Archive for the Tournament Updates Category

Co-angler Report – Lake Chickamauga FLW Event

Posted in FLW Tournaments, Tournament Updates with tags , , , , , on July 5, 2013 by

Pro-staff Contributor: Michaela Anderson

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to fish as a co-angler in the last FLW Tour event on Lake Chickamauga in Dayton, Tennessee last weekend.  This was a great opportunity to fish with the pros and get a taste of what tournaments will be like once I move beyond college fishing tournaments.


Mich 3On the first day of prefishing I fished with Gussy. We fished a lot of different areas and tried a lot of techniques. We were able to catch some small fish around laydowns and a few keepers in the grass, but once we moved out a little deeper we caught better fish. In a few spots, where we marked fish, we were able to catch a few on drop shots. While fishing a point where we had graphed fish, out of nowhere a school of giant bass started busting shad on the surface. We turned the trolling motor on high and hustled over there. I threw in a big topwater bait and had one smack it away, then Gussy threw in a big fluke and caught at least a six-pounder.

During the following two days of practice I was able to fish with Terry Bolton. He is an awesome ledge fisherman and I knew I was going to learn a lot. During our two days of practice together we did a lot of idling and scanned a bunch of ledges. If we didn’t graph fish we went to the next ledge. There are a lot of ledges to look at so it took up a lot of time. There were some key features we were looking for: old creek channels, rocks or shells, points or anything different that helped narrow down our search. The key lures we used were football head jigs and big 10-inch worms on the VMC rugby jig. We also threw deep diving crankbaits like a DT-20—which caught fish—but the slower presentations on the bottom produced bigger fish. Towards the end of the day, we decided to try something different and hit a point with shallow grass and a few brush piles. On my second cast with a size 7 Rippin’ Rap, I caught a chunky five-pounder. We also caught a few nice fish out of the brush piles.

Tournament Fishing

For the first day of the tournament I was paired with Dale Hightower.  In the morning , we fished a rocky bank and jetty that had some grass. Then later in the day, we flipped some laydowns and docks. It was tough to fish the rock bank and jetty from the back of the boat because we were paralleling the bank so it made it difficult to cast. However, I was able to catch two keepers off of the front face of the rock jetty. There was a little hole that I slow rolled the Rippin Rap through—keeping it a little bit above the bottom.

Mich 1The second day I fished with Rodney Thomason and had a ton of fun. He didn’t want to battle people for spots on ledges so he had found some grass that had grown to the surface and some lily pads. I had not seen lily pads or grass that tall all week, so I was excited to try something new. I caught some small fish on a Trigger X Flutter Worm and he caught a few on a frog but we couldn’t connect with any keepers. Rodney had at least one monster bass blow up on a frog, but it just pushed it away and didn’t eat it.

I picked up a few lessons as a co-angler in this tournament.  Both boaters I fished with did not want to be fighting for a spot on the ledges and fishing right next to other competitors. Because of this, they taught me that there are still fish to be caught shallow—even when everyone else is deep. It is tough to be a co-angler in these events, because it is totally dependent on your draw and if you are put around fish, but it was a great learning experience and I hope I will be able to fish a few more events next year!

Michaela Anderson is a college angler fishing the FLW, B.A.S.S. College Circuits and select FLW Walmart Tour events representing, Trigger X and the University of St. Thomas. You can follow her on Twitter (@MichaelaFishing) and like her on Facebook (


Lake Chickamauga FLW Tour Report

Posted in Fishing Tips, FLW Tournaments, Tournament Updates with tags , , , , , on July 3, 2013 by

Pro-staff Contributor: Jeff Gustafson

Gussy prefishing on Lake Chickamauga

Gussy prefishing on Lake Chickamauga

The final event of the 2013 FLW Tour season took place this past weekend at Lake Chickamauga in Tennessee.  For many anglers on the tour, this was an important event, because after it was finished the 35 anglers with the most points after the six-event season qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup—the annual Tour Championship where anglers fish for a first place prize of $500,000.  My chances of qualifying for the Cup were eliminated earlier in the season after a couple of bad tournaments.  So I went into the event with the goal to cash a check and end the season on a good note.

