UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Kentucky / Barkley Lake

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

The Bulldogs’ Day of Domination

The Bulldogs’ Day of Domination
Fresno State swept the top three positions in the Western Conference Event on Lake Melones.

New Melones Lake has become a destination for newsmaking anglers. Back in February, Keith Bryan of Powell Rods landed a 10.48-pound spotted bass from the California lake east of Stockton, and the fish has since been declared the new world record spotted bass. Then, on Sept. 6, college bass fishing teams from across the West converged there for the latest FLW College Fishing Western Conference event. California State University-Fresno sent a trio of teams to compete, and the Bulldogs swept the top three spots in the standings.

As was the case for Bryan, spotted bass was the show-stopper for CSU-Fresno – with the exception of one monster largemouth. Still, though New Melones is home to largemouths and smallmouths as well, it’s their spotted cousin that made all the difference for the CSU-Fresno club. Its teams relied on local experience and an in-depth understanding of how spotted bass react during low-water periods in California reservoirs for their top finishes.

Here’s the roster of A-listers and how they made it happen:

1st place – Jeremy Pitts and Michael Cantu

Five Bass – 22 pounds, 3 ounces – $2,000

Fresno State holding up their winning check.

Jeremy Pitts of Visalia, Calif., likely arrived at this event with more experience on New Melones than anyone else in the field.

“I’ve been fishing New Melones since I was 3 years old, and we used to live there,” he says. “My family now has a lake house on Tulloch Reservoir, which is just below New Melones Dam. I am very familiar with the lake and spent more than a month pre-fishing for this event.”

Once the tournament arrived, Pitts and teammate Michael Cantu of Fresno, Calif., followed a specific game plan that tracked the movement of the fish as the water continued to drop due to drought conditions and seasonal irrigational needs for lakes in the area.

“We were targeting points between 25 and 30 feet deep,” says Pitts. “It seemed like all of the other teams were fishing shallow along the bank.”

While most of the duo’s catch was composed of spotted bass, Pitts picked a good moment to boat the biggest bass of his life: a 12-pound, 5-ounce monster largemouth, which he caught with a California Reservoir Lures jig.

“The next cast, on the same exact spot, I caught a spotted bass that was close to 4 pounds,” adds Pitts.

Jeremy Pitts lands a 12 pounds monster to help his team win the Western Conference Event on Lake Melones.

 

2nd place – Cory Kerber and Joseph Piedimonte

Five Bass – 15 pounds, 13 ounces – $1,000

Fresno’s Cory Kerber of Kerman, Calif., also has a wealth of experience on New Melones, and coincidently much of it is from fishing with first-place finisher Jeremy Pitts. Kerber and Pitts have paired up to fish local team tournaments on New Melones and other area lakes, as both grew up in the area.

“We are used to fishing tough events and are comfortable fishing deep and offshore. It’s just our fishing style,” Kerber says. “While most of the other teams were fishing shallow first thing in the morning and then moving deep, we were doing the opposite, and I think that’s why we all did well.

Kerber says one of the most important keys was dealing with extremely low water levels in the region, which is prone to water-level fluctuations.

“It’s historically low this year because of the drought,” he says. “Each year they pull water for the farmlands, so the water always drops. But this year it’s 50 to 75 feet below full pool. The low water exposed so much brush and other things along the shoreline that many of the teams were fishing the shallow stuff because it looked so good, but the spotted bass always seem to get on those long points in deeper water when the water is that low.”

Kerber’s partner in this tournament was Joseph Piedimonte of Salinas, Calif. They relied on a variety of jigs from California Reservoir Lures. Their 15-pound, 13-ounce bag of spotted bass was an impressive haul and included a 5-15 fish. Had it not been for the fish-of-a-lifetime caught by Pitts, Kerber and Piedimonte likely would have walked away with the title.

3rd place – Victor Evans and Carl Nelson

Five Bass – 12 pounds, 8 ounces – $500

Of the three Fresno teams, Carl Nelson of Hanford, Calif., and Victor Evans of Fresno, Calif., had spent the least amount of fishing time on New Melones. However, they were quick to figure out the lake based on what they have learned from other fisheries closer to campus.

