UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Norman

It’s Anyone’s Game on Overfull Hartwell

It’s Anyone’s Game on Overfull Hartwell

South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell kicks off the 2020 Toyota Series Eastern Division season this week with a three-day, mid-week showdown of the area’s best bass anglers, hosted by Visit Oconee South Carolina. Hartwell definitely has the potential to produce 20-plus-pound bags, but Mother Nature has decided to create some havoc with lake levels this winter, and it’s anyone’s guess as to how well the fishery shows out.

Recent local tournaments have not produced the bags Hartwell is capable of churning out. Most anglers blamed sudden rising waters with substantial muddy and cold conditions for throwing off the normally predictable prespawn patterns for this time of year.

Full details

 

About the Fishery

Lake Hartwell is a 56,000-acre impoundment of the Savannah River. The lake is fed by three major tributary rivers: the Tugaloo, Seneca, and Six & Twenty Creek. Each of these major tributaries has several secondary creeks that also feed the lake. The result is an abundance of shoreline – about 962 miles of it.

Hartwell borders the states of South Carolina and Georgia with a reciprocal agreement in management of the bass fishery between the two states. Up until 10 years ago, Hartwell was somewhat of a sleepy largemouth bass fishery. The unintended introduction of spotted bass into the lake has now given the lake about 50-50 population between spotted bass and largemouth bass.

The primary forage base in Hartwell is threadfin shad and blueback herring, which are land-locked in the reservoir. This two-story food system means fish will take up residence in one area while feeding on shad or may run from one end of the lake to the other, without much notice, chasing herring.

 

Current Conditions

Over 47 inches of rain have fallen into Lake Hartwell and its surrounding areas since the first of the year, and the result has been a seesawing of water levels from over full pool to slightly under full pool, as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the lake, has tried to handle all the incoming water.

Fortunately, the mild winter so far has allowed water temperatures to remain just above the 50-degree mark most of 2020. Current surface temps are ranging from 47 degrees at takeoff to the mid 50s by day’s end.

The forecast for Tuesday through Thursday is nothing new – overcast with periods of rain on all three days. Thursday morning, as the rain begins to dissipate, anglers could see a drop in overnight temperatures from the upper 40s on Tuesday and Wednesday to the upper 30s for the final day of competition.

At present, water clarity ranges from muddy in the tributaries where most of the bass fishing is likely to occur to moderately stained, but cooler, down the lake.

 

Tactics in Play

Local MLF pro Marty Robinson from Lyman, S.C., is optimistic about the week ahead.

“Anytime we get a lot of water early, fish tend to pull up shallow to feed in all the new cover and growth that has grown up along the bank,” says Robinson. “That also tends to level the playing field because anybody can take a spinnerbait or a crankbait and go down the bank and catch fish.”

Robinson’s expects to stay on the trolling motor and cover as much water as possible, and could likely throw every bait he keeps in his boat.

 

Critical Factors 

  • High, muddy water: Love it or hate it, that’s what anglers will have to fish this week to catch bass. The net effect will be a scattering around of fish over 900plus miles of shoreline cover, where every piece of structure will look like it could hold fish.
  • Herring: Herring lakes tend to throw off anglers who are not accustomed to feeding patterns changing on the whim of highly pelagic baitfish.
  • Changing water levels: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may take advantage of the coming week to make adjustments to lake levels. The lake was 661.29 – a footand-a-half over full pool during weekend practice – but has steadily dropped since.

 

Dock Talk

Former Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro Jayme Rampey of Liberty, S.C., has won more than his share of titles on Lake Hartwell. Rampey says it’s not shaping up to be a typical March on Hartwell. This time last year, the bass were already spawning, but not so this year.

“It’s muddy, cold and the lake is high,” he says. “The fish are scattered both shallow and deep, and it’s not fishing that great. You can catch a lot of fish shallow, but I don’t think that’s going to add up to the weights needed to win.”

Rampey says he may take advantage of all three major tributaries during the three-day event, if he makes it to the third day. He has not decided on one particular tactic for this event but says he could see fish being caught on a drop-shot rig to a spinnerbait to a crankbait and almost everything in between.

A local angler, who is not fishing the event, was overheard saying he caught more than 80 spotted bass on Saturday but did not have one that exceeded 2 1/2 pounds.

Rampey’s prediction for the three-day tournament is that it will take an average of 15 pounds per day to take home the title.

 

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 division determined by the heaviest cumulative three-day weight.

