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

Prespawn Showdown Set for Hartwell

Prespawn Showdown Set for Hartwell

Spring can be one of the best times to launch a boat in the clear waters of Lake Hartwell. That’s why the Georgia-South Carolina border reservoir might be the perfect venue to start the Eastern Division of the Toyota Series on March 3. 

An unseasonably wet winter has plagued the region, leaving the lake level at or above full pool for a decent part of 2020. While the water is on its way down, weather patterns between now and tournament time will still be the deciding factor. Still, no matter the conditions, Hartwell is full of big largemouths and spotted bass, and March is no doubt one of the best months for the lake to showcase what it’s capable of. 

 

Tournament details

Toyota Series Eastern Division

Lake Hartwell

Seneca, S.C.

March 3, 2020

Hosted by Visit Oconee South Carolina

 

How the lake sets up

Built on the Savannah, Tugaloo and Seneca rivers on the border of South Carolina and Georgia, Lake Hartwell sprawls some 56,000 acres. While its size is respectable, you don’t truly appreciate how well a large field of anglers can spread out until you start exploring all the pockets, nooks and crannies found along the lake’s shoreline. 

Considering Hartwell is a deep, clear body of water, it’s no shock that it holds a stout population of spotted bass. There’s no grass in the lake, but there are still plenty of big largemouths that call Hartwell home. Docks, laydowns, brush piles and rock are the primary types of fishable cover. Though there are shad and bream in the system, the primary forage for growing big bass in Hartwell is blueback herring, a nomadic baitfish that becomes more predictable in the spring. 

 

What to expect

Local stick and former FLW Tour pro Jayme Rampey is excited about the timing of the event, even though the weather thus far this season has left the lake in flux. 

“Hartwell is a very weather-dependent lake,” he says. “Every time the lake is high, the lake is tough, so we’ll see what happens by the tournament. 

“But March is a way better time for the event to be here than if it was here in April. It’ll be a pure prespawn tournament. The fish shouldn’t be in a weird mood, and they should be putting the feedbag on. Plus, Hartwell is a real good pattern lake, so if you figure something out you can run it from one end to the other and the lake will fish big.”

Since the majority of the fish will be trying to bulk up for the spawn, Rampey believes we could see some of the best weights Hartwell can produce all year. 

“When you want to see big weights on Hartwell, the prespawn is the time for it,” he adds. “The tournament will be won with largemouths, I think, but a lot of top bags will have spots – probably a 50/50 mix. Those spots that time of year weigh a lot. I won a BFL a few years ago with three spots over 4 pounds, so that time of year they can be really big. I think it’ll take close to 17 or 18 pounds a day to win, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a little higher. It just depends on the weather.”

 

Baits and techniques

With the event lining up nicely with the heart of the prespawn period, there should be a lot of options on the table for how to catch a bass. 

“We’ll see typical March stuff,” Rampey says. “The herring will move up, and so do the bass. You can catch fish then from 50 feet up to 6 inches. It just depends on weather. The deep bite will be good. There will be a ditch bite and a shallow crankbait bite. I really think it’ll be a good tournament.”

Expect to see a lot of baits in play, from football jigs, spoonsKeitechs and jerkbaits to spinnerbaits, shallow crankbaits (like a Rapala Shad Rap or Berkley Frittside) and maybe even some topwater for a schooling bite around herring. The lake should be fishing wide-open, and anglers will be able to pick their strength and dial something in to fit that program.

Tags: kyle-wood  pre-tournament  2020-03-03-hartwell 

Big Bags on Tap at Pickwick

Big Bags on Tap at Pickwick

After a four-month hiatus, it’s almost time for the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Mississippi Division to get back after it. The season resumes on July 18 and July 19 with back-to-back tournaments on Pickwick Lake. While each tournament may fish a bit like a two-day event, each day of competition is a standalone tournament with a winner crowned after each day. READ MORE »

Michigan Division Kicks Off on St. Clair

Michigan Division Kicks Off on St. Clair

There’s nothing better than clear water and big smallmouths, and that’s exactly what the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Michigan Division plans to deliver this year. The division, which is presented by ARE, is set to open the season July 18 on Lake St. Clair in what should be a heavyweight showdown of smallmouths. READ MORE »

Piedmont Division Heads to Kerr

Piedmont Division Heads to Kerr

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Piedmont Division continues its season with back-to-back tournaments on Kerr Lake on July 18 and 19. READ MORE »