“All of the lakes we fish have tons of spotted bass, and all of them are drawn down every year because they’re reservoirs,” says Nelson. “That really helped us figure out what to do, because we’ve learned what to do when the water drops.

Nelson and Evans also relied on California Reservoir Lures jigs for their top finish and used a color that mimics sculpin, a favorite forage for bass.

“I heard that the bass around here really like to eat sculpin and that it was a great color, and it also looks like a crawfish,” Nelson adds. “The majority of our lakes are full of crawfish.”

Together, but Separate

Even though all of the Fresno State teams fished similar areas and had nearly identical game plans, it all came together for them independent of each other. Pitts recalls one area he found in the time leading up to the tournament.

“It was a great area that was a submerged hump, but as the water kept dropping it became more and more exposed,” he says. “The fish were still all over it. I went to check it out in pre-fish, and Cory came there and jokingly said, ‘What are you doing in my spot?’ He’d found it too.”

The spot was key for both teams, and they had found it separately. The third-place team of Nelson and Evans also found the same area during practice and rotated through it at different times throughout the tournament day.

The dominance of the Fresno State bass club was due to a variety of factors, including a trove of local knowledge and a deep understanding of spotted bass, and the historically low water conditions that gave the teams an advantage over the rest of the FLW College Fishing Western Conference teams.

Tags: tyler-brinks  article 

Takeoff Delayed at Lake of the Ozarks

Takeoff Delayed at Lake of the Ozarks

The final Costa FLW Series Central Division event on Lake of the Ozarks – which is presented by Evinrude – was originally slated to begin at 7 a.m. CT this morning, but Mother Nature had other plans. A massive thunderstorm has been rolling through Osage Beach, Mo., this morning bringing heavy downpours and lots of lightning. READ MORE »

Major League Fishing to Acquire FLW

Major League Fishing to Acquire FLW

Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today that it has reached an agreement to acquire Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization. The Letter of Intent (LOI) sets in motion the most significant brand merger in competitive bass fishing history, linking a tour and original, award-winning programming featuring the top professional anglers in the world to an extensive grassroots organization that serves tens of thousands of competitive anglers from high school and college students to weekenders and tour pros.  READ MORE »

How the MLF Acquisition will Affect Me

How the MLF Acquisition will Affect Me

The Thursday announcement of Major League Fishing’s acquisition of FLW signifies a historic shift in the landscape of competitive bass fishing. Here’s an overview of how the competitive circuits of FLW will operate. READ MORE »

Newberry Wins Southwestern Division AOY

Newberry Wins Southwestern Division AOY

It was sweet redemption in many ways for the Texas legend who still owns and operates his Houston-based HVAC company despite spending so much time on the tournament-fishing circuit. Redemption for missing out on the FLW Cup in his first season. Redemption for what Grand did to him earlier this year on Tour (dropping from sixth to 41st with only one fish on day two). And, in a way, validation for a career filled with big accomplishments. READ MORE »

Rapala Varsity Bass Ep. 3 Airs Friday 

Rapala Varsity Bass Ep. 3 Airs Friday 

Join FLW for a Rapala Varsity Bass watch party on Friday, Oct. 4 at 2 p.m. CT for the premiere of Episode 3 in the series. READ MORE »

Valdivia is Best in the West

Valdivia is Best in the West

California pro David Valdivia has consistently finished near the top of the standings in the Costa FLW Series Western Division. This year he finally won his first Strike King Angler of the Year award, and he did it by just one point in the standings. READ MORE »

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 4

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 4

The final five T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Super Tournaments took place over the weekend, bringing BFL regular-season competition to a close. Regional tournaments will kick off Oct. 10, and by the end of the month the majority of the field for the 2020 All-American will be set.  READ MORE »

Wild Card set for Kentucky Lake

Wild Card set for Kentucky Lake

Fishing League Worldwide, the world’s largest tournament fishing organization, announced Sunday that the 2019 T-H Marine BFL Wild Card tournament will take place on Kentucky Lake in Gilbertsville, Kentucky, Nov. 8-9. The two-day event, hosted by the Kentucky Lake Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, will launch from the Kentucky Dam Marina in Gilbertsville. READ MORE »