I had spent a few days at Chickamauga in late May before the lake went off limits, which helped me because I had a good idea of what I wanted to do when I got back for the official practice.  I planned to check out some places where I had caught fish earlier—both shallow and deep—hoping that would give me a start on things I should focus on during the week of the tournament.

Over the course of the three day practice for this tournament, I found a few different areas that held fish, and had a reliable dock pattern that would put a few extra fish in the boat after I was finished working over my “spots.”  The best place I found was a small ledge that had a shell bed on it.  In practice I caught a couple of big fish off of it on a ¾oz football jig.

Gussy with friend and fellow pro-angler, Blake Nick at the rules meeting.

Gussy with friend and fellow pro-angler, Blake Nick at the rules meeting.

When the event started, this ledge was my first stop and it paid off when I caught a five-pound largemouth on my third cast of the day.  I caught this fish on a Jackall Muscle Deep 15 crankbait in the chartreuse shad color.  I was throwing this bait on a 7’11” G. Loomis GLX crankbait rod (GLX955CBR)Shimano Chronarch reel (CH200E6) and 12 lb Sunline Sniper FC line.  I could get this bait to touch the bottom in 14-16 feet, where the fish were and put a few of my biggest fish in the boat during the tournament with this set up. Over the course of the event, I also caught a few of my weigh fish on a football jig, a drop-shot rig and by pitching a jig around some docks—all using G. Loomis rods and Shimano reels.

After a good catch on the first day (18-05), I sat in 21st place.  My goal on day two was to improve my position and try to make the top 20, which would have allowed me to fish another day.  I ended up having a little bit of a tougher second day and brought in 13-14, to finish in 26th place—earning a check for $10,000.

Overall, my experience fishing the FLW Tour this season was awesome!  I learned a lot and look forward to giving it another shot next year.  I feel like the experiences I had this year, both good and bad, will help me down the road.  Huge thanks go out to all of my sponsors for making it possible for me to fish the FLW Tour this year, as well as all the people that supported me through the ups and downs of the season.  It’s been fun!

Jeff Gustafson is a professional angler living in Kenora, Ontario on the shores of Lake of the Woods. Outdoor writer, fishing promoter and host of “Fishing with Gussy.” You’ll see him fishing the Walmart FLW Tour representing and Lund boats among others. You can follow him on Twitter (@GussyOutdoors) and like him on Facebook (

Here was the biggest fish Gussy caught at Chickamauga--it was over six pounds.

Here was the biggest fish Gussy caught at Chickamauga–it was over six pounds.

Recap of the Masters Walleye Circuit – Lake Winnebago Event

Posted in Fishing Tips, Tournament Updates with tags , , , , , on July 2, 2013 by

We sat down with Korey Sprengel after another strong finish–this time, in the Masters Walleye Circuit event on Lake Winnebago.

How’d you guys finish?

Derek Navis and I finished in 6th place out of 118 boats, with 29lbs 3oz, and won $2,750.

Korey and his partner after Cabela's MWC. Photo from

Korey and his partner after Cabela’s MWC. Photo from

Can you tell us a little bit about the MWC tour and Lake Winnebago?

The Masters Walleye Circuit is a team format tournament and is one of the oldest circuits–it’s been going for 29 years. Lake Winnebago would be considered my home lake, at around 30 minutes from my house, it is the largest lake in Wisconsin. It’s considered a system–made up of four lakes and many rivers–so there are endless areas to cover.  It makes for a very diverse tournament!

How was your experience prefishing? What tactics did you use to get prepared for the tournament?

Prefishing was a little tough for me. I caught a ton of walleyes each day (40-50) but many were in the 12-14 inch range. There is an area that I know well, and expected to spend a lot of my tournament time fishing, but I only spent one hour during prefishing in this area so that I could concentrate on locating areas for big fish. I mainly trolled crawler harnesses in golds and purples on mud flats and shoreline breaks. I also casted Berkley Flicker Shads on main lake points and pitched Berkley Ribworms on 1/4 oz jigs in the river.

Did you change your plans for day two or stick with what you did in day one because you had success?

