Sunday, April 21, 2019

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

3 Hot Bass-Fishing Trends

If you love bass fishing then you have to pay attention to these 3 Hot Trends in bass fishing. Silent jerkbaits, chatterbaits and ultra-thin braided line will help you catch more bass like a pro.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Andrew Upshaw Wins 2019 FLW Tour Cherokee Lake with 67-10lbs!

Targeting cracks in boulders key to win.
(Photo: FLW)
Going wire-to-wire to win an FLW Tour event, especially on a fishery like Cherokee Lake, isn’t something that happens by accident. It’s not all luck. It’s not all happenstance. What Andrew Upshaw did was a combination of skill, tenacity and mental toughness, plain and simple.
The Tulsa, Okla., pro won his first-ever Tour event this week, and he did it on Cherokee Lake, amidst a true slugfest, with haymakers coming from every angle. During the tournament, which was presented by Lowrance, 90.7 percent of the field turned in a five-bass limit over four days. All 30 anglers weighed in five fish on Saturday and all 10 of the finalists brought five fish to the scale on Championship Sunday.
Simply put, everyone caught fish this week. No one caught them better than Andrew Upshaw.
The 32-year-old eight-year Tour veteran didn’t find a magic stretch filled with big fish and he didn’t have a secret bait no one else was throwing. What he did have was a solid game plan, a belief in himself and a strong support system that included his wife, Valerie, and son, Cain, who made the trip from Oklahoma to be there throughout the final two days of the tournament and by his side when he raised the $100,000 check and winner trophy above his head Sunday afternoon.
“I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, but when my family got here, I knew what I needed to do and that was just to calm down,” he admits. “This morning I got to skip rocks with my kid…”
At that point, Upshaw welled up with emotion and paused for a brief period to reflect on what he had accomplished and what it meant to have his family there every step of the way. Those emotions stayed with Upshaw long after the weigh-in had ended, as fans asked for autographs and photos, and friends, family and competitors congratulated the two-time FLW Cup qualifier on his first-ever Tour win.
Upshaw acknowledged all of those people during his victory celebration on the FLW weigh-in stage, recognizing his friends (namely Tour anglers Jason Reyes and Scott Martin), competitors and family (including his father, a close friend and his in-laws, who all made the journey to eastern Tennessee). It was a classy gesture from a humble man who was just grateful and overcome with emotion after finally completing a goal that’s been with him for a long, long time.
Asked when the emotions would start to wear off and the reality to set in, he responded as anyone in his position would.
TOP 10 BELOW

Andy Morgan Claims Hometown Win on Lake Chickamauga at Bass Pro Tour Econo Lodge Stage Four presented by Winn Grips

Pitching trees scores Morgan big win!
Major League Fishing Press Release
Andy Morgan claims big win on strength of flipping and spinnerbait.
(Photo: MLF)
From the moment he announced his intention to compete on the Major League Fishing® (MLF) Bass Pro Tour, Tennessee pro Andy Morgan was tabbed by his fellow competitors as an angler to watch. Based on both his exceptional 23-year career and his catch-every-fish-that-swims fishing style, Morgan came into the season as a near-universal pick by his contemporaries to take home one of the eight regular-season Bass Pro Tour trophies. 
 
It turns out that Morgan's first Bass Pro Tour trophy didn't have far to travel: 7.1 miles from Lake Chickamauga to the trophy room in his home in Dayton.  
 
Fishing a lake that he grew up on - and finishing the day in a pocket that he and his dad have won "a number of April tournaments in over the years" - Morgan weighed in 34 Lake Chickamauga largemouth for 80-0 pounds to run away with the Championship Round of the Econo Lodge Stage Four presented by Winn Grips. 
 
"I wanted to win one more tournament on Chickamauga," Morgan admitted. "I can't explain how hard it is to win an event at this level, and I can't explain just how bad I wanted to win right here in front of my family and friends - I wanted it bad. It means the world to me to be able to come out here on this lake where I won my first tournament when I was 15, fish against this bunch of guys, and get that trophy. I'm awful proud of it." 
 
Jared Lintner finished second with 60-7, Todd Faircloth was third with 59-5, Jacob Powroznik was fourth with 54-4 and Mike Iaconelli completed the Top 5 with 54-2.    
 
   
Morgan Committed to One Spot Early 
 
Morgan fished Championship Sunday as one would expect a seasoned veteran to work his home fishery, committing his entire championship round to a long backwater north of Dayton that locals refer to as "The Branch". Morgan woke up on Championship Sunday, looked at the weather forecast calling for heavy morning rain and afternoon winds, and knew immediately that he had an outstanding chance for a big day in two sloughs inside "The Branch".  
 

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Stetson Blaylock Wins 2019 Bassmaster Elite Winyah Bay with 50-15lbs!