Dobson Wins First FLW Series AOY

Dobson Wins First FLW Series AOY

Scott Dobson has earned a pile of accolades up north, but this year, he earned his biggest title yet. Winning the Strike King Angler of the Year in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits, the Clarkston, Mich., angler finished third at Lake Champlain, 13th on the Potomac River and wrapped the season and the title with a second-place showing on the St. Lawrence River. READ MORE »

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 3

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 3

The third round of T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Super Tournament action saw smallmouths, spotted bass and largemouths all make an appearance as six divisions put a bow on the season with their respective two-day events. Here’s a quick recap of what all played out in the action spanning from the Detroit River down to Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

Buy a Hat, Help USA Bass 

Buy a Hat, Help USA Bass 

Bass fishing fans have a chance to help the USA Bass team achieve its goal of winning the 2019 Pan American Championship in Canada next month. To help fund the effort, USA Bass, which is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, recently launched a limited edition hat drive with the goal of selling 1,000 USA Bass hats. READ MORE »

A High School Kayak Tournament Experience 

A High School Kayak Tournament Experience 

A recent high school kayak bass fishing tournament showcased the potential of kayaks to get more young anglers on the water and competing. READ MORE »

Hough is Fighting to Fish

Hough is Fighting to Fish

Fishing just her second full season as a co-angler in the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) South Carolina Division, mother of two and first-grade teacher Kate Hough was planning and preparing for a chance to do something no woman has ever done in her division: win Co-Angler of the Year. Instead of preparing for the Super Tournament on Lake Hartwell on Sept. 28, however, Hough is simply fighting to leave her hospital bed. READ MORE »

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 2

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 2

The second weekend in September saw seven more T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) divisions conclude their seasons with two-day Super Tournament events. From the Tennessee River to the St. Lawrence River and a few places in between, here’s a quick look at how the seven events were won. READ MORE »

Check-in Time: Matt Reed

Check-in Time: Matt Reed

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with Texas pro Matt Reed.  READ MORE »

When to Fish the Flashy Swimmer

When to Fish the Flashy Swimmer

In April, FLW Associate Editor Justin Onslow documented how Gross likes to cut the belly of his two favorite hollow swimbaits – the Scottsboro and the Zoom Swimmer – when rigging on a weedless hook to achieve a high hook-up ratio. However, that article didn’t break down where and why Gross prefers to use the Beast Flashy Swimmer hook versus a standard weighted, weedless swimbait hook. So we reached out to Gross for more info. READ MORE »

FLW Mourns Passing of T. Boone Pickens

FLW Mourns Passing of T. Boone Pickens

Businessman T. Boone Pickens, who in 2010 partnered with FLW to promote an alternative energy plan to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, passed away Wednesday at the age of 91.  READ MORE »

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 1

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 1

College football, hooded sweatshirts and the conclusion of the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) regular season are what come to mind as the calendar turns to September. This past weekend, six divisions put a feather in their cap for the year with their two-day Super Tournament events – where the payouts are bigger – but, more importantly, it’s the last chance to accumulate points to qualify for the Regionals this October. READ MORE »

Harris Chain to Host 2020 College Championship

Harris Chain to Host 2020 College Championship

Florida’s Harris Chain of Lakes will host the 2020 YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship. The tournament, set for Feb. 26-28, will showcase the top collegiate anglers from across the nation. READ MORE »

Martin Makes Young Angler’s Wish Come True

Martin Makes Young Angler’s Wish Come True

A feature published this morning by Dennis Anderson of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (startribune.com) details the story of a 10-year-old Minnesota boy named Colby, whose wish was to get to meet and fish with FLW Tour pro Scott Martin. Colby, who suffers from a rare autoimmune disorder, got his wish on Wednesday thanks to Martin, Minnesota-based 3M and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Together, they treated Colby’s family to a weeklong vacation, and Martin guided the young angler to a day of fishing for bass and northern pike on Mantrap Lake near Park Rapids, Minn. Martin has been in the Land of 10,000 Lakes for the last week or so filming for various video projects. READ MORE »