UPCOMING EVENT: HIGH SCHOOL FISHING - 2019 - Pickwick Lake

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Match the Hatch

Match the Hatch

Willow flies. Fish flies. Mayflies. Mayflies that hatch in June and July. Whatever you call them, you can’t miss a major hatch of these short-lived winged insects. 

Whereas your neighbor or science teacher can tell you all sorts of fun facts about the bugs’ rather brief life cycle, fishermen have strong opinions about their impact on fishing. Most say a hatch makes for tons of free food for fish, so it’s hard to catch any fish on a lure. Others say it creates a feeding window for anglers to take advantage of. I tend to agree with the second opinion. 

 

At my last FLW Tour tournament on St Clair, I witnessed both. We hosted a youth fishing derby, and tons of bluegills and bass hung around the shade of the docks. When someone dropped a bait down in the water the normally aggressive fish wouldn’t even budge. But if a mayfly happened to hit the surface, all the nearby fish raced to eat it. We quickly figured out that fish were keying on mayflies on top, so keeping little jigs or flies near the surface was about the only way to get bit. It was classic “match-the-hatch” fishing. 

Out on the lake, flies were all over the water in the mornings. If the water was calm, smallmouth bass could be seen slurping mayflies off the surface. One fish I caught spit up a soda can-sized lump of flies on my boat’s carpet, along with a couple crawdad shells, showing that at least some bass were making a full meal of this little snack. 

Traditional bass lures would catch some fish, and the surface action made me immediately think of topwaters. I thought of matching the hatch and tied on a new Berkley Bullet Pop. This tiny popper makes a small splash to attract the attention of cruising fish. The key was letting it sit in place as the feathered rear treble hook quivered and gently danced, just like a mayfly on the surface. One minute the Bullet Pop would be on the surface, then suddenly a bass would gently pull it under. It was a perfect combo of getting the attention of the fish, then matching the hatch once the fish got close. 

Once I figured it out, it was game on, and I had tons of action for as long as flies hatched. The lesson here is that sometimes you have to figure out what the fish are eating, then mimic it closely. And let others figure out the name of the things the fish are eating, while you figure out how to catch ’em!

Tags: match-the-hatch  -mayfies  -bait  -top-water  fishing-tips-beginner  tom-redington 

Top 10 Baits From Chickamauga

Top 10 Baits From Chickamauga

Prespawn on Lake Chickamauga usually means a healthy dose of lipless crankbaits and umbrella rigs, so it wasn’t surprising that those were exactly the baits that dominated for the top 10 at the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event presented by T-H Marine on the east Tennessee fishery. Square-bill crankbaits had their place, as did vibrating jigs and a variety of other baits. In the end, though, the common thread connecting many of the anglers in the top 10 was either a trap or a rig. READ MORE »

Zoom Founder Ed Chambers Sr. Passes Away

Zoom Founder Ed Chambers Sr. Passes Away

Ed Chambers Sr., the founder of Zoom Bait Co., passed away Tuesday morning following a battle with mantle cell lymphoma. He was 78. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lewis Smith

Top 10 Baits from Lewis Smith

Lewis Smith is known for its dock bite, and that held true this past week. However, high water and spawning activity created plenty of other shallow opportunities for many of the top 10 anglers. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Okeechobee

Top 10 Baits from Lake Okeechobee

There are few secrets when it comes to the best baits on Okeechobee. This tournament was no exception, with plenty of the old standbys on the end of the top 10 anglers’ rods. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from 1000 Islands

Top 10 Baits from 1000 Islands

The lion’s share of the money won in the Costa FLW Series event presented by Evinrude at the 1000 Islands was earned with a drop-shot out on Lake Ontario. Dropping down for hungry summer smallmouths isn’t rocket science, but it sure works wonders on big brown ones. As such, a lot of the baits that worked well at the 1000 Islands are staples of Northern tackle boxes, but there were a few surprises as well. READ MORE »

Scouts, FLW Take Hundreds Fishing in Brooklyn

Scouts, FLW Take Hundreds Fishing in Brooklyn

More than 250 kids and 200 adults gathered in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park Tuesday evening for, in many cases, their first introduction to the sport of fishing. The event, called Brooklyn Fishing Day, was a joint effort by the Boy Scouts of America, FLW and Zebco through the Scouts’ Hooked on Scouting campaign. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Wheeler Lake

