A WIN at Eufaula

Man what a year! The 3rd stop of the Flw Bama Division BFL on Lake Eufaula and I was blessed with year win!

Practice started off really rough! There were 20-30 mph winds that produced 2-4 waves and made it really hard to move around on the huge open lake.

Lake Eufaula is known for its legendary ledges and I had decided to focus my whole 2 days of practice offshore looking for those first big female’s that were moving out to their summer haunts.

While taking waves over the side of the boat while idling places and over front while trying to fish the places I had found, I was lucky enough to find around 5-7 places that I thought would be promising for the tournament.

As tournament day dawned, the wind had already started blowing around 10mph. I knew it was gonna be rough!

One thing about I’m blessed with the best equipment in the industry and they handle this type of weather with ease!

I get to my first stop and to my surprise no one was on the spot. I quickly get lined up on my waypoint and fire a cast with a 5xd crankbait up on the ledge, I feel the crankbait deflect off a stump and then feel a fish hit it! I lean into it but it just feels like dead weight, as my line get closer and the fish appear up out of the depths of Lake Eufaula, to my surprise there are 2 fish on the crankbait! As you never are usually luck enough to land both fish when this happens, that day was meant to be as I land a 5lber and a 4lber !

Shortly after that I caught a 4.5lber and about 20min after that I landed the big fish of the tournament a 6.5 lber! That spot was loaded!

I finished out the day catch numerous 2-3lbers and finally culling up to a total of 22lb-13oz to take the win.

Without my Phoenix 920/ Mercury 250 proxs, Lowrance Electronics, MinnKota.ultrex trolling motor, and my 13Fishing equipment I would not have been able to get to the fish,find them, hold on the spot and last but not least I wouldn’t have been able to cast accurately in the strong wind without those 13 Fishing reels!

Looking forward to the last regular season BFL event on Neely Henry in July! Maybe I can do well there and keep my AOY lead!

 

BASS Nation

I just returned a few weeks ago from the BASS NATION CENTRAL REGIONAL at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.

This tournament is made up of 10 man teams from 19 states where one person from each state gets an opportunity to advance to have a chance to fish the B.A.S.S Master Classic!

The lake is huge with lots of pockets and big creek arms to explore.

I had 4 days to practice and develop a game plan for the tournament. I broke the lake down into 3 sections. In my research of the lake,I knew that it was taking weights in the low 20’s to be competitive.

During practice we had a major cold front hit and it was making the bite pretty tough.

I figured out a few things in the first 3 days of practice and decided to return to the most productive place on the 4th and final day of practice and try and expand on what I had learned.

The first day of the tournament was calling for 20-30 mph winds, and I knew moving around and covering water would be difficult.

I started on my best place and quickly caught close to 13lbs on a Bo’s Jigs spinnerbait and the trusty tried and true wiggle wart. Had that weight by 9:30 and never could cull up the rest of the day.

I started the second day in 52nd place overall and 6th in the state of Alabama. I knew if I wanted to make the cut and fish Friday, I would have to step up my game and figure out how to catch some bigger fish.

On day two, I ran back to the place I started the first day and after about 3 hrs without a bite. It was clear I would have to do something different and adapt to the changing conditions.

I had gotten some decent bites in practice on a Megabass Vision 110 jerkbait, so I decided to run around and fish windy main lake points with the jerkbait.

By the time it was weigh in, I had managed to put together a limit of fish that I estimatedto be close to 19lbs and had high hopes that it would move me up in the standings.

After the weigh-in concluded I had made the cut moved up to 21st overall and 2nd in the state.

I was pretty happy with the day and was looking forward to the 3rd and final day but new the conditions were changing again and I would more than likely have to change with them.

After launch on the final day I quickly realized that I was right and with the conditions I would have to change. With no wind on the final day they just would not commit to the jerkbait.

I picked up a square bill and started covering shallow bays where I thought the fish were moving into to spawn. I caught 3 fish that weighed 11lbs and unfortunately broke to other fish off that I estimated to be in the 3lbs class.

At the end of the day I moved up to 18th overall and stayed in 2nd in the state.