Canterbury 2nd & Cory Johnston 3rd
BASS PRESS RELEASE

Big win for Blaylock a family affair!
(Photo: BASS)
Stetson Blaylock came to the Bassmaster Elite at Winyah Bay with one goal in mind: don’t finish last. He accomplished that goal — and then some.
The third-year Elite Series pro from Arkansas tallied a four-day total of 50 pounds, 15 ounces and earned a victory that was unexpected, to say the least. He capped the win with a Championship Sunday limit of five bass that weighed 9-3.
“I came here with the intentions of ‘Don’t ruin your season; don’t come here and finish dead last,’” said Blaylock, who earned $100,000 for the victory. “When I found my area, I knew it had fish, so I thought I’d get out of here with a Top 35 and roll on to the next one. I didn’t know it had winning potential at all.
“I look back at every bass I lost this week and think ‘Gosh, I should’ve caught that one.’ Today, I had one good one that jumped off that would have been another 2 pounds. When that kind of stuff happens, you’re not supposed to win, but when it’s your time, you can’t do anything wrong.”
Time management was essential throughout the week. While many of his competitors ran 100-plus miles to fish various areas of the Cooper River, Blaylock earned his first blue trophy by staying in a pond off the Waccamaw River, about 18 minutes from takeoff at Georgetown’s Carroll Ashmore Campbell Marine Complex.
Lined with overhanging trees, the area held deeper water and sprouted a few tributary canals. Here, Blaylock placed 11th on Day 1 with 11-6, rose to sixth the next day with 12-7 and surged into the Day 3 lead by sacking up a limit of 17-15, the tournament’s heaviest bag.
Today, Blaylock faced a tougher bite, but his 9-3 was enough to hold off a dramatic charge by second-place angler Scott Canterbury, who finished just 9 ounces behind Blaylock.
“I’ve never been here before, so I went to where I knew there were some fish,” Blaylock said. “That gave me the entire day to fish.”

2019 Bassmaster Elite Winyah Bay Day 3: Stetson Blaylock Takes Lead with 41-12lbs!

Cory Johnston 2nd by ounces. 
By David A. Brown
BASS PRESS RELEASE

Blaylock leads by strength of Waccamaw River.
(Photo: BASS)
Committing his day to a deeper pocket off the Waccamaw River, Arkansas angler Stetson Blaylock caught the largest five-bass limit of the week, weighing 17 pounds, 15 ounces, and took over the lead at the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Elite at Winyah Bay with a three-day total of 41-12.
Blaylock said his selected area provided bass with a comfortable habitat beyond the spawn. He admitted he started the day concerned that he was running out of fish, but his persistence was rewarded with a day of steady productivity.
“I really thought that it was drying up, and I was almost to the point of thinking, ‘Okay, I’m going to end up catching five 12-inchers and wherever it happens, it happens,’” Blaylock said. “I caught that first big one — a 4-pounder at 9:50 — and that let me know that things were happening there that I wasn’t aware of.
“I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that (the pocket) is so deep out in the middle, those fish have an opportunity to keep moving up and keep moving up. I don’t think you can fish it out.”
Blaylock caught his fish by flipping a Texas-rigged YUM Christie Craw and skipping a wacky-rigged YUM Dinger. He added a nail weight to the latter for a strategic presentation.
“I think that’s the difference between me and a lot of the guys; everyone’s probably throwing weightless wacky rigs, but it seems that putting that nail weight in it gets it down faster and maybe triggers a strike or two that a slow fall won’t,” he said.

Jacob Powroznik Aiming for Back-To-Back Wins After Knockout Round Victory!

Records falling on Chick!
Major League Fishing Press Release

Almost as soon as he drove away from Raleigh, North Carolina - a Bass Pro Tour trophy riding shotgun in his Toyota Tundra - Major League Fishing® (MLF) pro Jacob Powroznik was already talking about how much he likes to fish Lake Chickamauga. The Virginia pro, who won Stage Three in Raleigh just two weeks ago, has competed on this impoundment of the Tennessee River multiple times and identifies it as one of his favorite fisheries.
 
Powroznik readies for second win in a row.
(Photo: MLF)
In Saturday's Knockout Round of the Econo Lodge Stage Four presented by Evinrude, Powroznik showed why. After hovering around the middle of the Top 10 for the majority of the first two periods, Powroznik connected with 10 fish for 20-15 in the final period to finish first in the round with 67-14 on the day.
 
"I love throwing a wacky worm, I love bed fishing, I love fishing while they're spawning, and that's what's going on here right now," said Powroznik. "It would be hard for me to win a five-fish event doing what I'm doing right now, but in our format, you get to go out and catch as many bass as you possibly can. That suits my style of fishing right now. I've seen some big ones - they're just 'cranky' right now - but those 2- to 3-pounders are biting really good right now, and I'm just fine with that."
 
Powroznik will be joined in Sunday's Championship Round of 10 by: Todd Faircloth (63-12), Mike Iaconelli (59-8), Brandon Palaniuk (56-15), Andy Morgan (56-3), Luke Clausen (53-10), Keith Poche (52-3), Jared Lintner (52-1), Edwin Evers (50-15) and Michael Neal (49-11).  
 
