UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Cumberland

Previewing the All-American

Previewing the All-American
Lake Hartwell

Originally set for the beginning of May, the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP is now slated for November 11-13 on Lake Hartwell. The All-American brings together the best of the best from the Phoenix Bass Fishing League ranks as well as top anglers from the TBF, college and high school ranks. 

All-American roster

 

Tournament details

Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American

Lake Hartwell

Anderson, S.C.

November 11-13, 2020

Presented by TINCUP

Hosted by Visit Anderson

 

About the fishery

Built on the Savannah, Tugaloo and Seneca Rivers on the borders of South Carolina and Georgia, Lake Hartwell is a fairly typical example of a Southeastern spotted bass and largemouth fishery. Hartwell can be thought of as some sort of cross between a place like Lake Murray and Lake Lanier, with a more even species mix in tournaments than largemouth-dominated Murray and spot-centric Lanier. Though there are shad and bream, the primary forage is blueback herring. At 56,000 acres, the lake will give the All-American competitors plenty of room to roam, and it shouldn’t fish small at all.

There’s very little grass in Hartwell, but it has all sorts of other cover that ranges from cane piles, brush piles and docks to rock and flooded shoreline vegetation like willow bushes and dog fennel. Typical fall fishing on Hartwell would put a lot of fish off the bank, either on humps and points or cane and brush. This time, that may not be quite the case, as the lake is likely to be around a foot over full pool, which is higher than it’s been in the fall since 2015.

 

Troy Morrow and Arthur Harris

What to expect

Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro Troy Morrow would love to be fishing this event. Hailing from Eastanollee, Ga., just a few miles to the west of Hartwell, Morrow is an expert on the lake and has been molded by the excellent clear-water and offshore opportunities it offers.

“Basically, this time around, you’re going to have everything in play,” says Morrow, who reports that the water temperature is about 70 degrees and falling. “Because of the higher water, there isn’t anything in that lake that doesn’t have fish on it. Everybody will catch some fish, but it’s going to spread the fish out, so catching five quality fish might be a little trickier. You’re going to have guys way in the backs of the creeks catching a couple on a frog or a topwater, all the way out to guys on the main lake fishing 40 foot deep.”

Hartwell has seen plenty of tournaments, so the things that have historically played aren’t really a mystery.

“In the open water, you’ve got a mixture of cane piles, deep timber and regular brush piles,” Morrow outlines. “As you move in, you switch more from the cane to just brush piles to docks. As you get further back in, you have a lot of laydowns, and further back in you have willow bushes and actual willow trees in some places.”

Morrow says that simply running points or rock could produce fish as well. Truly, without a big water level change, he expects anglers to catch fish on a lot of techniques.

On Hartwell, blueback herring are the main forage, and Morrow expects their dominance to be a factor. Though blueback are pelagic and similar in some ways to shad, they tend to be more mobile, and it’s historically harder for anglers to count on the bass that follow them.

“If the topwater bite does happen, they’ll be switching from the real small topwaters they’ve been eating to bigger topwaters,” Morrow explains. “As we get cooler water, the blueback will get more active. That’s why it switches from tiny little stuff to the bigger baits. The blueback will get up higher in the water column.”

 

Baits and techniques

If the water stays high or there’s just a strong shallow bite in general, a bunch of more largemouth-centric baits can come into play. Spinnerbaits, jigs, soft plastics and the like could produce shallow, along with topwaters like a buzzbait, River2Sea Whopper Plopper or Zoom Horny Toad.

For the more intermediate stuff, Morrow thinks a small crankbait and a shaky head will play.

On the offshore side of things, a drop-shot will be the best numbers bait, but any number of others could play. Swimbaits and topwaters are time-honored brush and cane pile baits, and underspins always catch bass in the Carolinas.

 

Brennon McCord

How to win

The easy answer to how the event will be won might be “whatever Jayme Rampey does,” but that’s probably selling the other competitors a bit short. Morrow says it will take a combo of largemouths and spotted bass, and he thinks he’d fish deep.

“Right now, I would run around and fish three totally different patterns on that practice day and make my decision,” Morrow says. “But I would probably lean toward staying deep, just because those fish are more stable. Even though there aren’t the numbers I would need out there yet, I would lean toward deep. Fishing for all big largemouth, that bite is more volatile. That’s why I would take my chances that I could win on a high 13- or 14-pound bag every day.”

Still, Morrow expects someone to put three big bags together, if only because of the dynamics of the event.

“I’m gonna say someone can put three 15-pound bags together,” says Morrow. “The All-American anglers will have the run of the lake, which will help, and you’ve got one of the best sticks on the lake in it.”

