UPCOMING EVENT: FLW SERIES - 2020 - Toledo Bend Lake

Winning Baits of 2016

Winning Baits of 2016

Before the new tournament season begins next month, we thought it would be a good idea to look back at the top baits from across the FLW circuits in 2016. There were tournaments won with a single bait, and others that required a multitude of options to be used tactically throughout the event.

This article contains the top dogs from each Top 10 Baits gallery that FLW produced in 2016, and hopefully it helps shed a little light on the baits you should add to your arsenal for 2017.

Enjoy!

 

FLW Tour

Lake Okeechobee, Feb. 4-7: Bradley Hallman kicked off the season with a blowout win on Lake Okeechobee. He relied on a neon blue-colored Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver with a matching punch skirt and a 1 1/2-ounce weight for the bulk of his winning catch. Per Hallman, one of the keys was a special 8-foot-long punching rod from Mosley RodWorks. On the final day, he switched to a Gambler BB Cricket for a slower approach that countered the effects of cooler weather on the fish. 

 

Lake Hartwell, March 17-20: Before winning the Forrest Wood Cup, John Cox got the ball rolling with a win at Lake Hartwell. For the first three days, Cox relied on a wacky-rigged Yamamoto Senko on a 1/0 hook. He cast it around up shallow to search for bedding fish, but also used a beaver-style bait and Zoom Trick Worm. On day four, Cox called an audible and cast a 3/8-ounce Z-Man ChatterBait (black and blue) with a Strike King Menace Grub trailer in some stained water. 

 

Beaver Lake, April 14-17: Quaker State pro Scott Canterbury earned the win on Beaver Lake with a trio of jigs. One was a 3/8-ounce Dirty Jigs Luke Clausen Signature Series Compact Pitchin' Jig (Canterbury craw) teamed with a NetBait Paca Slim (green pumpkin). The other two were 1/2- and 5/8-ounce Dirty Jigs Scott Canterbury Signature Series Flippin’ Jigs (Canterbury craw and chocolate thunder) trimmed with various chunks and trailers, including a NetBait Paca Chunk. He fished the casting jig on 15-pound-test P-Line Ultimate Fluorocarbon, and the other two on 20- and 25-pound test. For all of them, the Alabama pro used a 7-6, heavy-power Halo Twilite Series II casting rod and a 7.3:1 gear ratio Ardent Apex Grand reel. 

 

Pickwick Lake, May 5-8: Buddy Gross took the title on Pickwick Lake in his rookie season. He used a variety of baits, including a Tennessee River Tackle Tremor Head with a Zoom Super Fluke, a Fringe Tackle Company swimbait rigged on a 5/0 Owner Flashy Swimmer and a 1/4-ounce spinnerbait. However, the main player was a 1-ounce Hog Farmer Baits hair jig worked in eelgrass. Gross fished the majority of the baits on either a 7-foot, 3-inch or 7-foot, 6-inch, extra-heavy Hammer rod with a Lew’s Tournament Pro reel (6.8:1 gear ratio) and 17-pound-test P-Line fluorocarbon

 

Kentucky Lake, June 9-12: Jason Lambert set the four-day weight record for an FLW tournament at Kentucky Lake by throwing a combination of three baits. First was a Castaic Heavy Metal Spoon thrown on a 7-foot, 8-inch Duckett White Ice Series rod. Second was a V&M J-Mag Worm, which he threw on a 7-foot, 6-inch, heavy-action Duckett Micro Magic Pro rod. Lambert’s third and primary bait that he used to catch the 29-pound-plus biggest bag of the event on day four was a 1-ounce Luck-E-Strike Scrounger Head matched with a 7-inch Castaic Jerky J and fished with a 7-foot, 10-inch Duckett Micro Magic Pro rod. He fished every bait with Duckett 360 reels and 17-pound-test Vicious Pro Elite fluorocarbon

 

Scott Martin

Lake Champlain, June 23-26: Scott Martin earned his third Lake Champlain Tour victory with a combination of lures. Martin says he caught a few, including a 5-pounder on the first day, on a LIVETARGET Threadfin Shad TDD70D crankbait, but that an M-Pack Lures jig he trimmed down and tipped with a small trailer caught the numbers. For bedding smallmouths, Martin says he tossed a wide variety of creature baits and other soft plastics. 