Today's weights will be wiped clean as the finalists start the Championship Round with a zero score. 
 
Final-Period Knockout Drama  
 
The final 2 ½ hours of competition saw several dramatic stories play out, none more so than Iaconelli's. The Berkley pro entered the third period in 24th place - well out of contention for a Top 10 spot - but then connected with nine fish for 23-5 in the final 30 minutes on a squarebill to catapult him to third place.
 
"It's not a magic spot, I don't have a magic bait, it wasn't something I did or changed, it wasn't dumb luck, it was just timing," Iaconelli said. "It was just a place where they started to pull up on and started to feed, and I happened to fish it at just the right time. I've been doing this for 22, 23 years professionally, and that was the most magical 20 minutes of my tournament career."
 

Saturday, April 13, 2019

2019 FLW Tour Cherokee Lake Day 3: Andrew Upshaw Close to Win with 52-04lbs!

Spawning smallmouth key to top anglers.
by Justin Onslow
FLW PRESS RELEASE

Upshaw almost there!
(Photo: FLW)
Andrew Upshaw is one day away from going wire-to-wire to secure his first-ever FLW Tour victory, and as long as the pressure and the nine pros behind him don’t knock him off course, the Tulsa, Okla., pro has a game plan to make it happen.
The Tour’s fifth event of the season, presented by Lowrance, has been a slugfest to this point. Cherokee Lake in eastern Tennessee is showing out, and while total weights aren’t what would usually constitute a “slugfest,” the sheer volume of keeper bass the field has landed this week is nothing short of extraordinary.
Behind Upshaw, a stacked top 10 looms large. Only 1 pound, 10 ounces separates the three-day leader from Tour vet Tom Monsoor, and Upshaw is only 4 pounds, 15 ounces in front of Tim Cales, who sits in 10th place entering Sunday.
With so many anglers catching tons of fish – and so little margin for error – Upshaw has already started feeling the pressure. Fortunately, he has a safety net to help calm him down.
“To lead wire to wire is just crazy … It’s indescribable,” Upshaw admits. “Where I’m at right now, I’m trying to keep it all together, but in [the weigh-in] line I felt like I needed to throw up every five seconds.
“As far as nerves go, I’ve dealt with high-stress situations before – not just in tournament fishing but football and basketball and everything like that. Tomorrow I get to go have fun. I’ve got my family here to calm me down so everything should be fine.”
Upshaw’s family made the trip from Oklahoma on Friday after he started piecing together another nice bag and after already having secured the day-one lead. As it turns out, their presence could make the difference between a strong top-10 finish and his first Tour win.
Despite the boost his family’s arrival gave him, Upshaw started to feel the pressure Saturday when his bite started slow and he began the day with a trio of fish that weren’t long enough to throw in the box.
“I pulled up where I wanted to start, and I caught a non-keeper immediately, and that’s only my second non-keeper of the week,” he explains. “A few minutes later I caught another non-keeper, and then I caught another non-keeper. It really started spinning me out a little bit.”
Upshaw admits his game plan was inherently “high-risk, high-reward,” due in part to fishing an area that was susceptible to wakes from passing boats shortly after takeoff. Fishing for bedding bass, he needed some calmer water to keep those fish on their beds and ready to protect them.

2019 Bassmaster Elite Winyah Bay Day 2: Bill Lowen Takes Lead with 27-03lbs!

Cory Johnston 9th, Chris Johnston 21st and Jeff Gustafson 59th.
By David A. Brown
BASS PRESS RELEASE
Shallow water and river specialist Lowen figured out big bass.
(Photo: BASS)
Self-proclaimed river rat Bill Lowen found himself right at home in the Cooper River Friday and leveraged his current-born insights to catch a limit of bass weighing 13 pounds, 15 ounces and take the lead on Day 2 of the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Elite at Winyah Bay.
After catching 13-4 during Thursday’s opening round, Lowen has a two-day weight of 27-3.
Lowen, who grew up fishing the Ohio River, made a nearly 100-mile run south and avoided the broad rice fields that have seen significant traffic this week. Instead, he targeted a 3/4-mile stretch where he focused on creek channels with marsh drains and current that helped optimize his bite.
“Yesterday, they were on the deep channel swings; today they were on the shallow swings,” Lowen said. “It’s either going to be one or the other. You just have to figure it out fast enough which one they’re on. And tidal fish are notorious for — if that’s what they’re doing — every single one of them is doing it.