Tags: jody-white  pre-tournament  2020-11-11-hartwell 

Lake Cumberland Midday Update – Day 2

Lake Cumberland Midday Update – Day 2

Wet conditions have defined day two of the Toyota Series Championship on Lake Cumberland. To this point, it’s been cold and rainy almost without a break since takeoff. Somewhat surprisingly, it seems to have hurt the fishing, with fewer fish catches seen and reported, though it’s not the case universally. READ MORE »

Lake Cumberland Midday Update - Day 1

Lake Cumberland Midday Update - Day 1

Fairly calm and cool conditions haven’t provided the longed-for wind, but otherwise, the Toyota Series Championship on Lake Cumberland is off to a good start. After a short fog delay, the field rolled out, and anglers have seen success from near takeoff all the way down to the dam. READ MORE »

Off and Rolling on Cumberland

Off and Rolling on Cumberland

This is the second-straight year the Toyota Series Championship has been on Lake Cumberland, but this time it’s bigger than ever. With $200,000 cash on the line – plus a $35,000 FLW Phoenix Bonus if qualified – the field is more than ready to hit the water. Oh, and there’s also an additional $10,000 bonus for the highest-finishing pro from each of the eight U.S. Toyota Series divisions and the International Division. READ MORE »

Final Practice Day with Ratliff

Final Practice Day with Ratliff

Attending college at Campbellsville University just up the road from Lake Cumberland gave Nick Ratliff plenty of opportunity to fish the massive reservoir throughout the year, but especially in the winter. READ MORE »

Robinson Readies for Cumberland

Robinson Readies for Cumberland

After winning Strike King Angler of the Year in the Toyota Series Central Division, Ricky Robinson is now looking to see what kind of splash he can make at the Toyota Series Championship this week on Lake Cumberland. READ MORE »

Toyota Series Championship Preview

Toyota Series Championship Preview

The 2020 Toyota Series Championship on Lake Cumberland is going to be a showdown of epic proportions. Taking place December 3-5, the event brings together hundreds of pro and amateur anglers from FLW’s various championship events, the best from the eight Toyota Series divisions, plus some international contenders. READ MORE »

 Cox Commits to MLF

 Cox Commits to MLF

The announcement of the 2021 MLF Bass Pro Tour roster finally makes it official: John Cox will fish the Bass Pro Tour and the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit. 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 »

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 »

Kimmel Ices Co-Angler Victory

Kimmel Ices Co-Angler Victory

Justin Kimmel has had built up a sterling record from the back of the boat on Lake Hartwell, and today he padded his stats with a win in the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP. Kimmel, now with three multi-day wins on Hartwell, totaled 26 pounds, 9 ounces and banked $50,000 for the win. 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 »

Macy Wins the All-American

Macy Wins the All-American

Weighing 13 pounds, 1 ounce on the final day, Chris Macy totaled 34-10 to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP. Hailing from Diamond, Mo., Macy rose from fifth to first on the final day to claim the $100,000 top prize in his first time in the All-American. READ MORE »

All-American Midday Update – Day 3

All-American Midday Update – Day 3

The final day of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP is shaping up to be a nail-biter. READ MORE »

Lake Hartwell Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Lake Hartwell Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Though there are some possibilities for interesting shallow things to happen on the final day, so far offshore spotted bass have been the name of the game in the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP. With most of the action going down in the lower end of Lake Hartwell, the top 10 are packed tight, and one kicker bite could go an awful long way at the final weigh-in. READ MORE »

Goade Ahead on Hartwell

Goade Ahead on Hartwell

Though Todd Goade calls the Volunteer State home, he’s got plenty of experience on Hartwell and it's showing in the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP. Catching 11 pounds, 7 ounces yesterday, Goade improved his catch today with 13-2 to slid him to the top of the leaderboard with 24-9 overall. 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 »

All-American Midday Update – Day 2

All-American Midday Update – Day 2

Like day one, day two of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP has thrown a variety at the anglers. The day started with rain, which was heavy overnight, and tapered off after takeoff. Then, cloudy and slick conditions set in. Now, it’s turned into a perfect day, with puffy clouds, lots of sun and a nice breeze. READ MORE »

Lake Hartwell Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Lake Hartwell Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

As projected, Hartwell isn’t giving up big limits for the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP. Still, there are plenty of fish being caught, and if you want to chase offshore spotted bass around, it’s a pretty good place to be right now. 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 »

Lippe Leads on Hartwell

Lippe Leads on Hartwell

Day one of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP saw a bit of everything in terms of weather with rain, fog and some brief sun, and the fishing on Lake Hartwell was maybe just as confusing. Catching fish wasn’t an issue, but the quality that calls Hartwell home eluded the majority of the field. Hauling in 12 pounds even today, Dustin Lippe took the early lead after day one, but the weights are stacked tight, with under 1 1/2 pounds separating first and 10th. READ MORE »