Photo from

Photo from

We stuck to our same day-one game plan which was trolling. This was a no cull tournament: we were allowed to keep six fish but we only weigh five, leaving us one fish for insurance. So, we stuck to our same plan and only kept fish over 22in if we caught them before noon. Right away in the morning, we threw back three fish from 18-21 inches and kept one at 24 inches. With strong northeast winds at 15-20 mph, our area got too stirred up and muddy.  With 1 1/2 hours left, we gave up on it and just went to get a limit in the box. We started casting main lake points with Flicker Shads in purple tiger and firetiger and caught a 19 inches fish with 15 minutes to go. I told my partner that we needed to get the trolling rods back out and troll for the last 10 minutes, so we put as many baits in the water as we could to try to get a limit. Before we got our last Off-shore Planer Board out, we had a 21-incher on the floor, then another short fish, and then we lost 4-5 more fish! It was just chaos during those last ten minutes! Because we ran it til the last second, the Mercury-powered Ranger was full throttle all the way to check in, and set down with 15 seconds to spare.  We used every minute we had that day for 3 fish!

When is your next tournament?

My next stop will be National Walleye Tour at Sturgeon Bay,WI. It’s one of my favorite places–I can’t wait.

Any parting thoughts or words of wisdom?

Always give it your all and use every second you can because it might just pay off.  The last two fish in the last 10 min of fishing were worth over a $1000.

Photo from

Photo from

Q&A with Andy Young—Winner of the June 2013 Denny’s Super 30

Posted in Tournament Updates with tags , , , , on June 20, 2013 by

We got a chance to catch up with Andy Young to chat about his tournament win in the Denny’s Super 30.

Where does the Denny’s Super 30 take place and how often?

There are five tournaments, all on Lake Minnetonka, in Minnesota, the first one is in May and the last one is in September.Andy Young Denny's Super 30

There are a lot of regular anglers in these tournaments. Do you fish every one? 

There is a limit of 50 boats in each tournament, and yes I do fish all of them. The tournament fills up every year, and you usually have to fish all five of them to get in.

How does the game change when there are a lot of anglers that are familiar with the lake and the tournament?

Well, most of the fisherman in this tourney are from this area and have been fishing tournaments on Tonka for many years. So there are very few, if any, secret spots. In most cases, it takes a 3 1/2 pound average to even cash a check and it usually takes over a 4 pound average to win.

So, how’d you do?

We had 8 fish for 28.9 pounds and we won.

How does it feel to win?

It feels great to win. We have had a handful of second place finishes, and a bunch of top-five finishes but the last Denny’s tournament that we won on Minnetonka was way back in 2004.

What tactics and lures did you use to get your huge bag and how’d you catch that Swamp Donkey?

AndyWe caught all of our fish by sight-fishing on beds. Our main baits were a 3-inch Biovex Klot Fish Tail, an Outkast Tackle Finesse jig with a Zoom Little Critter Craw trailer, and a 4-inch Senko.

We located that big swamp donkey the day before the tournament—it was on a big flat, in about three feet of water, way out in the middle of nowhere, so I thought there was a really good chance that we would get it. When we went to this location on the morning of the tournament, it was there!  On the first cast that I made to it, it instantly grabbed my jig but I committed the cardinal sin and set the hook way too hard—breaking it off. My partner was screaming and yelling at me and I was almost in tears—ha ha. So I picked up a spinning rod with a little 4-inch Senko with 10-pound line. In two casts it bit again. The fight was on! My partner Larry started screaming and yelling again, freaking out, running around the boat with a 10′ net. But we got her—it was pretty cool!

When is your next tournament?

I’ll be returning to the Denny’s Super 30 on Lake Minnetonka on July 15, 2013.

Did you pick up any tricks from this tourney to apply to the next one?

Yes, I learned that you should fish the conditions that the day offers you. Yesterday it was bright, sunny and fairly calm so we decided to put the trolling motor on high to cover a ton of water looking for spawning fish on beds—and, sure enough, we found them.

Any parting thoughts or words of wisdom?

Don’t give up on a spawning fish even if you break it off—if it’s an aggressive fish, it will bite again.

Andy Young is a pro angler, fishing the Bassmaster Open tournaments. You can like him on Facebook here for updates on his fishing experience.

