Posts Tagged Spotted Bass

Springdale pool of the Allegheny River

Liz and I went out on the Springdale pool of the Allegheny River on Saturday to try out some of the new hand poured beavers, worms, and flukes I have been working on.   We caught a good number of smallmouth and spotted bass, with a few rock bass and catfish mixed in.   Most of the bass came off water dumps, walls, and pillars.  They weren’t really active and seemed be holding pretty tight to the bottom so we caught most of our fish dragging beavers or working the drop shot.  Liz got all of her fish dragging a small texas rigged green pumpkin beaver with an 1/8oz weight that she named “Squishy”.  I got most of my fish on a little hand poured 4″ drop shot worm.  The two colors that got me the most hits were the green pumpkin purple flake and a watermelon red flake.

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Lake Dardanelle-Weekend Series National Championship

After the regional competition at the Potomac River I started getting ready for the national championship at Lake Dardanelle.  For those who don’t know Lake Dardanelle is a man made lake on the Arkansas River system.  It is located about 2 hours north west of Little Rock, Arkansas.  This was going to be a first for me for a couple reasons.  I have never fished a tournament in the south, west of the Mississippi River, or longer than 2 days.

Lake Dardanelle had been off limits to all anglers in the tournament from October 4th until the first official practice day, November 1st.  My wife, Jessica, and I left from our house Friday around 8:00 pm and arrived at Lake Dardanelle State Park where we were going to camp Saturday afternoon.  I have stayed at a lot of state park campground over the years, but I believe that this could very easily be the nicest state park I have ever seen.  Once we got camp set up we walk down to the water to take a look.  To my dismay I say the darkest muddiest water that I have ever had to fish.  Arkansas had recieved 8 inches of rain the week before the tournament started, and since it was a river system the water color would never settle down.

Sunday morning rolled around and I decided that it was time to start practicing.  Not knowing a lot about the lake I had decided to practice in certain areas and really work them until I figured something out.  The first day of practice I decided to stay with 10 miles of the launch site.  I fished Illinois Bayou, Dardanelle State Park Bay, Delaware Bay, and a few other creeks.  To my dismay, I was only about to catch 2 bass and only 1 was a keeper.  The keeper was caught on a shaky head jig with a green pumpkin worm in about 22 feet of water.  The dink was caught on a berkley chigger craw flipping shallow wood cover.

Monday was the day I was going to travel.  I decide to make about a 20 mile run up to Shoal Bay and all the fingers it entails.  The water was still chocolate milk colored and then some.  I fished from the mouth of the main river all the way to the back creek with only catching 1 fish on a carolina rig in 8 feet of water.  It was my 1st dink of the day.  Once I got to the very back of Shoal Bay I found a creek that had 2 feet of water clearity and plenty of standing timber and stumps to fish.  I didn’t make it very far into the creek and I caught 3 14″ dinks and had another 8 hits that I didn’t set the hook on.  30 minutes in the area and I decided that this would be my starting spot on wednesday.  After a couple more hours fishing in Shoal Bay I decided to fun another 5 miles to Piney Bay.  The water color there was slightly better than the main river.  This excited me.  It didn’t take me long to get the first keeper of the day.  I nailed a 3 1/2 pound largemouth on a black and blue jig in 3 feet of water in viney weeds.  I manage to get only 1 more dink in that bay before I called it a day.

Tuesday, I decided that I needed to run back to Shoal Bay to look over the clear water in Shoal Bay and some other spots near Dardanelle State Park.  I went into the creek just looking and not sticking any fish.  There were other boats in the area and it was the day before the tournament started.  I went through a bunch of different lures, and I got hit on just about every lure that I threw in the creek.  Feeling very confident, I check a couple more areas in Shoal Bay with no success.  Then I ran down the lake towards Dardanelle State Park.  That is when I realized that the river had became very rough from the wind.  2 to 3 foot waves had developed and there was a very short distance in between them.  You add those waves with all the debree of a high muddy river system and you have dangerous conditions.  It wasn’t until I reached my next spot that I realized I have broken my locking pine to my trolling motor.  My practice was officially over because I only had 18 hours until the tournament started and I had to fix a trolling motor.  I managed to make a couple make shift pins out of steel later in the day because no one had Motor Guide parts that I needed.  Now it was off to the pretournament meeting and to bed.

