UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2021 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Top 10 Patterns from Chickamauga

Top 10 Patterns from Chickamauga
Cole Floyd

When you put one of the largest and most talented fields of bass anglers on one of the best bass fishing lakes in the country, big things are bound to happen. 

The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga became a battle between shallow and deep, with pros on either side catching big stringers of giant bass.

No one caught more of Chick’s famous behemoths than Jacob Wheeler, who scored a 10-pounder on day three and a victory-clinching 8-pounder the final day to take home the win on his home waters. Click here to read about his winning pattern and continue reading below to find out how the rest of the top 10 got the job done.

Top 10 baits gallery

Complete results 

 

Cole Floyd

2. Floyd’s shallow bars run dry

In a field with some of the biggest names in the sport, it might be a surprise to see a young rookie’s name in the runner-up spot. Yet, anyone who has followed Cole Floyd’s short career knows it was no fluke. 

Floyd has proved himself as an offshore stick by winning the LBL Division of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine each of the last three years. It comes as no surprise, then, that he plied Chickamauga’s offshore spots to earn his second-place finish – though probably not the spots most would associate with “offshore.”

Fishing around the islands in Harrison Bay, Floyd located some shallow bars that came up from 8 feet to 5 feet. The area was a couple hundred yards, and Floyd says it’s normally covered in hydrilla, only this year, it wasn’t – something he figured might play to his advantage.

“I think the fish were pulling up on the edge of that bar where they usually get, but they were not buried down in the grass,” says Floyd. “They were easier to catch. They were exposed.”

It’s there on day two where Floyd nearly had a 30-plus-pound day, as he caught 9- and 7-pounders and lost another he says was close to 10 pounds. All of them came on a 10-inch worm, which he popped along the bottom in an effort to keep it out of the slime that he says coated the bars.

Floyd also sampled a few other offshore spots to catch him limits, alternating between a Strike King 6XD in apple shad, a big flutter spoon and other offshore staples.

It was those bars that were his key to being in contention, and, unfortunately, after day two, he simply didn’t get any more big bites on them. 

 

Jason Reyes

3. Reyes fishes Florida-style up shallow

Chickamauga’s Florida-strain largemouth may be away from their original state, but their behavior is sometimes pretty similar. Knowing that, Jason Reyes fished like he was in Florida throughout the week.

“I had three stretches of grass,” says Reyes of his areas in Chester Frost. “Pepper grass, not hydrilla. I had to stay patient, stay slow, trust what I was doing, and then all of a sudden I’d catch one that was the right one and it’d change the whole day.”

When Reyes says “slow,” he means it. He was almost dead-sticking a Texas-rigged green pumpkin Yamamoto Senko with a nail weight in the tail. He didn’t twitch it or drag it. He just let it lie there until one “walked off with it.” In order to do that, Reyes would simply Power-Pole down and fan cast to bare patches and the edges of isolated clumps. 

“The bare spots, the outer clumps, it’s exactly like how you would fish at Toho or Okeechobee,” says Reyes, who would take an hour to go 100 yards because of how slow he was fishing.

The plan worked to perfection on day two when he brought a 27-4 bag to the scales, but as the tournament wore on, the big bites simply dwindled. He only got one big bite – a 7-pounder – on day three, and by day four, the two-hour fog delay cost him precious time that resulted in no big bites.

“With how slow I was fishing, I needed every second I could,” says Reyes. “That [fog delay] hurt, but I did everything I could.”

 

Cody Meyer

4. Meyer finesses community holes

Community holes get their reputations for a simple reason: The fish are almost always there. Yet, with so many pros hitting them, Cody Meyer really had to downsize to take advantage where others couldn’t.

“I was rigged up like you would for spotted bass,” says Meyer, who hails from California. 

His tools were a drop-shot with a Strike King Finesse Worm in various shades of watermelon on an 1/0 Owner Cover Shot hook with a 1/4-ounce Strike King Tour Grade Tungsten weight, plus a Neko rig. For both rigs he used 6- and 8-pound-test Daiwa J-Fluoro fluorocarbon

“These places are so pressured,” explains Meyer. “You get on these big bars and points and you see hundreds of bass. It takes everything you’ve got to get a bite.”