2019 Bass Pro League: Birge Breaks 100 Pounds, Heavy Hitters Advance to Knockout Round on Chickamauga

Weekend Rounds Starts Today!
Major League Fishing Press Release


Birge sets 2 day record catching105-06lbs!
(Photo: MFL)
At the end of four rounds of competition in the Major League Fishing® (MLF) Bass Pro Tour Econo Lodge Stage Four Presented by Winn Grips, we're all done asking "Just how good is Lake Chickamauga?" The answer is best expressed in numbers: 105-6; 11 over 80; 748; 1,400.
Zack Birge ended Elimination Round 2 on Friday with 105 pounds, 6 ounces of combined weight from his two rounds, a new Bass Pro Tour record. Eleven anglers competing today in Group B had two-day totals over 80 pounds. And the 40-man field put 748 bass on SCORETRACKER™ for 1,400 pounds.
Birge Blisters the Elimination Record
Birge became the first competitor in Bass Pro Tour history to break the 100-pound mark in Elimination Round competition, connecting with 28 Tennessee River largemouth for 54-2 on the day, building his two-day Shotgun/Elimination total to a record 105-6. The Oklahoma pro maintained a steady pace with a vibrating jig with a Googan Baits Krackin Craw trailer from the moment lines went in, weighing nine fish in Period 1, six in Period 2, and then adding 13 fish for 22-2 in the final period.
"Once I got to where I thought 100 pounds was attainable, I really wanted to break that 100-pound mark," Birge admitted. "I'm excited to go right back out and fish again, I feel like I can go catch a bunch of them. I haven't even gone to a dozen places I found in practice that set up the same way as what I fished today."  
Top 11 All Over 80 Pounds 

Local pro Andy Morgan was matter-of-fact about his 31-pound performance in the Shotgun Round, which brought him into competition on Friday in 21st place ("Middle-of-the-road at best," Morgan said). But Morgan was one of the anglers who got busy early on Chickamauga, putting 18 fish on SCORETRACKER™ for 47-14 in the first two periods and finishing with 56-13 to bring his two-day total to 88-5.

Friday, April 12, 2019

2019 FLW Tour Cherokee Lake Day 2: Andrew Upshaw Continues Lead with 36-04lbs of Smallmouth.

Canadians Richardson 113th and Sim 119th
by Justin Onslow
FLW PRESS RELEASE

Alvin Shaw consistent with 18lbs each day for lead.
(Photo: FLW)
Day two of the FLW Tour event presented by Lowrance on Cherokee Lake again featured great fishing and remarkable consistency from most of the field. Still on top, Andrew Upshaw weighed 17 pounds, 14 ounces of smallmouths to up his two-day total to 36-4.
In second, Dylan Hays dropped off the pace slightly and weighed in 16-11 for a 34-8 total to lurk a bit less than 2 pounds behind Upshaw. Overall, 18 pros weighed more than 16 pounds on day two, and 28 pros have amassed totals over 30 pounds to this point.
Upshaw, perhaps more than anyone else in the field this week, showcased remarkable consistency and the ability to find and land key bites. He didn’t change up much on day two – except for running some water he didn’t hit on Thursday – and that should be extremely troubling for the pros trying to keep pace with the Tulsa, Okla., pro.
“My bite is all day,” Upshaw says of the sometimes-small windows pros have to exploit key bites. “I just haven’t got to fish all day. I’ve stopped fishing my stuff at 10 o’clock every day.”
Day two was no exception, as Upshaw landed a 4 1/2-pounder almost first thing Friday morning. It’s a class of fish that is few and far between on Cherokee, despite the massive numbers of quality bass in the fishery.
“I started right where I left off when I caught my last big one yesterday,” he explains. “I started on the exact same spot, went down through there and caught a 4 1/2-pounder and a 2 3/4.
“A 4 1/2-pounder is a big deal here. Three-pounders, these guys are catching 3-pounders and a lot of them and so am I. But catching a 4-pounder is really hard, and today I was just fortunate enough to do it.”