Wednesday morning I was launching 10th in the first flight for the first day of the tournament.  I had made my mind up that I was going to fish Shoal Bay in the clear water most of the first day.  I got their and right away I started catching fish.  Before long it was noon and I had caught 12 dinks and no keepers.  I had lost the only good bite I had that morning.  Around 1:00 I decided to run back towards Dardanelle State Park and work a couple spots that I had in deeper water.  I had no luck for largemouth, but my rider and I caught about 30 white bass.  Day 1 of the event was over and I was tied in 108th place with zero keepers.  The only lure that worked for me was a swim senko and a paca craw.

Day 2 I was in the 2nd flight and decided to start the day in Piney Bay where I had caught 1 nice keeper in practice and 1 other dink.  Wouldn’t you know it at 8:20 I managed to get a 3.10 pound largemouth on a black and blue jig flipping the viney weeds.  It was the only fish that I would catch that day besides 1 other dink.  Though I was disappointed to this point I still had a chance to make a check because that one fish put me in 87th place and they were paying 50 places.

The 3rd day I was in the third flight and new I needed at least 6+ pounds to get into the top 50 and collect a check. I had scrapped all of what I had learned in practice and decided that I was going to run and gun fishing as much water as I could during the day. I was also not going to run more than 5 miles in any direction from the launch. It took a little while but at 10:00 I caught my first keeper of the day. A nice 2.4lb largemouth. I caught it flipping shallow viney weeds once again. At this point I had decided that I was going to flip as much weeds as I could find the rest of the day. Hoping to get 2 more good bites. It wasn’t meant to be. I had caught an 8 pound drum, but that was my only other fish. That one fish was enough to move me up to 78th place overall.

After the tournament was over I think that I should have traveled farther up river to Spadra. I don’t know if that would have helped me because over 1/2 of the field was fishing up there. What I would have liked to do is stick to my guns more that flip the entire event. The only keepers I caught were doing that. I learned some important lessons down there. Never be satisfied with the water you find in practice. There are always better spots out there. Another lesson which I relearned was to keep listening to your gut. If it says flip then flip. If it says throw a chatterbait, then throw a chatterbait. Once again I cannot put enough emphasis on how well this circuit is run. Take off was smooth, weigh-in was smooth, and even though the fishing was tough it was still an enjoyable tournament. I look forward to fishing the circuit again next year. I would like to end by thanking the ABA staff who put so much time and energy into the event and made it such a pleasurable experience.

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FLW Forrest Wood Cup!

FLW_1For the second time in our city’s history we are about to host a national championship in competitive bass fishing!  In the summer of the 2005 Pittsburgh hosted the Bassmaster Classic.  This week we will be hosting the Forrest Wood Cup!  The Forrest Wood Cup is the national championship for the FLW Tour and Series.  There will be 77 professional fisherman bidding to be the number 1 fisherman in the world and win the largest top prize to date.  The winner will recieve a total of $1,000,000.00!  Needless to say these guys are going to lay it all on the line this week.


There are several ways for professional fisherman to qualify to compete in this years Forrest Wood Cup.  I would like to start by saying that there is no easy way to qualify for this tournament.  No matter what path that the anglers took they had to compete against hundreds and sometimes thousands of competitors to get to this point.  The most qualifying positions come from the FLW Tour.  Based on the end of the year points standings 40 professional fisherman qualify for the tournament.  There were also 20 anglers that qualified through the FLW Series BP Eastern.  Another 10 anglers qualified through the FLW Series National Guard Western.  The bulk of the qualifiers come from those 3 circuits.  The top angler in each of the 5 Stren Series circuits also qualify.  The 2 hardest was to qualify is by winning the BFL All-American and the TBF National Championship.  Those 2 qualifiers have to compete against more anglers than any other qualifier to get into the Forrest Wood Cup.