While many pros had fully planned-out attacks for their ledges, Meyer says he started the tournament just running down the lake hitting any ledge that was open. Eventually, he refined it to about a dozen ledges in 15 to 30 feet of water, with three ledges in particular eventually being key. 

“When I left the three areas I was getting bites, I’d struggle to generate anything,” says Meyer. “I kept going back there. I was actually sharing them with Joshua Weaver.

“One thing about the ledges is that I tended to hit the deeper ones in the afternoon. In the morning, they were up on top of the ledges.”

 

Alex Davis

5. Davis bounces between deep and shallow

“If it wasn’t for grass, I wouldn’t be here, but if it wasn’t for deep [areas], I wouldn’t be here,” says Alex Davis about how he made the top five.

While most pros focused solely shallow or deep, Davis was among the few who successfully navigated both, adapting constantly.

“I started offshore on day one, but I never caught anything,” says Davis. “I switched to fishing grass, and then the second day, I fished grass and caught a 6-, 4- and 3-[pounder] before going deep in afternoon. That kind clued me in that I was getting less bites in the grass, but it had big ones.”

In the grass, Davis focused on little pockets of hydrilla – particularly one isolated spot with no other hydrilla nearby for miles, which happened to produce his bigger bites. To catch his fish, he used a prototype Scottsboro Tackle hard swimbait. 

Out deep, Davis also threw something a bit different – a Jackal Megalo Doon 1 1/2-ounce spinnerbait with a No. 15 blade on it.

“That is something they haven’t seen,” says Davis of the massive spinnerbait. “It’s hard to throw with all that weight and the blade size, but you can trigger fish that have been beat to death.”

He also mixed in a 6-inch Scottsboro Tackle soft-plastic swimbait in natty light on a 1-ounce jig head, focusing on “off-the-wall places other people wouldn’t look.”

 

Miles Burghoff

6. Mayflies and bluffs a top combo for Burghoff 

Having a pattern all to yourself is a rare thing, especially in a field of more than 200 boats, but that’s exactly what Miles Burghoff found and exploited all the way to a top-10 finish.

“In practice, I noticed the mayflies were hatching; seeing sheddings everywhere down the lake,” Burghoff explains. “There were two bluff walls I focused on because they had shrubs and trees right on the water. Most bluffs, the trees aren’t anywhere near the water. I wanted ones where they were, so the bluegills can pick the mayflies off the trees or when they fell off.”

Like anything, it took a little refining when he began devoting himself to the pattern on day two. Once he did, Burghoff says he put his MotorGuide in anchor mode to start day three, made six casts and caught 18 pounds.

“There was just a pile of fish there, and they were all perfect football 4- to 4 1/2-pounders,” says Burghoff. “They looked like prespawners they were so fat and healthy.”

To catch those bass, Burghoff relied on a Z-man CrossEyeZ football jig in various shades of green pumpkin to mimic the bluegill. He’d cast up against the wall and slowly hop it down, usually getting bit about 25 feet down.

Another great thing about Burghoff’s pattern is that it wasn’t reliant on current, which was a key reason he made the switch after fishing offshore the first day with a 1 1/4-ounce Z-Man/Evergreen ChatterBait Jack Hammer (spot remover) with a Z-Man Razor ShadZ (smokey shad) trailer, which he’d fish like a hair jig; Yo-Yoing it off the bottom.

 

John Cox

7. Cox keeps hot streak alive

At this point, any event he fishes on Chickamauga may as well be considered a John Cox charity tournament. The DeBary, Fla., pro made it three straight top 10s on Chick this week, though he did slip up a little bit considering he won the last two (the 2019 Pro Circuit event last May and the Bassmaster Eastern Open a few weeks later). 

Of course, there was a moment on day one when Cox felt the streak would end after he ran up the river only to realize a “solid pattern” he found had disappeared with the falling water. Scrambling around, he pulled into the islands around Harrison Bay at the lower end and stumbled upon a special pattern that he inadvertently created himself.