 

Forrest Wood Cup, Wheeler Lake, Aug. 4-7: To be crowned Forrest Wood Cup champion, John Cox went way up a creek, and his primary bait the entire time was a Jackall Iobee Frog. He also added a few fish on a Yamamoto Senko.  

 

Lake Norman, Sept. 15-17: To no surprise, Bryan Thrift won the first FLW Tour Invitational in his backyard at Lake Norman, and he did it with a trio of baits. He threw a Damiki Anchovy Shad on a 3/16-ounce jighead, a 1/2-ounce Damiki Mamba 2 Jig and a buzzbait with a white Zoom Horny Toad for the win. He paired the jig on his signature series Fitzgerald 6-foot, 9-inch Heavy Skipping Rod and the other baits on Fitzgerald Stunner HD rods.

 

James Watson

Norris Lake, Oct. 20-22: James Watson earned his first Tour title at the Norris Lake Invitational with a 1/2-ounce War Eagle Buzz Toad with a Luck-E-Strike Frantic Frog on the back (all black), a River2Sea Whopper Plopper (130 size; loon color), a River2Sea Bubble Walker and a 7/16-ounce jig trailed with a Luck-E-Strike Baby Guido Bug. 

 

Costa FLW Series

Lake Okeechobee, Jan. 14-16: FLW kicked off the year with a Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event in Florida on Lake Okeechobee in January. Tennessee pro Jason Lambert brought home the hardware. To win, he fished a 1/2-ounce War Eagle Spinnerbait in sexy mouse color as well as a Z-Man Original ChatterBait with a V & M Thunder Shad trailer.  

 

Shasta Lake, Feb. 18-20: Greg Gutierrez won the opening Western Division event on Shasta Lake and caught fish on a jig and a Carolina rig, but his bread-and-butter bait was a 1/4-ounce Frenzy Baits NAIL shaky head, made by his company and designed by him. He rigged it with a 4.95-inch Reaction Innovations Flirt Worm in either green pumpkin or watermelon and fished it on 15-pound-test braid with a 6-pound-test Gamma Edge leader and a 7-foot, 1-inch, medium-power iRod Genesis II spinning rod. 

 

Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Feb. 25-27: Ricky Guy won the Southwestern Division event at Sam Rayburn Reservoir with a 1/2-ounce 6th Sense Snatch lipless crankbait and a black/blue Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver Texas-rigged on a 3/0 hook with either a 3/16- or 1/2-ounce weight. 

 

1. Bryan Thrift used just about every bait in his boat, which isn't uncommon for him, however his primary bait was the Damiki Mamba Jig with a Damiki Knock Out trailer. He skipped the combo up under cypress trees for much of his catch.

Santee Cooper, March 10-12: Taking the Southeastern Division title on Santee Cooper was Bryan Thrift, who used just about every bait in his boat, which isn’t uncommon for him. However, his primary bait was the Damiki Mamba Jig with a Damiki Knock Out trailer. He skipped the combo up under cypress trees for much of his catch. 

 

Lake Dardanelle, March 31-April 2: Jeff Fitts caught all of his bass by flipping grass with a Strike King Rage Tail Rage Bug to win the Central Division event at Lake Dardanelle. He alternated between black/blue and summer craw. 

 

Grand Lake, April 7-9: Zack Birge earned the Southwestern Division win on Grand Lake with a 6th Sense Crush 50X and a Crush Mini 25X in bluegill colors. He cranked them with 10-pound-test Sunline Super FC Sniper fluorocarbon and a 7-foot Falcon cranking rod. 

 

Todd Woods

Clear Lake, April 21-23: Todd Woods found a sloping gravel bank where prespawn bass were feeding on shad for the Clear Lake W. He alternated between two moving baits to earn his first Costa FLW Series Western Division title. First was a hitch-colored Basstrix Paddle Tail Swimbait on a 3/8-ounce gold Blade Runner under-spin, which he fished in shallow water. The other was a YUM YUMbrella Flash Mob umbrella rig with 4-inch Basstrix Swimbaits on 3/8-ounce jigheads on top and 5-inch swimbaits with 1/4-ounce jigheads on bottom. 