Andy and Partner after Win

Recap of National Walleye Tour-Lake Erie Event

Posted in Fishing Tips, Tournament Updates, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 19, 2013 by

The anglers had another strong NWT tournament on Lake Erie in Port Clinton, OH. Even though the tournament was unexpectedly cut down to one day, every one of them landed in the money! We sat down with Dusty Minke, Korey Sprengel and Bill Shimota again to get their thoughts.

So, first things first, how did you guys finish?

Dusty – I took home $11,000 for finishing in 9th place with 44.15 pounds.

Dusty on Lake Erie.

Dusty on Lake Erie.

Korey – I took 16th place with 42.87 pounds and won $6,555.

Bill – I ended in 24th place with 41.11 pounds for $4,770 in winnings.

Nice job guys!  What were your thoughts before going into the tournament?

Dusty – Honestly, I felt pretty good even though practice was short for me—I was only able to prefish Monday through Wednesday.  The bite was good during practice and our walleye team had a game plan going into the event! We had a great crew; everyone pitched in and worked hard.

Bill – I was pretty confident going into the event, and I told myself that I would be disappointed if I came in with less than forty pounds.  At the same time, I knew most of my competitors would have the same kind of prefishing experience so it would come down to getting the 9-10 pounders instead of 7-8 pound fish.

Korey – I thought that we all had a shot at having a good finish.  Prefishing went great, as it did for everyone else, but we stumbled upon an area in prefishing that had quality fish that weighed more than average fish of the same length.

How much experience have you had fishing this specific location? How did the weather affect your prefishing?

Bill – I have competed in about eight tournaments on Lake Erie.  The weather during practice was great; we were able to go where we needed to fish almost every day, which is pretty rare for Lake Erie.

Korey – This was my first tournament on Lake Erie but I felt confident because I had learned a lot about what to expect and where to look for the right fish. The weather was fairly good when we were prefishing, we only lost one day due to wind—the day before the tournament.

Dusty – This was the second event for me on Lake Erie.  Like Bill said, the weather was nice for the short time I was prefishing but we had our work cut out for us and a lot of miles to cover because Canada was in play—I really put Sparkie, the Ranger Evinrude, to work!  Peely Island and the Canadian side offer endless fishable water, making it hard to dissect in a short amount of time.

The tournament was postponed on Day One and didn’t start until June 15th. Why did that happen?

Dusty – There was a wind and small craft advisory—basically the waves were too big to let us out of the gate.  We were running around 25 miles so that could have taken a long time in that wind…

Korey – The winds were gusting over 30 mph.

Dusty – …Some other teams were running 50 miles one way to the East, so I couldn’t imagine that would have been ideal in those conditions.

What were your thoughts when Day One was postponed?

Bill – I think it was a good call but I was disappointed because I was so excited to get out to those big walleyes again!

Korey – I was kind of relieved knowing that I was making a 25-mile run on the lake no matter the weather conditions, but it may have played to our advantage if we would have started the tournament on the 14th as planned.

Korey on Lake Erie.

Korey on Lake Erie.

Dusty – Honestly I was ready to go! But when I looked at the main water I could see it was brutal and that the tournament director made the right call! We prepare ourselves to compete and fish but when it comes down to it, the tournament has to consider the safety of the anglers. No matter what we have to respect the director’s call!

What tactics and lures did you use to fish?

Korey – We trolled Chartreuse Crawler harnesses with gold or antifreeze blades in Colorado, pulling them behind 3oz weights. The key was to keep moving around to find active fish—after about 2-3 passes on a school they would scatter or quit biting.

Bill – I pulled Jolly Roger Spinners and in-line weights.

Dusty – I was fishing with spinners and crawlers—using a mixture of VMC, Northland and Jolly Rogers spinners in Gold and Chartreuse with the gold-orange–green and chartreuse beads. I also used 1-1/2 and 2 ounce inline weights, fishing from 20 to 30 feet behind off-shore planer boards in 40 Feet of water.  Typically, I’d be moving around .9-1.3mph. This was the first time I had only six rods in the boat for the tournament!

Did you have to adapt your methods because of the wind and weather?