Overall I feel great about the tournament, especially on a lake I’ve never been to!

Looking forward to the next Bama division BFL on Lake Eufaula on the 29th!

I’ll keep everyone posted on how that one goes!

A big Thanks to everyone for all the support!

Josh

A Cold BFL

Well, the first tournament of the season has come and gone, and it was a tough one! The weather conditions were rough with a high of 35 and a north wind at 10 to 20 mph; frigid to say the least!

I was able to practice Thursday and Friday before the tournament. On Thursday, I located some fish shallow in a creek. Most were smaller, buck bass, but I knew that when the bucks start moving into shallow areas the bigger females would not be far behind.

I decided to slide out a little deeper and see if there were some bigger fish staging there. My hunch paid off as I was able find better quality on the edge of the creek channel.

On Friday, I tried to expand what I had learned on Thursday but was unable to find anything that I felt would be productive.

As Saturday dawned a balmy 22 degrees with 15-degree wind chill, my only option  was to race to the area I had found in hopes that no one else had found it. Unfortunately, another tournament had started before us and a few boats were in the area.

I managed to scratch out a limit that weighed right at 11lbs–good enough for a 46th place finish out of 170 boats. Most of the other boats in the area caught fish as well, which makes it tough when other anglers are picking fish off as well.

I caught most of my fish on various shad and crawfish pattern rattle baits.

My 13 Fishing  Envy black 7’1″ cranking fit the bill for the rattle baits along with the concept C-reels. They both performed flawlessly under less than ideal conditions.

I really can’t say enough about my Phoenix 920 pro xp and Mercury pro xs combo. The wind was brutal and the water was rough! I had a pretty long run and they got me there and back without having to go to the chiropractor and break the bank at the gas station!

I’ll be back after them this weekend and hopefully, get a little redemption!

Tightlines,

Josh

2016 Fishing Season

It’s hard to believe the 2016 season is already upon us. I’m really looking forward to getting things kicked off this weekend on Lake Guntersville in the first BFL of the year.

Looking into the year, my tournament schedule as well as my at home schedule is packed, especially after Meredith and I were blessed with our son, River, back in November to top of our family of 5. My hope is the he will grow to the have the passion for the outdoors as I do!

Unfortunately, I missed getting in the Southern Opens by a few spots this year, so we’ll try again next year. I’ll be fishing several different trails this year to include the, BFL’s, Alabama Bass Trail, Ram Open Series, ABA 100% TEAM TRAIL, along with several others.

I’m also going to be offering a few guide trips this year on Neely Henry, Weiss, Logan Martin and Guntersville. So if you’re interested or know of someone that is, please free to give me a shout!

Although 2015 was one of my best, my 2016 goals are to improve on last year, make better decisions, and have fun!

I’m really blessed to be partnered with some awesome companies that make my job easier and more enjoyable. Phoenix Boats, Mercury Marine, Powerpole, Gambler Baits, Stateline Marine, Missile Baits to just name a few. If want to improve your game try some of these companies, you won’t be disappointed!

Check back this week and hopefully I’ll have a good report from Guntersville. The weather is gonna be rough, but fish still have to eat… maybe I can get my baits in front of a few!

ABA Win at Guntersville

Wow! It’s been a busy last couple of weeks! Here’s a recap of my win at Lake Guntersville in the ABA Weekend Series on April 4th.

It being the first of April I knew going into practice that it more than likely would set up as a spawning/shallow water deal. It’s just that time of year for fish to be shallow!

After launching my boat, it didn’t take long to realize my hunch was true. There were fish all over the bank! Some locked on bed and some just cruising.

Bed fishing is not my favorite way to fish. Even though I spent most of the day Thursday checking all the areas I knew that fish spawned in, I didn’t really want to fish that way.

On Friday I spent all day looking for places fish were staging to spawn. That day I found several areas holding fish that I could catch on a chatterbait and swim jig.

Looking at the extended forecast, I knew there was a strong front moving in with high wind forecasted for 15-20 mph. Anyone that knows Guntersville, knows it can be tough to fish with high wind.