 

Kentucky Lake, April 28-30: Steve Floyd kept it simple with his winning flipping program at the Central Division event on Kentucky Lake. He targeted shallow bushes with a Texas-rigged green pumpkin Berkley Havoc Pit Boss with a 1/2-ounce Strike King tungsten sinker on 30-pound-test Seaguar fluorocarbon

 

Wheeler Lake, May 12-14: Bradley Dortch topped the Southeastern Division field at Wheeler Lake with a 3/8-ounce Picasso Straight Shooter jig teamed with a NetBait Paca Craw in a standard green pumpkin color. He also pitched a Paca Craw on a Texas rig with a 3/8-ounce tungsten weight. 

 

Cal Delta, May 19-21: Charley Almassey grabbed his first Costa FLW Series title in the Western Division event at the Cal Delta. He used a 3/8-ounce Bobby D’s Grinder in a bluegill pattern tipped with Assault Lures Ringer paddle-tail plastic, a 3/8-ounce custom-made swim jig paired with a 4.8-inch Keitech Swing Impact FAT and a new ABT Lures bluegill glide bait. All were thrown on a variety of Spiralite Rods, which he has helped to develop. 

 

Potomac River, June 16-18: For his Northern Division victory on the Potomac River, Casey Smith mostly threw a 4.8-inch Keitech Swing Impact FAT in bluegill flash rigged on a 6/0 wide-gap hook with a 1/4-ounce belly weight. He also caught fish on a 7/16-ounce Gambler Southern Swim Jig with a purple Yamamoto Swim Senko and 1/2-ounce watermelon Z-Man ChatterBait with a Keitech Swing Impact FAT trailer. 

 

Smallmouth expert Scott Dobson won the tournament at 1000 Islands with some heavy lifting from a drop-shot rigged with a 1/4-, 3/8- or 1/2-ounce weight depending on the conditions. He paired it with one of three soft baits: a Berkley PowerBait Twitchtail Minnow, a Gulp! Fry Worm or a Gulp! Minnow. He also mixed in a Megabass Vision 110+1 and Duo Realis Spinbait 90 for some key bites.

1000 Islands, July 21-23: Smallmouth expert Scott Dobson won the Northern Division event at 1000 Islands with some heavy lifting from a drop-shot rigged with a 1/4-, 3/8- or 1/2-ounce weight, depending on the conditions. He paired it with one of three soft baits: a Berkley PowerBait Twitchtail Minnow, a Gulp! Fry Worm or a Gulp! Minnow. He also mixed in a Megabass Vision 110+1 jerkbait and a Duo Realis Spinbait 90 for some key bites. 

 

Lake Oneida, Aug. 18-20: For the win on Oneida and the Northern Division AOY title, Cory Johnston threw a variety of finesse plastics, including tubes and Yamamoto Senkos, as well as a DUO Realis Spinbait 80 (ghost pearl) and a Rapala X-Rap Pop (chartreuse ghost). 

 

Fort Gibson, Sept. 29-Oct. 1: Derek Fulps won the Southwestern Division event at Fort Gibson using a Gene Larew Hoodaddy Jr. and a Zoom Trick Worm rigged with 3/16- to 3/8-ounce weights. 

 

Duke Jenkel

Lake of the Ozarks, Oct. 6-8: At the final Costa FLW Series regular-season event at Lake of the Ozarks, Duke Jenkel got the win thanks to a trio of baits. He says that a Lunker Lure Limit Series Jig tipped with a Strike King Rage Bug was key in practice, but that a green pumpkin and blue Gambler Flipp’n Tube and a Texas-rigged Zoom Magnum Trick Worm (red bug or watermelon candy) did the trick in the tournament.

 

Pat Fisher

Table Rock Lake, Nov. 3-5: Costa FLW Series Championship winner Pat Fisher, a former FLW Tour pro, mainly fished shallow wood cover up the James River at Table Rock. He worked the surface with a white 1/4-ounce Boogerman buzzbait. If they wouldn’t eat the topwater, he threw a green pumpkin green Zoom Trick Worm on a shaky head. 