Takeoff Time: 7:00 a.m. ET

Takeoff Location: Clemson Beach & Recreation Area, 275 YMCA Circle, Seneca, S.C.

Weigh-In Time: 3:00 p.m. ET 

Weigh-In Location: Clemson Beach & Recreation Area

Full details

Tags: flw  lake-hartwell  toyota-series  bass-fishing  phillip-gentry  morning-story  2020-03-03-hartwell 

Arizona’s Au Wins Toyota Series Western Division Finale at Clear Lake

Arizona’s Au Wins Toyota Series Western Division Finale at Clear Lake

CLEARLAKE, Calif. – Pro Tai Au of Glendale, Arizona, crossed the stage with a five-bass limit Saturday weighing 26 pounds, 4 ounces, to vault to the top of the leaderboard and win the three-day Toyota Series at Clear Lake tournament in Clearlake, California. Au’s three-day total of 15... READ MORE »

La Crosse Selected to Host 2021 Tackle Warehouse TITLE Championship

La Crosse Selected to Host 2021 Tackle Warehouse TITLE Championship

LA CROSSE, Wis. – FLW and Explore La Crosse announced Thursday that the 2021 Tackle Warehouse TITLE, the Pro Circuit Championship, will be held Aug. 17-22, 2021, on the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Although FLW’s top championship has been held on the Mississippi River once before... READ MORE »

Pickwick Lake Named Host of 2021 Toyota Series Championship

Pickwick Lake Named Host of 2021 Toyota Series Championship

COUNCE, Tenn. – FLW and the Hardin County Convention & Visitors Bureau announced Wednesday that Counce, Tennessee, will host the prestigious 2021 Toyota Series Championship, Oct. 28-30, 2021, on Pickwick Lake... READ MORE »

Toyota Series to Host Event on Lake Norman

Toyota Series to Host Event on Lake Norman

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. – The 2020 Toyota Series Eastern Division will wrap up their season with a tournament next week in Huntersville, North Carolina, Oct. 1-3, with the Toyota Series at Lake Norman. Hosted by Visit Lake Norman, Charlotte & Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation, the three-day... READ MORE »

Douglas Lake Selected to Host 2021 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American Championship

Douglas Lake Selected to Host 2021 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American Championship

DANDRIDGE, Tenn. – FLW announced Tuesday that the 38th annual Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American will be held on Tennessee’s Douglas Lake in 2021. The tournament, scheduled for June 3-5, showcases the nation’s best weekend anglers and awards the winner a $120,000 cash award, but Jefferson... READ MORE »

Grand Lake to Host 2021 Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship

Grand Lake to Host 2021 Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship

GROVE, Okla. – FLW announced Monday that the 12th annual Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship will be held on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees in 2021. The tournament, slated for March 3-5, showcases the nation’s best collegiate anglers and awards the winners a... READ MORE »

Georgia’s Rockefeller Wins Two-Day Phoenix Bass Fishing League event on Clarks Hill Lake

Georgia’s Rockefeller Wins Two-Day Phoenix Bass Fishing League event on Clarks Hill Lake

MCCORMICK, S.C. – Boater Joshua Rockefeller of Harlem, Georgia, brought a two-day total of nine bass to the scale weighing 21 pounds even to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine South Carolina Division Super-Tournament at Clarks Hill Lake. For his victory, Rockefeller earned... READ MORE »

Great Falls’ Langford Wins Two-Day Phoenix Bass Fishing League event on Smith Mountain Lake

Great Falls’ Langford Wins Two-Day Phoenix Bass Fishing League event on Smith Mountain Lake

HUDDLESTON, Va. - Boater Todd Langford of Great Falls, Virginia, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 33 pounds, 4 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Piedmont Division Super-Tournament at Smith Mountain Lake. For his victory, Langford earned... READ MORE »

Smithville’s Tramel Wins Two-Day Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event on Old Hickory Lake

Smithville’s Tramel Wins Two-Day Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event on Old Hickory Lake

GALLATIN, Tenn. – Boater Josh Tramel of Smithville, Tennessee, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale this weekend weighing 34 pounds, 5 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Music City Division Super-Tournament at Old Hickory Lake. Tramel earned a total of... READ MORE »

Tupelo’s Whitehead Earns Win at Two-Day Phoenix Bass Fishing League event on Pickwick Lake

Tupelo’s Whitehead Earns Win at Two-Day Phoenix Bass Fishing League event on Pickwick Lake