“In practice, I was trolling through this area of pepper grass, and I was behind it when the water was up some,” Cox explains. “Well, I fired the big motor because I didn’t see anything I thought was great and was trying to leave. I was trimmed down, and I accidently cut a lane in the grass.”

At the time, he didn’t think anything of it, but on day one, Cox pulled into that area and caught two 5-pounders on a prototype Berkley frog right in that lane. On day two, he started in the area and again, and despite everything looking great, he could only get bit in that lane, which he admitted he still didn’t realize was there. 

It actually wasn’t until the final day that Cox realized why the fish were there, as he says he actually would watch fish constantly swim into the spot. Over the four days, 16 of his 20 keepers came from that one lane in the pepper grass. 

To catch them, he relied on a prototype Berkley frog or a Berkley PowerBait MaxScent The General on a wacky rig or Texas rig. He caught the other four keepers up the river on a Dirty Jigs casting jig with a Berkley PowerBait Pit Boss trailer.

“This lake has always been good to me,” Cox admits. “The fish remind me of the ones in the Harris Chain; so much of fishing Florida, but I actually like the cover here better.”

 

Joshua Weaver

8. Weaver bruised from going big offshore

Pros talk all the time about beating on the fish, but one look at Joshua Weaver’s left side and you’d think he was the one who took the worse beating.

“It feels like I took a couple rounds with Floyd Mayweather to the ribcage,” says Weaver. “My side from my hip to my armpit is totally bruised, and my left bicep is bruised. I’m sure that’s going to take a while to heal.”

It was actually the technique he was using that beat him up, or, more specifically, the lure.

Wanting to throw something different from everyone else out on the ledges, Weaver decided in practice he was going to try out using a Hog Farmer Ledge Hog. Ripping the big blade bait on the bottom was taxing, but the results prompted him to not put it down all week unless he needed a break. Weaver threw it on a 7-foot, 6-inch heavy Abu Garcia Fantasista Premier rod with 20-pound-test Berkley Trilene 100 Percent Fluorocarbon

When he did need a break or when he wanted to get his limit, Weaver would pick up a drop-shot tipped with a Zoom Z3 in hologram dawn, which he threw on a 7-foot Abu Garcia Fantasista Premier and 8-pound-test Berkley 100 Percent Fluorocarbon. He also mixed in a Ben Parker Spoon and caught most his weight on day two on a topwater when the fish came up schooling.

 

David Williams

9. Williams fishes his strengths around docks

If there’s a dock pattern to be had, David Williams will find it. 

While he says he caught a few fish on a crankbait and a topwater, most of Williams’ damage was done with a pair of jigs around docks. 

If it was cloudy or rainy, he swam a white 1/2-ounce TrueSouth jig with a white Zoom Z-Craw trailer. Then, when the sun came out and the fish moved to the bottom, he changed over to a green pumpkin Queen Tackle jig with a Zoom Z-Craw trailer. 

In terms of location, Williams said it was all about covering water and hitting as many docks as possible.

“They seemed kind of schooled up,” Williams says. “I’d hit a little stretch where I’d get two or three in an area. Then, I might go a long time without anything; then another two or three. That’s the way my whole tournament went was those little flurries.”

 

Alton Jones

10. Jones scopes out brush piles

Alton Jones is not one to fish in a crowd, which was a hard thing to avoid out on the main drag of the lower end of the lake. Fortunately, he found something a little more to himself.

“I spent all my time in practice scanning with my Garmins looking for isolated brush piles,” Jones says. “I found about 60 to 70, and I narrowed them down to 12 to 15 that had big-fish potential.”

From there, it was just a matter of “showing up at the right time.” Often, Jones would hit a brush pile at one time of day and see nothing down there with his Garmin Panoptix LiveScope, but then pull up later that day and they’d be there. If they were there, they were usually willing to eat a red bug 10-inch YUM Ribbon Tail worm with a 1/2-ounce weight and a 4/0 hook.

