Live now : Costa FLW Series 2019 Lake Champlain

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Atkins’ Fall Arsenal

Atkins’ Fall Arsenal

There are lots of distractions from fishing in the fall – between college football, hunting and holidays, it can be a little harder to get on the water than it is in the spring. Still, Justin Atkins really enjoys fishing in the fall and historically he’s had a lot of success in the last few months of the year.

“It’s tougher in the fall, it doesn’t take as much weight, and if you get dialed into a little pattern you can really excel,” says Atkins. “In the spring you have to out-slug everybody, but in the fall fish get real patternable and if you can ever get dialed in on a little deal you can ride it a long way in the fall.”

Atkins’ arsenal varies from lake to lake, but no matter where he’s fishing, there’s a good chance he’s got a big topwater, a frog, a spinnerbait and jig on deck.

“In the fall you have a lot of fish that start to school in almost every lake in America, so I like to keep a big topwater on that I can throw a long ways to chase those fish,” says Atkins. “When it starts cooling off there are certain lakes that you can keep it in your hands the whole time. On a place like Ross Barnett you’re not going to go throw a topwater all day, but you’ll have fish that will come up schooling and you want to be ready.”

Atkins’ preferred topwater is an ima Little Stik 135 (for good reason), and there are some times when it will be his primary bait. Particularly on Pickwick when he targets smallmouths or on more highland reservoirs, Atkins says it’s totally possible to figure out a pattern where the topwater is all he’ll throw.

For grass lakes like Guntersville, there’s nothing Atkins likes more in the fall than the good ol’ hollow bodied frog. It’s not necessarily applicable to every lake, but come October and November it’s hard to beat it for excitement. Atkins likes to look for cheesed up grass that is beginning to die off and hollow out – and it’s even better if bream are popping the surface.

Purely fishing shallow cover is a good option in the fall as well, and that’s when the jig and the spinnerbait play most for Atkins.

“In the fall the fish are definitely bait oriented, they’re strictly eating shad and feeding up for the winter, and the spinnerbait is a great shad imitator,” says Atkins. “You can catch fish just going down the bank and targeting laydowns and the spinnerbait is a great bait for that. This time of year, you can run into cold fronts and high-pressure days, and on days like that when the fish aren’t eating the spinnerbait I like to be able to pitch a big jig and pick some cover apart.”

On the spinnerbait, Atkins usually sticks with a ½-ounce model in a shad color in clear water or chartreuse/white in dirtier water. He particularly likes to target shallow wood with it, and he often swaps out one of the blades to go with a bigger blade so he better imitates a big gizzard shad and can fish it shallower without driving it into the wood. For ease of pitching, Atkins prefers a 1/2- or 9/16-ounce jig, and he’ll adjust his fall rate with a trailer – using something more compact if the fish are more aggressive and something with more bulk or appendages if it’s colder or the fish are more sluggish.

Fall can be a busy time of the year, no doubt. The weather can also make things interesting, seemingly changing hour by hour or day to day. Don’t let the weather or other activities deter you, this is prime time to have the lake all to yourself. So, don’t put the rods away just yet, if you follow Atkins’ basic approach to target late-season bass and you might be glad you stayed on the water. 

Tags: jody-white  pro-tips-weekly 

Champlain Midday Update – Day 1

Champlain Midday Update – Day 1

Takeoff was a little blustery, but overall, it’s been a perfect start to the Costa FLW Series event on Lake Champlain. The event is the kickoff of the Northern Division, which is presented by Gajo Baits, and the tournament itself is presented by Polaris. READ MORE »

Go-Time Again on Champlain

Go-Time Again on Champlain

Each of the last three years have seen the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits kick off on Champlain. This tournament, which is presented by Polaris, should offer great fishing like usual, but the dominant pattern certainly won’t be spawning smallmouths. Instead, it could be a largemouth slugfest, as the fishing has continued to prove strong on the south end of the lake. READ MORE »

Check-in Time: Brian Latimer 

Check-in Time: Brian Latimer 

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 Brian Latimer.  READ MORE »

Summertime on Champlain

Summertime on Champlain

For three years running now, the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits has kicked off on Lake Champlain. The tournament, which is presented by Polaris, should offer great fishing like usual, but it’s going to be far different than the last two FLW Series tilts on the big Northern lake. READ MORE »

Nelson Wins ROY

Nelson Wins ROY

Ron Nelson blanked on the first day of his first FLW Tour event. Then he got things on track – so on track that he finished the season ninth overall in the standings and above every other rookie to earn the Polaris FLW Tour Rookie of the Year award. Winning ROY is typically a career-setting accomplishment, and to go with the hardware Nelson will also receive a Polaris Sportsman® 570 ATV. READ MORE »