2019 FLW Tour Cherokee Lake Day 1: Andrew Upshaw Leads with 18-06lbs of Smallmouth.


Canadians Richardson 112th & Sim 147th
by Justin Onslow
FLW PRESS RELEASE

Upshaw targets smallmouth for Day 1 lead.
(Photo: FLW)
Day one of the FLW Tour presented by Lowrance on Cherokee Lake was an absolute catchfest. Leading the way, Andrew Upshaw of Tulsa, Okla., weighed 18 pounds, 6 ounces to take the lead, but 13 other pros also weighed more than 16 pounds.
Day one was dominated by smallmouths, despite the slick water and sunny skies. With new weather in line for day two, we could be headed for an epic leaderboard shakeup considering how tight the weights are.
Upshaw, though, isn’t too worried about what day two has in store for him and the rest of the field. After all, this is his first time fishing Cherokee, and he managed to find what his marshal estimated to be 28 keepers throughout the day, including five that were good enough to secure the day-one lead for the eight-year Tour vet.
“This is my first time here,” he says. “I fell in love with it the first hour of practice. It really reminds me of a lake I grew up fishing which is Lake Texoma. It really reminds me a lot of that. How the fish set up is so similar, and they spawn on a lot of the exact same stuff.”
Upshaw fished slow and methodical throughout the day, and while he was tight-lipped about the baits he was throwing, it’s safe to assume it involved finesse tactics and a spinning rod, as was the case with a large portion of the field on day one.
Finding key fish in practice was crucial for Upshaw, who marked a couple he shook off while working on figuring out the fishery. He went back to that spot after already securing a limit of 14 or 15 pounds in the first hour of the day and caught two upgrades. After that, it was pretty much smooth sailing for the Oklahoma pro.
“That was pretty much my day,” he admits. “I really stopped fishing and got lucky late in the day and caught a 3 3/4 [pounder] that culled up a 3-pounder. Overall, I can’t really complain.”
Part of Upshaw’s strategy for laying off his fish early in the day was due to the quantity of 3-pounders he was catching, mostly in areas where he figured fish were bedding. Though he wasn’t sight-fishing, Upshaw believes a good portion of the fish he caught on day one was comprised of bedding fish, and with a premium placed on 3-pounders, he didn’t want to wear them out.
“I caught a lot of 3-pounders,” he adds. “That’s why at about 10 o’clock I laid off them completely, because I caught too many 3s, and I knew how crucial 3-pounders would be in this tournament. I just laid off and later in the day I rolled up to one other little place I was saving just to see if I could get a bite and I caught a 3 3/4 and got out of there.”
Asked if he had any concerns about changing weather (with rain in the forecast for day two) or having enough fish to sustain a deep tournament run, Upshaw reiterated that the way things have played out so far, there’s not much reason to worry.
“All practice we had every kind of weather condition you could imagine, from cold mornings to rain and wind and everything in between, so I think it’ll be pretty much the same,” he explains. “I had a pretty consistent practice no matter what the weather was.
“I’m not necessarily worried about tomorrow, but a lot of guys caught a good bag today, and that’s a lot of fish taken off the bed. It might get exponentially tougher.”
“Tougher” is a relative term considering the sheer quantity of fish caught on Thursday. As long as the quality is still there – especially at Upshaw’s best spots – he has an excellent chance of remaining near the top of the pack heading into the weekend.
2. Dylan Hays – El Dorado, Ark. – 17-13 (5)
Dylan Hays went way off the beaten path on day one, en route to a 17-13 bag and second place on the leaderboard. He didn’t want to say exactly where he was fishing, but the way he was fishing – “a big rod and big line” – was well outside the norm for the field on Thursday.
Hays did a good deal of sight-fishing, and the result was another abnormality in the form of a mixed-bag comprised primarily of largemouths.
“I was on a spot I found the last day of practice I got two key bites on,” he says. “One I caught was a big one and the next cast I shook a big one off.”
Hays went back to that spot on day one and spent most of his time there. When he ran some different areas, Hays tried to copy his pattern of targeting staging areas where he might find some bedding fish.
As is almost always the case when fishing with your eyes, wind, rain and cloud cover could certainly force Hays to change gears on day two. For now, though, he’s in mighty fine shape.
3. Tim Frederick – Leesburg, Fla. – 17-4 (5)
Tim Frederick hunkered down in one mid-lake area of Cherokee to catch what he estimates to be at least 25 fish on day one. It was an area Frederick believes is prime for new fish to move up to spawn throughout the day, which is the main reason he stayed put and milked that one-mile area all day long.
“Last day in practice I caught two 4-pounders on it, so I started there, and I pretty much stayed there,” he explains. “I probably caught 25 fish. I did miss one about 5 pounds that I’m hoping should be there tomorrow. I didn’t burn any gas once I got there. I kind of stayed in three little areas and that was pretty much it within a mile area.”
Frederick is a little concerned about the pressure a 163-boat field can produce on a lake like Cherokee, though, and with different weather moving in for day two, he expects to run some new water.
“I’m still going to fish the same way doing the same things, however, I’m going to run more spots tomorrow,” he adds. “A bunch of people caught a bunch of fish today. If I can catch 14 pounds tomorrow I’ll be tickled to death.”
Top 10 below

Thursday, April 11, 2019

2019 Bassmaster Elite Winyah Bay Day 1: Jason Williamson Bags 15-11lbs and Lead!

Cory Johnston 13th, Jeff Gustafson 43rd and Chris Johnston 53rd.
By Bryan Brasher
BASS PRESS RELEASE
Long runs and short fishing time story of the day.
(Photo: BASS)
Forgoing a long run to the presumed big-bass “promised land” of the Cooper River, South Carolina’s Jason Williamson remained close to the takeoff site and found the right bites to amass a five-bass limit of 15 pounds, 11 ounces which leads Day 1 of the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Elite at Winyah Bay.
While over half the field committed to a hour-plus run south along the Intracoastal Waterway, through Charleston Harbor and into the Cooper River and surrounding waterways, Williamson stayed in the Waccamaw River and played his time-management strategy to perfection. Essential to his plan was a thorough and persistent approach.
“A lot of guys are running the bank and flipping. You have some fish that are spawning supershallow. You have some postspawners that are done. And you have some that haven’t spawned yet,” Williamson said. “What I’m doing is trying to get the best of all three worlds in one area.
“I’m fishing shallow, I’m backing out and fishing deeper and I’m doing some midrange stuff too. A lot of guys are buzzing through an area, catching what’s aggressive and then going. I caught what was aggressive, then I backed out and got a few more bites. Adjusting throughout the day was key for me today.”
Williamson threw a mix of flipping baits, topwaters and finesse baits. The right area, he said, was one with greater depth than surrounding backwater spots. This allows the fish comfortable postspawn habitat, which keeps them in the area longer.
“Some of these backwaters have 12 to 15 feet of depth, and those fish move up and down with the tide; they adjust throughout the day,” Williamson said. “I was able to move with them in one area.”

