Of all the events slated on this year’s Bassmaster Elite Series schedule, none was more concerning than Winyah Bay. Serving as the confluence to numerous rivers, this South Carolina tidal system can be unpredictable and stingy … even when the conditions seem right.
Of all the events listed on this year’s Bassmaster Elite Series schedule, I was most optimistic about this one.
That may come as a shock to some of you since my favorite fishery — the St. Lawrence River — is also on the schedule. And you know how much I like that place.
The reason I wanted Hartwell was the timing. It fell dead on the spawn, and I love to sight fish. And with more than 56,000 surface acres, I knew I’d find somewhere to fish by myself.
Gary Dobyns loves the spring season; but not only for the warming weather — he’s more enamored with the seasonal bass movement that increases the levels of both quality and quantity. No doubt, the prespawn is the time to punch your ticket on a whopper and the renowned rod maker is all about maximizing his opportunities.
It’s that time of year again; time to head shallow for largemouth. Shad start to move shallow in late summer and the big bass will be right behind them. There are three ways that always seem to produce for me this time of year; fishing docks, flipping laydowns and fishing a topwater near grass. Let’s flesh these out.
Each year on the Bassmaster Elite Series we travel to some of the best smallmouth bass fisheries in the world. This year we went to the St. Lawrence River and Lake Champlain. Both have excellent smallmouth fishing and I love going to those places, but maybe not for the reasons you would expect, I like to chase northern largemouth. These waters are excellent for largemouth and they often receive far less pressure than the smallmouth. I have had success and failure this year chasing the green fish, but it is how I like to fish when I head north.
The Tour’s sixth stop was The Mississippi River (pools 7, 8 and 9) out of La Crosse, WI. The Mississippi is well known for its plentiful cover such as wood, wing dams, vegetation, backwater pools and docks. Our first day of practice found Jimmy and me with no bites, so we decided to make a run. We quickly found ourselves on a sand bar, stuck high and dry. Luckily, fellow Yamamoto pro Darrel Robertson happened by and pulled us out. (Thanks, Darrel!)
Our fourth stop on this year’s FLW Tour was Lake Cumberland in Burnside, KY. Cumberland is a huge, clear water reservoir and the main lake is over a 100 miles long.
There are multitudes of creeks with bushes and standing trees as well as main lake areas with big rock and standing trees. It’s pretty easy on the eyes, too. The lake is very vertical with few flat areas. All three species of bass can be found here but there are minimums to take into account: an 18" minimum for smallmouth, 15" for largemouth and 12" for spotted bass. The fish were fat and in pre-spawn but with the smallmouth requiring an 18" minimum length, you sometimes ended up toss back a fish that weighs 3 pounds or more. Ouch!