 

BFL All-American

Lake Barkley, June 9-11: All-American champ Jeremy Lawyer used a combination of soft plastics and a crankbait to win on Lake Barkley. The crankbait was a Bandit 200 that he had custom-painted in a herring pattern by Fallcreek Lures. For plastics, he used a green pumpkin Zoom Magnum Trick Worm with the tail dyed chartreuse and rigged on a homemade 3/8-ounce football head with a Gamakatsu hook. He also fished a Texas-rigged green pumpkin Zoom Brush Hog, also with the tails dyed chartreuse. 

 

FLW College Fishing National Championship

South Carolina

Lake Keowee, March 17-19: Lake Keowee hosted the FLW College Fishing National Championship, where Chris Blanchette and Hampton Anderson earned the University of South Carolina its second consecutive title. Blanchette and Anderson caught their fish on white Zoom Lizards Texas-rigged with 5/16-ounce weights and 5/0 hooks. They also used unweighted Yamamoto Senkos fished on 4/0 hooks. 

Tags: top-10-baits  flw-staff  article 

Forrest Wood’s Legacy

Forrest Wood’s Legacy

Surrounded by his family, Forrest Wood passed away in a Mountain Home, Ark., hospital just after 9 a.m. Saturday, four days after suffering a heart attack in his home. Wood, who was 87 at the time of his death, was the founder of Ranger Boats of Flippin, Ark. A pioneer of bass tournament fishing, he helped launch the careers of hundreds of aspiring tournament anglers through sponsorships. During his 20-year span at the helm of the company he founded with his wife, Nina, Forrest is credited with laying the groundwork for the modern bass boat through his innovative designs and engineering advancements. READ MORE »

Forrest L. Wood, 1932-2020

Forrest L. Wood, 1932-2020

FLW is saddened to report that Forrest L. Wood, the namesake of our organization and a longtime member of the FLW family, passed away today at age 87. He spent his final days surrounded by his family, including his wife of 68 years, Nina. READ MORE »

Daniel Fennel to Direct Pro Circuit

Daniel Fennel to Direct Pro Circuit

At the registration meeting for this week’s Pro Circuit season opener at Sam Rayburn Reservoir, FLW announced that Daniel had been promoted to senior director of tournament operations for the Pro Circuit, FLW Series and Phoenix Bass Fishing League, with responsibilities to include directing the Pro Circuit. Bill Taylor, who served as tournament director for the FLW Tour from 2001 through 2019, has been promoted to senior director of operations, where he’ll lend his expertise acquired through more than two decades as a tournament director toward logistics, angler relations and event planning for all FLW circuits. READ MORE »

2020 Pro Circuit Predictions

2020 Pro Circuit Predictions

The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit is at Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Brookeland, Texas, this week to kick off what promises to be another great season of professional bass fishing for FLW. In anticipation of great things to come during the inaugural Pro Circuit season, a few FLW staff members and one Pro Circuit pro decided to play pundit and make a few predictions.  READ MORE »

John Cox Making Most of Opportunities

John Cox Making Most of Opportunities

In addition to finishing second in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit standings last season, John Cox finished runner-up in the Bassmaster Central Open standings and fourth in the Eastern Open standings, qualifying him to fish the Pro Circuit and Bassmaster Elite Series this year. While many pros were faced with some either-or decisions this offseason, Cox chose both – fishing the Pro Circuit and Elite Series – and he’s not even a bit nervous about doing both. READ MORE »

Tackle Warehouse Teams with FLW

Tackle Warehouse Teams with FLW

FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, announced today that it has reached a sponsorship agreement with Tackle Warehouse, the sport’s leading online retailer that offers the guaranteed lowest prices on bass fishing tackle from every top brand. Effective immediately, Tackle Warehouse becomes the official tackle retailer of FLW and assumes title sponsorship of the FLW Pro Circuit, professional bass fishing’s premier five-fish-limit tournament series. READ MORE »