Saturday morning dawned a cool 45 degrees and the high 15-20mph wind they had called for.

After blast off, I immediately realized my areas I had planned on fishing had been trashed by the high winds and the fish I had found on bed would be impossible to see.

I decided to go into the areas I had seen fish spawning and cruising the banks and blind cast and pitch to any visible cover I could find.

That decision seemed to work as I quickly began to catch quality fish and steadily culled up to my final weight of 24.74!

My tackle of choice was casting/pitching a Texas-rigged Gambler green pumpkin why knot and/or a Missle Baits D-bomb with a 5/16 tungsten weight. I was using a 13Fishing concept C reel 7.3:1 and Envy Black 7’1″ heavy rod. With the wind so strong this combo allowed me to cast efficiently in the wind and feel those subtle bites!

Tight lines! 
Josh

Weekend Series Win

Alabama Bass Trail at Guntersville

Just want to say a big thank you to all of my family, friends, and sponsors for the support of the 2015 season. It has taken your help just to begin this new year.

This past week has been a whirlwind of adverse conditions and emotions. I have fished  Guntersville a lot over the past few years, and from past experience I knew that it would take close to 30 lbs, if not more, to win. I knew that many of the big bags were coming from close to the main river channels that hold the better grass.

Going in to practice and looking at the extended forecast, it was calling for a major snow event on Wednesday night. I practiced Wednesday through Friday in sub-artic conditions with little to show for my efforts. I spent all 3 days searching the river  hoping to find that magical stretch that held a big school of those pre-spawn females waiting to move up to shallow flats. All I had to show for my time was 2 average fish in 3 days.

Tournament day dawned a cool 24 degrees as I was boat #16 to take to the water. I decided to scrap how I practiced and run new water. I started off on a shallow flat, close to the river, where I had previous success. 30 minutes in I hooked into the first fish of the morning, that would be the biggest fish of the day for us at 8.05 lbs.

After that, we steadily caught quality fish in grass in the 4-6 feet range. By 10 o’clock, we had boxed a limit that would weigh 22+ lbs. We decided to make a move to deeper banks and from there, culled our way to a winning weight of 28.94 lbs.

I had 3 main baits of choice, but my main one, which was the Megabass Vision 110, I picked up from the Dick’s Sporting Goods booth at the Bassmaster Classic last week in South Carolina. It is a color that I was introduced to called the HT Kossori Shad at the Megabass booth. This bait accounted for multiple weigh fish for us. I threw this bait on a 6’10 Envy Black 13Fishing rod and a 13 Fishing Concept C reel.

My other two baits were a Chrome and Blue Rattlebait and a mixture of Gambler Big EZ and Missile Baits Shockwave Swimbaits in various shad colors. I threw these baits on the 13Fishing 7’1 Envy Black Rod and same reel as the jerkbait.

Next up is the BFL this weekend on Guntersville in which I hope to be able to duplicate the pattern from this past weekend. And then, the next ABT is on one of my favorite lakes, Neely Henry. Looking forward to warmer weather and great fishing ahead.

Josh

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Season Kickoff

The 2015 season kicked off  last Saturday on Lake Guntersville for the BFL Choo Choo Division. The week started on Thursday as I practiced during a cold front with highs in the mid-30s and winds 20-25 mph. Fishing has been tough on Guntersville for the past couple of weeks, with fish being in very small areas. If you didn’t find those small areas, then it was very tough to get bites.

Luckily, late in the day on Thursday I found a small patch of grass that I felt I could get a decent limit out of. Saturday came and I was boat #6 out of the gate.  I went straight to the patch of grass I had found, and to my surprise no one had else had found it. I immediately started to catch keeper fish, but lost several quality fish. I caught most of my fish on a chrome with blue back, rattle-trap. I was throwing on new, 13Fishing Concept C reel and a new, Envy Black 7’1 MH rod.

I ended the day catching 14.13 for a 34th place finish. I came away with a small check and valuable points.

Final Stop of the ABT

This past Saturday we finished 18th in the final stop of the inaugural year of the ABT (Alabama Bass Trail) and what a year it’s been! Kay Donaldson and the whole ABT crew have done a great job this year running this trail!