Hoosier Division Heads for Ohio River

Hoosier Division Heads for Ohio River

After kicking off the season on Lake Monroe with a double-header at the end of June, the Hoosier Division of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine turns east for stop No. 3 on the Ohio River at Tanners Creek. READ MORE »

Everything in Play on Mighty Miss

Everything in Play on Mighty Miss

The Mississippi River is the staple venue of the Great Lakes Division in Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine competition. Come July 18, the division will take its first crack at the Mighty Miss in what could shape up to be a diverse event. READ MORE »

Kentucky Lake Could be Won Deep or Shallow

Kentucky Lake Could be Won Deep or Shallow

As we saw a couple weeks ago at the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga, the Tennessee River is capable of churning out big bags of bass both deep and shallow. We’ll probably be reminded of the Chickamauga event on July 18, when the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine LBL Division competes on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. Conditions should be similar, with both deep and shallow patterns in the mix.   READ MORE »

A Dream Come True

A Dream Come True

On June 27, 16-year-old Noah Crogan’s big wish came to fruition at the Apple Island Marina on Lake Champlain when he became the owner of a brand-new Tracker aluminum bass boat. Thanks to Make-A-Wish Vermont, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and local anglers – including Phoenix Bass Fishing League and Toyota Series angler Cole Harris – Crogan was surprised at the marina with the boat, along with plenty of rods and tackle to get him on the water. READ MORE »

Northern Division Heads to Sandusky

Northern Division Heads to Sandusky

Swiftly rescheduled due to New York’s recently announced travel restrictions, the Toyota Series Northern Division is now kicking off on Lake Erie, launching out of Sandusky, Ohio, July 9-11. The event is the first of three in the division, with the others scheduled for August on Lake Champlain and on the Detroit River in September. READ MORE »

FLW Shifts Toyota Series Northern Event to Lake Erie

FLW Shifts Toyota Series Northern Event to Lake Erie

Due to New York’s recently announced travel restrictions, FLW will shift its July 9-11 Toyota Series Northern Division opener from the St. Lawrence River at Massena, N.Y., to Lake Erie at Sandusky, Ohio. READ MORE »

Okie Division Heads to Arkansas River

Okie Division Heads to Arkansas River

The Okie Division looks to end the month of June just how it started it – with back-to-back Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine events. READ MORE »

Checking Shallow and Deep with Hays

Checking Shallow and Deep with Hays

Dylan Hays has been fairly consistent throughout his four years as a pro on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, and he’s currently on pace to have his best season to date. He made the last two top-30 cuts and finished 31st at Rayburn to start the year, and because of his consistency, the Arkansas pro currently finds himself fifth in the Angler of the Year race. 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 »

Hoosier Division Kicks off with Doubleheader

Hoosier Division Kicks off with Doubleheader

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Hoosier Division starts its season with back-to-back tournaments on Indiana’s Lake Monroe June 27 and 28, and it’s looking like big bags will be on tap. READ MORE »

Shenandoah Div. Restarts on the Potomac

Shenandoah Div. Restarts on the Potomac

Competition in the Shenandoah Division presented by A.R.E. Truck Caps of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine will restart at the Potomac River on June 27. With the river’s bass fully into the postspawn now, the event should be a classic summertime Potomac derby. 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 »

Previewing Chick: Can Other Lakes Play?

Previewing Chick: Can Other Lakes Play?

When the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit picks back up next week with the Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga, the famous lake isn’t the only reservoir available to pros in the event. If they want, pros will be able to run and lock up into Watts Bar Lake or down into Nickajack Lake. 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 »

Illini Division Ready to Roll

Illini Division Ready to Roll

Competition in the Illini Division of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine will kick off at Lake Shelbyville on June 20. With some prespawn, spawn and postspawn fish to be found across the lake, local BFL standout Michael Black believes this should be a solid derby. READ MORE »

Big Bags Expected at Eufaula

Big Bags Expected at Eufaula

Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine competition in the Bulldog Division picks up again with a weekend doubleheader June 20 and 21. READ MORE »

College Fishing Returns June 14

College Fishing Returns June 14

As the tournament season begins to ramp back up across the FLW tournament platforms, Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI is also getting ready to get back in the swing of things come June 14 on Smith Mountain Lake. READ MORE »