UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Clear Lake

Previewing Chick: Can Other Lakes Play?

Previewing Chick: Can Other Lakes Play?

Editor's Note: Since this article was published, pros have been informed that the lock to Nickajack will be closed starting June 24 (day two of competition).

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. With a large field of 206 pros and somewhat limited offshore space on Chick, locking through is a prospect that could be of interest to some pros.

 

James Biggs cracked 21-6 on day two and moved into 13th pace.

The history

Back in 2013, Nickajack hosted the Bass Fishing League All-American and kicked out some impressive weights. Kerry Milner, who won the tournament in the tailrace of the Chickamauga Dam, put 25 pounds, 12 ounces on the scale on the final day and totaled up an even 63 pounds. Outside of Milner, the weights were less spectacular, with only Chris Wilkinson and Corey Bradley crossing the 50-pound threshold through three days of fishing.

In 2015, during the FLW Tour event on Chick, several anglers made the run down to Nickajack, including Jimmy Reese and James Biggs, both of whom are in the field again this year. Biggs finished 19th and was actually in 13th place after day two with a 37-15 total before bombing on day three. Reese finished 62nd, which this year would be good for a $10,000 check.

Also in the 2015 Tour event on Chick, Brad Knight made waves by running up to Watts Bar and fishing offshore. In seventh with 22-9 on day one, Knight got stuck at the lock and had to scramble for 14 pounds on day two. Had he been able to get through the lock and to his fish each day, Knight might’ve had a chance to contend for a win. But in the end, he fell victim to the biggest risk of changing lakes.

 

Weighing the options

Though Knight may have had a chance at something special back in 2015, the general consensus is that leaving Chickamauga isn’t a winning decision, but it could be a money maker or a points getter.

Wesley Strader, who basically lives on Watts Bar, is as tuned in to the various possibilities as anyone.

“Here’s the thing: Are you fishing to win? Are you fishing to get a check? Are you fishing for points? It depends on what you’re doing. The problem is, Chickamauga doesn’t handle pressure very well,” he says. “It’s not big enough. Once everybody starts fishing the same thing over and over again it can’t handle the pressure, so it’ll turn into a little bit of a tougher deal on days three and four.”

Still, that doesn’t mean it’s worth leaving Chickamauga.

“Right now, you might catch 16 or 17 a day, and that’d be pushing it for the amount of time you have,” says Strader of the Watts Bar potential. “You’re not fishing for a win there, in my opinion. Some people may disagree. I mean, it depends. Chickamauga has had an extreme amount of pressure this year, but it has so many 3- and 4-pounders in it that it’s hard to go fish somewhere else.”

As for where to head, Strader says that both Nickajack and Watts Bar are decent options.

“One is not better than the other, but Nickajack is a bit farther of a run, and depending on what you like to fish you’re gonna have to run even farther if you want to fish offshore,” he says. “It’s pick your poison. You’re not gonna win off Watts Bar or Nickajack. You’re just not going to, because you’re not afforded that much time. And, in the history of me living on Watts Bar, I’ve never caught 20-pound stringers four days in a row.”

Both Biggs and Reese seem to think that Nickajack has some potential, if not for winning stringers then at least for enough to make some money. It also has a slight location advantage over Watts Bar, because locking back up into Chickamauga puts an angler within seconds of some of the best offshore ledges on the lake.

“I believe Nickajack will play a role. You’re looking at over 100 guys getting paid. I think some guys can definitely get checks out of Nickajack,” says Reese. “But, if there are too many boats down there it might not work. I don’t think there are enough areas that you can get it done with 20 guys going down there.”

Because Biggs is traveling over from the Bassmaster Open on the Arkansas River, he’s planning on a shortened practice. Even so, Nickajack is on his hit list.

“I’m likely to be fishing the lower end of Chick and Nickajack,” says Biggs. “I will be checking Nickajack. The ledge bite there isn’t as good, but you can have a ledge to yourself. Chick fishes pretty small. I’ve spent enough time on Nickajack, I know where the fish generally pull up. It’s a matter of if you’re going to catch 15 pounds or catch 20 pounds.”

Given the large field, it will be pretty interesting to see how things play out come derby day. Though all eyes will likely be on Chickamauga come days three and four, you never want to rule out the possibility of something groundbreaking going down.

Tags: jody-white  pre-tournament  2020-06-23-chickamauga-super-tournament 

Grubb Wins Co-Angler Side at the Detroit River

Grubb Wins Co-Angler Side at the Detroit River

Taking the co-angler win in the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River, Tony Grubb weighed four bass for 14 pounds, 1 ounce on the final day for a 46-5 total. For the win, his second as a co-angler with FLW, Grubb takes home a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat worth over $35,000. READ MORE »

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 3

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 3

With the wind laying down a bit, the top 10 anglers in the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River have been able to go wherever they pleased today. With crisp morning temperatures, plenty of sun and a north wind, the conditions have largely been quite good, with mixed results from the anglers. READ MORE »

Dobson Grabs Second Toyota Series W

Dobson Grabs Second Toyota Series W

Weighing 18 pounds and 9 ounces on day three for a 59-3 total, Scott Dobson moved from second to first to win the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River. The win is Dobson’s second in Toyota Series competition and his eighth overall with FLW. For the win, Dobson takes home $27,534 and further burnishes his record as one of the best smallmouth anglers on the planet.   READ MORE »

Burton Edges Ahead at the Detroit River

Burton Edges Ahead at the Detroit River

Day two of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River saw the pros stuck in the river itself again due to the wind. Moving up from fourth place into the lead, Wilson Burton weighed 20 pounds, 4 ounces to get up to a 40-11 total. With the only 20-pound bag of the day, Burton slipped past Scott Dobson by just one ounce, who weighed 19-12 and sits behind him with a 40-10 total. READ MORE »