Exploring Champlain with Strelic

Exploring Champlain with Strelic

Living about as far as possible from Champlain, Wade Strelic is looking to finish his rookie season strong at the FLW Tour finale. Hailing from Alpine, Calif., near San Diego, Strelic is sitting 28th in points and has made the check cut in three out of six events so far – another good derby will lock him in to the FLW Cup. READ MORE »

Nelson Wraps Champlain Practice

Nelson Wraps Champlain Practice

Ron Nelson is easily in the group of favorites in the event and a bonafide Northern expert, so I was eager to hop in the boat for a morning with the smallie snatcher. Champlain isn’t fishing quite like it was the years he won, but Nelson is still guaranteed to have a lot of eyes on him come day one. READ MORE »

Scouting for Smallies with Felix

Scouting for Smallies with Felix

Over the years, a lot of anglers have established impressive records on Lake Champlain, but few have done it as quickly and authoritatively as Austin Felix. READ MORE »

Get to Know Lake Champlain

Get to Know Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain is a giant of a lake. It stretches 100-plus miles from its beginning down south at Whitehall, N.Y., and runs all the way up to the Canadian border between the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Adirondacks in New York. Though the competitors aren’t allowed to venture into Canada, there is still plenty for anglers to break down for the final event of the 2019 FLW Tour season. READ MORE »

Check-in Time: Buddy Gross

Check-in Time: Buddy Gross

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 Buddy Gross.  READ MORE »

Check-in Time: David Williams 

Check-in Time: David Williams 

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 David Williams. READ MORE »

Review: LIVETARGET Tennessee Craw

Review: LIVETARGET Tennessee Craw

With the number of great crankbaits on the market or discontinued and still in high-demand, new crankbaits have to be pretty good to earn a space in a tacklebox. While I wouldn’t say the LIVETARGET Tennessee Craw is a surefire classic, after a few days of fishing it, I know I’ll be throwing it a lot more. READ MORE »

2019 Lake Champlain Preview

2019 Lake Champlain Preview

Champlain is such a fun location for a tournament in large part because of the unpredictability involved. Nelson winning last year’s Costa FLW Series tilt with all smallmouths was something of a surprise, but given the conditions, it made plenty of sense. Exactly what will go down this year is legitimately up in the air. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the National Championship

Top 10 Patterns from the National Championship

Though there was some carryover from the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American the week before, the fishing on the Potomac River was a lot better for the anglers in the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance. With better fishing came more robust grass patterns, but plenty of bass (some of the biggest of the event) were caught off hard cover as well. All in all, it was a mixed week of very good fishing on the Potomac. READ MORE »

National Championship Top 10 Baits

National Championship Top 10 Baits

Competitors in the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance undoubtedly took some cues from the top finishers in the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American the week before, but they also blazed some new ground. With better fishing overall and a better grass bite, a few more winding baits got mixed into the fray. READ MORE »

College Championship Midday Update – Day 3

College Championship Midday Update – Day 3

As expected, the fishing has been great for the final day of the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance on the Potomac River. Sunny skies and moderate winds have set everyone up for success, and so far the top 10 teams are making the most of it. READ MORE »

Racers Lock Up National Championship

Racers Lock Up National Championship

The final day of the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance on the Potomac River was quite the show, especially if you watched FLW Live. After catching the biggest limit of the event worth 18 pounds, 14 ounces on day two to take the lead, the Murray State duo of Adam Puckett and Blake Albertson gave it all they had on the final day to squeak out their smallest, yet most important limit of the week. Today, Murray State caught 15-8, which was enough to edge out the Bethel University team of Tristan McCormick and Dakota Pierce by just 3 ounces to bring home the title. Along with winning a Ranger Z175 with a 115-horsepower motor for the club, Puckett and Albertson also get entry into the 2019 FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark., this August 9-11. READ MORE »

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Day one of the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance on the Potomac River had a wide variety of patterns in play among the leaders. Today, with overcast skies and gusty winds, the folks fishing grass started to pull ahead. In the lead, Adam Puckett and Blake Albertson of Murray State have managed more than 16 pounds each day, but the rest of the top-10 crew is hot on their heels. Additionally, the fishing seems to be getting better by the day, so a big bag from a team down the standings a little bit wouldn’t exactly be a shock on the final day.  READ MORE »

Murray State Races Ahead

Murray State Races Ahead

Thanks to a day-two limit worth 18 pounds, 14 ounces, Adam Puckett and Blake Albertson of Murray State University have the lead going into the final round of the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance at the Potomac River. The Racers weighed 16-13 on day one to place seventh, but moved up the leaderboard today with the tournament’s biggest limit so far. READ MORE »

College Championship Midday Update – Day 2

College Championship Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance on the Potomac River has been quite different from day one. With strong souths winds kicking up the main channel and keeping the tide back, teams have had to adjust. READ MORE »