro Circuit Highlights So Far

We’re almost halfway through the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit schedule, which means we’re far enough along now for a little retrospective on what’s happened thus far. READ MORE »

AOY Update: Lake Martin

AOY Update: Lake Martin

Through three events of the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, second-year pro and 2019 Polaris Rookie of the Year Ron Nelson remains atop the Angler of the Year standings after a second-place finish at Lake Martin. READ MORE »

Jason Abram Wins Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Lake Martin

Jason Abram Wins Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Lake Martin

ALEXANDER CITY, Ala. – After fishing at FLW’s top pro-level circuit for 11 years, competing in his 76th career event, pro Jason Abram of Piney Flats, Tennessee, finally got it done. Abram earned his first career victory in a dramatic finale Saturday at the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Lake Martin... READ MORE »

Tennessee’s Abram Extends Lead at Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Lake Martin

Tennessee’s Abram Extends Lead at Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Lake Martin

ALEXANDER CITY, Ala. – It was more of the same Friday on Day Three of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Lake Martin in Alexander City, Alabama – everyone caught a limit of bass and tournament leader pro Jason Abram of Piney Flats, Tennessee, continued to hold on to his top spot. Abram... READ MORE »

Tennessee’s Abram Takes Lead at Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Lake Martin

Tennessee’s Abram Takes Lead at Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Lake Martin

ALEXANDER CITY, Ala. – Pro Jason Abram of Piney Flats, Tennessee, caught five bass weighing 17 pounds, 10 ounces Thursday to take control of the leaderboard after Day Two of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Lake Martin in Alexander City, Alabama. Abram’s two-day total of 10 bass weighing... READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Martin

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Martin

The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit's third stop goes down this week at Lake Martin in Alexander City, Ala. Here's how you can watch the action live. READ MORE »

Georgia Rookie Adams Leads Day One of Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Lake Martin

Georgia Rookie Adams Leads Day One of Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Lake Martin

ALEXANDER CITY, Ala. – A field of bass fishing professionals from around the world began their four-day competition for a top award of up to $135,000 at the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Lake Martin Wednesday in Alexander City, Alabama... READ MORE »

FLW To Reschedule Tournaments Through April 5

FLW To Reschedule Tournaments Through April 5

ALEXANDER CITY, Ala. – FLW announced today that out of an abundance of caution and the uncertainty of venue availability amid rapidly evolving restrictions, the organization will reschedule all tournaments through April 5, except for the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event on Lake Martin in Alexander... READ MORE »

FLW Shifts Start Date of Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Lake Martin

FLW Shifts Start Date of Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Lake Martin

ALEXANDER CITY, Ala. (March 17, 2020) – FLW announced today that this week’s Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event at Lake Martin, originally scheduled to start Thursday, has been shifted and will now begin competition Wednesday. Hosted by the Alexander City Chamber, the tournament will remain four days and will READ MORE »

Practice Report: Lake Martin

Practice Report: Lake Martin

March in Alabama can be boom or bust in terms of weather, but luckily this week’s forecast calls for mostly gorgeous springtime weather for the third stop of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Lake Martin. READ MORE »

Rocky Mount’s Steckler Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event on Lake of the Ozarks

Rocky Mount’s Steckler Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event on Lake of the Ozarks

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. – Boater Cory Steckler of Rocky Mount, Missouri, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 18 pounds, 7 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake of the Ozarks in Osage Beach, Missouri. For his victory, Steckler... READ MORE »

Lynchburg’s Dice Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event on Smith Mountain Lake

Lynchburg’s Dice Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event on Smith Mountain Lake

HUDDLESTON, Va. – Boater Jack Dice of Lynchburg, Virginia, brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 22 pounds even to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Smith Mountain Lake in Huddleston, Virginia. For his victory, Dice earned a total of $5,246... READ MORE »

Kentucky’s Graham Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event on Dale Hollow Reservoir

Kentucky’s Graham Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event on Dale Hollow Reservoir

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. – Boater Brett Graham of Cold Spring, Kentucky, brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 18 pounds, 11 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Mountain division opener at Dale Hollow Reservoir in Byrdstown, Tennessee. For his victory... READ MORE »

Lake Placid’s Medlock Wins Toyota Series Tournament at Lake Okeechobee

Lake Placid’s Medlock Wins Toyota Series Tournament at Lake Okeechobee

CLEWISTON, Fla. – Pro Brandon Medlock of Lake Placid, Florida, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday totaling 19 pounds, 4 ounces to win the three-day Toyota Series at Lake Okeechobee event in Clewiston, Florida. Medlock’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 54-4 earned him the win by a 5... READ MORE »

Glendale’s Au Leads Wire-to-Wire, Wins Toyota Series Tournament at Lake Havasu

Glendale’s Au Leads Wire-to-Wire, Wins Toyota Series Tournament at Lake Havasu

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. – General Tire pro Tai Au of Glendale, Arizona, brought five bass to the scale Saturday totaling 16 pounds, 15 ounces to win the three-day Toyota Series at Lake Havasu event in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Au won the event by a 1-pound, 12-ounce margin after bringing a three... READ MORE »

Lake Havasu Midday Update – Day 3

Lake Havasu Midday Update – Day 3

It was another slow morning on Lake Havasu at the Toyota Series Western Division opener. Though, that was to be expected. Most of the top 10 pros have had their best luck in the middle of the day and early afternoon. Mornings have been tough. READ MORE »

FLW Postpones Abu Garcia College Fishing and High School Fishing Events in Response to Coronavirus Pandemic

FLW Postpones Abu Garcia College Fishing and High School Fishing Events in Response to Coronavirus Pandemic

BENTON, Ky. – FLW, the world’s largest tournament fishing organization, announced today the cancellation and postponement of multiple Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI and High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing events due to travel restrictions implemented by universities and... READ MORE »

Major League Fishing and FLW Suspend Public Gatherings:

Major League Fishing and FLW Suspend Public Gatherings:

TULSA, Okla. - Major League Fishing and FLW announced the suspension of all public gatherings associated with their events through April 12, 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The decision was made to safeguard the health and well... READ MORE »

Lake Havasu Midday Update – Day 1

Lake Havasu Midday Update – Day 1

The fishing is hot at Lake Havasu. By 9:30, many of the anglers we’d seen on the water for day one of the Toyota Series Western Division season opener already had limits or had kicker largemouths in the box. Most of those fish were caught off beds, with the majority being caught sight-fishing and the rest coming just by fishing through likely spawning areas. Others were caught out in front of spawning areas and around marinas. The fishing should only get better, too. Currently, there are scattered rain showers, but the sun is shining across many parts of the reservoir, making it a little easier to spot fish on beds.  READ MORE »

Lake Martin Readies for Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit

Lake Martin Readies for Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit

ALEXANDER CITY, Ala. – The third event of the 2020 season for the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, professional bass fishing’s premier five-fish limit tournament series, kicks off next week, March 19-22 with the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Lake Martin. Hosted by the Alexander City Chamber, the... READ MORE »