2019 Bass Pro League Lake Chickamuga Pool B: Cliff Crochet Blasts 65-11lbs!

Crochet's First-Period Maelstrom Propels Him to Shotgun Round Win.
Major League Fishing Press Release
Fast and furious rockets Crochet to win.
(Photo: MLF)
In the five-decade history of organized bass-fishing competition, there have been very few 2 ½-hour displays of fish-catching proficiency the likes of which Major League Fishing® (MLF) pro Cliff Crochet put on this morning on Lake Chickamauga.
Fishing in the Group B Shotgun Round of the Bass Pro Tour Econo Lodge Stage Four Presented by Winn Grips, Crochet caught his first scorable bass - a 5-plus-pounder - 12 minutes into the competition, and then went on a spree that saw the Louisiana pro stack 65 pounds, 11 ounces of Tennessee River largemouth onto SCORETRACKER by the end of Period 1.
Crochet's 31-fish, 65-plus-pound maelstrom of hookups in Period 1 was more than the daily total weights of 18 of the 19 round winners so far in the 2019 Bass Pro Tour schedule.
"I didn't know that was going to happen," Crochet joked as he waited for the Berkley Postgame Show to start. "I caught four fish in the first little flurry, and I thought that was a good start to the day. Worst-case scenario, I could grind and have a decent day. I hit the second flurry and had enough sense to realize what was going on.
"I really tried to focus on good technique: from casting to hookset to fighting them to weighing them. I didn't know how long it was going to last, but I knew I needed to cover as much ground (on SCORETRACKER™) as I could."
Crochet finished the day with 34 fish for 69-6, at one time opening up a 30-pound lead before backing off and spending most of the second and third periods scouting for new water for his Elimination Round on Friday.
Another Heavy Day on Chickamauga

While Crochet's cushion on the rest of the field was virtually insurmountable after the first period, a large percentage of the other 39 Group B anglers competing had strong days as well: Edwin Evers finished second with 55-2, Zack Birge was third with 51-4. In all, 17 anglers put 37 pounds or more on SCORETRACKER during the day.
The field accounted for 1,312 pounds on the day, including six fish over 7 pounds.
On to Elimination Rounds

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

2019 Bass Pro League Lake Chickamuga Pool A: Dave Lefebre Wins Round with 59-14lbs!

Lefebre's Afternoon Flurry on Lake Chickamauga Powers Him to Shotgun Round Win 
Major League Fishing Press Release


A fast action afternoon give Dave Lefebre win.
(Photo: MLS)
The small town of Dayton, Tenn., has put a stamp on the game of tournament bass fishing with its hashtag "#BassTownUSA".  
As competition came to a close in Major League Fishing® (MLF) Shotgun Round 1 of the Bass Pro Tour Econo Lodge Stage Four Presented by Winn Grips - and Top 5 anglers Dave Lefebre, Aaron Martens, Jordan Lee, Brandon Palaniuk and Bark Rose breathed a sigh of relief - it became clear that that hashtag is not hype.
Emerging from a flurry of afternoon lead changes, 705 scorable bass caught, and several anglers jockeying up and down inside the SCORETRACKER™ Top 10, Lefebre racked up 34 fish for 59 pounds, 14 ounces to claim the top spot in Group A competition on Lake Chickamauga.
"My average weight would have been a lot higher if I could get them in the boat," Lefebre admitted. "I'm doing something that's a little bit different than what the others are doing in the area that I'm in and it's generating some big bites. I lost 4-5 of them, one was a 6 pounder and I tried to swing it. The opportunity to get a good sack is there."
Martens finished second on the day with 57-3, Lee was third with 55-8, Palaniuk was fourth with 54-12 and Rose rounded out the Top 5 with 53-8. 
Lefebre Pours it on Late
Martens entered the final period in the lead, thanks to a steady bite on a vibrating jig. That bite tailed off noticeably in Period 3: while Martens caught some quality fish (two 4s and a 3), he managed only four scorable bass in the final 2 ½ hours of competition.
Lefebre, meanwhile, poured it on, putting 16 of his 34 scorable fish on SCORETRACKER in Period 3 and leapfrogging Lee, Rose and Martens with 23-15 in the period.
"My option A was blown out and I couldn't go there, so it was all plan B today," Lefebre said. "I kind of panicked this morning when I saw my water I wanted to fish (was blown out), and just made a real quick decision to keep running when others were already fishing."
Another Heavyweight Shotgun Round 
The overall catch weight for the Group A field of 40 anglers was astounding: 1,396 pounds of bass. Six anglers recorded 50 pounds or more - one more than the first Shotgun Round slugfest at Stage Three Raleigh - and 14 caught 42-plus pounds.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Brandon Cobb Wins 2019 BASS Elite Lake Hartwell with 72-04lbs!