Rookie Profile: Laramy Strickland

Rookie Profile: Laramy Strickland

Being a rookie on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit can be daunting no matter what age you are. This year, there are 28 newcomers eager to prove themselves against some of the best in the game. And while the bulk of them have been chasing the dream for a while, 22-year-old Laramy Strickland of Bushnell, Fla., will be one of the younger pros looking to make a name in the industry. READ MORE »

How to Prep Like a Pro

How to Prep Like a Pro

When it comes to getting ready for a season of tournaments, there are plenty of ways to do it. But, there’s no denying that for most people, being prepared will lead to better performance on the water. READ MORE »

Previewing the 2020 Pro Circuit

Previewing the 2020 Pro Circuit

With the kickoff of the 2020 FLW Pro Circuit coming up January 23 on Sam Rayburn, we've put together previews of every stop of the regular season. Below you'll find an overload of information on the fisheries, prospective patterns and anglers to watch throughout every minute of the season.  READ MORE »

Silver Carp Found In Chickamauga

Silver Carp Found In Chickamauga

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources received a report on Jan. 10 that a silver carp was captured on Chickamauga Lake in October. READ MORE »

The Importance of Having a Mentor

The Importance of Having a Mentor

If you want a chance to have a pro as your personal coach and mentor for 2020, keep reading. READ MORE »

Florida Spawn: Key on Bottom Hardness

Florida Spawn: Key on Bottom Hardness

According to FLW Pro Circuit angler Tim Frederick, who’s lived in Florida since he was 4 years old, one of the most important factors for successfully locating both spawning and staging bass in the coming weeks is bottom hardness. In most situations, the harder the bottom the better, but there’s more to it than that. READ MORE »

Check-In Time: Matt Becker

Check-In Time: Matt Becker

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 Matt Becker.  READ MORE »

FLW Series Championship Returns to Cumberland

FLW Series Championship Returns to Cumberland

FLW (Fishing League Worldwide), in conjunction with the Somerset Tourist & Convention Commission and the Burnside Tourism Commission, announced today that the 2020 FLW Series Championship will be held at Lake Cumberland in Burnside and Somerset, Kentucky, Nov. 5-7, 2020. READ MORE »

FLW PHOENIX BONUS Announced for 2020

FLW PHOENIX BONUS Announced for 2020

Phoenix Boats has announced the creation and details of the brand new FLW PHOENIX BONUS for the 2020 FLW tournament season. READ MORE »

The Top 19 Stories of 2019

The Top 19 Stories of 2019

From the beginning, 2019 was a good year of fishing. The FLW Tour got off to a rollicking start on Sam Rayburn, and it really stayed pretty great from there, with a lot of good fishing and a killer Angler of the Year race. Beyond the Tour, all the other circuits had plenty of highlights, too. We saw impressive feats accomplished at all levels and some very exciting individual events. READ MORE »

The Top 50 Stories of the Decade - Part 2

The Top 50 Stories of the Decade - Part 2

From start to finish, the last decade was a wild ride for fishing. The top stories are amazingly diverse, with huge business changes, some incredible tournament feats, and entirely new techniques and lures taking center stage. READ MORE »

Rapala Varsity Bass Ep. 6 Airs Tuesday

Rapala Varsity Bass Ep. 6 Airs Tuesday

Join FLW for a watch party for the premiere of Episode 6 of Rapala Varsity Bass presented by General Tire. The episode will air Tuesday, Dec. 31 at 2 p.m. CT. READ MORE »

The Top 50 Stories of the Decade

The Top 50 Stories of the Decade

From start to finish, the last decade was a wild ride for fishing. The top stories are amazingly diverse, with huge business changes, some incredible tournament feats, and entirely new techniques and lures taking center stage. READ MORE »

Reese’s Lake Baccarac Adventure

Reese’s Lake Baccarac Adventure

With a home base of Clear Lake in California, FLW Pro Circuit pro Jimmy Reese is pretty used to phenomenal fishing. But, until Thanksgiving, he’d never sampled the bass fishing in Mexico. Now he has, thanks to a Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits trip to Lake Baccarac Lodge that turned into the trip of a lifetime and produced some truly outstanding fishing. READ MORE »