Going into this last tournament myself and my partner were 59th in points. We knew we would need to have a really good finish to make it into the top 50 in points to advance to the championship at Smith lake in October.

Fortunately, I was able to spend a couple of days practicing before the tournament. I new there were some good fish being caught shallow, but I never was able to find a pattern shallow that I thought we could do well with. After spending a day looking for shallow fish, I spent the second day looking deep and was fortunate to find a couple of schools of active fish that I really felt that we could do well on. They were a lot deeper than any fish I had ever caught on any Coosa River lake.

Thankfully no one else found one of the schools and we were able to catch 14.64 throwing Strike King crankbaits, Gambler ledge worms, and Missile Baits Tomahawk worms. We finished the day in 18th and moved up to 35th in points to make the championship!

I fished Smith Lake back in March in the Southern Open and had a decent finish in that tournament so really looking forward to getting back after the big spotted bass!

I want to thank Stateline Marine, Phoenix Boats, Mercury Marine, Power Pole, Shotgun Sports, Bragg Taxidermy, Gambler Lures, Freedom House Productions, Missile Baits, Innovative People Solutions for all the support thus far this season.  Most of all I want to thank God for giving me such supportive friends and family and these opportunities to do what love to do!

Lessons Learned at Pickwick

Just finished the 2nd stop of the ABT on Lake Pickwick and my partner and I did not have the finish we were looking for. I had a great practice catching quality, largemouth and smallmouth using various types of swimbaits, including Missile Baits Shockwave and Gambler Big EZs on 3/8 and 1/2 ounce jig heads. I was catching these fish in current breaks as the TVA, during practice, was pulling water very strongly. I also caught fish shallow during practice as well throwing various crankbaits and rattlebaits.

As tournament day began, I knew some good bags would be caught up close to the dam, but I also knew that it would be very crowded. The first hour of the day we started in the crowd at the dam watching several boats catch fish, but ourselves never getting a bite. We quickly scrambled to places that we caught quality fish at in practice. As the day progressed, instead of making adjustments and moving shallow as the day warmed, we stayed out fishing deep with little success.

As the day ended, we came away with 7.93 lbs and a 143 place finish–not what we were hoping for. I learned another hard lesson and that is, if something is not working, don’t try to force it. Fishing is a game of adjustments and we did not make the right ones on Saturday.

We have two weeks and then we are off the Neely Henry for the 3rd stop of the ABT. I am very comfortable on Neely Henry, so looking to make better decisions and have a comeback!

Josh

Update from Bass Open on Smith Lake

The second stop of the Bass Pro Shop Bassmaster Southern Opens has come and gone. I was fortunate and blessed to come away with a 15th place finish. Great to have a comeback from the first Open where I finished 186th.

Practice was mentally and physically challenging with the weather being almost unbearable on the first day of official practice. The temperature never got higher than 30 degrees and the wind was blowing 25-30 mph! Ice was freezing in the guides of my rod all day. Although that day’s weather was harsh, it was that day I found the school of fish that I caught during the tournament.

The fish that I was targeting were fish that were staging in a creek channel waiting for the weather to warm so they could spawn. I initially found these fish sitting in 20 feet of water on a rock ledge. I was casting a ½ oz 4X4 jig in green pumpkin with a Gambler Mega-Daddy Trailer in green pumpkin.

As the tournament began under cloudy and rainy conditions, the fish seemed to suspend up in the water column and that is when I had to pick up the famed Alabama Rig rigged with five Gambler Little EZ swimbaits in white lightening color. Fortunately, I was able to catch 12 lbs. 14 oz. to finish day 1 in 30th place.

As day 2 began, it was yet again totally different weather with bright, bluebird skies and quickly climbed to 70 degrees. Several of the guys struggled to adjust to the changing conditions, but I was able to make a subtle change in swim bait colors (Gambler Little EZ Phantom Chartreuse) and my area held up and I caught 12 lbs. 4 oz. to settle in 15th place, only missing the cut by 2 oz.

All in all, it was a great week and looking forward to Lake Norman in October!

Josh