Mon_riverThey are fishing the 3 rivers of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.  On the Allegheny River the competitors are allowed to head as far up river as the sixth lock.  The sixth lock is located just above the in downtown Kittanning Pennsylvania.  The locks are very time consuming and leave little time to fish so look for most guys to lock less than 3 times.  As for the Ohio River the competitors are allowed down stream as far as the Montgomery Locks and Dam.  The Monongahela River will open open to fishing up to and including the Youghiogheny River.  Chances are that most competitors will fish multiple rivers during the competition.


Located at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, the Family Fun Zone and Outdoor Show will offer something for everyone in your family at this event.  For the kids there will be games, simulators, and a trout pond.  That doesn’t mean that big kids can’t have fun doing those as well.  Other features include:  meeting professional anglers, demonstrations from vendors and the anglers, and food.  This is a true family environment so please be curtious.  For specific times and events, please check on the FLW Outdoors website (


If you have never experience a live weigh-in at any level you are in for a real treat.  Even if you have never fished you will be impressed by the bags of fish that are brought to the scales (alive) and later released back to the rivers.  Live weigh-ins  will occur Thursday-Sunday at the Mellon Arena.  Once again for more details please check out the FLW Outdoors Website and for specific times.  If all of that isn’t enough to bring you out to all of the championship festivities then perhaps the free concert performed by Eric Church will help bring you to the final day weigh-in.

I would like to take a minute to wish all of the competitors the best of luck in this years Forrest Wood Cup.  There are many talented professional all competing on multiple water ways that most are not conditioned to fish.  Now I would like to wish our hometown professional angler Dave Lefebre a special good luck.  This is as close as you can come to having home field advantage in this sport and I am sure that he plans to capitolize on his oppurtuning.  Dave grew up fishing our local waters and still live in Western Pennsylvania with his family.  Show your support and let him know that we are in his corner at the weigh-ins this week.

If you plan to follow the anglers in your boat remember a couple of things so that you don’t interfer with their chances of catching fish.  First, give them enough room to make their casts.  Second, stay behind them.  Don’t get out infront of their boat trying to get a look at what they are doing or how they are doing it.  Bring a set of binoculars to help you see instead.  Another thing to remember is to shut your sonars, combustion engines, and radios off.  Our rivers can be difficult enough to fish without adding other bad elements into the equation.  Finally, ask them if you are in there way or what direction they are heading so they you aren’t in their way.  They will appreciate that more than anything and after the days competition has concluded, will be more than happy to answer questions and sign autographs for you.  This is the only sports which you can be in the field of play with the professional athletes, so let’s remember that we can have an impact on the outcome of the tournament.  Now, go have fun and share a special memory with your family and friends.

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Ohio River Emsworth

sheepheadMy dad and I made it out fishing on Saturday from around 10am to 5pm or so.  We went out on the Ohio River up by the lock at Emsworth.  Fishing was slow but we were able to catch some fish on a small gold inline spinner and gulp minnows on the bottom. We did get a bunch of different species: smallmouth and spotted bass, white bass, catfish, and a nice drum (sheephead).  The river was a little low but was still moving pretty good.  The water was clear to lightly stained and 67 degrees.

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Night Out on the Allegheny River


My buddy BJ and I went out on the Springdale pool of the Allegheny river for a few hours Friday after work.  BJ just purchased his first boat so we went out to check it out.  Since we are already out on the water we decided to do a little fishing while we were out.  We were only able to stay out for 2-2 ½ hours but ended up landing 8 bass (7 spotted and 1 smallmouth) as well as 4 rock bass.  All the fish we caught came by working walls and pillars with crawfish style plastics, Texas rigged with a 1/8 bullet weight.  Had to let the baits sit in place for a good 20-30 seconds to get them to take it.  Here is BJ first fish on his new boat.  Really nice looking spotted bass.  I would say it was 15-16″ and really fat.

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