Sight fishing peaked as tournament progressed.
By Bryan Brasher
BASS PRESS RELEASE
Wire to wire win for first year Elite angler.
(Photo: BASS)
Many anglers have led the first three rounds of a Bassmaster Elite Series event, only to have the title slip through their hands on the final day.
More times than not, pressure was the culprit.
But if South Carolina pro Brandon Cobb felt pressure a single time during this week’s Bassmaster Elite at Lake Hartwell, he certainly hid it well.
Cobb, who lives in nearby Greenwood, S.C., took the lead on Day 1 of the event and never relinquished it, slamming the door on his first Elite Series victory with a final-day catch of 16 pounds, 14 ounces on Championship Sunday. His four-day winning weight of 72-4 earned him a $100,000 paycheck and the iconic blue trophy that goes to every Elite Series winner.
“Staying calm definitely made the difference for me,” said Cobb, who stayed at his own house and made the 50-minute drive to Lake Hartwell each day. “I don’t do well if I get flustered. I start running around a lot, and it just doesn’t go well for me.
“Being on my home lake helped, too. I literally never ran out of places where I felt like I was going to catch one.”
Cobb caught 19-9, 17-8, 18-5 and 16-14 in four days — and he did most of his damage with two baits. He used a green pumpkin Zoom Fluke Stick when he was moving through shallow areas where he thought spawning beds were present and a 1/8-ounce Greenfish Tackle shaky head with a green pumpkin Zoom Trick Worm when he was stopped, fishing for bass he could actually see on bed.

2019 Bassmaster Elite Lake Hartwell Day 3: Brandon Cobb Leads by 5 with 55-6 lbs!

Canadians Gustafson 13th & Cory Johnston 14th 
By Bryan Brasher
BASS PRESS RELEASE

Cobb might be uncatchable with 5 pound lead. (Photo: BASS)
For three days, the field has been waiting for Brandon Cobb to stumble.
It hasn’t happened yet — and now, they’re almost out of time.
Cobb caught five bass today that weighed 18 pounds, 5 ounces and held on to the lead for the third straight day in the Bassmaster Elite at Lake Hartwell. His three-day total of 55-6 gives him more than a 5-pound cushion over his closest competitors going into Championship Sunday and a chance at a rare wire-to-wire victory in an Elite Series event.
“I don’t know how many fish I went through today that weighed from about 2-4 to 2-11,” said Cobb, whose thumbs were red and raw from handling bass today. “I caught so many fish, but I just couldn’t find any big ones in the area I had been fishing.
“That’s why I finally decided to change areas.”
Cobb went to an area that he said was “new for this tournament, but certainly not new” to him as a bass angler on Lake Hartwell. He grew up fishing the lake and was actually a member of the bass fishing team for Clemson University, which is positioned on the banks of Hartwell.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

2019 Bassmaster Elite Lake Hartwell Day 2: Brandon Cobb Continues to Lead with 31-01lbs

Canadians Gustafson 7th, Cory Johnston 13th & Chris Johnston 38th
By Bryan Brasher
BASS PRESS RELEASE

Wacky worm and spawning bass working for Cobb.
(Photo: BASS)
Brandon Cobb has been driving about an hour every morning this week to the takeoff site for the Bassmaster Elite at Lake Hartwell.
It’s a little farther than he’d normally want to drive for an Elite Series event, but he says it’s been worth it to get the full benefit of his home-field advantage.
The Greenwood, S.C., pro, who has been sleeping in his own bed and eating home-cooked meals with his wife, Amy, while other anglers in the field stay at hotels and campgrounds, caught five bass today that weighed 17 pounds, 8 ounces and maintained the lead for the second straight day.Cobb’s two-day total of 37-1 puts him just ahead of second-place Georgia pro Micah Frazier (35-12) and Florida angler Drew Cook, who caught a tournament-best limit of 20-6 in today’s second round and rose from 25th place to third with a two-day mark of 34-10.
“Yesterday, I ran around a little bit more and fished some different areas, and I didn’t catch as many as I expected,” said Cobb, who took the opening-round lead Thursday with 19-9. “So, I (mostly) stayed in one area today.”
Heavy rains fell on Lake Hartwell during the first few hours of fishing today, and it seemed to change the way the bass bit for the former Clemson University bass angler. Cobb relied heavily on boat docks for his first-round catch, but only caught small fish off of docks today.
Fortunately for him, one of the final bass he caught today was a 5-7 spawning largemouth that made the difference between maintaining the lead and starting Saturday’s semifinal round playing catchup.
“I caught that fish off of the bed,” Cobb said. “It only took about four casts, so I was pretty fortunate. That was the last fish I culled with.”
As for sleeping in his own bed — and fishing a lake he grew up on while others in the 74-angler field have traveled from far-away locales like Oregon, Texas, and Australia — Cobb said it’s a rare treat.
“It’s so nice,” he said. “I go home, and my wife will either have dinner ready or we grill something. It’s been nice staying at home. You sleep better, too. “Now, I just need to keep finding that big bite every day.”
Frazier has stayed on Cobb’s heels by using bits and pieces of several patterns each day. Today, he benefited heavily from a pocket he discovered while competing in the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods on Lake Hartwell.
“I didn’t practice there, and I didn’t fish it yesterday either,” said Frazier, a three-time Classic qualifier. “Today, I ran back in there and caught a big one on a boat dock. Then on the other side of the pocket, I caught one that was about 3 1/2 pounds.
“I’ll definitely make a pass through there tomorrow.”