Another thing Jones says helped him was his new BassForce app. 

“To be able to look, enter my conditions and see what the top pros agree are the baits and patterns you should pursue; it’s an app I find myself relying on more and more,” Jones explains. “It dials me in mentally to stick with things to catch my fish.”

Tags: flw  tackle-warehouse-pro-circuit  chickamauga  sean-ostruszka  post-tournament  2020-06-23-chickamauga-super-tournament 

MLF Announces Lake Chickamauga as Location of 2021 Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open

MLF Announces Lake Chickamauga as Location of 2021 Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open

BENTON, Ky. – Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today that Dayton, Tennessee will host the 2021 Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open on March 30-31 at Lake Chickamauga. The famed big-bass fishery has produced some of the best trophy bass fishing opportunities in the country and has served as a highly... READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Hartwell

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Hartwell

Though some largemouth entered the mix by happenstance, you really had to drop down to Jayme Rampey in fourth place to find someone who made a dramatic adjustment to pursue largemouth. READ MORE »

Louisiana’s Ruston High School Wins FLW High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing Sam Rayburn Open

Louisiana’s Ruston High School Wins FLW High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing Sam Rayburn Open

BROOKELAND, Texas – Louisiana’s Ruston High School duo of Garrett Pody and Zachary McMillan brought five bass to the scale Saturday weighing 16 pounds, 1 ounce to win the FLW High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing Sam Rayburn Open in Brookeland, Texas... READ MORE »

Stephen F. Austin University Wins Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Tournament on Sam Rayburn

Stephen F. Austin University Wins Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Tournament on Sam Rayburn

BROOKELAND, Texas – The Stephen F. Austin University team of Cooper Thor of Mansfield, Texas, and Cody Barchenger of Taylor, Texas, won the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI at Sam Rayburn event Friday with a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 7 ounces. The victory earned the Stephen F. Austin bass club $2,000 and qualified them to compete in the 2021 College Fishing... READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Hartwell

Top 10 Baits from Lake Hartwell

Most of the fish weighed on Hartwell in the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP were spotted bass. As such, a lot of finesse baits made the team. Still, a few anglers attempted to mix in largemouths to varying degrees, and even for spots, it wasn’t all spinning rods. READ MORE »

Missouri’s Macy Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American on Lake Hartwell presented by TINCUP

Missouri’s Macy Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American on Lake Hartwell presented by TINCUP

ANDERSON, S.C. – Boater Chris Macy of Diamond, Missouri, won the 37th annual Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American on Lake Hartwell presented by TINCUP Friday, bringing a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 13 pounds, 1 ounce. Macy’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing... READ MORE »

Tennessee’s Goade Takes Lead at Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American on Lake Hartwell presented by TINCUP

Tennessee’s Goade Takes Lead at Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American on Lake Hartwell presented by TINCUP

ANDERSON, S.C. – Fifty-five of the top weekend boaters and co-anglers from across the country continued their three-day battle Thursday for a top prize of $120,000 at the 37th annual Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American on Lake Hartwell presented by TINCUP... READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Table Rock

Top 10 Patterns from Table Rock

Fall can be a tough time to fish most places in the country, and for the final Toyota Series Plains Division event of the season on Table Rock Lake, that certainly was the case. A cold front passed through the week prior, bringing cool rain that lowered water temperatures and raised the lake. Then, come tournament time, the forecast was more like spring than fall with plenty of sun and highs in the 70s. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Table Rock

Top 10 Baits from Table Rock

Though the final Toyota Series Plains Division event of the season on Table Rock wasn’t the usual fall bite you may expect to see in the Ozarks, the top 10 pros stuck to their strengths and employed everything from ice fishing jigs to topwaters to catch their fish. READ MORE »

Missouri's Lippe Leads Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American on Lake Hartwell presented by TINCUP

Missouri's Lippe Leads Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American on Lake Hartwell presented by TINCUP