Bill – The only thing we had to adapt to was the current; you really had to watch it every day and that would tell you how fast or slow you needed to troll.

Dusty – The day of the tournament was flat and calm, just like it was during prefishing, so no changes were needed. I did, however, learn to give myself more time to get in! The wind kicked up on the ride back which created big waves off of the waves created by pleasure boaters in the area. I was a little nervous I wouldn’t make it back in time.

You all did really well this tournament, but did you try any tactics that didn’t work?

Korey – During prefishing, I tried cranks but didn’t have much luck. I probably should have tried them more because this is how the tournament was won!

Bill – I didn’t really experiment with tactics.  I’ve been on Lake Erie enough times to know what needs to be done and I didn’t waste any time trying new things.

Day two was cancelled due to weather. Do you think things would have turned out differently if you’d had a second tournament day?

Bill – Again it was a great call with safety in mind, but I was bummed because I felt I could move up in the standings with a second day to fish.  That being said, when the smoke cleared, we were all pretty happy to end up in the money!

Bill on Lake Erie.

Bill on Lake Erie.

Korey – If we would have had a second day it might of played to our advantage a little—because we knew that we were going about half as far as some of the leaders…but it would be hard to say if that would have played out as we hoped.

Dusty – I definitely think it would have played out differently! That is why the NWT hosts two-day events. It allows the tournament to be won by someone who consistently brings in big bags. I feel that if we could have returned to our spot for a second day that we could have got them—but there are some things we will never know! Weather, wind, and currents change and the angler that adapts and finds them can have the advantage. However, I respect the decision to cancel day two because the wind got worse, which would have been really hard on the equipment and anglers.

When is your next tournament?

Dusty and Bill – NWT in Sturgeon Bay, WI. It will take place on July 26th and 27th.

Korey – My next tournament will be the MWC on Winnebago, June 28th and 29th.

Do you have any parting thoughts or words of wisdom?

Bill – If you ever have a chance to experience fishing on Lake Erie I would highly suggest it.  Like they say, “There’s Lake Erie, and then there’s everywhere else!”  Where else would you need an 8-pound average just to get a check?

Guys at the Lake Erie NWT Event

Tournament Recap: FLW College Central Qualifier on Kentucky Lake

Posted in FLW Tournaments, Tournament Updates with tags , , , , , , on June 18, 2013 by

Pro-staff Contributor: Michaela Anderson

This week was the last FLW College Central Qualifier on Kentucky Lake. Unfortunately, we were not able to prefish this event because I was recently in an accident. Luckily, everyone in the vehicle walked away without a scratch, but I can’t say the same about my boat and truck—which were both totaled! As discussed in my blog about whether prefishing is worth the work, I do not like fishing tournaments without logging some time on the water.  However, I was assured after doing some research and talking to friends that have fished the lake in the past that there were a lot of fish in the lake and it would be a fun tournament to attend. Also, we were motivated to participate in this event because it was our last chance to qualify for the FLW Central Invitational.

Michaela's truck and boat after the accident.

Michaela’s truck and boat after the accident.

From our research we determined that bigger fish would be caught on the ledges. I like throwing big, deep-diving, crank baits like a Rapala DT-20, so I was looking forward to trying my hand at fishing ledges. The morning of the tournament, we made the long run up towards the dam to an area of ledges we knew were productive. We found an area of shell beds on a ledge that we marked fish on, and started the morning there. My partner, Bryan Billeadeau, caught our three keepers in this spot with a Terminator football head jig. I was throwing all sorts of baits trying to get a bigger bite. I caught at least ten short fish with a Carolina rigged lizard, but wasn’t producing fish of any size. I also tried the DT for more of a reaction bite but had no luck. We started to graph suspending fish over the shell bed we were fishing, so I tried a Scatter Rap through the school again with no luck. After Bryan caught the third keeper, I switched to a football head jig as well but I continued to catch short fish.

Bryan with the three keepers from the tournament.

Bryan with the three keepers from the tournament.