Top 10 Baits from Wheeler Lake

Early summer on the Tennessee River is ledge-fishing time, but Wheeler Lake – according to many anglers – doesn’t set up like its sister reservoirs on the Tennessee River chain. Bass don’t pile into mega-schools on river drops. Instead, the postspawn season can be tackled with a mish-mash of approaches, including dragging shell beds and other hard-bottom areas offshore, flipping docks, flipping and frogging grass or wood, and fishing brush. Those are the tactics that the top 10 teams used at the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance C-Map Genesis at Wheeler Lake. Here are the baits they used. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Chickamauga

Top 10 Baits from Lake Chickamauga

With only a couple of exceptions, jigs of some variety were the go-to lures for the top 10 anglers in the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division finale on Lake Chickamauga presented by Lowrance. But some anglers were giving their lures a little extra personal "tweak" that they felt paid off with a check. READ MORE »

Beaver Lake Top 10 Baits

Beaver Lake Top 10 Baits

Torrential rain, rising water levels and wildly fluctuating conditions made for a tough and unpredictable bite during the FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by General Tire. Many pros discovered that what might have worked in practice didn’t work at the tournament’s start, and what might have worked at the start didn’t work at the end. It was that kind of tournament – a scramble to find something, anything, to catch just enough fish to survive and advance in extremely tough conditions. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

Despite unfavorable weather and a shortened event, the top 10 pros still managed to wrangle up solid limits of Grand Lake bass in the second stop of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Cumberland

Top 10 Baits from Lake Cumberland

The weather started out wet and rainy and ended up sunny and beautiful, but despite the wildly varying conditions at the FLW Tour event presented by T-H Marine at Lake Cumberland, bait selection for the top 10 pros remained fairly consistent. A few pros threw jigs and worms, but jerkbaits and spinnerbaits fished tight to the bank along the sprawling reservoir’s many coves and cuts were the majority choices for the last-day anglers. Here’s what they used. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Dardanelle

Top 10 Baits from Lake Dardanelle

Lake Dardanelle is a renowned junk-fishing lake that rewards multiple tactics and techniques. For champion Quincy Houchin, that meant flipping wood and rocks in an isolated pocket on the north side of the lake. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Travis

Top 10 Baits from Lake Travis

Football jigs, shaky heads and green pumpkin everything were the predominant flavors of the week during the FLW Tour event on Lake Travis presented by Quaker State. Here are the baits of the top 10 pros. READ MORE »

Lake Travis Set to Host FLW Tour Event Presented by Quaker State

Lake Travis Set to Host FLW Tour Event Presented by Quaker State

JONESTOWN, Texas – The second tournament of the 22nd season of the FLW Tour, the most competitive circuit in professional bass fishing, is coming to Jonestown Feb. 16-19 with the FLW Tour at Lake Travis presented by Quaker State. The event, hosted by the City of Jonestown... READ MORE »

Lake Okeechobee Top 10 Baits

Lake Okeechobee Top 10 Baits

Typically, winter tournaments on Lake Okeechobee feature a bevy of flipping baits in the top 10. Though plenty of flipping went down at the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division opener presented by Power-Pole, casting and winding took center stage this time. READ MORE »

The Best Day to Catch a Trophy

The Best Day to Catch a Trophy

Warm and stable weather usually results in consistently good fishing. The pattern stays the same for a few days, and once you figure it out, you can catch fish reliably. The day a cold front arrives is the favorite day of most anglers. The front really turns on the bass, and this is the day to catch big numbers and some good fish too. READ MORE »

Tackle Primer: The Twitch’n Glider

Tackle Primer: The Twitch’n Glider

A glide bait isn’t perfect for every situation, but it has gained a place as a big-fish bait and as a great tool for drawing less aggressive bass out into view. FLW Tour pro Braxton Setzer particularly likes one for catching aggressive fish. READ MORE »

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. READ MORE »

Make a DIY Weighted Swimbait Hook

Make a DIY Weighted Swimbait Hook

Swimbaits are one of the most versatile baits on the market producing fish from shallow to deep, and from heavy cover to open water. While there is a soft plastic swimbait that will work in just about any situation, trying to carry a hook for every swimbait style from 2- to 8-inches long requires a lot of sizes. Complicate that by needing different weights on the hooks to cover the water column from the surface to 30-feet deep, now you’re looking at carrying dozens of hook sizes and weights. READ MORE »

Extend the Life of Soft Plastics

Extend the Life of Soft Plastics

Soft-plastic baits come in all shapes and sizes these days. It seems every conceivable type of tail and appendage has been invented, so there is a bait that will work in nearly every situation. However, all have soft-plastic baits have one inherent flaw, namely the “soft” part. READ MORE »