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 2

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 2

With strong wind from the north again, the Toyota Series Northern Division field was again confined to the actual Detroit River. On day one, the fishing was quite good, and several pros crossed the 20-pound mark and plenty of limits hit the scales. Today, things seem a little tougher. READ MORE »

Stokes Leads on the Detroit River

Stokes Leads on the Detroit River

Strong winds kept the pros in the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River pinned to the actual river, but the fishing was still very good. Plenty of anglers brought in 17 pounds or more, and the leaders are all concentrated around the 20-pound mark. In first, Troy Stokes of Brownstown, Mich., weighed 21 pounds, 4 ounces to kick things off. READ MORE »

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 1

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 1

Right off the bat, the anglers in the field at the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River were thrown a curveball by the weather. This morning, with increasing wind forecasts, tournament officials made Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair off-limits, thereby penning up the 87 pros and co-anglers on the American side of the Detroit River. READ MORE »

Smith Wins Southeastern AOY

Smith Wins Southeastern AOY

Originally from Wisconsin and sometimes wearing a Green Bay Packers hoodie on stage, Dustin Smith doesn’t fit the mold of Toyota Series Southeastern Division Strike King Angler of the Year. Still, Smith hammered out a pair of top 10s and a 27th-place showing en route to the title, and his style of fishing was simply perfect for this season in the Southeastern Division. READ MORE »

Northern Division Finishes at Detroit River

Northern Division Finishes at Detroit River

The 2020 Toyota Series Northern Division will wrap up in Trenton, Mich., Sept. 17-19, at the Detroit River. Hosted by the Detroit Sports Commission, 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 qualified Phoenix Boat owner. READ MORE »

Eastern Division Heads to the Potomac

Eastern Division Heads to the Potomac

The Toyota Series Eastern Division rolls on with the Toyota Series at the Potomac River. Hosted by the Charles County Board of Commissioners, 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 qualified Phoenix Boat owner. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Sturgeon Bay

Top 10 Baits from Sturgeon Bay

Summertime smallmouth fishing makes having a drop-shot or two on the deck pretty essential, and the top pros in the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota on Sturgeon Bay basically all relied on the versatile finesse rig to get the job done. However, between them, there was a decent amount of variation in baits, and a few pros actually branched out from the drop-shot into other techniques. READ MORE »

Mitchell’s First Look at Sturgeon Bay

Mitchell’s First Look at Sturgeon Bay

Having fished as a pro on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit for five years now, Kurt Mitchell started coming into his own during the 2019 season. That year he qualified for the FLW Cup – for the first time in his career – by finishing 24th in the points. This year, Mitchell kept rolling along cashing checks in five of the six Pro Circuit tournaments to settle at 31st in the points and now finds himself in his second straight championship. READ MORE »

Practice at Sturgeon Bay with Shuffield

Practice at Sturgeon Bay with Shuffield

Spencer Shuffield has had a tremendous season on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and he capped it off with a top 10 finish at Lake Erie. Now, he’s getting ready for the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota on Sturgeon Bay, which has only the top 50 Pro Circuit anglers in it and will be a Major League Fishing (MLF) format event. READ MORE »

Big Prizes at Stake for College Open

Big Prizes at Stake for College Open

After being postponed due to COVID-19, the annual Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open is set to take place on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley in mid-September for the sixth consecutive season. This time around, however, the stakes are even higher, as teams compete for a brand-new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat and 20 spots in the 2021 National Championship. READ MORE »

Mundy goes Back-to-Back on Erie

Mundy goes Back-to-Back on Erie

Totaling up 41 pounds, 6 ounces, Dan Mundy won the co-angler side of the Toyota Series event on Lake Erie and is about ready to start a boat dealership. After winning the first Northern Division event of the year, the Michigan co-angler went back-to-back in the second event of the season to claim another Phoenix boat worth $33,500. READ MORE »

Mitchell Holds on at Erie

Mitchell Holds on at Erie

After weighing nearly 25 pounds on day two, Kurt Mitchell put 15 pounds, 8 ounces on the scale on the final day to close out the win in the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. With 60-2 total, Mitchell earned his first FLW win and pocketed $26,206 in winnings. READ MORE »

Mitchell Swings into the Lead on Erie

Mitchell Swings into the Lead on Erie

Day two of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie was tough on some, but it was a party for Kurt Mitchell. Weighing 24 pounds, 11 ounces, he moved up from second into the lead with a 44-10 total. Only the top 10 fish on the final day and they’ll have a steep hill to climb to catch Mitchell. READ MORE »

Lake Erie Midday Update – Day 2

Lake Erie Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie has posed some serious challenges from a coverage perspective. Not only are the leaders fishing about as far apart as possible, but the waves to the east of Sandusky are pretty huge. Still, from the reports we have, it looks like plenty of fish will come to the scale one way or another. READ MORE »

Parker Whacks 21-6 on Erie

Parker Whacks 21-6 on Erie

Due to big winds and waves, day one of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie was somewhat hampered. Still, the fishing was pretty good, and Dick Parker of Lorain, Ohio, sacked up 21 pounds, 6 ounces to take the lead. READ MORE »

Another Erie Battle Begins

Another Erie Battle Begins

The Toyota Series Northern Division is going out of Sandusky Bay on Lake Erie once again. This week’s event takes place on August 18-20, and it is the second stop of the Northern Division. Like the last event out of Sandusky, Erie is in play, as well as the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair, with all Canadian waters being off-limits to fishing. READ MORE »