ANDERSON, S.C. – Boater Dustin Lippe of Lampe, Missouri, took the early lead Wednesday at the 37th annual Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American on Lake Hartwell presented by TINCUP with a five-bass limit weighing 12 pounds even. Right behind Lippe in second place is Leesburg, Ohio’s Cole Floyd, who brought five bass to the scale good for 11 pounds, 10 ounces... READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Seminole

Top 10 Patterns from Seminole

The top-10 pros fishing the final day of the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Lake Seminole in the first week of November were divided up into three distinctly different areas of the lake. READ MORE »

Toyota Series Wraps Up Angler of the Year Awards

Toyota Series Wraps Up Angler of the Year Awards

BENTON, Ky. – Major League Fishing (MLF) and Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) announced today the final standings for the 2020 Toyota Series and the eight division Strike King Angler of the Year (AOY) title winners. The top pro and co-angler from the point standings after each division’s three regular-season tournaments won the Strike... READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits From Seminole

Top 10 Baits From Seminole

Topped-out, matted grass and dropping water temperatures were the fall backdrop to the Toyota Series Southern Division event held on Lake Seminole. With that, it’s no surprise punching baits and shad imitators were the most common lures seen on the top pros’ front decks throughout the event. READ MORE »

Poche Wins Toyota Series Event on Lake Seminole

Poche Wins Toyota Series Event on Lake Seminole

BAINBRIDGE, Ga. – Major League Fishing (MLF) pro Keith Poche of Pike Road, Alabama, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 15 pounds, 6 ounces to win the three-day Toyota Series at Lake Seminole tournament in Bainbridge, Georgia. Poche’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 46-6 earned him the win by a 9-ounce margin over second-place angler Mikey Keyso, Jr. of North Port, Florida... READ MORE »

Bethel University Angler Huff Wins Toyota Series Event on Table Rock Lake

Bethel University Angler Huff Wins Toyota Series Event on Table Rock Lake

BRANSON, Mo. – Toyota Series angler Cody Huff of Ava, Missouri, who also competes on the Abu Garcia College Fishing circuit for Bethel University, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 15 pounds, 6 ounces to win the three-day Toyota Series at Table Rock Lake tournament in Branson, Missouri. Huff’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 46-4 earned him the win by a 3-pound, 2... READ MORE »

Lake Hartwell Gears Up for 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP

Lake Hartwell Gears Up for 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP

ANDERSON, S.C. – The best weekend anglers from across the nation will come together Nov. 11-13 for the 37th annual Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP on Lake Hartwell in Anderson, South Carolina. The three-day no-entry-fee event – hosted by Visit Anderson – features a boater/co-angler format, with lucrative payouts and serves as a... READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Dale Hollow

Top 10 Patterns from Dale Hollow

There’s no way around it. Dale Hollow was fishing tough during the Toyota Series Central Division finale. Ultimately, it was Adam Wagner and a mega-school he found in 50 feet of water that got the job done. For the rest of the top 10, it was a little bit of everything. READ MORE »

Wagner Wins Toyota Series Event on Dale Hollow Lake

Wagner Wins Toyota Series Event on Dale Hollow Lake

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. – Toyota Series angler Adam Wagner of Cookeville, Tennessee, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 16 pounds, 1 ounce to win the three-day Toyota Series at Dale Hollow Lake tournament in Byrdstown, Tennessee. Wagner’s three-day total of 12 bass weighing 34-6 earned him the win by 5 ounces over second-place angler Blake Smith of Byrdstown, and earned... READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Dale Hollow

Top 10 Baits from Dale Hollow

While Dale Hollow really featured a hodgepodge of different baits in the Toyota Series Central Division finale, the anglers who performed the best did so by targeting deeper fish that were either chasing bait or sitting on isolated cover. For the job, much of the field had a spoon and a drop-shot on deck. READ MORE »

Dale Hollow Midday Update – Day 2

Dale Hollow Midday Update – Day 2

Despite some hopeful optimism that the cold front that moved in overnight might turn on the bite, day two of the Toyota Series Central Division finale on Dale Hollow has been as slow as – or slower than – day one, and that’s saying something. READ MORE »