IUKA, Miss. – Boater Christopher Whitehead of Tupelo, Mississippi, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 33 pounds, 1 ounce to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Mississippi Division Super-Tournament at Pickwick Lake. For his victory, Whitehead earned $5,942... READ MORE »

Sellersburg’s Sifers Wins Two-Day Phoenix Bass Fishing League Tournament on Rough River Lake

Sellersburg’s Sifers Wins Two-Day Phoenix Bass Fishing League Tournament on Rough River Lake

FALLS OF ROUGH, Ky. – Boater Jeramiah Sifers of Sellersburg, Indiana, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale this weekend weighing 22 pounds, 14 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Hoosier Division Super-Tournament at the Rough River. Sifers earned a total... READ MORE »

Galesville’s Trim Wins Two-Day Phoenix Bass Fishing League Super Tournament on Mississippi River in La Crosse

Galesville’s Trim Wins Two-Day Phoenix Bass Fishing League Super Tournament on Mississippi River in La Crosse

LA CROSSE, Wis. – Boater Nick Trim of Galesville, Wisconsin, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 34 pounds, 9 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Great Lakes Division Super-Tournament at the Mississippi River. For his victory, Trim earned $6,690... READ MORE »

Conway’s Lieblong Wins Toyota Series Tournament at Lake Dardanelle presented by Fish-Intel

Conway’s Lieblong Wins Toyota Series Tournament at Lake Dardanelle presented by Fish-Intel

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – Conway, Arkansas’ Jason Lieblong weighed five bass totaling 15 pounds, 15 ounces, Saturday – the largest limit of the event – to win the three-day Toyota Series at Lake Dardanelle presented by Fish-Intel tournament in Russellville, Arkansas. Lieblong’s three-day total of 15 bass... READ MORE »

Clarkston’s Dobson Wins Toyota Series Event on Detroit River

Clarkston’s Dobson Wins Toyota Series Event on Detroit River

TRENTON, Mich. – Pro Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Michigan, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 18 pounds, 9 ounces to win the three-day Toyota Series at the Detroit River event in Trenton, Michigan. Dobson’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 59-3 earned him the win by a 1-pound, 7... READ MORE »

Top Patterns and Baits from Kentucky Lake

Top Patterns and Baits from Kentucky Lake

Kentucky Lake has the potential to churn out some big bags – look no further than the 2019 Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open, when 21 teams weighed in more than 20 pounds on day one alone – but the 2020 iteration wasn’t as friendly to the college anglers who took to her waters this week. Here’s the skinny on how the top 10 teams caught their fish this week and what they caught them with. READ MORE »

University of Montevallo Wins Sixth-Annual  Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open  on Kentucky/Barkley Lakes

University of Montevallo Wins Sixth-Annual Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open on Kentucky/Barkley Lakes

GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. (Sept. 18, 2020) – The University of Montevallo team of Grayson Morris of Birmingham, Alabama and Jacob Pfundt of Canton, Georgia won the sixth-annual Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open on Kentucky and Barkley lakes Thursday with a two-day cumulative total of 10 bass... READ MORE »

Dardanelle Midday Update – Day 1

Dardanelle Midday Update – Day 1

Thursday’s opening round of the Toyota Series Plains Division opener at Lake Dardanelle followed the script many anglers predicted. Despite many favorable conditions at the beginning of a peak fishing season, muddy water and bright sunshine made fishing difficult across the 34,000-acre Arkansas River impoundment. READ MORE »

Plains Division Kicks Off on Dardanelle

Plains Division Kicks Off on Dardanelle

All the major bass tournaments Lake Dardanelle has hosted since 2004 have followed different scripts, and the Toyota Series Plains Division event that kicks off today will be no different. With a schedule full of changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first event of the Plains Division season, and it’s the last division to kick off in 2020. READ MORE »

High Water on Tap for College Open

High Water on Tap for College Open

By mid-September, Kentucky Lake can be absolutely lights-out when you find a big school up on its many shallow bars. This week, during the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open, that’s probably not going to be the case – instead of locking a topwater in their hands, college teams are likely to take a much more varied approach. READ MORE »

Toyota Series to Host Event on Clear Lake

Toyota Series to Host Event on Clear Lake

CLEARLAKE, Calif. – The 2020 Toyota Series Western Division will finish out their season with a tournament next week in Clearlake, California, Sept. 24-26, with the Toyota Series at Clear Lake. The three-day tournament will feature the region’s best bass-fishing pros and co-anglers casting for a top prize of up to $65,000, plus a $35,000 bonus if the winner is a... READ MORE »