Friday, April 5, 2019

2019 Bass Pro League Lake Chickamuga Pool B: Martens Pours it On; Lucas, Wiggins, Elam Escape Elimination.

Aaron Martens almost reaches 100lbs!
MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING PRESS RELEASE
Aaron Martens and Jordon Lee catch'em like crazy.
(Photo: MLF)

As has become the standard for the Major League Fishing® (MLF) Bass Pro Tour Elimination Rounds, you didn't have to look far to find a multitude of storylines on Day 3 of the Econo Lodge Stage Four Presented by Evinrude.

Aaron Martens gave notice that he's onto a strong pattern on Lake Chickamauga, and is going to be a handful for the rest of the competition as he finished atop the 40 Group A anglers who competed in today's Elimination Round. And joining him in the 20 moving on to Saturday's Knockout Round are three anglers - Justin Lucas, Jesse Wiggins and James Elam - who had not previously advanced past an Elimination Round.

The way Chickamauga is producing scorable bass this week, all Group A and Group B Elimination Rounds' survivors are likely to find squeezing into the Top 20 at the end of Knockout may be harder than it ever has been.

Martens Makes the Most of His Day

Martens picked up where he left off in the Shotgun Round, weighing in 13-5 in the first hour of competition, and connecting with a 7-pound, 6-ouncer. That fish was the anchor of his 36-13 weight for the day, and helped Martens to 94-0 overall in the Shotgun and Elimination Rounds.

That weight surpassed the previous Elimination weight record of 93-4 set by Kelly Jordon at the Stage Three event in Raleigh, North Carolina, and gave the Alabama pro enough of a security blanket that he could mix up his patterns, and survey some of his best spots ahead of the Knockout Round.


2019 Bassmaster Elite Lake Hartwell Day 1: Brandon Cobb Score Lead with 19-02lbs

Canadians Gustafson 15th, Cory Johnston 17th & Chris Johnston 27th
BASS PRESS RELEASE

Local Cobb able to capitalize on spawning and post-spawn bite.
(Photo: BASS)
When Brandon Cobb realized the bass might be spawning for this week’s Bassmaster Elite at Lake Hartwell, he grimaced just a little bit.
 
Cobb is a South Carolina native who grew up fishing Hartwell, and he knows things about the lake that others don’t. He was afraid the spring spawn would bring the bass into clear view for the entire field, neutralizing his home-field advantage.
 
Turns out, they are spawning.
 
But so far, his advantage seems to be intact.
 
Cobb brought five bass to the scales today that weighed 19 pounds, 9 ounces and took the Day 1 lead at the third Elite Series event of the season. He has a 2-pound advantage over North Carolina pro Hank Cherry and Georgia pro Micah Frazier, who each caught 17-9.
 
“There are a lot of fish on bed out here right now,” Cobb said. “But I know what this lake looks like when there’s an all-out spawn going on, and it’s just not happening.
 
“There have been some fish caught on beds, and there will be some more caught off the beds. But judging from today and from what I saw in practice, the spawn is not in full swing.”
 
Cobb said he caught a couple of bass on spawning nests himself today, but he also caught prespawn and postspawn fish.
 
His experience on the lake played a big role in his first-round success — just as he’d hoped it would.
 
“I didn’t really have a specific pattern today,” said Cobb, a former member of the Clemson University bass fishing team who holds a degree in wildlife and fisheries biology. “I basically just ran a lot of stuff where I’ve caught them in the past. Since practice was so bad, I just fished a lot of stuff I was familiar with.”
 
Just as Cobb wouldn’t offer specific details about how he caught his bass, Cherry was vague about how he ended up in second place. The seventh-year Elite Series pro weighed in four solid largemouth and one impressive shoal bass that weighed just over 3 pounds.