We stayed in that area for most of the day because we knew it held big fish and we had a lot of fun catching a bunch of short fish. With about an hour and a half left, we ran back towards the launch and fished another shell bed—which again only produced short fish. We ended the day in 19th place and were 4 ounces away from qualifying. It was a little upsetting that we couldn’t the additional fish we needed to qualify for the invitational, but we were happy with the way we fished given we did not have a chance to prefish. In hindsight, the only thing I would have tried differently would be a Trigger X flutter worm or drop dead minnow on the suspending fish.

Overall, one of the biggest things I learned is how many nice people there are in the fishing industry—everyone was willing to help us out. One of our friends that fishes the FLW Everstart Tour stayed an extra night so that we could use his boat for the day. He woke up early on his day off to meet us at the landing and drop us into the lake. Without him we would not have been able to fish the tournament so I am extremely grateful.

Michaela Anderson is a college angler fishing the FLW, B.A.S.S. College Circuits and select FLW Walmart Tour events representing, Trigger X and the University of St. Thomas. You can follow her on Twitter (@MichaelaFishing) and like her on Facebook (

Grand Lake, OK FLW Tour Report

Posted in FLW Tournaments, Tournament Updates with tags , , , , , on June 12, 2013 by

Pro-staff Contributor: Jeff Gustafson

The fifth stop on the 2013 FLW Tour took place this past weekend at Oklahoma’s Grand Lake.  I arrived in Grove, Oklahoma the day before practice started, and while I drove over a bridge on the lake I was shocked to see the high, dirty water.  There were literally thousands of logs and pieces of debris floating down the lake—a result of heavy rains accompanying the nasty storms that have gone through Oklahoma recently.  Fishing this type of water was going to be a new experience for me.

A look at the flooded shoreline of Grand Lake.

A look at the flooded shoreline of Grand Lake.

During my first morning of practice, things started out pretty well.  It didn’t take me long to start catching some nice fish by flipping a ½ oz jig in some of the flooded bushes and wood along the bank of the lake.  Over the course of the day, I caught several good fish and figured I was onto a solid program that would carry me through the weekend.  But, the next two days of practice were not as good as the first.  I wasn’t sure if I had simply found a good area on the first day or if the pattern was not as solid as I thought.

Heading into the event I figured that 13 pounds per day would likely be enough to get a check at this event, based on what I saw in practice and what some of the other anglers were saying.  But as it turns out, I was way off on that prediction.  I brought in 12 pounds the first day of the tournament and found myself sitting in 94th place.  On day two, I did a little bit better and caught 13 pounds but it didn’t help my final standings.  I ended up with a 99th place finish at this tournament.

Even though I ended outside of the money, I still had some success with my techniques.  I caught most of my fish with a jig on a 7’5″ G. Loomis GL2 flipping stick matched with a 7:0:1 Shimano Core 100 and 20 lb Sunline Sniper Fluorocarbon.  I also caught a few fish with a Jackall SK-Pop Grande on a 6’8″ Shimano Crucial topwater rod  matched up with a 7:0:1 Shimano Chronarch reel and 30 lb Power Pro Super Slick line.

Gussy with a big fish he caught during practice.

Gussy with a big fish he caught during practice.

Obviously I’m disappointed with where I finished, but I am taking some positive notes from the experience.  I lost two big fish during the first day of the tournament, they just jumped off on me, so I ended up weighing a couple of small fish that day.  I’m not trying to give you the “woulda, coulda” routine, but I know that if I would have landed those two fish I would have been flirting with getting a check and a happy finish.  So I feel like I was on the right program with my technique but maybe needed to find a better location.  I’m taking the positive out of all of these events and hopefully next year when I’m faced with similar conditions I’ll be able to adjust a little more quickly.

There is one event left on the 2013 FLW Tour Majors schedule coming up in a couple weeks at Tennessee’s Lake Chickamauga.  I’m looking forward to getting on the water on Chickamauga and trying to put together a solid game plan to end the season on a strong note.

Jeff Gustafson is a professional angler living in Kenora, Ontario on the shores of Lake of the Woods. Outdoor writer, fishing promoter and host of “Fishing with Gussy.” You’ll see him fishing the Walmart FLW Tour representing and Lund boats among others. You can follow him on Twitter (@GussyOutdoors) and like him on Facebook (